The Devil in the Detail

Recently life has been asking me to look more closely at what I do and how I am.

It is calling out for me to pay more attention to the detail – for example; not just what I write, but how I am when I write, not just what I eat, but how I am when I eat, not just what I do in any given moment, but how I am when doing this.

I have begun to realise that my relationship with detail has been somewhat inconsistent and that, at times, I have thought of ‘detail’ as the enemy. Detail was those frustrating ‘fiddly’ elements that had to be put up with to get done what was needed.

So more recently I have been looking at the detail of my relationship with the detail.

Growing up, detail was where the conflict lay. Control, arguments and manipulation lay in the detail. At school the detail was the difference between passing and failing, between the smart kids and the not so smart kids.

Detail was sold as where the path to your future lay. In business, the detail was where people would try to ‘pull a swiftie’ and play a trick on you.

Then, looking at society overall, I realised we had the saying that “the devil is in the detail.”

It began to make no sense – why would I look at the detail with a sense of panic, fear or dread?

Of course, as with so many things in life, it turns out that the opposite is true. It is not the devil that lives in the detail, but love. It’s the care I take in each moment that adds to the ease with which I will take my next step.

It’s the way I leave a task, job or project that will determine the ease with which I, or someone else, will pick it up again. It is the understanding I can bring to why I make the choices I make that frees the control that my past patterns had.

In these ways, the detail holds the key to our freedom, not only in this moment, but in the next as well.

Detail, like a drop of water running down a leaf, cleans and magnifies what is beneath. Detail, like a breeze on a hot day, refreshes and changes how I feel about a current circumstance. The circumstance doesn’t change, but how I relate to it does.

There is detail in everything.

Even the breath I take while writing this sentence is filled with detail – there is a warmth, a depth, that I can choose to observe. If I do this, it brings awareness to my muscles and whole body. In fact, all of how I am in life right now gets shown to me in that moment.

Imagine that – all of life reflected in one moment. This doesn’t sound like the work of the devil, but rather the all-encompassing love of Divinity.

Dedicated to the Gentle Breath Meditation, as taught by Universal Medicine, for offering me a way to re-establish my true relationship with detail.

By Joel Levin (Western Australia)

Further Reading:
Serge Benhayon – A Life of Detail
God Is In The Detail
Mental Awareness V Conscious Presence

805 thoughts on “The Devil in the Detail

  1. Love is certainly in the detail, as going for a job promotion this week I was very detailed in my approach for this interview and as a result I felt very prepared and equipped to deal with anything that was asked of me.

  2. There is love in the detail; it allows us to complete things and move on gracefully, without hooks and tendrils that bind us to the past.

  3. ‘Imagine that – all of life reflected in one moment.’ Joel, this is amazing, it inspires me to deeply appreciate that every moment is a magical moment and what a gift this is and what will our world be like when we maximise these moments with absolute love.

  4. “Even the breath I take while writing this sentence is filled with detail” – this is beautiful, it really makes me wonder how many details just pass us by or we don’t take full notice of, and it reminds me of the magic that’s on offer if we stick to this moment without skipping ahead to the next.

  5. I agree that detail can and is used as a means of control by some people. It’s a way to catch people out or make them feel less. However I also see it used with a great deal of care, to make sure that every detail has been taken care of so it supports the flow of a project or another person. Then there is magic in the detail.

  6. This reminds me of an old saying ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’. If we take responsibility for all the little things in life they build a foundation for everything else to grow from.

    1. So true Mary, this highlights that every small detail and moment counts and they are equally as important as any other moment as they offer us space to embrace responsibility and love to life and to our every movement.

  7. In my job there are lots of people who tell me the devil is in the detail, I correct them each time and say “the clarity is in the detail”. If you aren’t willing to look at the detail you will never know the full truth.

    1. Wow, Sally this is so true, it is like being in conscious presence and like space is expanding as we connect to more awareness. Also, there is flow and rhythm to connecting to the detail.

