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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2016

    Spirituality is not religion

    “Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to one another by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that powered to one another is grounded in love and belonging. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.”~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

    Occasionally, in the quiet of the early morning hours, when everyone in the house is either gone or sound asleep, I have a spiritual experience. When I simply sit, not thinking of anything in particular, I feel such a sense of peace. That sensation is so palpable, it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. It’s the feeling I get when I feel connected. Grounded. Feel “back to nature”. Like when I’m helping others, or someone gives me a gentle touch. Many times, I have felt powerful experiences of connection surrounding my denomination.

    When asked the question, “How would you describe your spirituality?”, most people respond with, “Oh, I’m not religious at all”, or “I was raised Catholic but organized religion turns me off.” Comments such as these give us the opportunity to discuss the differences between religion and spirituality.

    Spirituality asks the questions: where do I find meaning, how do I feel connected, and how do I want to live.

    Spirituality is the process of personal transformation and exploration. Prayer is talking, then listening. Meditation is listening.

    Of course, there can be an overlap of religion and spirituality. One does not need to exist without the other; they can be separate. Some people identify as spiritual, some religious, some both.
    Religion asks the questions: what practices, rites, or rituals “should” I follow, and what is true and false, and what is right and wrong.

    Religion is an organized structured way to connect with God and put our faith into action. As someone who struggles with obeying rules, I often felt shamed if I broke the rules. I didn’t feel good enough. I became more comfortable as a “Cafeteria Catholic” - picking and choosing what felt right and leaving the rest. I identify as someone who has a strong connection to many different flavors rooted in spiritual practice.

    The journey of spirituality is long lasting, it ebbs and flows in our lives, and may be stronger at different phases in our life. If we want a spiritual foundation, we need to work at it - on a daily basis.

    Here are some suggestions of activities I engage in to strengthen my understanding of something greater than myself. I hope this will help you get started as you begin or continue to explore your deeper understanding of spirituality.

    · Being emotionally intimate and vulnerable in my relationships.
    · Listening to music and connecting with the words and rhythm.
    · Just sitting and breathing.
    · Writing.
    · Sitting by the ocean awakening my senses - listening to the waves, seeing the beauty, smelling the air, feeling the sun and wind on my face. This is when I truly feel alive.
    · Enjoying the solitude of a long bubble bath in candlelight.
    · Traveling, learning about other cultures, serving the poor, experiential learning.

    I encourage you to ponder these questions and spend some time in meditation. Write your answers down in a journal. What are you longing for? How do you fulfill your spiritual drive? What is your spiritual journey? At one point or another, we find ourselves wondering what is our life’s purpose. Be gentle with yourself, just BE and you will start to have greater experiences of connection.

    “Spirituality does not come from religion. It comes from our soul. No one is born with religion. Everyone is born with spirituality.” Anthony Douglas Williams-Inside the Divine Pattern

    Welcome. Please know this is a safe place. Feel free to share.


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