Good to be back in the swing of writing again. i spent the night at a friends house yesterday and forgot to bring a book with me to read while I waited for my friends to wake-up. Glad I brought writing utensils with me! Today’s blog post is about the difference between spirituality and religion.
I would like to give a warning that some of these new ideas might create some angst in you. That’s okay- it’s like growing pains. This post (and this miniseries, in general) isn’t supposed to change your views on things and in a sense, its just me sharing insight on things I’ve thought about.
Let’s begin, shall we?
For some people, understanding that there’s a difference between spirituality and religion appalls them at first. I’ve had conversations with people about it and I’ve seen the reactions to this idea as initially repulsing. How can spirituality differ from Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism? At a glance they don’t look the same. Most of the angst against this idea stems from the disassociation away from established religious groups.
Last night, I was reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë for my world literature class. I’ve been enjoying this book for several reasons and at one point Jane refers to her basic understanding of God after a traumatic event on her wedding day. I book marked this paragraph to share for this post.
“Still indomitable was the reply-‘I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unstained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received my me when I was sane, and not mad- as i am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them ,what would be their worth? They have a worth- so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is became I am insane-quite insane with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can counts its throbs…”Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë (pages 270-271 Chapter 27).
At a glance, the similarities are what brings everyone together to worship what they want. Worship, meditation, and learning how to heal the soul is a commonality between both areas. Jane speaks it best to Mr. Rochester in that paragraph “I will keep the laws given by God; sanctioned by man.”
That’s where the initial understanding sets religion and spirituality apart: laws by a higher entity (spirituality) and the foundation of dogmas and house(s) to worship in set by man (religion). While doing a small bit of research on this subject, I found a diagram that shows the differences and similarities between the two.
Religion is a way for us to connect in a place together, as a society. Religion is what our current society has started to shift away from, due to abuse in this said system. I’ve noticed a decline in church attendance over the years and a lot of factors contribute to this. There’s a lack of wanting to go to church; people working on Sundays and not having the time or energy to go to worship; conflicting beliefs; negative associations with the religion previously working with- and the list goes on.
I find it easier to explain to new church goers and adults that I don’t ask anyone to go to church because its what everyone does. I always suggest people to go so they can be a part of a physical community. One that learns together and allows the brain and body to reflect on the information provided.
Even the overly religious people stippen the energy out of those who want to look into their spiritual side and not dabble in religion. My advice on that, for those working for congregations, I always suggest that people “back-off a bit” and just invite someone for the sake of community, basic outreach, and just to show them the basic ideas of religion. Without shunning someone and saying “WhY ArEn’T YoU A ChRisTiaN? WhY dO yOu WoRk On SuNdAyS?”
There’s lots of questions you can format in that same way, too.
Our society has started to see churches as a lot of negative things- money being one of them. I’d also say that some overly religious family members who might have the best intentions at heart ,end up driving their relatives away by being overprotective about the bible, church and not acknowledging other religions.
This is what I prefer talking about with friends since each person’s spirituality is their own and its more individualized. I can quote biblical verses and even quotes from mantras, chakras, etc. all day long but to really know a person is to ask what they believe at their core. When I ask that, I ask them NOT to mention Jesus, Gods from various religions, etc. What do they spiritually believe?
I use language like “Universe”, “Higher-Self” “Energy” “Soul” etc. For me, it has a more open look on the world, a bit more positive compared to religion.
Some of the best answers I’ve gotten are:
I believe that we are all made of stardust and we are all a part of the same source.
That we are all energetically tied together and our soul reincarnates since energy can not be destroyed or created.
That this lifetime my source wants me to work on (trust issues, self-love, relationships, etc.).
That we will all meet our creator one day; that we should be kind in this lifetime to wipe away whatever our bad karma/sins might be.
Some of these answers might startle you a bit, especially the reincarnation one. In my spirituality journal, I ask a spiritual question a month, This is where pintersest is great for finding journaling prompts.
A topic I might get a chance to write about this month is about how each of us have a spiritual side. For year,s I’d argue mine was shut behind the doors of religion. Over the past year and a half, I’ve started to tap into the various spiritual energies I feel at times. Creativity, music, meditation, etc. Even self-love is a way to heal the body and soul spirituality.
Wrapping up this subject is difficult. Since i wanted to keep it relatively brief, the advice I’d like to give is to just take your religion and spirituality for a stroll in the park. Evaluate your thoughts and feelings on religion and journal about it, if you have to. Do some research into other religions to understand what they worship and bonus points if you get to visit with someone to learn more about their religion. Do the same for someone who is spiritually different then you.
You’d be surprised at how much you’d find in common with another person who believes differently than you.
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