How can I increase my devotion?
Swami Kriyananda defines devotion as the ruling passion of your life. Devotion to God and Gurus comes naturally when you want God as a drowning man wants air or as a thirsty man wants water. We all truly thirst for a heart full of love for God, even if we don't know it. But if you know it enough to ask how to increase your devotion and to awaken the natural love of your heart, then that's got to put you a long ways towards achieving it. Congratulations!
Anything we do well must engage more than just our minds. It must also engage our feeling nature. We must feel something that stirs us, that moves us or else life is dry and very sad. Pray for devotion and then do all sorts of devotional activities (suggestions listed below). Be around devotional people and imitate what they are doing, even if you don't want to or feel it is "not your thing." Do it anyway! Fake it till you make it!
A few more suggestions:
1) Chanting is half the battle. Do more devotional chanting, before meditation, after meditation, and whenever you can during your day, either alone or through listening to chanting tapes from Ananda. This is the number one tool for awakening devotion. Music touches the heart!
2) Practice the presence of God through a walking meditation. Walk slowly and deliberately and feel God in everything around you. Feel God walking, breathing, and thinking through you. Feel divine energy in every cell of your body. Gradually extend this feeling of the divine within you and all around you into every activity of your daily life.
3) Have a photo of Yogananda's "Last Smile" or another of his photos that you like and keep it handy, visible wherever you are. Look into his often eyes and say: "I love you!" Then listen for a response in your heart.
4) Feel yourself to be one with everyone! This is the truth. All are one! Yogananda says: It's not love thy neighbor as thyself. It's love thy neighbor for he is thyself!" God resides in everyone — open your heart to that idea and live by that ideal.
5) Transmute emotions into devotion. Good or bad, emotions are just energy and energy can always be re-directed. When you perceive the stirring of any kind of emotion in your heart, offer it from your heart up the spine to the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows. Keep the energy firmly fixed there for a while and then offer it back to God, from whence it came.
6) Meditation on this statement by a great saint: "If you knew how much God loves you, you would die for joy."
7) Every day, pray this simple prayer: "Divine Mother, awaken your love in my heart, and may I be able to offer that love to all.
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