For some of us, the devotional path is the label we place on the thing we’re doing anyway. We fall in love, cultivate relationship, and see the bonds between beings as a primary language, so to speak. It’s a natural way of being. Placing a name on this way of being can feel like a significant homecoming to some, a less noteworthy instance to others. Some people feel motivated to discover what it means to have long walked the devotional path while others are content to allow relational dynamics to unfold as they will, without lots of input from outside commentary.
People who find that relational dynamics are an entirely natural way of organizing the seen and unseen worlds sometimes make the argument that this is a great way of doing things – and it is. It’s one path among many, and it has its distinctive advantages as well as its own potential drawbacks. Some people come to this path because they made a deliberate choice based on these advantages and drawbacks; they felt that organizing the seen and unseen worlds in a relational way was beneficial in some way, or at least beneficial enough to give it a shot.
These two groups aren’t terribly distinct in my mind, and certainly there’s no reason to worry which group you fall into unless you’re really inclined to play along at home. I started thinking about things this way because there’s a slight difference when between these groups when it comes to the practice of devotion. When it comes to refining the techniques of organizing the seen and unseen worlds into relational models, some people choose to fall back on innate patterns while others are willing to experiment; some are willing to commit to a deliberate practice while others are comfortable where they’re at.
It’s probably no secret that I tend to be pretty comfortable where I’m at. I resist change even as I hope for better things; I halt at making difficult choices even as I wish that my life was different. Fortunately(?) I’m surrounded by some very tricky Powers. They’ve helped me develop a bit of a backbone even as I struggle to dissolve it into lethargy. I’m trying some sadhana right now and not doing intensely great at it but I’m doing OK.
I care about deepening my relationships and about going further in my practice; I’m greedy and I want more experiences, which means that I have to commit to doing something different than I’ve done. I can’t just relax into the status quo even though I want to. Sometimes it’s very hard to keep my highest ideals in mind, but They’re always right there, ready for me to remember Them.