Spiritual, Religious, Both, and Neither

This month’s topic can actually be somewhat of a challenge to write about. There is a great deal of ambiguity in today’s society regarding religion and spirituality. Some people use the two words interchangeably, while others hold them as two very different things. A great example of this is the ever-popular phrase, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.”

In truth, this kind of scenario would be wonderful, if it weren’t for the fact that most people are still using the two words interchangeably. By using this phrase, they mean they still believe in or follow some sort of higher power, without being associated with one particular religious organization or another. They are using spirituality to describe a state of belief. But a person can be extremely spiritual without any belief in a higher power whatsoever. This conflict is cause by, once again, the misuse of the word spiritual in our common culture. And that’s sad considering all you have to do is look at the word to figure out it’s meaning. Spirituality has nothing to do with belief. It has to do with the spirit. One’s own personal soul and spirit. And so it is possible to be “spiritual, but not religious”, but only if it describes a way of life or a spiritual system, and not simply the belief in a higher power.

Spirituality is something that is entirely personal. What one person finds to be extremely spiritually fulfilling, could mean absolutely nothing to another person. No one can tell another person what is spiritual, and what is not, because each person is unique and individual. And it is the personal impact upon the spirit, or the soul, that makes an act spiritual. The peace and contentment that comes from spiritual fulfillment can come from any source, and so each person will have specific things that they find to be spiritual. Some may overlap or be common amongst many people, but that doesn’t necessarily make that particular act spiritual. Again, it is the impact upon the individual and the fulfillment that is gained from the experience, that makes an act spiritual. Some people employ meditation, ritual, and other methods in order to directly influence the spirit and soul. To empower and strengthen them beyond the normal range of human ability. And while these activities are specifically meant to influence the spirit and soul, they could not be considered spiritual, unless the person performing them gained fulfillment and contentment from the experience.

This does not mean however, that religions and religious activities cannot be spiritual. All that is required is that the person performing them be fulfilled by the experience. If a person finds their religious duties extremely fulfilling, and becomes a healthier and happier person by doing them, then those duties are spiritual as well as religious. However, it is just as easy for secular activities to be extremely spiritual. A person who finds complete satisfaction and fulfillment from their craft or trade, can be living a spiritual life simply by getting up and going to work in the morning. A musician can be engaging in a spiritual endeavor simply by strapping on their instrument and allowing the music inside them to be released. Picking up a favorite pen and opening a worn notebook can be one of the most spiritual things a writer can do. The most important factor in spirituality, is the impact on the individual spirit.

Contrarily, it is just as easy for religions, religious activities, meditation, ritual, magic, and absolutely every other supposed “spiritual” thing in the world to not be so. And quite unfortunately, many people hop from one spiritual gimmick to the next, in the hopes of finding the right “fit.” What these people are truly looking for, is that special thing that makes them feel spiritual. That special impact on the soul. And without that feeling or that impact, all of these activities become about something else. Religion becomes about belief and faith. Meditation becomes about “unlocking the mind.” Magic becomes about “special powers.” And none of them are doing what they were intended to do.

This will continue to happen until people take their spirituality into their own hands. People have to stop looking for others to show them what spirituality is. What it means. They need to go out and look for what brings them personal fulfillment and satisfaction. And once they have found what they are looking for, it is their responsibility to keep that fulfillment in their lives and live a spiritual life, if they choose to do so. I leave you all with one of the many small decoration I have made to hang on my walls. When I see them, I feel spiritual, and therefore they help me lead a spiritual life. Enjoy, and may Lucifer light your way!

Lucifer Wall Decoration

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