How to Create a Life of Devotion
Written by Jafree Ozwald
“It’s necessary to make your mind a prayer, the heart full of love, and every breath a melody of devotion. Then the soul becomes a glorified song of compassion, mercy, understanding, and humility.” ~ Annalee Skarin
One of the most beautiful experiences in life is the feeling of devotion. When we are truly devoted, we’ve released the selfish agenda of our ego, and are surrendered to something much greater than ourselves. We’ve given up every imperative need to get something back in return for our practice of giving, and are simply enjoying the sensation of being liberated from our perpetual list of demands and needs. You could say that the greatest lovers in the world are those who can relax into the deepest feeling of devotion within their heart, which is attuned to a love that transcends all conditions, agendas and limitations.
The energy of devotion can take on many forms. We can be devoted to a lifestyle, a person, a way of being, a project or even achieving a desired goal. The difference between being devoted and committed to something is within the quality of the experience. Commitment is more of a mental excursion, while devotion is a journey through the heart. Through devotion there is this continual undercurrent of love, which flows through every thought, feeling and word uttered. The love it radiates holds this juicy heart opening quality, connecting your mind to your soul, allowing you to taste the sweet luscious flavor of your own divine existence.
When we practice being in the energy of devotion, we are feeding the heart with a joy that has no end to it. This ultimately brings real satisfaction into our lives, filling that great longing and yearning we each have for the everlasting joy we feel is missing inside. Real devotion is one of the greatest secrets to finding our spiritual freedom in this lifetime. The feeling of it alleviates our suffering instantly, as it allows every action to feel sacred and aligned with our life purpose. It is the most essential nutrient necessary to create a truly exquisite life that is deeply fulfilling on all levels.
“The highest reward for an act of kindness is not what you get by doing it, but what you become by doing it.” ~Unknown
One of the great challenges with choosing a life of devotion is that we may fear losing ourselves in the beliefs, heart, mind or life of our beloved. We might fall into some co-dependant relationship, feeling an addiction to them, where we may become obsessed by a need for their approval of our every action, belief, and life decision. In this unhealthy state, our beloved becomes like the Sun and we become the Earth revolving around them. When we remember that we are the Sun and our beloved is just another Sun (spirit) we’ve met along the way, we can feel that they are actually revolving around our life as well. From this perspective, we experience what a healthy devoted relationship is like, and these two bodies gravitationally spin around each other in a natural, respectful, meaningful and magnetic way.
In a healthy state of devotion, we are seeing the bigger picture. Our feet our rooted in the ground beneath us and our branches are extended up out into the stars. We are not clinging to anyone or anything. We are relaxed in our own essence, feeling alive, conscious and appreciating each moment of existence. There is a great reverence each day we have to be in relationship with our beloved. We know it all can end at any moment, and thus never take it for granted. There is a solid feeling of connection to the love shared, without depending on it to find the love within ourselves. In this healthy state of devotion we feel connected with everyone and everything in our world.
Love is one of the most dangerous explorations in life because it is the most rewarding. In order to experience real love, we must completely lose ourselves to it. We must become so devoted to the real feeling of love, the essence of love, that is free from attachment, fear and possession. We must walk that very fine line between losing ourselves in a healthy or unhealthy way in a devoted relationship. We must take the risk to see ourselves at the beloved sees us, and know that it is our own innocent hearts we are longing to connect with when the day finally comes to an end.
As long as your relationship with your Self remains the main priority, you will remain in a healthy state of devotion. You will be aligned to your soul’s purpose, and thus be able to show up with the greatest love to give. When you live in fear of losing yourself to your beloved, there is this clinging to your ego, and you end up resisting love, fearing its power, and then not allowing your ego to surrender fully into it. As long as the ego remains in control, love will be kept on the sideline. When we can realize that our heart is the main source of love, the infinite Source of love itself, we can share this love endlessly and stop withholding it from others in our lives.
As you walk on the path of devotion, you might discover how the ego is an absolute genius at missing the truth. It cannot imagine that there is a bigger love to experience on the inside than what it thinks is on the outside. It is only through exploring total devotion to your soul, your spirit, and infinite self, that the sacred meeting of unconditional love is discovered between you and your beloved. This is the one vital truth to be realized, that will let a continual stream of joy flow through your life.
When you surrender completely to this infinite source that connects your heart with your soul, you will always rise and fall in love with your beloved. Then, you can relax fully into the devotional experience. You are free from the fear of co-dependency, and are no longer worried about becoming lost in the mind and the life of your beloved. You become so rooted in the exploration of unconditional love within yourself, that you can allow yourself to take risks, love deeper, be foolish in how much you love, and continuously fall further into love with your beloved, over and over again.
