The Permutations of Devotion

By George A. Boyd © 2020

This was written on Good Friday, 2020, at a time when the devotion of 2.07 billion Christians are focused on the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of his Passion.

Devotion is a pure quality of the spirit. This purest, unalloyed, sublime emotion, which the spirit fees towards God, is often expressed in increasingly distorted ways as you depart from the spirit’s loving heart.

  1. On the dense shores of Matter, devotion becomes perverted into the intense craving of greed, of lust, and of the desire for revenge and retribution. It shows up as the addict’s craving for food, for alcohol, and for drugs; and as the criminal’s driven pursuit of money through theft, robbery, and extortion.
  2. When these base passions and addictions have been worked through, devotion masquerades as anxiety and obsession. The over-solicitous parent, who tries to control every aspect of her daughter’s life; the young woman obsessed with trying to live up to perfect standards of beauty and performance—these draw upon this distortion of devotion. Romantic infatuation—the obsessive fascination and yearning of romantic love—also springs from this layer of devotion.
  3. When perfectionism, worry, and romantic obsession are put away, devotion appears as the drive for career and academic success and advancement. This characterizes the workaholic, whose work is the most important thing in his life; or the overly conscientious student, who dedicates himself to his studies to every waking hour.
  4. At the next layer, devotion becomes the quest for excellence and highest performance. The athlete, who dedicates her life to perfecting her skills as a runner; or the musician, who practices long hours to master the violin—evoke this type of devotion.
  5. The next aspect of devotion is personal idealization. The sports fan who idolizes his baseball team; or the music fan who follows his favorite band from concert to concert, and buys all of their songs—these evidence this type of devotion. The adulation of celebrities also taps this zone of devotion.
  6. Devotion next channels as dedication to a cause. The religious zealot, who attempts to proselytize people to join her religion; or the political activist, who attempts to persuade people to vote for her candidate and support him—these operate from this facet of devotion.
  7. Devotion is next typified by spiritual idealization. Here a devotee looks to a spiritual leader as superhuman, or a Divine Representative, who is portrayed as perfect, all knowing, and the embodiment of all that is good and holy. The devotee, who commits himself to spiritual advancement, and seeks to obey and please his spiritual leader, drinks from this deep well of devotion.
  8. Freed from clinging to any form, the spirit who realizes itself beyond the trammels of mind, knows itself to be of the same essence of God. Once this state of inner innocence has been achieved, the spirit becomes capable of returning to this primordial fire of pure devotion, and loving God in purity and truth.
  9. At the final stage of this journey of devotion, when the spirit re-unites with the Divine Beloved, devotion is submerged in the Oceanic tides of Infinite Love. Here, the devotee and the Divine become one, and there is no longer any separation.

As the fire of Divine Love purifies these layer over the spirit, you become increasingly capable of acting upon successively deeper expressions of devotion—until Divine Love removes the final gossamer veil, and reveals you as you have always existed, as pure spirit born form the immortal Light of God.

Contemplate these layers of devotion. Offer them all upon the inner crucible of your heart’s purest love, so you may emerge as the radiant butterfly from this cocoon of matter and mind that has entombed you through the Ages.

Arise, oh spiritual butterfly—and now, at long last, become free!

The process of learning to re-unite the spirit with God is called Nada Yoga. It trains you how to free your spirit from the trammels of matter, and how to travel through the inner channels of light and sound back to re-union with its Divine Beloved. We teach Nada Yoga in our intermediate mediation courses, the in person Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the by-mail and online Accelerated Meditation Program.