The Importance of Intention and Devotion – Drukama RadioTM Episode 11
This week Daishi discusses the importance of intention and devotion on the path.
Episode 11 Extract
The Importance of Intention and Devotion
“… a true aspirant is going to make changes inside. One of those changes is that intention, that compassion, that connection to other people. They have to kindle the fire of the heart. You’ve got to become more connected, because that’s what expands us out in order to have the ability to perceive in a larger way, to go beyond the senses of perception and really touch that ‘Stream,’ as they call it, that spiritual essence.”
Drukama™ podcast extract – Ep11
Full Transcript of This Episode
Adam: Welcome back to Drukama Radio. We’re so excited again tonight to be joined by Raz. Raz, how are you, brother?
Daishi: I’m doing fantastic. I feel fantastic. I’m happy to be here with you, and I’m excited to talk for, I don’t know, four minutes, or twenty-five minutes — who knows, but let’s do it!
Adam: Let’s see how it goes.
Adam: We have a good show for you tonight, some really interesting ideas, and also some things that are going to really resonate with people on the spiritual path. We are going to talk about the role that devotion and intention play on the path. These are words, obviously, if we read anything you’ve written, or anything you’ve talked about, these come up frequently, and we’ve talked off-air about how it’s not really the same as Miriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions, but I’m going to break it down, you can cross over where they kind of intersect, but let’s start with devotion:
Why is it important that a practitioner shows devotion or is devoted?
Daishi: Devotion is an incredibly important part of the path because it formats the strength of our aspiration. It not only formats it or reformats it, but it amplifies it and we need to have as much aspiration, a changing of aspiration, and an empowering of aspiration as much as possible to continue to drive forward on the path and to continue to have the strength to forward in what’s going to be rocky, and most people think it’s flowers and happiness and joy and love — it’s about inner correction, and that’s a very difficult thing.
We’re talking about looking within myself and correcting the parts of myself that are unconscious, or that are auto-reactionary, right? My mental states and my emotional states and my physical speech, etc. So, I become the subject, and in order for me to be able to carefully watch and become wakeful to my reactionary states, that isn’t always pleasant. In fact, a lot of that is unpleasant, because you start to notice things about the egoic self that are kind of ugly. They may be very self-centered, selfish, and self-promoting, and you may say, “God, I can’t believe that I’ve spent my life all about this. Everything was about this,” you know? It’s this thing, and my connection to the identity, or whatever that is, and I’ve been self-promoting this identity, knowing that it’s a temporal thing, so that I could get, gain, grasp, steal all kinds of pleasures for myself.
So, the part of aspiration is giving us the strength and empowerment to continue to look within and say, “It needs to be more even-keel here.” I have to consider me and the other. I have to be able to care, I have to be able to consider where others are, and if I don’t have strength, if I don’t have the aspiration empowerment of that, I’ll fall apart. That’s where the importance of the devotional side — now, that’s a big word, so as I close that kind of opening statement, devotion doesn’t have to mean ‘to a god,’ a devotion ‘to a person;’ you can be devoted to the teacher, you can be devoted to nature, you can be devoted to just your improvement, your correction. You can be devoted to the All — whatever Intelligence that’s running the Universe. You can just be devoted to the fact that, for whatever reason, your inner change is going to make the world one person better, right?
So, devotion can be a lot of things, but the aspiration has to be continuous because we’re habitually trained in the opposite direction, we’re fighting against the current. The other direction, that habitually-trained opposite direction is about unconscious self-promotion, self-satisfaction, self-delivery of pleasures, and that’s where the trouble begins.
Adam: You hit on what I was going to ask next, which is just, in many traditional religions, that’s what it is, is devotion to a deity, devotion to a church, devotion to a congregation.
Can you talk a little bit about how spiritual path kind of almost flips that on its head, as opposed to putting on a pedestal based on shame and fear, devotion on the spiritual path is different?
Daishi: Shame for me personally — and I grow up from an orthodox childhood — so, for me, shame and fear are a bad motivator. If shame and fear worked to any degree, then every religion on our planet would have already illuminated all the human beings, because we promote shame and fear in everything we do, whether it’s sex, the way we think, the way we feel. I mean, everything about the physical body, the emotions, and the mind is shame and fear-based in our society. We’re even afraid to say the wrong thing online, we’re afraid to say the wrong thing in front of people; everything in our society is based on this shaming and fearing kind of promotion. So, it didn’t work. It hasn’t worked. It’s not going to work, all right?
So, the system the religions are using today — and, there are beautiful people in religions, absolutely beautiful people in religions — but, the system by which they use, just as facts and not by a biased conclusion here, I can just show you that it doesn’t work. It’s not working, because you’re not finding people who are coming out independently thinking, really unbiased, allowing others to be what they are, allowing others to have freedom, being open to their own ideas and their own creativity, you’re not seeing people promoted out of the religions with this kind of freedom. What you’re seeing is more fear and more shaming within their own congregations, their own religions, and outside of them. So, it doesn’t work.
