I realize that, in general, this topic has been done to death. “I’m spiritual, not religious” has been adopted by the nouveau-spiritual as a handy catch phrase usually implying that 1. their spirituality is better than your religion and 2. they’ve somehow fast-tracked their way to enlightenment through the latest pseudo-enlightened gimmick.
Now I suppose that I could be accused of falling into that category of nouveau-spiritual. Raised as a Presbyterian, I followed Christianity blindly and without any real depth of understanding. I didn’t understand Original Sin, or why Jesus had to die for my sins – Original or otherwise – and I didn’t believe in miracles (so, no virgin birth, no burning bushes, no spontaneous healing or prophetic angels). The one exception to this was the Second Coming. I was terrified that, even if everything else was completely unbelievable, Satan and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were as real a threat as anything. And I clung to this fear long after I gave up on the believability/credibility of the rest.
Eventually I reasoned that all of it was hogwash. But this does illustrate an important point: blind faith without real understanding leads to frightening misrepresentation of the otherwise beautiful and sacred. I realized (like I presume so many who have become disenfranchised with mainstream religion) that there was a gap that religion did fill (even my fractured understanding of religion). It allowed for a certain order within the Universe. And, perhaps more dangerously, it allowed me to externalize everything and engage in existentialist thought patterns. After all, without the devil to blame for my sins (or original sin, for that matter), my actions became my own. And I was entirely too naive to handle that.
In the film “How to know God,” Deepak Chopra states quite eloquently that modern culture has strip-mined religion. I’d like to think that some current forms of spiritualism engage in this same practice. I say this because I’ve lived this. When I jumped out of the arms of Christianity I free-fell into the abyss of dime-a-dozen profits, fly-by-night orders, capitalist cults and some crazy woman masquerading around as the embodiment of the Sacred Feminine, I jumped into an externalization of my own spirituality. And when all that didn’t work, I started doing drugs. So I know that finding one’s own path can be a frightening process. And it can be dangerous if you seek to follow a kind of spiritualism that seeks to keep all things external and denies personal accountability. Just as an example, as well meaning as phenomena like “The Secret” start out, modern culture and consumerism have morphed them into the latest fad, feeding on wide-eyed defectors of traditional religion who wander from seminar to seminar looking for answers.
Fellow defectors, there are no answers in these seminars. I promise you – I’ve looked. And, you should know that there are no answers to your questions outside of yourself. Yes, you are entitled to guidance in the form of teachers, and you will come across them in many ways. But take care not to blindly follow. Your path is your own. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you that they have all of the answers. You are entitled to guidance, and trusting someone to show you the way is a sacred process. When one soul leads another along a spiritual journey, it is a soul contract. You will know the right teacher because he or she will feel like, well, they’ll feel like home, really. The relationship will not be superficial or one-sided. Yes, even as you are the student, you are also the teacher as soulful collaboration benefits all souls involved.
Whether you choose to remain devoutly Catholic or choose to swan dive into the realm of quantum spiritualism, you must do it for YOU. It doesn’t really matter whether you are “spiritual” or “religious” or some combination of the two. The only thing that does matter, is that the path you choose is your own and for the sake of yourself alone.
Love and light.