Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Nature of Devotion



What do you worship? Everybody worships something, we're hard wired for it. Though traditionally humans worship the gods in all their many forms, the truth is there are so many paths of devotion, it would be impossible to name them all.

Some people worship idols, like movie stars or musicians or those closer to home, like lovers, children or people at work. With some, the object of devotion is a set of ideas, philosophies, intellectual constructs. Or money. A lot of people worship money. Creativity, in particular in the form of the muses, has long been worshiped. Even addictions are a form of devotion, at least according to the cosmology of Reya.

I see worship as a practice of longing, of allowing the heart to ache with desire. That sweet ache unfolds something hidden, some minute dimension of humanity, brings it to the surface and reveals what was once hidden in three dimensions. It can be unnerving because the practice renders the devotee completely open and vulnerable. Plenty of people, in my culture at least, pretend they have somehow transcended the need for worship in order to feel safe, maybe, to avoid feeling exposed. It's not cool to worship. People get embarrassed.

I am such a fervent devotee that it would take many many many blogposts to name all the objects of worship in my life. Devotion is my birthright. In spite of how dorky it makes me, I prefer the devoted heart to the cool heart. It's just my way. Oh well.

36 comments:

Shorty said...

I am definitely a worshiper. I worship God and feel truly guilty when I forget about Him and my blessings. I worship my son, my husband and my mom & sis. I worship shopping and all the ideas in my head of things I want to make. Yep, I long for many things and spend a lot of time in my mind each day worshiping those people and things!

willow said...

Me, too. I feel the need to worship every day. It keeps me connected to that other dimension.

Your opening photo is "wow".

Val said...

is it not about soul food? we all need it but have different palettes, cultural or otherwise? being thankful is a path to balance; love is everything...

The Family Julz said...

I'm sincerely devoted to your blog. I've mentioned previously in one of my own posts how I've noticed I speak to God on almost a minute to minute basis - I don't know where my mind would wander if I didn't give it that direction...

Amy said...

I like your definition of worship. I'm an Atheist, but abiding by your definintion, I do worship. I suppose I'd have to really sit and think about it a bit, but right off the top, I worship Nature. I certainly have a passion about caring for it and preserving it for future generations. I guess Mankind would have to be one, too.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Food!
It's all about food.
I don't cook. BF has to prepare my daily caloric intake.

Just...Lauren said...

Devotion is tricky..
Sometimes I find myself unaware of a devotion until it is thrust in my face.
I like your closing photo, by the way.

ArtSparker said...

That is a wonderful photo, like the tumbling Tower in the tarot deck.

I would argue that worship and devotion can be different in practice and attitude- worship to me implies kneeling before a diety, whereas one can practice devotion in washing dishes.

Reya Mellicker said...

Artsparker - to me "worship" sounds more active, "devotion" a bit more passive. I used both words to avoid being so repetitive in the post.

And yes Val YES, love is everything or at least the greatest power there is.

I worship nature (of which I am a part) and our adorable species, as well as FOOD, glorious FOOD. And yes I am in an ongoing conversation with God at all times.

It is unnerving to suddenly become conscious of a devotion I previously knew nothing about. Yikes.

Joanne said...

Love the first photo, I see so much within it. Definitely a worshipper here, one of my devotions is live music. Sitting at a concert is a form of spirituality, as I absorb the creativity happening on stage.

tut-tut said...

hard to strip away everything to be a worshiper. interesting post, lots to think about.

Tamyris Bilion said...

Oh wow! You have a really interesting blog. Its a pitty you wont be able to understand mine! I am definetily a worshiper! But I think that to love and to worship are completely different things. I think love is much more complete and devotion is more like an obsession that might fill you up. For example, I love my family and friends, I would risk my life for them and I worship Harry Potter,music,cinema,my idols! I think that wothou this devotion I would be kinda empty.

Butternut Squash said...

Every day in you post, I find something with which to fill my cup. Beautiful, images. What makes the reflections more beautiful than looking at the object straight on? Perhaps it is the mystery of what can not be seen...the peices that we have to fill with our own imaginations.

I am devoted to truth and worship the spark of life, 'God,' in all beings. But I must say that being completely honest, especially with myself, is exceedingly difficult, and there are times when I get really mad at God and want to spank his little tushy.

