THE TWO PICTURES ARE AS DIVERSE IN MEANING AS THE ANSWERS ARE TO THE QUESTION ARE SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION THE SAME.
Have you ever asked yourself the question above. More importantly, did you answer it?
I’m going to give you specific information that will help you decide if they are the same, different, or have similarities. It will challenge you to look within yourself to find an answer. If you have never considered the question, this blog will open your thought to reasons why it is important to do so. It will show you that clarification on this question can contribute to spiritual growth , or spiritual stagnation.
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:
- The difference between spirituality and religion
- What factors must be present for you to be spiritual
- Is “spirituality” a term that can be applied to anything: why or why not?
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is a set of beliefs, practices, and ethical values concerning the existence and nature of a deity or Supreme Being. These practices or beliefs are suppose to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life, and are generally agreed upon by a number of individuals or sects. Some religions teach that the path mapped out by them, is the only one leading to God.
The meaning of the word “religion” should not be confused with one’s particular relationship with God, because that is determined by one’s understanding of the specific beliefs and practices, and the extent to which he is willing to practice them. Religion’s root word can be traced to the Latin word “religare” which means “being bound.” The question then arises, “What is one bound to–the beliefs or the deity?” I would surmise that the beliefs, practices and ethical values point to and define the deity, and one’s understanding and devotion to obeying these beliefs and values, constitute the religion. The religion then, of itself, has little, or no value to the person unless strictly practiced.
WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?
Spirituality is the divine connection with God–not A connection, but THE connection; because there is only one. God is Spirit. Therefore, to express spirituality, one has to think, say and do things that are spiritual–of God. Words that express things of Spirit are: perfection, purity, goodness, love, peace, long-suffering, awareness, integrity, equality, impartiality, obedience, humility. The list, however, is endless. There are many ways that lead to a “oneness with God,” but only one way to actually connect. It is a state of mind where thought has been elevated to feel, hear and see only that which is divine, therefore, leaving behind everything that is human. I lived many years before experiencing it. This precludes the idea that “anything can be spiritual.” Only things that relate to God as Spirit, Mind. Soul, Principle, Life Truth and Love can wear the spiritual label.
A few days ago, I heard a person say, “spirituality is that which is inside of your body– how your body connects with the universe.” In reality, it has nothing to do with the physical body, or the physical universe, because neither connects with God. Everything that connects with God is mental, not physical. It is ideas and concepts–divine qualities given to man and the universe by God. These qualities are innate–the kingdom of heaven within us.
The Scriptures are filled with states of thought and divine qualities expressed by people like Elijah, Elisha, Moses, Jesus, Paul, and many others. Some of these had a greater understanding of God than others. I see Jesus as having the greatest of all connections, primarily, because he did not have an earthly father– only an earthly mother, thus giving him an infinite capacity to understand and relate to God. He read the Old Testament, related to the words of Isaiah, observed the doctrine espoused by religious groups, but drew a fine line between false doctrine and divine reality. It was because he could state emphatically that “I and my Father are one” that he is the greatest teacher and demonstrator of divine law. It is not enough to claim a religion, pay tithes, go to church and state that you “have been saved,” one must seek understanding of the laws of God, and practice them in his daily living. To the extent that one does this, defines his spirituality.
To reach this state of harmony is the challenge. It can be achieved through prayer, reading and studying the Word of God, song, but mostly, by practicing daily everything that you understand of God. The more you practice, the more you understand.
FACTORS THAT DEFINE SPIRITUALITY
Spirituality is present if you:
Find meaning in your life.
Feel fulfilled rather than empty.
Find purpose beyond today or of this world.
Rise above a limited ego, and connect with the One Ego–God.
Triumph over fear, death and destruction.
Recognize that there is a greater presence and knowledge beyond human capacity.
Realize that religion is simply a means of achieving spirituality.
Recognize that everything physical is imperfect, only the divine is perfect.
WHAT DO THE PICTURES ABOVE MEAN?
The out-stretched hands pointing upward, illustrate the upward movement of thought–thought that leaves the human and approaches the divine. This harmony, or state of consciousness, is not found in the sky, but within the consciousness of each one of us. Look for it–it is there!
The second picture illustrates the idea that simply joining a religion, is not the answer to human suffering, building a relationship with God , or understanding and demonstrating God’s laws. The ticket to doing this, is seeking and finding divine guidance, and living through the human sacrifices required to practice it.
If you gained a deeper meaning of religion and spirituality by reading this post, let me know it by leaving your comments below. Also, email it to a friend or family member.