This is a tiny extract from my book A Zen Commentary On The Yoga Sutras which goes over the ancient, and much taught, Bhakti Yoga Technique;
1.23. Or by surrender to God.
‘Surrendering to God’ is a technique of dissolving the ego by focusing on the Divine, however you may conceive of it.
The most common technique people are familiar with is called Bhakti Yoga or focusing on the love of God. This is considered to be the easiest way of implementing this technique to dissolve the ego and experiencing oneness/zen.
The yoga journal defines Bhakti Yoga as;
“The Sanskrit word bhakti comes from the root bhaj, which means “to adore or worship God.” Bhakti yoga has been called “love for love's sake” and “union through love and devotion.” Bhakti yoga, like any other form of yoga, is a path to self-realization, to having an experience of oneness with everything.” Yoga Journal - Jul 16, 2008
This is basically a self hypnosis technique using the power of meditation and the emotion of love. One can use self-hypnosis nowadays to lose weight or quit smoking and even to increase one's capacity to be more open hearted. Bhakti yoga is specifically about focusing all your intention and desire on loving God till that’s all the remains in your thoughts. This is said to have a transformative effect on consciousness.
Basically, Bhakti Yoga involves focusing on ‘loving God’ to the point where everywhere you look you see the Divine. Of course, you have to actually believe in and love God to make this technique work.
If this sounds familiar it's because it is. All of the Abrahamic traditions seem to use this technique as the foundation of their spirituality.
For example: Jesus seems to have talked about this technique making me think he was familiar with this yogic technique and sought to implement it as a founding pillar of his philosophy.
Let’s take a look at how what Jesus said was a technique of Bhakti Yoga applied to his society & environment;
Jesus’s Two Main Commandments (Bhakti Yoga Techniques);
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Matthew 22:39 (New International Version)
If you love God ‘body, mind & soul’ then you are basically thinking about nothing but God. You would see other people as Godlike (if Hindu) or with ‘the Divine Spark’ (as some Zen & Christian Mystics have called it) as in Christianity, but the principle remains the same that treating other people with love and respect would come naturally as ‘everywhere is the face of God’. Thus ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (commandment #2) is a natural result of following commandment number 1 of ‘loving God body mind & soul’.
Echoes of this technique is even found in the Old Testament;
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5 (New International Version)
Of course, in Hinduism the Gods one normally focuses on are Krishna or Shiva or a Goddess, as the famous Bengali yogi put it;
“When I jumped up like a madman and seized [a sword], suddenly the blessed Mother revealed herself. The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious … within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.” Mahendranath Gupta, Ramakrsna Kathamrta translated by Swami Nikhilananda as The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (Mylapore: Sri Ramakrsna Math, 1952), Book 1, p. 15
This technique is also used by the Sufis of Islam which they call dhikr or a ‘meditation on the love of God’ and they say the result is that ‘everywhere one looks one sees the face of God’ as one would expect with proper application of this meditation technique.