  8. “It’s the care I take in each moment that adds to the ease with which I will take my next step.” – I wish for the world to know this, how each moment builds upon the next and life is not such a ‘random’ thing that just ‘happens to us’.

  9. ‘It is not the devil that lives in the detail, but love.’ Spot on Joel, it is interesting how the saying has been about the devil being in the detail, when in truth it has always been love offering us more to understand and have awareness about.

    1. Like so many things, the true meaning and gift of every detail has been turned around and somewhat twisted; the only so-called ‘devil’ in the detail is the detail we haven’t attended to and left unfinished and uncared for.

  10. “The circumstance doesn’t change, but how I relate to it does.” – this is where the magic happens. We can blame circumstances and do a big song and dance about it, or we can change the way we relate to what happens. It is simple although can feel difficult at times depending on how attached we are.

  11. Thank you Joel. This line jumped out for me today and just what I needed to read, ‘It’s the care I take in each moment that adds to the ease with which I will take my next step.’

  12. In one of my writings I have been asked to provide more detail, I realise that there are some beliefs I hold around detail that needs to go, because they do not serve me to open up to the evolution and expansion that is on offer. There is detail in every moment, so much for us to explore and understand.

  13. There is a completeness that comes with attending to the details, a wholesomeness and a clarity that gives us space to explore the next move.

  14. Like, looking at things through a magnifying glass, we could be mesmerized and totally fascinated by the intricacies of details that we would not otherwise be aware of and appreciate its beauty, or we could just be overwhelmed. I agree – it is a relationship, and it feels like there’s something to do with how much we are prepared to observe and accept what is.

  15. There is such beauty and magic when we honour everything we feel and take care of every detail. I know when I do this from my body it does not feel like there is any effort, so it is not about making it look good but rather being pedantic to wanting the quality fo energy to be the highest it can possibly be. Everything matters and so even the slightest detail left out can and will effect the whole.

  16. We can all choose are friends and our foes. Yet, what we call friends and not always our friends and what we call our foes are not always our foes. Sometimes, what we call our friend is our foes and what we call our foe is our best friend.

  17. “Of course, as with so many things in life, it turns out that the opposite is true. It is not the devil that lives in the detail, but love. It’s the care I take in each moment that adds to the ease with which I will take my next step.” I love this Joel. How we live in each moment prepares us for the next and so on. How we live each day prepares us for our sleep. I used to devalue detail but nowadays appreciate the learning it can bring.

  18. I have also heard “Love is in the detail”. I cannot help but be detailed. What I find to be supportive with that is to remain focused however, I in summary have not been very focused. So, as Joel points out I have gone into the detail of how to be in comfort and self-abuse. The issue after that is you have to be detailed in your unpacking it by nominating where you are in comfort and self-abuse or, appreciating in detail what you offer in moments whatever it is you do.

  19. ‘It is the understanding I can bring to why I make the choices I make that frees the control that my past patterns had.’ …. this opens up a whole new world in allowing us to know that understanding frees us from our patterns … I’ve heard this before but somehow reading it today it feels like I can truly hear and see it, and it asks that we bring more understanding to us all.

  20. I have come to know without a smidgen of doubt that the devil is nowhere to be found in the detail but what is, is support, common sense and of course love. I have found, often the hard way, that to skip over the details is a recipe for disaster so these days it’s the details that have my full and appreciative attention.

  21. I love details, if I am not bringing detail to things in life it is easy for me to drop standards, and then chaos and complication can set in.

    1. It sure does and I find that the knock on effect starts when I drop something even something minor as it slowly allows things which I know are not loving to come in. It is like you cannot just say yes to a piece of cake you say yes to the whole thing even though you ‘think’ you can get away with only having a slither!

  22. As I was reading this I could feel my body in tension over a situation. I was bracing myself and going into protection instead of choosing to read and observe and surrender deeper in my body.

