Are You Religious? 2016-03-03

SophieAngelSo many writings on this subject. Are religion and spirituality the same? Actually, not in my opinion. I’d like to think I’m not restricted by any religion’s rulebook of standards, restrictions, and biases, etc. I believe our ability to be an introspective, free-thinking being thoughtfully and voyeuristically evaluating our surroundings leads to a more spiritual awareness and balanced world in which we live.

Can you be both religious and spiritual? Yes, absolutely. One does not necessarily replace the other. Together they may blend into something much different than either one just by themselves.  If I had to choose one over the other though, I’d personally always pick spirituality.

Religions around the world are usually comprised of a robotic, unchallenged set of structured regulations, decrees, and imperatives.  Do this, don’t ask questions, follow the rules, read the Good Book, interpret it the way we ask you to, donate money to the cause, come to the weekly meetings and ice cream socials, and we will all get along.  I like to believe that being a child of the world and not of a certain group or club is a more enlightened way to go.

I’m not trying to be critical or to sway anyone away from their staunch beliefs, but I have made observations over the years. Spirituality transcends religion. Religion is a set of rules and guidelines. Thousands of club-like organizations each with a group of like-minded followers believing in the core values of that particular group. Every group feels theirs is the way to go. How their particular group thinks is special and above all others. The group who endures snake bites as a rite of passage, the group who feels speaking in tongues is normal. Some indoctrinate children as young as 12 or 13 into marriage and having sex. Others feel it’s their duty to wipe out all other ideologies but their own. Skewed and abhorrent behavior, and narrow-mindedness are all off-shoots of religious ideology.  There are those truly demonizing other peoples differing beliefs and methods. If that’s the type of religion you are engulfed in, I implore you to search and research other thought processes than only your own. Spirituality is more a concept of transcendence and free thinking.

Enjoy your religion for the good of humanity if it promotes love and brings you peace, but never lose site of the real purpose of spirituality to encompass kindness, compassion, love, empathy, sympathy, truth, trust, patience, perseverance, understanding, and a higher purpose for ourselves and the world in general. To transcend physical surroundings and dig a little deeper to find our best selves. Spirituality is found in a baby’s cry, a young child’s giggle, a freshly baked cinnamon roll, a steaming cup of mocha expresso, an ice-cold soda, a hug from a special person in your life, a beautiful winged black and turquoise butterfly, a flitting jeweled hummingbird, a dewey scarlet rosebud unfolding on a summer’s morning, a slumbering tabby cat stretched out in the sunlight, a gray dove feeding it’s newly hatched young in the Spring, a squirrel feeding on a peanut they had just taken from your hand, a great meal at your favorite restaurant, watching seagulls on the beach by a roaring ocean, a small pond with a babbling waterfall, everything around us is a microcosm of small and large miracles. Enlightenment is different for everybody. Searching for our better selves is the goal. We are all imperfect, unfinished, works in progress. Impact your world in the best way you can each and every day… Sandy

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