Ogbo Ato

What is the supreme, satisfying and unfailing practice which Ifá is awakening us to, and leading us to? The practice of unbounded devotion to Olodumare. After many days, weeks, months and years of Ifá study and reflection, what can we conclude that Ifá is? In the final analysis what is Ifá? In one word what is Ifá? Ifá is love. Ifá is truth, actual reality, caring and concern. Whose love? Whose caring? Whose concern? Ifá is the love, care, provision and concern of our true friend, mentor and heart companion Olodumare. Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that Olodumare pines, yearns and longs for you? Has it ever occurred to you that all that Olodumare does, he does so that you might understand and know that he loves, values, respects and cherishes you? Olodumare yearns, longs, pines and waits for your intelligent spontaneous response of gratitude, love and devotion.  When we outgrow our spiritual immaturity and self-preoccupation this reality becomes powerfully and personally revealed to our hearts and understanding. For our soul, inner capacity and need to love to find fulfillment, it has to have a living responsive person an an object to whom it can direct its love, care and concern who is able to reciprocate our feelings, affections and devotions in full.

Who else but Olodumare can satisfy our longing for communion and completeness. We find fulfillment and realization in loving the Supreme One and receiving the divine love. The longing, love and affection in our hearts cannot satisfy itself. It needs to reach Olodumare and its needs to experience Olodumare so that we might know peace, fulfillment and satisfaction. Undoubtedly you have heard the name Olodumare and perhaps you have learned some things about Olodumare. But do you know Him? Do you know the glorious personality and attractive character behind the name? What do you really and personally know about Olodumare? How can you know Him? How can you know His reality and experience His love? Do you not know that in all your seeking for happiness, meaning, fulfillment and satisfaction through so many means you are in fact searching for Olodumare? You are seeking to know, understand and return to the Source of your being. Ifá says that “Olodumare is the king worth depending upon.” Olodumare is unlike human kings who want and demand to revered, acknowledged and served. Olodumare is the King who serves us wholeheartedly, lovingly and unselfishly. Is it possible for you to depend upon whom do not yet know? Theories and philosophical beliefs about Olodumare cannot and will not ever satisfy your heart, mind and life. Living contact with Olodumare alone can satisfy the depths and longings of your spirit. What to do? Where to begin? How do we begin to develop a deep love for Olodumare? First of all Olodumare has to be more real to you than your mother, father, brother, sister, friends and spouse! Only by practicing devotion to Olodumare in whatever present inner and outer condition we happen to be in, can the light of divine love, understanding and truth be kindled within us. This is why we fellowship together in the Ijo (the community of Ifá-Olodumare worshippers).
In the association of other devotees is where we obtain and catch devotion, faith, love and fervor. Love for Olodumare cannot really be taught but it can be caught in the association of genuine devotees. What are the main features of devotion? Devotion does not look at your past. Devotion does not care if you were a drunkard, thief, liar or cheat. Devotion is not impressed with your affluence, connections, possessions, knowledge and power. Devotion is impressed by humility, simplicity, guilelessness and unpretentiousness. Where you were and how you presently are is not an obstacle at all to devotion to Olodumare. Olodumare will accept you as you are. There is no need for you to pretend to be other than who you are and where you are at the present moment. Just like a mother picks up and accepts her soiled child to then proceed to clean it up, so does Olodumare take us a we presently are without any objections. So from our side there is no reason to fear or worry that Olodumare will not take us and accept us as we are. There is no reason for us to pull away or withdraw from approaching Olodumare. We are dear to Olodumare and nothing but His love, kindness, acceptance and guidance can clean us up and make us experience a qualitative change and transformation at the root level of our being. The spirit of devotion does not care about and does not look into your past. The spirit of devotion cares about you now in the present and will take you as you are with the guarantee that she will cleanse, strengthen, transform and empower your life. On account of our weaknesses, imperfections, defects and past wrongful acts we have no reason to despair of the committed love and firm dedication of Olodumare towards us. The reason why our imperfections, defects and flaws are so glaring to begin with is because we are lacking the awareness, fullness and experience of divine love, real love.
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Devotion and sincerity towards Olodumare will transform an unwholesome, unworthy and embarrassing life into a revered, satisfying and honored life. Try it out and see for your self. Olodumare is not peering into your past. Neither is he keeping a list of past wrongs. He is not peering into your past and he has no lists. He has only love, concern and sympathy for you together with the power to do something about your troubles, sorrows and loneliness. Let us draw near to Olodumare without fear and with full confidence. Let us come to Olodumare with transparency and honesty. Let us come to Olodumare without attempting to hide anything from Him and without trying to justify past wrongs. Just as you are and where you are, cultivate devotion and sincerity towards Olodumare. Put pride and ego to the side altogether. Don’t project yourself to Olodumare other than what you are and where you are. Open your heart and mind to Olodumare. Share your thoughts, problems, gratitude and feelings with Him. With feeling and sincerity apply your heart and soul to speaking with Olodumare. This is sincere and genuine unbounded devotion. By so doing you will know and experience the relief, support and salvation of Olodumare. After arriving at Olodumare’s palace and having been accepted by Him it does not behoove us to go around knocking on other doors. Who can do more for you than Olodumare? Who can understand you more and sympathize completely with you more than Olodumare? Cultivate a living gratitude, love and respect for Olodumare, and his power, grace and presence will uphold you and transform your life. The reason we have lost our way and are easily overpowered by our passions and weaknesses, and have lost our genuine spiritual convictions is because we are too far removed from Olodumare. We are trying to live our lives with unverified and inexperienced second-hand information about Olodumare instead of knowing Olodumare directly for ourselves. Think about these things. When was the last time you raised up your hands and head to praise and glorify Olodumare and to communicate gratitude and dependence upon Him. When was the last time your heart was moved and stirred to joyful tears at the thought of the kindness, loyalty and friendliness of Olodumare? How many of our mistakes and shortcomings has Olodumare overlooked and forgotten about? This is what Ifá is inviting us to understand and cultivate. What will be your response?

The only way to reach, experience and know Olodumare is to ask for his asé (grace, presence and power). This asé is always available to us but because we live our lives distracted and so preoccupied with ourselves, petty matters and involved without being invited in the affairs of others that we lose sight of the fact of the ever present availability of the asé of Olodumare. This asé does not come to us from people but comes to us directly from Olodumare whenever we need it. Olodumare is only waiting for our sincere heartfelt devotion so that He can manifest Himself to us.

Olodumare has given us wonderful abilities, talents and faculties that we can apply and use advantageously for our benefit and the benefit of others. There are many useful, progressive and wholesome things we can use our talents, intelligence and abilities for, all on our own. But there is one thing that we cannot with our talents, intelligence, faculties and abilities do alone. We cannot reach Olodumare. We cannot reach Olodumare by unaided efforts. Only by and with the asé of Olodumare can we know Him and our true eternal divine identity. Our human intelligence, strength, will and abilities cannot themselves help us to reach and know Olodumare independently of the gift of asé (grace, power and presence) that is available to us from Olodumare when we humbly approach Him and request Him to supply us with His asé. Let us request from Olodumare this gift of asé together with the spirit of devotion. By so doing we will find and know the meaning and purpose of our lives. By so doing we will find fullness of satisfaction, delight, peace, joy and contentment.
Ogbo Ato Asure Iworiwofun.