Devekut. A kabbalistic concept that means “attachment to God.”
The basic practice is simple: stay aware of God’s presence. You can do it anywhere. Because, as Kabbalah teaches, the world is made of divine energy. No place is empty of God.
HOW TO PRACTICE DEVEKUT
Here’s an analogy. Your doctor says, “Don’t slump; it causes back pain.” You take this seriously. So, each time you find yourself slumping, you straighten up.
When you practice devekut, you do something similar. Each time you notice you are not aware of God, you redirect your attention.
How do you do that? There are so many techniques.
At a meal: Say a brachah, a blessing, thanking God for the food.
Lying in bed: Take a deep breath and imagine breathing in divine light.
On public transit: Look around the crowded bus and think, “God loves these people.”
Walking outdoors: Notice a little weed growing in a sidewalk crack and marvel at its resilience. Whisper, “God’s creatures are amazing!”
In synagogue: Listen to the actual words of liturgy and wonder. Ask yourself, “Is this really how I think of God? What does God mean to me?”
DEVEKUT AND COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS
As part of your practice, you might experience a time of cosmic consciousness. You might perceive the field of divine energy behind all appearances. But don’t imagine that event means you have “achieved” devekut. You can—and should—practice devekut at any level of consciousness. As the Baal Shem Tov says, “Every once in a while the heavens split open and we are transported to the highest levels of consciousness. But most of the time we work at the lower levels.”
DEVEKUT AND GOD-CONCEPTS
Devekut will lead you away from a rigid conception of God. That’s because you will experience God in so many different ways. You may have life-giving spiritual experiences that lead you to joy and hope. But you might also have uncomfortable ones, reminding you of spiritual trauma. So, it can be helpful to work with a qualified spiritual director or guide.
TEXTS AND HISTORY
Want to learn the history of key concepts of Kabbalah? Join the Facebook group “The Zohar.” Here, Rabbi Ben Newman, Dr. Daniel Matt, and other admins share source sheets, podcasts, and more. This month’s topic is—you guessed it—devekut.