This has been the most popular debate I have had with friends, relatives and work colleagues! Are you religious or spiritual? And every discussion has started with – isn’t it the same thing after all? Erm… no!
I do believe that they are both completely different. How? For one if I am religious, then that means I have a certain set of beliefs that have been passed down to me from family, culture and society that I was born and raised in. They are not mine.
If I were religious I would have a certain set of rituals and guidelines that I will be expected to follow. I would be expected to go to certain places of worship and do the needful to please God – even though I feel it was more to please my family than God himself.
What confused me was that – If I am a child of God then why do I need certain rights and rituals to please God? As a parent myself, just seeing my kids gives me enough happiness, pride and joy. I don’t need them to do a specific sequence of acts in front of me to be pleased.
Growing up in a Hindu family I have seen many rituals over the years, but I only started understanding them better after fueling my own curiosity about spirituality. Asking the brash question which none of the elders would ever have legit answers to always made me the black sheep. It doesn’t sit well that I wear that title with pride!
In my little understanding of what I call being spiritual is to acknowledge that there has to be one truth – and that truth connects us all. Now it may be given different names and that’s how I think religion was created but it still does not change that there has to be one truth. Right? There surely is something bigger than what our little minds can comprehend.
This understanding to me comes from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: Being spiritual is the realization of the fact that if the creator created us, then a part of the creator resides within us. Just like I can see parts of me and my husband in my kids. And if a part of the creator is in us then we are microscopic versions of him. Which to me means that before we start worshipping this “defined” version of the creator – can we please stop to acknowledge the little version of him that resides within each of us?
Can we acknowledge and connect with love and respect with the millions of mini versions of this source energy that can be seen in fellow humans, plants and animals alike?
Can we stop and think before we say a harsh word to someone? Can we stop and be curious about another’s story before we judge them?
There is nothing wrong with religion. But I don’t think I am religious.
I do however, love rituals. I think they are very grounding and are excellent energy cleansers – and can even help in reaching the creator or the energy source if done for the right reasons – but until we don’t connect with the inner self, until we don’t learn to respect one another, until we don’t stop judgement, until we are not meditative in the way we walk, talk, eat, breathe, work, exercise, etc. – there is no point in chasing these definitions that we have been asked to without questioning or understanding why it must be done.