Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Difference between Spirituality and Religion

"When you judge another, you do not define them,
you define yourself."
- Wayne Dyer

While deciding which topic to tackle next here (and I've gotten several great suggestions via email), I realized that before going any further I wanted to clarify the title of my blog. It seems that spirituality is often confused with religion, and I want to give my take on the difference between the two. It goes without saying that this is just one person's humble opinion, and this is ultimately a matter of personal beliefs, but here goes:

I think of spirituality as believing you are connected to something greater than yourself (whether that be a universal source of energy, a god, humanity's higher self, or even the universe itself). A definition of religion that I accept is that it serves as an organizing system of worship that gives a framework to that belief (whether through rituals, prayers, symbols, etc.) I think the organization that religion provides can be helpful to some (a built-in social community), as well as harmful to some (such as when supposedly religious people judge others for purposes of discrimination or hatred towards those who are different). Some religions require very specific beliefs and exclude those who don't share those beliefs. Other religions are much more open and accepting.

Spirituality does not inherently require any specific religious beliefs, and you can find examples of great spiritual figures of various religious backgrounds throughout history. In fact, many spiritual people are not religious at all, and simply believe that we are all part of one another and the universe. Everyone is accepted for who they are and no judgments are made. This blog is for everyone, whatever their beliefs may be, who believe we are all connected in some way. This connection serves as the starting point for many of the issues that have been and will be addressed. We discussed Reiki last week, and how it simply the harnessing of energy to use for healing purposes. I heard from a reader last week how much Reiki helped to change his life, and I promise that the healing energy did not stop to ask him what his religion was.

Try playing around with your energy this week. Smile more at others, think kind thoughts (yes, even about your mother-in-law), meditate (just closing your eyes at your desk for 2 minutes and breathing deeply counts if it's a really rough week), and catch yourself when you find yourself judging someone else (i.e., what was she thinking wearing that dress? Trust me, you won't believe how often you do it!) Your energy changes as you change how you think and's a subtle difference at first, but do it for a week and see what happens. Until we meet again..... :)

1 comment:

EOTW said...

spot on, meta! I love your differentiation of spirituality vs. religion. You've captured it, and led us on the journey of understanding ourselves...and understanding our greatness.

Thank you for that!