Are We Spiritually Oriented Apart from Religion?
Spiritual and Religious and Without Either
Are You Spiritual?
Does Religion Make you Spiritual?
Does not being Religious make you Spiritual?
If You dont think spiritually, do you still have a spiritual essence?
Do all religions create separation?
Does secularism create a more spiritual mind?
Does Humility Open the Spirit?
Does Devoutness in Religion make you more spiritual?
Does Atheism void you of spiritual essence?
Heart and Mind SERIES
We are first of all spiritually oriented semi conscious bi peds. Shamans came along and knew that we all sought, in our spirituality, and our own physical awareness, answers for floods, earthquakes, why our darling daughter got eaten by the tiger, why grandma got that strange rot and died suddenly last winter, why our husband who used to be so in love with me, now looks at Jane, from the other village.
Why does he love Jane from the other village?
Unknowns, unknowns, the sudden and calamitous all don't come with instructions or explanations. Creative guys came up with explanations, filled us with fear, that they could assuage and started inventing ways of placating and easing danger and taking away threats. Not always, but indeed, if you are creative enough, you can come up with rituals, answers, amulets, late night spells, dances, booze, funny tasting combinations and stuff that goes bump in the night. Alas, there are many things that create scares in us, and many possible answers.
Do we live after Death?
And also, we wonder where we go when we die. That is fodder for the lonely, the scared, the anxious, the depressed, those who drink late at night and just normal people who ask the question: "Where do I go when I die?" The "answer people" and lo, there are many, provide answers for the spirit and the questing and curious mind. Seculartists these days are doing a bold one. They are just having faith in themselves. Nothing so wrong with that, but it still means you live in a world with no answers to all the questions that we have been asking. Secularists are adopting a diverse bag of beliefs that don't sound like beliefs, but they really are beliefs. It is easy to make prouncements about religion, and yet, they are an excellent way of seeing aspects of man that otherwise would not be revealed. That is for another day, and another topic.
What about Dreams? What about Ecstasy? What about Altered States?
Modern people have such facile explanations for many things we have wondered about for millennia. Forgive me, Modernity, if I take an honest look at dreams and ecstasy and other altered states. All of these things have made us wonder about the non physical around our physical bodies. Too big for this little article, but dreams, sex and mushrooms and booze and such have been contributors to the human search for the inexplicable. That is also why we spiritual people have religious questions. It is really quite natural and simple.
Religion, while it taps into our Spirit, is a way of binding children.
Religion does literally mean to "bind over". That is a clear statement of its origin and function. However, ironically, because we have unanswered questions and because we have spiritual impulses and because religion exists as an historical power, all of these things go together and make our complex picture of "Religion vs. Spirituality".
But yes religion, it's very existence shows that we are a spiritual species. But it also shows that we just have many many unanswered questions. "Is there life after death?" Will we be punished or blessed after death?" "Is there a pre-existence?" "Do we live multiple life times?"
That quote about "opiate" had to do with Communist thought, simply because it is a famous quote from a Communist thought. We now can corner into a bigger word secularism. Yes. It does have a way of softening the hard blows of life. It does have a way of making you peaceful about things that you still don't necessarily understand. Religion truly evolved in many areas from valley to valley, and mountain top to mountain top, as we proceeded through historic times and languages and ethnic groups, we have to conclude that there is a "religious urge" in us all.
Religion though is more powerful than an "opiate". An opiate is something you take consciously to deaden, stupefy or "put to sleep" parts of us at certain times.
Religion is much more pernicious if you analyze it coldly as a social phenomenon. It grabs the child and orients the child, so that it will always be a part of the membership. Thus, religion takes on a more psychological or cultural dimension. Does it mean that people who are religious are less spiritual? Certainly not. Human kind is spiritual. What happens to humans religiously and behaviorisally and historically is what we process spiritually in our minds. If we have to rationalize or justify our religious life in order to get through life, then we have automatic features that may test us spiritually. Ironically though, if you are in a strict religion, you are not necessarily more spiritual. If you are in a more liberal religion, you are not necessarily more spiritual.
However, because of the power of religion in our world, we are always judging each other spiritually the more religious we become. Ironic and amazing wouldn't you say?
But I am going to say something you probably have not heard quite this way. Sure. It's an opiate of sorts, and why do we have opium and pain killers anyway. Cause there is lots of pain out there. But the question is how do we address our pain. Those who scornfully look down on religious people and take pride in their secularism and atheistic and agnostic points of view are not without human pain. They can claim almost anything, but in fact, they have no special ways of dealing with regret, sorrow, guilt or overwhelming sorrow. Or have you heard such a one talk about this?
Most people end life with an Opiate, even Communists.
And if a Communist takes a tone of heroine to feel less excruciating pain as cancer crawls all over their body, they might just say, in a muted age old voice, against his apparent will: "Thank God for this wonderful pain relieving drug while I wait to die."
For all of those who admit that they have a spiritual aspect in their lives, I commend you for dealing with it. Religion often attempts to completely answer all "spiritual issues". We would probably all agree that that is true. Many would say that: "It is not the religion's fault if certain individuals can not find a spiritual answer.
In the end, how we deal with each other about this question may perhaps be one of the most important spiritual issues there is! How vile have we been with each other? Ask the Protestants and Catholics. Ask all of the religions at various times how they went to war with the other side. At the same time, Communism, in its brief history has overseen the punishment and scourging and mass executions of scores of millions of people. It makes you wish that Communism had an "opiate" that is stronger than the "vodka of their lives".
So none of us can claim special virtue, and none of us can claim an ethnicity that is unsullied from past extremes of violent religion. But still, what about our spirituality? In the privacy of our hearts at night, our spiritual selves often reach to the heavens. In our dreams we move through realms that are not real. Our spiritual selves seek out answers regardless of what religion we have, or what secular thought we espouse. Our spiritual nature will always be there, regardless of the corner of earth you come from or the culture that you inhabit.