Devotion is Goalless.
Pause to ponder those words a while. See what rises over a minute of silent stillness.
What comes up?
Maybe a strong reaction of agreement or disagreement? Confusion, aversion, permission, relief, inquisitiveness? More than one of those?
Devotion: love, loyalty or enthusiasm for a person or activity.
Devotion may simply be to living authentically, wholly, embodied. When we practice devotion toward anything, particularly a yoga practice that grows and shifts with our needs, everything becomes a work in progress, there is no fixed outcome at a fixed time. Life may become an unfolding path of peaks and troughs. There is always progress to acknowledge and always a time to be friendly toward ourselves as we pick out what went well, or what we could do differently next time.
Something speaks to me about devotion being a path of small, right actions that build into a foundation, a movable anchor that lets us explore but come back to base when we need to. Breath, Heart, Root are the anchors. What are yours?
Everything has its shadow or polarity, and Hatha Yoga is very much a practice based on exploring pairs of opposites while being present or ‘awake’ to hold opposites in our awareness. Perhaps devotion’s shadow is obsession. If true devotion is goalless and fluid, obsession feels rigid and harsh, a place here we lose sense of our centre. Obsession is hanging on every word of a guru without stopping to reflect on whether the words are right or resonant for us.
The wellness industry is rife with obsession masked as devotion.
Obsession comes from trying to get one’s needs met from something outside of ourselves. I know that place, I have learned it the hard way. Addiction is obsession. Recovery is devotion.
Devotion is growth and openness. Obsession is constriction and overwhelm. Does that sound resonant to you?
I feel devotion to my own path of living from a place of enoughness, wholeness. Daily, I take little actions to help me to override the societal and patriarchal conditioning of overreaching (or stretching) towards things I do not need/ think I need to make me feel better. In Yoga that is called aparigraha (non grasping).
As we grow into our true selves, the one without the over identifications with the labels we cling to for safety, there are small acts of devotion which go a very long way. I bet you can name a few… Here are some of mine, feel free to copy if it’s resonant:
Ten minutes of mindfulness each day (could be sitting or walking meditation or mindful movement).
No alcohol if I do not feel OK
Touch; either hugs or Reiki
Doing something arty
Getting rest and enough sleep
Eating foods that come out of the ground (hopefully soil untouched by nasty weedkillers)
Having a vision/inspiration to unfold while keeping #goals to a minimum