'The Path is the Practice'
Most hours of my day are filled with immense reflections, observation, mental notes & analysis, and just a whole bunch of thoughts! I blame it on my Aquarian imagination and air sign tendencies. So much of what I observe draws me in deeply. One thing that has always intrigued me is how people express their love and appreciation for God, the divine, or their spiritual dieties in the form of constant spiritual practices centered around devotion and appreciation or bhakti.
Ceremonies, rituals, and all kinds of spiritual events occur around the world where hundreds of candles are beautifully lit, thousands of flower petals nicely adorned on altars, incenses burn strong & sweetly, prayers & empowering words are said, and fruit or carefully prepared foods & dishes are not eaten but offered as a sign of a follower's gratitude...all an energetic exchange that says, 'thank you, i love you'.
I've always thought of it as beautiful, but that last statement of an energetic exchange didn't really hit me until a little while ago when I came across the documentary, May I Enter. A story of a Europeans spiritual quest in Brazil and search for meaning and understanding of who she is spiritually. She wanted to learn more about herself and her dieties and/or guides so readings & rituals were performed. One of which also included a bhakti centered ritual where she made beautiful offerings to show her love for spirit and in a sense an exchange in hopes to know herself more. It was like she took a step towards God in hopes that God would take a step closer to her. At least that's how my mind registered it. And I didn't take it as you have to do something for God in order to get something in return but as you showing your true intentions and putting energy and/or effort towards it. After all actions will always speak louder than words.
I also saw it as a way of building a foundation for a relationship with God...as well as a new kind of relationship with self where you are committed devoted to your practices and constantly opening the way or creating space within yourself and your life for spirit to dwell and shine through.
This observation has been empowering for me as I've attempted to focus less on studying spirituality and thinking my way through everything and more on practicing, doing, applying and allowing spiritual growth happen and guide me in this life. I recently said on facebook that,
I think that what is truly beautiful about all spiritual practices especially all forms of bhakti is really how we are transformed by the experience these practices allow us to have.