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March 18, 2011

Can You Be Spiritual Without Religion?

Author: JenniferMaster1

Teenage girl praying outdoors at twilight. Shallow DOF.Traditionally, many religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experiences.  Many do still equate spirituality with religion, but declining membership of organized religions and the growth of secularism in the western world  has given rise to a broader view of spirituality. 1

There is debate as to whether or not spirituality should be considered separate from religion, or if spirituality is an aspect of religion. 2

My answer to the debate is that you can be spiritual without being religious because I lived with someone for 17 years who fits that description. That person was my father.

We may think  of religion as attending organized weekly services, reading scriptures, and praying or meditating. Participating in religious activities can develop the spirituality within ourselves.

My father never went to our little country church unless he received an invitation for a event such as a daddy/daughter date from someone special like me! Although he didn’t attend the Sunday services, he was a man who lived honorable values and a life of integrity better than some of those who attended the weekly church meetings.

Spirituality has to do with living congruent to the the beliefs and values you hold in your heart. It has to do with living the “golden rule” to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So some sarcastic person may say that is why you hurt the other person first before they hurt you. I’m talking about walking in the path of light and goodness. I’m talking about making your life and the lives of those around you better because you were there!

There are some great suggestions on spirituality from Mary Ellen Edmunds who I think is a very spiritual person full of light and kindness. She entitles an article “Spirituality- More Than a Feeling”. 3

I will highlight some suggestions and give various examples as well.

1. Spirituality is keeping promises.

Keeping promises used to be just a man keeping his word. It seems there are many legal documents needed for business transactions and even marriages! We can keep marriage vows, business agreements, give our best effort in a job or career, and just be responsible in keeping our word. When we fall short because we are human, we can apologize and do better.

2. Spirituality is sharing with the needy.

We can generally find someone who has less than us. Just look at parts of the world affected by natural disasters. There are always ways to help others with temporal needs. Sometimes we can share our time or even a smile with others who are down-hearted.

3. Spirituality is increased sensitivity.

A woman was ill and home alone. Two woman came to visit and share a religious message. The ill woman was hopeful that they would see the undone work in her apartment and offer to help clean up. The two women said they would hurry and share their message so the woman could go back to bed.

How many times do we miss opportunities to help others because we lack the sensitivity? Do we often do good out of a feeling of duty rather than reaching for a level where we do it out of  love?

4. Spirituality is Change – Now!

Living in the light gives us the ability to choose right from wrong. How often do we make the same excuses and put off good changes? It’s interesting that we lose our sense of peace when we choose wrong.  Imagine that inside each of us is a little device with many sharp points. When we do wrong, it starts to spin, and its sharp edges cause pain. When we stop doing or thinking wrong things, it stops spinning and we feel better. But if we continue doing what we know we should not, the edges wear down and the pain decreases. To delay change, once we know it is needed, is to lose a measure of spirituality.

5. Spirituality is integrity.Dandelion in the wind

The story goes that someone once asked Michaelangelo how he could transform ordinary rock into his marvelous statues. Reportedly, the artist replied that he just chiseled until everything that wasn’t the statue wasn’t there. To be spiritual means to have a sense of who we truly are and then to BE THAT PERSON!

To help you be a better person and “Live Your Best Life” sign up for the energy video above and look forward to more great information on living a better life.

1 – Michael Hogan (2010). The Culture of Our Thinking in Relation to Spirituality. Nova Science Publishers: New York.

2 – Hood, R., Hill, P., Spilka, B., (2009) The psychology of religion, 4th edition: An empirical approach. Newyork: The Guilford press.

3 – Mary Ellen Edmunds, “Spirituality—More Than a Feeling”, Ensign, Oct. 1985, 14

 

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10 Responses to “Can You Be Spiritual Without Religion?”

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