Many people these days will identify as spiritual vs. religious, but what does that mean? It can mean something different and personal for each of us. Each person makes the choice to leave religion behind for their own reasons. But they still yearn for something bigger than themselves. That is where spirituality comes in.
When you are spiritual, you want an answer to the big questions of life, you want something personal to believe in, but you haven't found the answers within religion, so you are looking for the answers within yourself.
With meditation, you can go within to find answers to all the deep questions about the meaning of life, and you can find them on your own without someone else telling you something that has been brought down through history.
The purpose of religion is to help us behave in a moral way, and to answer all the big questions about the meaning and purpose of life. It gives us a belief system.
But what about when that belief system doesn't work for us?
That is where spirituality comes in. Spirituality allows us to search for deeper meaning on our own, without a prescribed faith or set of tenets to believe in. We look for answers on our own.
Some people who are spiritual may believe in God, Goddess, Universe or whatever they choose to call their higher power. Some may believe that there is no higher power, or be unsure or agnostic.
Spirituality takes many forms, and it is personal to each person who practices it.
According to the University of Minnesota,
Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.
This is different from religion, because spirituality doesn't tell you what to believe, you get to decide that for yourself. You get to decide what questions to ask about the meaning of life, and how to answer them for yourself, whereas religion gives you both the question and the answer based on years of tradition.
According to Very Well Mind,
Religion is a set of organized beliefs, practices, and systems that most often relate to the belief and worship of a controlling force, such as a personal god or another supernatural being.
The difference between religion and spirituality has a lot to do with belief in a supernatural being or beings, and which being you choose to believe in. In religion, it is important that you believe in the "right" God so that you will have a better afterlife.
Spirituality is much more often focused on this life, and what is happening right now. It isn't so much as fear of the afterlife, as a curiosity about why things are the way they are, and how we should relate to others and ourselves.
Both religion and spirituality have the goal of making you a better person, doing the right things and helping others. The difference is the reason behind these actions, and what you consider the "right" things to do.
Are you a spiritual seeker? Are you looking for the Truth about life, and all that is? What has been your experience? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!