By David Zambrano
Religion vs Spirituality. These are two sides of the same coin, or the two wings of an airplane. One is a complement of the other. Having both in your life will keep you firm on your spiritual path, while excluding one from your life may be like trying to fly an airplane with one wing.
Spirituality is refining our human instrument to work with and perceive realities that are beyond our five senses. Religion is a code of rules and rituals that are designed to bring our lower natures in line with our higher.
The Misunderstanding: Religion has always been hostile to spirituality, and spirituality is more effective without the rules and rituals of religion.
In our human history there have been repeated examples of clashes of religion vs spirituality. These are reallyexamples of individuals or groups that have become out of balance because of relying on one without the other. If we exclude spirituality from our religious practice, we become close minded and intolerant because of a lack of love and feeling of unity and connectedness. If we exclude religion we become morally lax and stumble into spiritual pitfalls that are easily avoided by the most simple of religious people.
Religion can set a whole framework to build our spiritual life around. Faith can give us goals and hope in our journey, which can be a long and difficult one. Many times in our lives we are faced with decisions or courses of action that are beyond our spiritual insight. In these situations it helps to be able to default to a religious answer, which should be emulating the action of an enlightened being. This answer is more likely to guide us correctly than relying on ourselves in many situations. This is much more constructive than thinking in a religion vs spirituality mindset. Another benefit is having a strong moral code that will give us a firm idea of right and wrong, and clear determination of where our spiritual battles with the desires of the lower self are.
Spirituality is the heart of religion, the sweet scent of the rose. Its relation to religion is as the soul to the body, without which the body is a dead thing. It supports our religion by giving more and more understanding to our practices, making them more effective in creating change in us. When we are able to see a bit of the positive effect exterior religious practices have on our inner work, it renews our faith and commitment to our religion, magnifying its benefit to us, so instead of working from religion vs spirituality we work from religion + spirituality.
Here are a few action steps to start putting this information on religion vs spirituality into practice.
1. If you are a religious person, seek the mystical path within your religion. If you are a spiritual person, take a second look at your religion and make sure you are getting all the positive support from it you are entitled to.
2. Look at the other half of your spiritual life without prejudice and emotional baggage, and make an honest assessment of what you are missing by not integrating it into your life. If the religion or mystical path you were born into has too much baggage, then explore other paths, in the end they all point to the same truth. What is important is your spiritual development, not the path you choose.
3. Make a firm commitment to use spirituality and religion together instead of letting misunderstanding keep you from using both as tools to your advantage.
Start putting these action steps on religion vs spirituality into practice now. Check in with yourself in a few days to see if your spirituality is bringing light and understanding to your religion and your religion is bringing stability and direction to your spiritual practice.
If you experience this then you are flying with both wings.