I used to say it was love. I used to say love was the end all of all emotions…which is not to say that I knew what love was. Indeed, even today I hear the word love and I struggle to grasp the full intention of its meaning. God is Love–I hear that often…and wonder: if I knew God, then would I know love? Or, if I embodied love, would I fully grasp what God is? We are always choosing between love and fear–that’s another trendy thought bandied about in spiritual circles these days. If it is really that simple, why do so many of us find the choice as challenging as climbing Mt Everest?
I tried and tried to make love my “word,” my favorite emotion…but couldn’t find my way between love as a noun, a verb, or an adverb. I asked for something I could embrace with the wholehearted action of a verb, and I got it:
Devotion. Devotion has the passion of love and the commitment of love. Devotion, by definition, makes the commitment and passion sacred. Devotion grounds the power of passion with the focus of intent. Where ever I place my heart felt commitment through sacred action, I am devoted. Devotion is the action of love awakening.
Wow! That seems so lofty…until I explore where I’ve seen devotion practiced throughout my life. That’s right, devotion isn’t newly born in awakening. Rather, the focus of devotion becomes conscious in the awakening process. And, that is the illuminating realization.
Whether we practice a conscious devotion or a devotion of habit, everyone knows the emotion of devotion. Some practices evoke love–devotion to family, devotion to nature, devotion to the care of less fortunate, devotion to a spiritual concept. Sacred, right? Some devotions are focused in ways that promote self interest–devotion to money, devotion to pleasure, devotion to self-image. These devotions, less oriented toward connection, are still, perhaps, sacred to the person committed to them. Some devotions do harm. Still, they fall within the spectrum of devotion based on a person’s passionate commitment to their practice. Not all devotion, in other words, is shaped through love or spirituality.
But, when it is…then devotion is a path of awakening. When we choose the conscious path of a devotion that evokes love and expands spiritual understanding… Ah, friend, then we are awakening into the understanding of love that IS God. Then, our devotional practice–whether it be prayer or meditation or hiking in nature or exercise or cleaning or caring for another–expands our conscious awareness into an exploration of the Will to Good that makes way for the current of will to good to flow to us and through us.
I no longer need wonder what love means.. or is. I only need give myself with wholehearted passion to a practice that intends the will to good, and God who is Love rushes into me. Awakening into devotion–my favorite emotion!
I love you. Thank you.