" 'Devotion' is the word I was taught. What does it mean to be devoted? Most of us have a rough idea. It brings me back to hearing the Everly Brothers singing 'Devoted to You' when I was sixteen years old. My friends and I were hanging out on a street corner, leaning into the open window of a parked car, listening to the music coming out of the car's radio, anxious to hear the new music, the new message. Their idea of devotion was clearly about romance:

"Through the years our love will grow.
Like a river it will flow.
Until then I'll always be
devoted to you."

"Many times when we're young, we may bond with someone, get into a relationship, or get married even though it's not clear what we're devoted to. We enjoy the sexual chemistry and romance. This is natural and the world needs it. We're like flowers, the world needs us to bloom. But what can we truly be devoted to?

"Devoted means 'one with.' You can be devoted to your life and your death. Every moment of your life is nothing other than enlightenment. There is no other teaching outside the moment to moment of your very life. To be devoted to that — to practice it, realize it, and appreciate it — is the dharma, the teaching. Appreciating every moment of your life does not mean living only for the moment; it's not about grabbing the moment and wringing the most pleasure you can out of it. To appreciate every instant of your life requires maintaining a constant awareness of life and death."