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"Four types of virtuous devotees worship me: the distressed; the seekers of wealth; the one who seeks knowledge of God; and the Jnani (wise)." (Bhagavad Gita 7.16).
"As such a devotee has his mind constantly on God, the latter too has him constantly under his gaze (Gita 4.11). This is why the devotee at the third level never falls, because he is always under the protective gaze of God. Though his previous Samskaras may sometimes take the Jnani Bhakta on the path of wrong Karma, no sooner does he start off, God, who is seated inside his heart, draws him back..." From "The Helpless to the Wise: The Evolution of a Devotee", Nitin Kumar, Exotic India January 2013
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"Wow, God really helped out when I was in a world of hurt. Surely, God will also grant my wish for __________. Wow! Well, I'm doing pretty good now. Thanks God."
Other things are more important than God until the next deep pain or hurt, when the cycle begins again.
One who truly seeks will eventually realize this back and forth is surely not all there is to life.
To move beyond the two-step, I must make knowledge of God more important than fixing my life. God has always been an important part of my life, but I was devoted to the world and my place in it. I aspired to put God first, but I could not (though I thought I did). I had other worldly entanglements and aspirations that came first. I only succeeded at putting God first occasionally and for short periods.
Now I am purifying my heart of everything except for God. I am choosing the life of a devotee.
I have described myself as a devotee for so long. A devotee of my Guru, and of Paramashiva (the Supreme Guru). But I did not see how my devotion to my life was in the way. I was sure my life would be fixed by my sadhana, and I was devoted to that. My heart's desire: my life healed and transformed. I could only see one other option: to extinguish my devotion to life. This felt wrong, and it was. Devotion is not extinguished, or abandoned, or smashed. I see now that devotion is my heart, to be given again, only now I truly offer it to God.
I embrace my devotion to my life, then offer it to My Beloved. As life is a gift to me, I offer my life as a gift back to The Lord. I have finally moved all else aside and put God first.
Ha ha, I am like the pickle that will never return to being a cucumber.
According to Lord Krishna, I have reached the third stage, where the devotee begins to ask the important questions about God, and so begins to truly know God. Krishna assures Arjuna that attainment of this third stage leads surely to the fourth, which is to become established in the knowledge of God.
Becoming a "full" devotee is a little thing, true, because I am a little thing in this world.
But it is also a huge thing, as big as it gets, because God only gets to do this "little thing" once... as me.