Over the last couple of years, spirituality has become very important to me. In many ways, it has become the center of my life. Becoming more spiritual has changed the way I view things, including how I view and feel about myself. I now realize that the spirit that lives in all of us is an essential part of each of us and cannot be ignored.
One of the most important concepts that most people need to understand is that spirituality and religion are not the same thing. In my opinion, spirituality should be an important part of religion. But for me, and probably many other people, spirituality is one thing that has always been missing from most of my religious experiences. I have had a few moments in my religious life where it’s been there but they’ve few and far between. I’m not saying that it’s not there in religion at all, just that it hasn’t been there in my experiences. I’m sure there are many people out there who have had spiritual awakenings through religion. That is not true for everyone though.
So then, question is what is the difference between spirituality and religion? Religion is an institution established by man with rules and rituals that everyone is supposed to follow. Spirituality is more about the spirit that lives inside all of us. It’s all about connecting with that spirit and connecting with the divine spirit. The divine spirit that created us and everything around us.
Right now you are probably asking yourself, “But isn’t that religion is all about?” A few years ago, I would’ve asked that same question and, as I said before, yes I do think that connecting with our spirits should be a part of religion. There are religions where the spirit plays an important part. You just don’t see or hear a lot about them in western culture. In the major religions in the western part of the world, most people are caught up in the rituals and saying the right words. They don’t necessarily feel what the should be trying to feel. They only repeat the acts that they were taught without trying to connect with their spirit or God.
Yes, I said God. The word God is just a name, a label, we use to represent the divine presence that created everything. I use God but there are many different names for the same presence. It doesn’t matter the name, label, or title, what matters is that we open our hearts and connect with that presence. That we feel it’s unconditional love and in turn pass that on to our fellow human beings.
That’s what I personally never got from organized religion that I felt I should have. The closeness to the divine. The closeness to my own spirit. That is the essence of spirituality. That’s what I hope to convey to anyone reading this and encourage you to explore for yourself. In this way, I hope we can make the world a better place.