Spirituality is diminishing religion and religion is trying to adapt to spirituality. We have all struggled with the difference between the two paths. That is the reason for free will.
Growing up on a farm in a small rural Christian community in Midwest US no doubt shaped my values and belief system and not from a positive perspective. I learned at a very young age that we all die. I was also taught that the only way to heaven was to follow the beliefs of my church or otherwise burn in hell forever. This did not seem right to me even at a young age and that was the beginning of my journey to seek the truth.
Religion is a system of certain beliefs, rules, and rituals that brings communities together socially. Additionally, it provides a foundation of understanding to that community regarding how they should live, worship, and achieve eternal life. There are around 4200 different religions worldwide with different belief systems.
Unlike religion, Spirituality looks outside the box with no boundaries or dogma. It is about free will, love, compassion, joy and service to others; it is specific to each individual with no set rules, beliefs or rituals. It is a personal journey to connect with our creator. Spirituality is unique to each person, but generally it could be defined as seeking to share the love of the Creator as it is known to one’s inner self. Is that the yearning that has been missing in our lives or the feeling that we were destined to do something? Maybe you are meant to do something. Pay attention and you will be surprised what you will see.
Dr. Andrew Newburg, Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, provided insight into our spiritual brains. His research included how our brain changes after analyzing brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals and various trance states. One of his many conclusions is that the main reason God won’t go away is because our brains won’t allow God to leave. Our brains are set up in such a way that God and religion become among the most powerful tools for helping the brain do its thing—self-maintenance and self-transcendence.
Most of us are seeking. Jesus said in the Book of Thomas “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”
What did he mean? We will discuss that next time.