I’ve been thinking about spirituality and religion a lot lately, and where they fit into my life. I’ve never really been one for organized religion; I did the Catholic school thing for ten years and ended up transferring to a Quaker high school, so I’ve had a nice sampling, but I’m still unsure of where I fall exactly. But do I need to “fall” anywhere? Am I supposed to be categorized into one place, tucked away into a drawer with all the other Catholics or Quakers or whomever? Is that where I belong – defined and baptized and sitting, kneeling, standing, kneeling, sitting in unison?
Here’s what I’ve come up with: I don’t see myself as religious but rather as spiritual. I believe one’s spirituality to be deeply personal, a relationship between they and their higher power(s), whereas religion can be more formal and structured by the guidelines of tradition.
This isn’t to say I don’t see the value in gathering with others who share in your beliefs; I enjoy going to Quaker Meeting for Worship, because as one of the other Friends told me last week, “It’s the gathered community that strengthens the sense of spirit.” There’s a comfort in being part of a human spiritual tradition. I also am not casting judgment on those who practice a more programmed or liturgical religion, either, as it is truly one’s own choice and I respect that completely. I’m just sorting out what it means in the context of my own life. I don’t like the emphasis on collection plates and politics, which seem to distract from the practice of love and kindness. What about spreading happiness? The joy of simply being?
And so, I define myself as spiritual. My personal belief is to keep an open heart and open mind; everything happens for a reason, and if you put positivity out into the universe, you will receive it back, tenfold. I trust in that.
We are all denizens of the same planet, no matter how much our beliefs may vary, and it’s important to remember that as we continue our journey through life.
What about you? What do you believe?