Do you think that spirituality and religion are synonymous? I used to think that they were, but as I learned more, I discovered there are major differences. I found out that you can be spiritual and religious, spiritual and not religious, or religious and not spiritual. That may seem confusing. I will explain.
To being with, there are only two basic emotions, love and fear. The loved based emotions include compassion, forgiveness, caring, kindness, and unconditional love, which is true love because there are no conditions. Whereas fear based emotions include control, guilt, anger, abuse, and passive and active aggression.
It is also helpful to understand that we have four basic parts, mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Our human personalities are composed of our mental, emotional, and physical parts. They make us unique. Our spiritual part is our higher-self, our all-good, all-knowing, unconditional loving part. It is also known as our God-self. We can connect with our spiritual truths through our intuition.
Therefore, spirituality comes from our spiritual part. When we commit to being honest, kind, caring, loving and accepting of others and ourselves, we are acting from our spiritual part. We have integrity, create win-win solutions, and do what we can to make a positive difference, see everyone as equals and deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
For example, I know of a policeman who stopped a truck driver for drunken driving. He knew that if he arrested the middle aged-man, he would lose his job and not be able to support his family. Instead, he drove him home and talked to him about his problem. He also counseled his family. I call him a "spiritual cop." He cared enough to help the man and not just punish him.
Spiritual people support everyone having equal rights. They act considerate and responsible. They believe in the power of positive thinking and take responsibility for their lives. Spirituality means living from love rather than fear.
Where does God or a higher power come into all of this? If they do believe in a divine being that looks like a light or person, it will be a loving one that supports, protects, and provides for them. They feel supported to be their unique selves. Spiritual people accept that God is all-loving, and all-powerful, and wants them to be happy, healthy, abundant and successful. They often speak directly to God, instead of having a person relay God's messages to them. Or, they are spiritual and religious because they have loving spiritual leaders and books that support them living from love and acceptance.
Spiritual people do not have any dogma or rules except Karma, (you reap what you sow) what you do to others will be done back to you. For example, if you are cruel to other people, you will probably experience people being mean back. Your kindness will be rewarded with a return of kindness.
On the other hand, religion has a dogma and a human being interpreting their God's messages. As we all know, human beings have fears and they can alter the information, consciously or unconsciously. Religious books were translated by man throughout the ages. The information can be loving or fear based. It is my belief that if it is loving and supportive, then it is spiritual. However, if it is preaching guilt, control, superiority, judgment of others who are different, and believing only their truth is right, it is not spiritual. If it is teaching that you are sinful and here to suffer and struggle, it is not spiritual.
I do not believe that God tries to control us. God honors our free will, and wants us to be happy as any healthy parent would. "Joy and laughter are signs of God's presence." I believe that God gave us the proverb, "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you." Honor and accept everyone, and allow them to live their lives as they choose. Spiritual people live and let live. They see everyone as equals and support freedom and liberty for all. They live from love!
By Helene Rothschild