November 5, 2013

The Difference Between Religion & Spirituality in 300 Words.

Spirituality is not self existing or natural.

It is not pre-ordained by some divine force, nor is it inspired by nature. The path of spirituality co-emerges with the path that gives rise to suffering.

There is a journey erupting in our heart. It is pouring over into the field of our experience, the present moment. This is the human journey. Every time we deviate from this journey—that is to say, try to become non-human or what we think we should be—we take one step toward suffering.

We take one step, two steps, three steps, four, and five, and eventually we find ourselves mindlessly wandering around in a world of discontentment.

Spirituality—prayer, meditation, yoga, and study—are nothing more than steps 5,4,3,2,1. Spirituality is the path of suffering taken in reverse, while realization is returning to the point of departure.

We are following our breadcrumbs back to the journey that is brewing at the center of our being.

Joseph Campbell once said, “Myths are public dreams, and dreams are private myths.” Similarly, spirituality is a private religion and religion is a public spirituality. Everyone has to start where they are, and some of the conditions that contribute to our sense of alienation are unique to our upbringing. Therefore, each individual’s path is endowed with a certain degree of peculiarity.

On the other hand, many of the forces that seduce us into our non-human wanderings are cultural trappings. So, we maybe lost but we are not alone. When we look up we see that there quite a few spiritual immigrants wandering around in desert.

We relate to them and a fellowship is born out of this shared pilgrimage. Religion is the bread crumbs left behind by society as it wandered off into exile.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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