  23. I didn’t understand before why I always have been so deeply aware of details. This could be in a controlling way, wanting things my way. But also in a way that shows the magic of the moment. A green frog just on my path as I walk and 20 Euro’s next to that same path, all details and messages of love.

  24. Taking care of the details, completing things properly.. I love how all of this sets a foundation that feeds us back with that quality in the future, so that when we come back to something, we feel that care and dedication that we put into it in the first place – and are inspired to make more of those same supportive and self-loving choices.

  25. I can relate to the ‘fiddliness’ in looking at the detail of things as I was often impatient pushing myself to get things done. Now I love looking at the detail because in making the choice to be more loving with myself I feel the deep nurturing it brings to my body when I lovingly make space for the finer detail.

  26. Joel, this was a great blog to read this morning as I got to stop and feel what is going on all around me and the feeling is that everyone one is in a rush. The people I meet are even talking so fast I cannot follow their conversation. I was in a meeting that over ran by a few minutes and we had people beating down the door to get into the room as their meeting followed mine and they had to be in the room because that was their time. To me visiting this country there is no time it seems time has become a precious commodity. One woman shared with me that she has an young son not yet ten and she has not really seen him grow up she is too busy working she has no time for him, to me this is a shocking indictment of how we are living today.

  27. Thank you Joel. Reading this I became aware of the detail of how I am breathing, sitting, reading and connecting to you

  28. I was never very keen on detail, it always seemed to bring complication – I just wanted to get on with it. I am now slowly appreciating detail and the simplicity and order that it brings in providing space instead of rush. Detail helps me open up and feel the more that is on offer.

  29. The understanding of detail can bring enormous simplicity, or enormous complication, depending on how it is approached. Is the detail bringing order, or is it bringing disarray?

  30. How often do we skip the details because we want to get on with life always rushing and in the rush there is no detail? Bringing back the detail slows everything down and in that there is space. This is a great blog to remind us that there is so much more to be had in the detail and that yet again humanity has it the opposite way round.

  31. I noticed the other day how much a simple choice to breath gently and bringing attention to my breathing totally changed how I felt in my body. My hands went from cold to warm and I felt more surrendered. This makes me ponder now after reading your blog, that the change we want is often so easily achieved if we are willing to be present with everything, every detail so we are literally in charge of how we feel. Yet we often rather like to just do anything and hope our body will feel fine, but that is just not the way it works.

    1. I agree, Lieke, we are so much more focussed on what we do and so little on HOW we do what we do. Whereas just like you shared, changing one aspect, one detail can make all the difference.

  32. ‘Detail, like a drop of water running down a leaf, cleans and magnifies what is beneath. Detail, like a breeze on a hot day, refreshes and changes how I feel about a current circumstance. The circumstance doesn’t change, but how I relate to it does.’ This changes everything to understand that how that water runs down a leaf impacts everything, shows everything and that each movement leads to the next … God in the magnificence of detail.

  33. Love how you present that paying attention to the details ‘holds the key to our freedom’. Feeling how in committing to completing things we are then free to move onto whatever is next whereas so often I have glossed over the completion of something in my haste to move onto the next more ‘exciting’ activity. Paying attention to the details is actually a deeply loving way to support ourselves as we move through life.

  34. Love is in the detail makes perfect sense as it is in every moment that we either choose love or not, the next moment, the next detail…love or not love…

    1. Very true and simply put. If we take care of the present moment then we guarantee the quality of the next, so it makes sense that we take care of every detail which naturally comes when we choose love.

  35. This is beautiful Joel, as from what you have share and what I have also experienced, there is great power in the detail. For if we bring love to every detail, we solidify a foundation that is absolute, through which love is naturally magnified from every angle or aspect of our lives.

  36. We can choose to interrogate us in different ways: from light to thoroughly. The questions we pose are a reflection of what we are willing to be aware and what we are not yet ready for.

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