Spirituality and religion are not mutually exclusive. There may be some key differences between the two, but you can also identify as being both!
Or perhaps you identify with neither? Do you classify yourself as one, and not the other? Why?
Let’s talk about some essential distinctions between the two.
Organic vs. Organized: Spirituality is ever-changing and doesn’t have a concrete plan or structure to follow. Religion, on the other hand, has a path for your to follow, as well as a hierarchy to reflect how devout its followers are.
Experience vs. Lessons: Spirituality thrives on personal experience and seeking from within. Religion provides stories for you to learn certain lessons.
Connectedness vs. Exclusivity: Spirituality is often laden with a deep sense of union with the Universe, others, God, nature, etc. Feel free to check out my post about Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi to read more about this. Because religion is inherently created for groups of people to celebrate their faith together, it is exclusive to people who are not part of that group.
Crown vs. Root: Spirituality links you with your source energy via your crown chakra. The root chakra represents group energy and beliefs, in which religion is included.
So what do you do if you feel both spiritual and religious? Is it even possible? Can you fuse the two in a way that you can celebrate and share your values and beliefs?
- Be picky
Adopt the religious traditions that align with your spiritual values.
Perhaps having a big family dinner on a religious holiday feels right, but a specific prayer doesn’t sit well. It’s your choice what to participate in.
Be careful of lash back. Your family or friends may not find your choices acceptable. Depending on your situation, you may want to explain to them how you feel about certain traditions. Get down to the why of your actions, so you can later communicate this clearly to people who are confused and may feel hurt by your choices. Remember that you are not responsible for their feelings 😉
- Integrate core values
Many religions have core values that are really quite beautiful. Often, they can coincide with your own spiritual truths. For example, the teaching of “love thy neighbor” is a key element of Christianity – do you feel this is a Higher Truth when you look within yourself?
Keep in mind the fundamental teachings of your religion so as not to get caught up in the business and politics of it. I’m not saying you should ignore injustices that are perpetuated by the structural hierarchies of your religion. No no no. Use those core values to acknowledge immorality and call it out!
- Let go
Is combining your spirituality and religion getting stressful? If it’s just not working, let it go. Don’t force it! Religion can serve a purpose in your life, but it doesn’t have to.
Your spirituality, on the other hand, is an integral part of your being. Not feeling it? That’s ok! But if you’re curious about what signs indicate poor spiritual health, stay tuned. I’ll be sharing the most common symptoms of a closed crown chakra and how you can bring this area of your life into balance.
Until then, be radiant!
P.S. A note on tolerance:
Tolerance is something we often hear about in the context of religion. I’m not a fan of the word – tolerant is how I feel when I must grudgingly accept something that makes me feel icky.
Instead of tolerance, I invite you to celebrate. Approach others and their beliefs with open-mindedness and love. Everyone is on their own path, and sharing positive vibes will only encourage more love and compassion amongst all of us 💜