Have you noticed a recent trend where some people broadcast to everyone in hearing range, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Are you spiritual or religious? If you consider yourself spiritual, exactly how do you define spirituality? If you define yourself as religious, do you shrug off spirituality as New Age nonsense?
Alternatively, is it possible for a person to be both spiritual and religious?
Let’s address these questions, with more questions.
Most people seek answers to BIG questions, such as “Who am I?” “Why am I here?”
In metaphysical language, everything we need to know is within ourselves. The obvious place to begin your inner-journey to self awareness is by getting to “Know Thyself”.
Getting to Know Yourself
Getting to know yourself is a lifetime journey, often referred to as a spiritual journey. The deeper we journey within, the more we must reconcile that some things are unknowable.
Let’s pause a moment and consider this: when we want answers to the greater questions, does it really make a difference whether we are religious or spiritual? One person may kneel in chapel and pray over their questions and another may sit cross-legged in green pastures and chat with Creator.
Viewed from this perspective, is either right or wrong?
Among the highest hurdles when getting to know ourselves is training the conscious mind to quit self identifying.
Let’s look at it this way. If you ask a man who he is, he will usually respond: “I am a policeman.” (Men self-identify by profession)
Question a woman and she will generally say, “I am married to a policeman and the mother of three children.” (Women self-identify with family)
Probe a little further and ask the same man and woman about their personalbeliefs. Most respond, “I am religious.” Or “I am spiritual.”
Are you beginning to see that humans thrive on labels (self-identification)? To really know yourself is to know that you just are.
You are the little “I am”, created in the image of the big “I AM”. You contain a speck of Spirit and Spirit retains a speck of you. Isn’t this two ways of stating the same thing?
Labeling ourselves spiritual or religious is determined by our personal belief system.
Reaching the desired milestone, where you know that you “just are” segues to “Why am I here?”
Make no mistake, what sounds simple in theory is difficult in practice. I walked about 10,000 mental miles, under the tutelage of an enlightened mentor, to reach the simple understanding that “I am”.
When you attempt to realize your own self awareness, you will find it helpful to seek out a mentor. It may be your pastor, priest or another holy man. It may be a person more spiritually evolved than you are at the moment.
Determining why you are here, is in essence, defining your spiritual gift or discerning how you can become a good steward. Again, it takes much dedicated work.
Trust Bonnie, you are worth it.
Your Personal Belief System
In your developing years, you were conditioned by parents, teachers and preachers to accept their beliefs as your own. Later, you incorporated your life experiences into the mix.
During self awareness work, you may find old beliefs no longer serve. This is not bad or wrong.
While you are getting to know yourself, sit with these questions:
1. Do you know someone who is spiritual? Which of their qualities do you admire? What, if any, traits do they have that appear condescending?
2. Answer the above questions about a person who is religious.
3. Do they try to “cram” their beliefs down your throat? In what way?
4. How do you express your personal belief system in everyday life? How do you serve other people?
5. List any insights you received as a result of this article.
Whether you pursue abstract spiritual realms or study tenets of your chosen religion is a personal choice. You personal belief system is a personal issue.
The next time someone asks, simply smile and say, “I am.”
Resource: Notes from my journey as a protégée to higher consciousness