The level of awe and devotion required for spiritual growth is frowned upon by western culture as being unhealthy because you are losing yourself to someone else. Westerners think that you should never give or lose yourself and so the result is that they do not actually learn and grow because they are so determined never to give up their hold on their self in place of another person. They end up really losing because they do not learn at the depth and full potential of what can be learnt.
We can prove this by pondering how a mind that resists must have guards at the doors, and some form of barrier or tie to hold you back. If there is any form of barrier, then it is impossible to be freely and fully immersed in the situation. This is a common problem with personal relationships. People are simply too afraid to commit to another person, or job, or project and sadly, even themselves. This consistently results in an incomplete and uncomfortable experience.
Devotion is commitment. Without one or the other, you are not fully open to experience the event or learn the knowledge being presented because you are held back by some level of fear or ego.
The importance of devotion and respect for your capacity to learn is clear. Most parents simply do not deserve respect, their conduct is not respectable and so children cannot, or simply will not learn from them.
Part of learning and gaining the value of what someone has to teach you is 100% proportional to the level of respect you have for that person. Although you will learn things from someone you do not respect, you will not learn as deeply or as much as you can. This goes for respecting everything, even machines.
The more you respect a machine, the better you will understanding how it works. For example to be a good pilot you have to respect the mechanics and functions of the airplane. If you think about it, you should be in awe of this machine that can fly, and the more in awe you are and respect it as deeply as it deserves, the more you will understand it. The more you understand the more you learn and the more you learn the better your skills will become.
One day a new visitor came to our regular group meetings. After the meeting, this person asked to meet me and discuss my becoming their mentor. In our discussion the next day, they mentioned a discomfort and disagreement with one of the people in the group who was looking at me with great awe and absorbing everything I was saying. ‘That level of awe cannot be healthy.’
This is a key factor to limitations of potential for Westerners, a basic belief that total devotion is a bad thing. Rather they believe a person should maintain their sense of distrust in a way, filtering everything through their own experience and judgment.
That is actually a wise attitude, however the flaw is that if you distrust, you will never relax, rather you are constantly on guard. Being on guard combined with the filtration through your own experience which is limited and therefore must be lacking in some way, prevents a person from passing a self-created barrier, thus preventing the natural evolution of who I am today into who I can be tomorrow.
Devotion is a necessary double edged sword, it all depends on who or what you are devoted to. The wise balance between total devotion and distrust is time. Take the time to let a person show themselves to you. Do not base your opinion on what they say about themselves, rather judge them by their actions. If a person professes they are perfectly balanced and happy, then they get angry if someone spills the tea, the actions speak louder than the words.
Make your decisions based on actions. It takes time to allow for enough actions and events to happen before a person shows who they really are. But use caution not to look for contradictions, otherwise you will find some that may not exist just to prove you are right and have found the flaw. Just be present and open to see what is.
And here is the problem, people do not have the patience to wait and see, rather they want to know right now, and so take words which describe years of effort only on the surface meaning, while neglecting the motivation and deeper meaning behind those words. You can only judge a person based on your own level and experience. If someone does something you do not understand or agree with, that does not mean they are necessarily wrong, that is possible, but equally so, it may be your own lack of understanding where the flaw lies.
If you do not have the patience to wait and see, and even if you do, look for the motivation behind what a person is telling you. What will they gain from your acceptance? And, what will you gain?
Devotion is like respect. It should not be given just because someone is older or has a college degree, rather it must be earned. However, remember that your devotion is not for who you are devoted to, but for your own good and growth, to clean out your selfish ego, fears and inhibitions, all those things which are blocking you from evolving into more than just a human being.
You need to have devotion more than the person who receives it. Devotion is not what it appears, that is just the surface. It is only one number in the combination lock to open the door to your own greater self.