“As you dissolve into love, your ego fades. You’re not thinking about loving, you’re just being love, radiating like the Sun.” ~Ram Dass
Every one of us wishes we had the courage to live a life overflowing with an abundance of joy and love. Yet to reach this level of love means we must surrender through every fear we are gripping onto. We must let go of control and trust that love is the greatest guide we will ever find. We must devote our entire heart and mind to the idea and feeling of being in love with ourselves and our lives. This is the place where the heart never ever closes down for any reason whatsoever. When we are truly devoted to ourselves, to finding the greatest love within our own heart, we find that love was always there, always waiting to show us the way home.
The other big issue everyone comes eventually across is that the ego is the most tenacious master at resisting love. It is always cautious and skeptical about falling in love, and feels devotion is only for the weak and the needy. The ego simply doesn’t trust love, because if it felt what love really was, it would die. It would have to give up all it’s strategies for protecting itself from love and learn the path of surrender. The ego only knows control and separation, me verses you, and avoids falling into the ultimate state of love at all costs because it knows it has no control in that space. The more we can surrender to trusting love, the more we will find that love pours into every wounded crack and crevice hidden in our being. It is only through giving up our attachment to our ego that we can find what real love is all about. We must lose our small self to discover our big Self, which is constantly growing and evolving in love, always being reborn, fresh and new.
At the highest level of awareness, all devotion is devotion to the Self. The Self is omnipresent, alive and conscious within all beings. When you know this, see this, and honor this truth, you simply give up all limited approaches to love, and upgrade it for this higher version of reality. From this space we can be totally devoted to a partner, friend, child, family, or any person for that matter. We then can lose ourselves completely in that experience because we know that ultimately it is a form of devotion to who we truly are. There is no separation from ourselves and our beloved. Our beloved is our perfect mirror, reflecting back to us all the multi-dimensional aspects inside ourselves that we cannot see. It is through seeing the one Self, realizing its awesome power, that we can stop being afraid of devotion.
It is our devotion to this highest state of awareness, seeing the one Self in all beings that actually enables us to be free. We are no longer limited by our expression, bound by our beliefs, or stuck in suppression. In devotion to the one, we gain access to the deepest levels of joy, freedom and truth. We are no longer fearing love, yet only in gratitude and reverence of it. This sacred relationship allows us to reveal our highest life purpose and direction. It is only from this place that real everlasting happiness is found. This state of being knows that life is truly perfect just as it is, and there is absolutely nothing we need to do to make it better in any possible way.
“Be lamps unto yourselves. Be refuges unto yourselves. Look not for a refuge in anyone besides yourselves.” ~ Buddha
If you are ready to start creating a life of devotion this week, I have a few fun and practical steps you can do to help it get rooted in your daily life. The first thing is to make a devotion altar, where you add everything on it you are devoted to in your life. It can be as simple as a cardboard box with a nice cloth on top, where you place holy pictures, beautiful art, inspiring statues, heart opening gifts, precious stones, wise sayings or anything you feel is sacred for you. Add everything that you want to open your heart up to and feel a deeper connection with. Sit in front of your altar and meditate on the items on it every morning. Feel your heart opening up to the devotional energy it represents. By trusting in this sacred connection each time you glance at your altar, the energy will build each day. If you want to, burn some incense and light a candle to make it official.
The next invitation for you is to write down all the beliefs that are creating a healthy and unhealthy level of devotion for you. Start with the list of every unhealthy or limited belief you have about being devoted. This your your “let go list” and just know it is the gateway to experience a healthier state of devotion. These beliefs may sound something like, “I am afraid of losing myself in my partner. It’s not safe to fall in love. I’m not worthy of a deep experience of love. I am unable to let go of control over my life.” Once you have written down all your negative limiting beliefs, write down all the opposing positive beliefs which counter balance them. So these would sound something like, “I am excited to lose myself in my partner. It’s safe to fall and rise in love. I’m worthy of the deepest experiences of love. I am looking forward to letting go of control over my life.”
Once you find each specific positive belief that balances and cancels out the negative beliefs, you can let them both go! Being free from both beliefs allows you to experience a deeper release, a free fall and surrender into your infinite being where the greatest level of stillness and silence of the mind is found. It is this state of pure stillness that your greatest innocence and most authentic being is discovered. Here you can realize your most natural state of devotion that is free from all resistance, control and fear. Devotion revealed in this space will only create more joy, ecstasy and freedom in your life. It is from stepping in this direction that we discover the perfect life, where we see that everything and everyone around us is a blessing and gift in the most intimate ways.
“You are born with a tremendous possibility. You are born with a light within you. Listen to the still, small voice within, and that will guide you.” ~Osho
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