“I don’t belive in religion”
“I don’t think there is anything else”
“I’m getting enought just going through my days”
“I’m a very spiritual person”
We’ve all heard such statements and may have even shared them at some point in time.
In a society such as the western, where certain needs, rewards and attitudes are encouraged… does the religious or spiritual phenomenon have space?
What is “better, religion or spirituality?
Are they the same? What do they differ in ?
Let us start by the formal definitions:
Religion ( by Merriam-Webster)
A personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
Spiritual ( also by Merriam-Webster)
Of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit
They key element that sets them appart are the practices, since we can agree that both are concerned about the well-being of the spirit.
Hence, as a consequence we could state that :
All human being has a spiritual dimension.
Who hasn’t felt the need to feed beyond food? Personal relationships, professional satifaction, feeling of belonging to a community…
What about religion?
In past times (though not so far away as we may think!), religion was one of society’s pilars.
Not pretending to analyze any particular religion, most of them share certain traits:
– They have authority figures, which decide what is adhering to the religion and what isn’t
– They profess throug ther own rites, which usually are strict and mandatory.
– Their symbology is very clearly cut
– They are excluding: religions claim they are authentic and only
This is the key element that sets them apart.
When you put together ritual practices along with the pretension of being the one and only, this draws a line that separates what belongs and what doesn’t.
On the other side, we live in an Era (for many more decades than many people think) packed with spiritual possibilities.
The most known are the so called alternative therapies: Reiki, Pranic Healing, Yoga or Bach Flowers just to name a few. Even amongst them, you can find different variations.
However, and here is where the main difference with religions shines, it is hard to find a technique or therapy that excludes other ways of doing or thinking.
For example, you’ll be hard pressed to find a reikist (reiki therpist) that claims that a yogi is wrong.
Whilst a pranic healer focuses on the kundalini energy and the coiled snake, a reikist focuses on the universal energy.
For some, the energy ascends whislt for others it descends.
This doesn’t mean that anything is in.
If these techniques and philosofies share something it is that the grow a spirituality that embraces different approaches to common goal.
They all start from their own certainties, paradigms and ways of understanding life, energy and spirit.
Even then, they accept that others can chip in, grow and broaden the opportunities.
This artile is a reflection, trying to put in words a very complicated topic and one that most people stand their ground in an intense way.
I hope that the conciliatory intention gets its way through and if it helps awakening sensibilities, cooperation and comprehension, it will have made its purpose.
Do you agree with the differences? Is there some experience you wish to share?
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