Someone recently asked me to write something about devotion. It would be easy enough to put down some soft and lovely words about waves of love and beauty. They would be true and inspiring. However, there is something here that, though delicate and easily misunderstood, reveals an exquisite aspect of devotion if it can be conveyed.
Let’s start by acknowledging that throughout history, people have been devoted to many different things, not all of them laudable. Extremists in the world today are highly devoted to their cause. It seems that extremists would agree with most anything we say about devotion. We could say devotion comes from deep within. They would agree. We could say devotion satisfies and fulfills not only the heart, but also the mind. They would agree. We could say it is the result of wisdom and discernment. They would agree. We could say to look to the wise, the ancient masters, for direction. They would agree. It seems fanatics and devotees have all too much in common.
As Socrates said, the only true knowing is that you know nothing. Yet everyone longs. Stripped away from the superficialities of what you think you long for, we all long for the same one thing. Call it fulfillment; call it God; call it what you will. But what is true devotion? It is the pursuit of that longing. We are like iron filings around a magnet or moths around a candle flame. We long. We are drawn toward… It does not stop. We are eternally devoted.
Real devotion has its beauty, not in the concrete, but in the abstract. Just as all things in our solar system are drawn toward the Sun, all things gravitate back to Oneness. As you get closer, the pull is stronger. You come to know the nature of what pulls you more and more clearly as you get closer and closer to it. Your inner experience of that which pulls you along the way is, in and of itself, called “devotion”.