So fear and shame is not a good way to establish that kind of aspiration I’m talking about. What I mean is outside of religion, and what I talk about mostly is a scientific — I use that word loosely, because I’m not a scientist, so I mean scientific only in that it’s a practical application — although science has proven much about meditation, its health benefits and so on, but I’m not going in that direction. I’m just saying scientific only because it is a practical thing. It has nothing to do with dogma, my morals or ethics or anything, it’s just that if you do x, then you get y, and you can see these things happening.
The mind has grooves, has habitual, unconscious tendencies that need to be slowly broken up, and the emotions do, they reside against the mind’s waves, and they have their own reactionary tendencies that have to be broken up. And this takes aspiration, it takes intention, and it takes a force, a will, in order to constantly be diligent to yourself and say that, you know, “Hey, da-d-dut…,” you know? “I was unconscious right there; I need to be more conscious,” and just start waking up to that process. That has nothing to do with religion at all. I don’t believe it starts this way, but it ends up being this way, because it becomes a man-manipulated thing, but in my opinion, religion is a great way to control people through your words, which were fear and shame, and as we can see, fear and shame does control. It doesn’t free, it doesn’t liberate, it doesn’t illuminate, but it definitely controls. And so it’s different in the way that I speak about it, I think.
Adam: After delving into that bit, the other word that we mentioned and the other idea that we mentioned was the idea of intention, and I know that there is some kind of almost cross-curricular, or some overlap here, but intention is also a very specific word, and it’s something frequently mentioned to initiate practitioners, the idea of being intentional about practice and intentional about what they’re doing.
Why is intention paramount to finding success or making progress at the beginning of the path?
Daishi: Well, intention takes different forms, there’s different gradations of it as you go through; it becomes more meaningful and more intense. It starts out being that I’m pointing myself in a certain type of place. I’m pointing my aspiration in a certain way. I have a very solid idea about what my intention is toward my own maturation, okay? So that’s just intention as it starts, but actually, as you keep going forward and get more in-tuned with your inner energies, intention becomes a feeling — a sensation, even — and it becomes deeper than that. Intention becomes the way in which you generate your pleasure, the way in which you generate your satisfaction, but now it involves other people.
So, a migration happens that transitions you from one sense of intention to deeper, deeper layers of it until eventually, intention becomes the fact that I can’t be happy alone, that I want everyone around me to be happy, too. That it’s not good enough for me to be satisfied with what I have if someone else is lacking. And it really levels the playing field in the way that human beings see each other, which is really important because in the way the structure is now, it’s a competitive structure. So every man’s his own island, every woman’s her own island, and we’re constantly fighting against each other — well, it’s a capitalistic idea, too.
So, it’s all around us. We’re always fighting against each other to better up. I want more than the neighbor has. I want the neighbor to have stuff, but I just want to have a little bit, a sliver more than the neighbor. And as long as that’s the case, I’m happy. The problem with that is that’s a very viral attitude. It’s the same way that a virus works in the body, it will just keep eating its host until it dies itself. And that’s how our system is right now, we all compete against each other for everything. “I want to look better, I want a better relationship, I want a better partner, I want a better family, I want to have people look at me and wish they were me;” we think that’s good. We actually promote that. We think that, “Oh, that’s ambition, and that’s important. We need to have that, we need to all fight for survival” kind of a thing.
But that hasn’t worked either. That’s just not working. Hasn’t worked, and what happens is you end up with communities that fight against other communities, or countries that fight against other countries. Everything will always be separate, and eventually, it will be countries, and then it will be states, and then it will be cities, and then it will be neighbors, and then it will be households. You can’t help but continually apply that decision outward and see that it eventually becomes you and I killing each other. And the only reason that that hasn’t happened yet is because we’re so fear-based also, that at some point, we get so nervous about the fight that we’re willing to give it up. We still want it within ourselves, we still want the war within ourselves, but we give it up because we’re a little scared. So it’s really a weak, small-minded kind of process that we have in humanity right now, which is, “I want more than you, but I’m only going to do that to a certain extent, because I’m a little afraid, too.” It’s very childlike.
But when you have the right kind of intention, it changes the playing field. Now it makes me say, “I want you to have what I have.” In fact, at some point, I don’t mind if you have more than I do. Because when I see you happy, I’m happy, right? When I see that you’re satisfied, I can breathe and I’m good. “You’re happy, you’re happy, you’re happy; okay, I’m fine.” And that’s the shifting that happens. Now, that happens over time, but that’s the shift that you want to see in a real, true spiritual path. You want to see somebody who gets connected with the people around them so deeply that they really live through them. That their pleasures live through them and they’re no longer indicative on their own to find pleasures for themselves. In other words, they don’t have to fill their vessel with anything because they don’t really need anything. They’re so clear and clean that really, all they’re saying is, “I’m fine,” you know? “I don’t need anything, I really just need you to be happy, I need you to be doing well.” And that changes my intention from me — this guy — to you, right? So my intention now is just ‘what do you need?’ Right? Like, “I’m fine; whatever you need, you tell me. I’m here for you.”