It's that ego thing, very hard to let go of.

Reya Mellicker said...

That is hilarious!

dennis said...

Dennis worships Dennis.

dennis said...

Dennis is devoted to his humans.

Reya Mellicker said...

I worship Dennis, too! And his humans - at least one of them.

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Thanks for stopping by to see Auntie.
I have a funny story to tell you about reflections in car windows, but I have to get back to work right now.
:(
Will tell you later.

crone51 said...

Music. More than just about anything else.

janis said...

Reya~ You wrote this very well. I, at first thought it was about faith. I am devoted to my faith. But you made me think. Yes, I do have other devotions. Something much more to think about.
As always, LOVE the photography! You have such an eye! And to transform it to us to see.. all I can say is "Thank You!"

JOY said...

I worship the divine. I especially seek the divine from trees, flowers, sky, moon, wind . . . all the elements of nature. I worship music and singing, animals, dogs, cats, birds, any living organism. I cherish learning, words, insight, writing. Great question to think more about!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I think the reason I am so attached to the sanskrit word namaste is because it is all about devotion (and worship) of all....at least in my 'interpretation'

wonderful post....and the second photo reflection is crazy wild! I'd love to see what the steeple looks like unreflected....

namaste reya!

Reya Mellicker said...

The steeple is pretty boring in "real" life.

Namaste to you, Ms. Mouse!

Merle Sneed said...

I don't worship anything.

Ronda Laveen said...

Devotion, to, and from, the beloved, the lover, The All, The Source, God and Goddess, the one from which all other things come is deeply held in the heart of most of us. If we turn our back on Him, He will still be loving us. If we get stuck in disbelief, She will still be loving us. Devotion is a two way street.

Reya Mellicker said...

Merle, what about the Sneedlets?

Just me said...

I think I am a worshiper too, though I never thought of it that way.

I get far too into books I love. To the point where I can't sleep if the happenings in a book have upset me.

I can worship people, though it's usually people I know rather than celebs. Not in a creepy way, but if I love you, I LOVE you. And you become a priority to me.

I often wish I could feel that way about religious/spiritual stuff. I would love to believe in something unwaveringly. I think it would be so comforting to believe that there is something more than what we know- something bigger out there.

But for now, I can't. So I take comfort in the people and things I love and hope that would endear me to whatever bigger might be out there. :)

Chris Wolf said...

A great question for me is does it have to be as 'just me' said, "unwavering"? In my humble opinion, and I could be wrong, something truly bigger than I can comprehend is at work even when I don't 'get it', or refuse to accept it. I love the fact that I can doubt, question, ponder, be angry, still be loved and still love.

hele said...

I'm devoted to animals, plants - especially trees, grasses and wildflowers-, rocks, the sun, the wind, water and all the things they play with in between them.

kin'xp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reya Mellicker said...

Chris and Just Me - The God I worship is eternal but not at all unwavering. Everything changes, IMO, including God.

Also my devotion for God changes. Like Chris, I get angry, resentful, doubtful. Like Butternut I was to "spank his little tushie" - it's a relationship just like all my relationships.

Such great comments! Thank you all!

deborah said...

Omain

(I realized this morning that my devotion to putting all the same coffee cups together, may be an ancient gene nod to keeping Kosher.)

It made me laugh out loud.

Love and more Love to You

Just me said...

That's true, Reya. One of the things I always liked about Judaism is that you are allowed to question. Encouraged even!

lettuce said...

i LOVE whats happened to the tower reflection in this photo

Bee said...

There are so many lovely and profound things in this post, Reya. It reminds me of a wonderful book that I am reading now . . . the biography of a 91 year old, who is an avowed atheist, but a devout believer in so much.

barneybarnbarn said...

Nice post. I'm glad I found this blog. I worship things, (The Beatles, Stanely Kubrick, Kurt Vonnegut) even though I'm an atheist. My mom just lost her second husband. She's always been religious, even though it's never bought her much comfort. She's kind of depressed now and told me the other day "Maybe you're right. Maybe there is no God." I replied "That doesn't mean there isn't love". Maybe that's all the definition of God is in the end. Love times devotion. Thoughts?