So, I’ve heard that statement before. Actually, you hear it quite often. They say you aren’t supposed to discuss politics or religion in a social setting. I don’t believe in that. See, those two concepts have shaped not only nearly every moment in history, but the moments to come, and even more importantly, the moments of right now.
So, I was meeting someone for the first time, and as I usually do, I ask questions. I love to ask questions. Where are you from? Do you enjoy what you’re doing with your life and if not, what would rather be doing? Anywhere in the world you haven’t been you’d like to visit? Those sorts of things. But, then I do usually ask, “Do you have any political leanings?” and “Do you have any religious inclinations?”
And this time, I simply couldn’t resist. When I heard, “I’m spiritual, not religious,” I couldn’t help but sit back, sigh, and then say what was on my mind. It’s often the kind of thing you hear juveniles say when they think they’re being profound….edgy….
I hear people make that statement a lot and I honestly think they’ve seen it on a bumper sticker, or heard someone else say it and decided to adopt it as a philosophy. But, I don’t think they REALLY understand what it is they’re saying. I love hearing anyone, everyone, say they’re spiritual. That’s a good thing, that’s a brilliant thing. Being spiritual means you’ve decided to connect your soul to whatever Divine your spirit has moved towards (now, we can discuss at length the difference, but I can’t think of any. No, seriously. Some call it God, the One, the Light, Allah….tree, compost….doesn’t matter, we’re all talking about the same thing, but giving It different names). So, spiritually you have made through the physical, connected with what’s higher, communed, loved, felt the brilliance, glory and grace.
However, religion is when you put that spirituality into practice. Yes, religion is just the aspects of a physical follow through of what your spirit learned when it was connected with the divine. Religion is bringing what is above down here to the below in practice. Religion is the physical exercise of what your spirit learned. And every religion has their own particulars of how you PRACTICE what your SPIRIT has learned. Some have the notion that once your meditations, contemplations and prayers have finally brought you in contact with God, then THESE ARE THE PRACTICES you should follow in order to bring “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” The macrocosm brought forth in the microcosm. Goodness, kindness, compassion….followed through in great aspects of practice. Religion.
So, when you have the desire to say “I’m spiritual, not religious,” I want you to be mindful that what you’ve said is that “I feel I have a connection to the divine, but I do not put what I have learned into practice.”
“That’s not what that means, it means I believe in something, but I don’t believe in organized religion,” he said.
Your spirit, if it has seen the grand and glorious moments of a connection to the divine, will dictate your actions from hence forth. That is religion. That is religion: how your spirit practices love, compassion, and good will toward man. You can call that religion whatever you want. But, I’m pretty sure some of those practices are already under the umbrella of some religions that already exist. The point is, you must PRACTICE, put into action what your spirit calls you to do. So, when you say you are spiritual, leave it there. Say nothing more. Say nothing else.
“I am VERY spiritual.”
We’ll all understand, we’ll all feel what you mean. When you say, “but I’m not religious,” you have looked me dead in the eye and have decided that no part of your spirit and soul wishes to be a part of the rest of this microcosm.
Its funny. I never hear a buddhist say he’s spiritual, not religious. But I do hear a pagans, wicans, and naturalist say it often….and I kinda look at them and say, “but you have your rituals, right? Well….dude, I hate to tell you this, but that’s religion. You said you honor your spirit by playing naked in the woods with a smudge stick and a green candle while facing east and saying a poem……dude, that’s religion. That’s a method of putting into physical action your practice of honoring the divine. Dude, that’s RELIGION.”
I think the phrase said so often in this blog, “I’m spiritual, not religious,” is actually a very cute way of saying, “I believe in God. I believe in compassion. I believe in mercy. I just don’t believe in bestowing those concepts on you.”
Be careful of using bumper stickers as a means of identifying yourself. That’s all I’m saying. Just because you heard someone say it, and it sounded profound, doesn’t mean it should become a way of life. There is no life in dismissing what your spirit and soul have learned. There is no life in not putting into practice the greatness of love.