Totally Devoted to…

Devotion. What does it mean? Definitions found in dictionaries say;

: a feeling of strong love or loyalty : the quality of being devoted                                       : the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose                          devotions : prayer, worship, or other religious activities that are done in private rather than in a religious service (Merriam and Webster)

1Love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person or activity: his devotion to duty never wavered she was the epitome of wifely devotion
1.1Religious worship or observance: the order’s aim was to live a life of devotion
1.2 (devotions) Prayers or religious observances: she went to her devotions
(Oxford)
loyalty and love or care for someone or something: He inspired respect and devotion from his pupils. She will be remembered for her selfless/unstinting devotion to the cause.
religious worship: He knelt in humble devotion.devotions [plural]
The Christian bible extracts that I have read today seem to point in the direction of devotion being towards love. As I have discussed in another post love is the meaning of life in according to religion. This love is attributed to God. So through love one is devoting their lives to God. This devotion isn’t direct either. We are to love one another and ourselves. We are to shun loving materialism as that breeds corruption. We are to do this knowing this knowing that God loves us and by being loving creatures we are doing the work God has meant us to do.
In Buddhism devotion is toward Dhamma the cosmic order of things. In other words you must love what is and that it is what it is. This is the core of mindfulness, a wonderful practise that can exorcise the mind of anxiety. Grounding yourself in the moment means letting go of the thoughts in your mind and devoting yourself to what you can physically sense right now.
There are other ways to devote your love, concentrating on a friend in their time of need, using your time for their benefit. Devoting yourself to your children, putting their needs above your own wants. Devoting your concentration to a study subject. All in all we are creatures of devotion, our focus, attention and concentration are continually directed towards the subjects of devotion. What it basically translates to is the channelling of our love for something.
Religion cautions us against using our devotion for the wrong things, like towards money and material things, objects rather than subjects. Whether you have religious beliefs or not these cautionary messages are of value. We are tribal animals, our communities are what make survival possible, make life worth living. We do not need to take part in our communities by being physically present, just by devoting our time to them every now and again so that we can pass on love. Love is what gels relationships, and devotion is a channelling of love. If we channel our love towards a person we have a relationship with them. If we channel our love towards ourselves we can be content to be ourselves.
Religions devote themselves to God or an Other with the ultimate love for those who devote themselves. I suppose in a way we all do, believers and non believers, we devote ourselves to that which we love, to the hope we give ourselves in our own means. Love and hope are what keep us alive and a devotion to this seems pretty healthy to me whatever you decide to call love and hope. If you call it God, the Other or just love and hope, keep on devoting yourself to this and you will find a happy world, you’ll see the good there is in the world instead of focussing on the bad. Really there is a good world out there if you look for it and devote yourself to the good. You can help make the world a good place full of hope and love if you devote yourself to it in a positive way. Don’t ignore the bad, take it for what it is, a challenge, something to overcome and make good. I may still be an idealist but my belief is that as the human race we can make our humanity good. The people of religion I have met also believe this and attribute this ability to their God/Other. We aren’t that different, the believers and the non believers. We’re after the same thing, just on different paths. I hope our paths continue crossing and we have a wild party at our collective destination!
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