A question I am often asked is “what religion do you belong to?” (I find it interesting that people think it is OK to ask such a personal question of someone they hardly know, and I am tempted to reply “none of your business”!) But I don’t because I am a polite kind of gal and wasn’t brought up that way. When I took on the position of Administrator at my hubby’s church some years ago when they were looking for someone to assist with office work, he was frequently asked “so where does your wife worship?”, as I was never seen at any of the services. Fortunately being a member of the congregation was not one of the job requirements. This seemed to cause some consternation amongst the flock and I was the subject of much debate and still am from time to time, although I no longer hold that position.
I came across a wonderful explanation of Religion vs Spirituality (Author unknown) which I still use to this day: “Religion is a particular set of beliefs and rituals used to express and/or connect to our spirituality. Spirituality is the experience of the Divine within each one of us. Spirituality can be expressed in a number of ways and is very personal to us. Spirituality is not confined to the rules of any one religion. Religions often conflict with one another (you think?!) while spirituality crosses boundaries to unite us all.”
If you have water in a glass, a cup, a bottle or a bowl, it’s still water. It’s the vessel that holds it that changes. So religion is the vessel, the structure, that holds our spirituality, which is our personal relationship with the Divine. Religion has the rituals, the dogma, the beliefs and of course different vessels work for different people. It’s up to each of us to choose the vessel that works best FOR US. Not the vessel that someone else may think is the best one for me, or you. And yet there seems to be this eternal determination to convert others to a particular way of thinking, to a specific form of religion.
Personally, I choose not to unpack my spirituality for an hour on a Sunday. I see more conflict, separation, hatred and mistrust in mainstream religions, unfortunately created by some that follow them, than the love, compassion and sacredness that is the foundation and deepest teachings of these same religions. If he was in fact in a grave I think Jesus would be turning in it, watching what people do to each other, purportedly “in his name”. Instead, I try and live my spirituality in each moment, by practicing gratitude and kindness, by making an effort not to judge others and by being the change I want to see in the world. I don’t always get it right. I fall many times, dust myself off and try again. Each day I ask that I be an instrument of service and that I live to my highest potential, and yes, I ask God to guide my thoughts and my actions. I pray, I meditate, I contemplate. I try to live each moment from a heart-centered space, being present and aware. My space is filled with items that represent my spirituality, they work for me. They bring me peace and a sense of balance and harmony and some are representative of various religions and traditions. not that I belong to any of them.
Divinity is in the everyday, in each moment that I draw breath. How I choose to live it and embrace it is, quite frankly, nobody else’s business.