Religion is belief in someone else's experience whereas Spirituality is having your own personal experience!
Telling people you are spiritual but not religious is often greeted with a confused face. People tend to think of spirituality as something very strange and mysterious. They even struggle to differentiate it from religion but this is only because people in modern-day society have a fear of being manipulated and have a lack of knowledge when it comes to non-material subjects.
The truth of the matter is that spirituality is perhaps the most natural thing there is: it is simply your own conscious self recognizing that you are more than just a body, that you are a soul with infinite potential.
Though all religions emphasize spiritualism as being part of faith, you can be ‘spiritual’ without being religious or a member of an organized religion.
To simplify what I am trying to explain here is a short list of things that help to highlight the differences between religion and spirituality.
Religion: This is a specific set of organized beliefs and practices, usually shared by a community or group.
Spirituality: This is more of an individual practice, and has to do with having a sense of peace and purpose. It also relates to the process of developing beliefs around the meaning of life and connection with others, without any set spiritual values.
1. There are no rules to Spirituality As opposed to following a specific ideology or a set of rules spirituality simply lets you follow your heart, it encourages you to listen to your intuition and do what is right for yourself and others around you. It truly sets you free to be the best you can be and to be a good person with no promise of punishment or reward. The reward is simply your own inner happiness.
2. Spirituality is based only on love and not fear Dotted throughout religion there is lots of fear. Fear of the consequences of your actions, fear of what might happen after you die if you don’t live your life accordingly. Well, with spirituality there is only Love, it encourages you to focus all of your energy only on the good, and to act only based on love. This is a key point for me as any choice made out of fear will not be good for your soul. Whereas decisions made out of love will empower you, make you braver and feed your soul. It shows you how to stand despite being afraid, how to move on doing what you feel is right despite the consequences that may come.
3. Religion tells you the truth – Spirituality lets you discover it As opposed to telling you in black and white how the universe was created and why we are here, Spirituality lets you discover these questions and answers for yourself. It empowers you to find your own truth in all things and sets no limits to how deep you can go in understanding all there is to know.
4. Religion separates, Spirituality unites In our world, there are many religions and they all preach that their story is the right story. Spirituality sees the truth in all of them and unites them because the truth is same for all of us despite our differences and uniqueness. It focuses on the quality of the divine message they share and not on the differences in details of the story they speak.
5. The difference between Karma and Punishment Instead of talking about punishment or the threat of hell, Spirituality only talks about Karma. It’s the Law of Attraction — you get what you give. Simple.
6. Walk your own path Instead of ancients stories about angels and Gods, spirituality encourages you to make your own path and create your own stories. This sets you on a journey of enlightenment and self-discovery to which the only limits can be set by yourself. It encourages you to trust your heart and follow it wherever it may lead you. So I do believe that all religions have truth in it and that many people can be both truly beautiful souls and religious at the same time, but ultimately anything that separates you or creates division is not good for your soul and definitely not good for the greater good of mankind.
Spirituality reminds us that we are not separate, there are no borders, no races and no cultural divides. All that is true is that we are all one and the only constant is Love.
7. Organized v/s freeform One way to understand the relationship between spirituality and religion is to imagine a game of football. The rules, referees, other players and the field markings help guide you as you play the game in a similar way that religion might guide you to find your spirituality. Kicking the ball around a park, without having to play on the field or with all the rules and regulations, can also give you fulfilment and fun and still expresses the essence of the game, similar to spirituality in life.
You can do either or both!
You may identify as being any combination of religious and spiritual, but being religious doesn’t automatically make you spiritual, or vice versa. Life can be full of ups and downs, good times and bad. Many people see spirituality as a great way to seek comfort and peace in their life. It can often be practiced alongside things like yoga, which ultimately focus on stress relief and release of emotion.
Spirituality is a way of gaining perspective!
Spirituality recognizes that your role in life has a greater value than what you do every day. It can relieve you from dependence on material things and help you to understand your life’s greater purpose. Spirituality can also be used as a way of coping with change or uncertainty. Now, this is one popular idea that there exists a distinction between two different modes of relating with the divine or the sacred: religion and spirituality. Religion describes the social, the public, and the organized means by which people relate to the sacred and the divine, while spirituality describes such relations when they occur in private, personally, and even in ways.
Is such a distinction valid? Drop your views in the comments below!