To devote means to give yourself, your time and attention, ardently, to something or someone. Devotion is characterized by intense attachment and affection. A person who is devoted becomes absorbed in the object of his attention and is transformed by it. So it is with parents and a newborn child--devotion appears when that child is born and if all goes according to plan it lasts a lifetime. Few things compare with the love for a child to demonstrate the power of devotion to transform you. It isn't really voluntary. This devotion is born out of our survival needs as a species.
Our other devotions tend to be more temporary. For a time, we are intensely attached to a new lover, a new job, even a new friend, but over time these passions wane. We still care, but we are not so devoted. In terms of actual time spent attending, we can be more attached to our phones, our coffee, our investment accounts and social media, than we are to husbands and wives, friends or work. Devotion to habits, needs and desires are very powerful but the transformations they cause are not always that rewarding.
Recently I went hiking in the Rockies on a trail that ascended to 12,000 feet. I was constantly aware of my breathing as I slowly climbed the switchbacks into the thin air. I didn't even need to think about inhaling and exhaling deeply, my lungs, like my attention, were focused on getting enough oxygen to fuel my muscles for the climb. I was devoted to my breath. I had to pause every few hundred yards to indulge myself in deeper breathing. Then I might notice the riot of wildflowers below and views of snow-streaked peaks above. But I never forgot my breath coming and going and the intense attachment to it transformed me, if only for a short time. I was intensely present to myself and very, very aware.
I want to be devoted to my breath because it transforms me into someone who lives intensely and ardently in the moment, something none of my other devotions can provide--not my husband, children, grandchildren, friends, work, certainly not my cup of coffee or glass of wine. I would like to be attached to my breath from now until it leaves my body forever.