What is Bhakti Yoga?

Bhakti Yoga asks us to transform and purify our egotistic self-love by focusing the mind on 'sacred thoughts'. But why is this necessary and how do we walk the path of love and devotion?

The path of love and devotion

Bhakti yoga explains that the main issue, which keeps us from realising our true nature, is that we have disassociated from the sacredness and divinity, which encompasses and comprises everything in the Universe, including ourselves. Because of this, we often see ourselves as a separate part of a very mundane world. 

To encourage Bhakti, it is helpful to start by cultivating reverence to something which appears to be separate from one’s self through acknowledgment of the sacred essence within it. This could be as simple as appreciating the fact that you have woken up each morning before you get out of bed. It could be an acknowledgment of the aliveness in your breath and in your heartbeat, or simply noticing the innate beauty in a flower or the sunshine. 

A simple blessing of appreciation for all that goes into the food we eat is another example of Bhakti. On more subtle levels, chanting prayers or mantras is also a lovely way to get in touch with the Divine qualities in the manifest Universe, as well as more elaborate rituals, such as Aarati and puja.   

The tricky part is to notice when the sacred love has been discovered and then turn that gaze inward, so that one realises that the Divinity and reverence one feels toward something is actually the very same, sacred love which resides within one’s own heart. 

The Bhakti then becomes the recognizing of the very same Divinity that weaves itself into EVERYTHING that exists, including ourselves!  In this way, the differentiation between seer, seeing, and seen dissolves, and what is left is only sacred and divine One-ness.

This is the third in Tracey's series looking at the 4 Paths of Yoga. Read more:

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