We’re so opposite to that, that that idea seems insane to people, that most people will hear that and go, “Woah, that’s ridiculous. That’ll never happen.” But it does happen. It does happen; it happens in the few people who decide to take that path upon themselves and make the changes within, and intention is the starting point, and it keeps graduating to bigger places as you go.
Adam: So, my last question is going to be:
How much of this devotion or intention is also applied internally?
So, applied to ridding and shedding of those attachments. So, as opposed to being focused on a god or a deity or a church or a pastor or whatever, but you’re really applying those energies inward.
Daishi: Well, you know, I have to start somewhere, and so for somebody that’s just trying to get on this slippery path, my heart kind of feels stony when it comes to caring, compassion, empathy, and really caring about other people. And that’s okay, because I’ve been pointed in the opposite direction. So the moment that you tell somebody, “Listen, you need to start to open up to the idea, just give the power and the idea to connecting, that has to be part of the journey, too,” and so when you go to most people and tell them that ‘you need to start to feel a little bit closer to others and how they’re feeling and start to put yourself in their shoes a little bit and keep this kind of idea going forward,’ they’re usually like, “I can’t. I don’t care; I’m not interested.” If you tell them to go worship a deity or a god or the universe or a tree, they’re kind of like, “Eh, not really, don’t really care about any of that, either.”
Absolutely normal, because they’ve never been pointed in that direction. Now, some people do. They have the natural ability already to say, “Hey, I can get really tied up in nature,” right? “I can go see the ocean and really just sit down and pray to the ocean, it’s beautiful. I admire it, it’s gorgeous.” Or the forest, or the All — you know, ‘I can appreciate the galaxy, it’s beautiful and glorious and intelligent and I can really reach out;’ most people can’t, so they have to start somewhere. A lot of it can be internalized, a lot of it can be pointed in different directions inside. But what happens is it’s kindled like a fire. So that dead black space suddenly becomes more alive, more and more. The more that you dig there and start to pay attention to it and start to kindle it, that fire becomes very pronounced. And then, your sensing and feeling of where other people are is not that hard, it’s just a natural state. You’ve kindled that state. And intention is the ability to say, “I want that state to be kindled.”
See, human beings have a phenomenal process. When they look at something with desire, with really strong, burning desire, that can make miracles happen, truly. I mean, we can see people beat odds all the time, and just because they’ve had a burning desire to do something, whether it’s in sports, or business, or whatever. You can apply that same idea to your own evolution. So, if you have a burning desire to really become a better person, to become more connected, more clear, more conscious of who you are, how you function, and so on and so forth, the same process applies. And that’s really what intention is: it’s applying that process of wanting to change within yourself. It’s having a burning desire to become something more than you were yesterday, toward you. And that’s what separates a true spiritual aspirant, somebody who’s really making changes, to somebody who is just doing outer ritualistic stuff.
Adam: Awesome stuff as always, brother. Said it was going to be a shorter show. Before we get out of here, your final thoughts on devotion and intention on the spiritual path.
Daishi: We have to have an aspiration to change. Everything about spirituality is about changing this thing. If I don’t change inside, nothing’s going to change outside. I can’t sit from my vantage point with a skewed perception and think I’m going to make changes to the outside, because the outside is coming from the inside. Everything I perceive ‘out there’ is happening within this noggin. It’s happening within this brain. It’s happening within this heart. So, I can’t pretend that I’m going to go backwards, I’m going to fix the outside world before I fix the inside world. I have to change inside, then things will change outside.
So, a true aspirant is going to make changes inside. One of those changes is that intention, that compassion, that connection to other people. They have to kindle the fire of the heart. You’ve got to become more connected, because that’s what expands us out in order to have the ability to perceive in a larger way, to go beyond the senses of perception and really touch that ‘Stream,’ as they call it, that spiritual essence. And, if you’re not doing that, if you’re not changing that, nothing else is going to change. You’ll be sitting around meditating for twenty, thirty, or forty years; it won’t matter. If you’re not changing, nothing else is going to change. That’s just the end of the game right there, so everything about the path — intention and devotion — is all about making those changes within. How you do it can be different for different people, but that’s what it’s really for.
Adam: Thank you so much for your time, as always.
Daishi: You’re so welcome, thank you Adam for doing it. Appreciate it, as always.
Adam: Wonderful. Please, if you want to help out, rate and review on iTunes. Thank you so much for joining us. We will talk to you soon. Until then, be well.