What is the difference between Spirituality and Religion? This question was one of the difficult questions I encountered when I had my powerful awakening two years ago. Even in writing this sentence it makes me ponder, was I not spiritual before this catalyzing experience? Spirituality can be a can of worms to open and share with the table as it is often used synonymously with Religion - which most of us know: “Don’t talk about Politics or Religion at the dinner table.” However, I grew up in a very particular household that did not facilitate such boundaries and so this rule did not apply. Especially between me and my father, we spoke about everything from politics, history, art, music, philosophy to religion. In fact my father is Catholic and my mom is Buddhist, my mother would come to church with us and encourage me to have faith - wherever I chose to look. Jesus and Quan Yin were regular guests in our house with one shelf devoted to him and to her.
As I grew I began to learn about Religion and the conflicts surrounding them. That they caused such inhumane actions through history and currently I could not continue thinking Spirituality and Religion were the same thing. To me, Spirituality is not a doctrine or an idea in our heads, it is a feeling. This feeling is the connection to something greater than oneself, whether one is going deep and inward or expansive and outward, there is a desire to know oneself beyond the ego. It is this connection, this poetry, this seeking and this questioning of life’s possibilities that cultivates Spirituality.
There is a reason for such vague descriptions, because Spirituality comes in so many different expressions, it is in our passions of life that we discover Spirit with ease. I always thought of myself as spiritual - I felt my soul in the fine arts. Whether it was to dance, to sing, act or paint, I connected with my spirit self in these places of natural joy. Someone else may find their spirit in respectful sportsmanship, alone in the mountains with the sunrise, a heart connection with animals or plants. Perhaps in film as one can tell the stories of the soul or with music which defines our very reality. Even simpler, when one falls in love. Spirituality is available everywhere, all the time.
This was important for me to realize this understanding over the years since I decided to stop attending CCD (The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) because I had a feud with God in my mind. It took me years to find the ease to say the G.O.D. word again. Much of anything to do with Catholicism/Christianity was a topic I always felt so discomforted with, it wasn’t until I allowed myself to define my own personal understanding of Spirituality did I open to the Universe, to Source, to Great Spirit, Life, Yaweh, Allah, to G.O.D. Upon this realignment to Oneness did I then become aware that saying any of those words are, to me, the same feeling. Living life is Spiritual in itself, we have just allowed the illusions of separation to distort our perception of our lives. When you begin to peel this away from your vision, Spirit will appear in all the unexpected places.
I have met a person in the middle of nowhere who does the same task everyday and ends it with a beer who has a deeper and more authentic connection to Life than some of the most bendy yogi’s or advanced meditation practitioners in the city. Spirituality does not have a defined category, it is constantly unfolding itself in all that we humans experience in our lifetimes as:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
When I first began my sessions, I used to say to people it didn’t matter if they had no Religion or did not feel Spiritual. I would ask them if they believed in Humanity - if they believed in their family, friends or even just in themselves. And they’d say yes. There was their Spirituality.
It is time to see ourselves integrated as a whole. You know your body, you know your heart, and you know your mind. I encourage you to get to know your Spirit. You are life’s poetry, find your rhythm and dance to the music; that’s the spirit.