Spiritual or Religious?

Posted on April 19, 2015

Oh-Oh! Here’s a touchy subject!

I have always been pretty open when it comes to my beliefs. It’s pretty simple. Believe what you like, just don’t force it on others or harm anyone with it. I have friends and neighbours from nearly every walk of life and that is exactly the way I like it. I love diversity. I love learning new things. I love the freedom I have to live life, well, freely!

That is exactly what I do. A friend asked me how to be more spiritual recently. She said she was religious, but didn’t really feel all that spiritual. Hmm, I thought, what IS the difference? This is what I came up with. Religion is similar to cooking with a recipe. You follow the steps, purchase all the ingredients, measure everything out and prepare it step by step. Hopefully, it turns out and you are satisfied with the dish. Spirituality is more like throwing something together without a recipe. You use ingredients you love and prepare it in a way that pleases you. Again, hopefully it turns out and you are satisfied with the dish.

If it doesn’t turn out, with religion, it seems to me, you must try the recipe again, having faith that it will eventually turn out. With spirituality, you just throw something else together and have faith that the new interpretation will be satisfying. I hope this is making sense.

Anyway, I have never been much for recipes. I have many recipe books and I love to look at the pictures for inspiration and then go off experiment on my own. This is pretty much how I am when it comes to my spiritual world as well. I love many different aspects of many different faiths and so as long as I am living a life filled with with love and light, I figure I am good to go!

I’ve said before in a prior post that I knew as a little girl it wouldn’t be enough for me to know God via someone else’s interpretation, no matter how impressive or convincing. A friend of mine who is a practising Catholic said her son, who is barely three, was sitting in church one Sunday wondering aloud where God was? “Where is God? Where IS He, Mommy?” I felt exactly the same way when I was a little girl sitting in church in my Sunday dress and shiny shoes. It seemed so strange to me when I could go outside later and literally feel Him in my heart. When we decided to get married, I knew I wanted it to be outside surrounded by trees, flowers, butterflies and bees. Our minister/justice of the peace confirmed this for me. When I told him we would be married in a garden, he replied, “Wonderful! It’s God’s church.”

I have always chosen to seek God personally. I’m a one-on-one kind of girl, I guess. I’ve always looked to find the Divine in everyday things. In nature, obviously, in everyday miracles, through gratitude, through meditation and yoga and being mindful as often as possible in this crazy life.

Although, I must say raising spiritual kids has it challenges. Try explaining the bible to kids who did not grow up knowing it from birth, but live on a street surrounded by Christians. “Honey, it’s a really big, thick old book of stories and ideas people use to help them with their beliefs. It’s called a sacred text.” “So how do they know it’s true?” “Well, I guess they just have faith.” My son, seven, looked unconvinced. My daughter, quite a little spiritual bean herself, piped up and said quite eloquently, “They can believe whatever they want to believe as long as they are good people. You can also believe in God and not read the bible. It doesn’t make you better or worse.” Amen to that sister.