Traditional religion can be a support system and moral guidepost for living in the outer, physical world. Spirituality is the path to your inner world.
Traditional religion is usually external, formal, ritualistic and, above all, exclusive. It creates and “us versus them” mentality. It can cause competition and friction between religions. Spirituality, however, is a nonsectarian path to enlightenment. It is the most important part of worship, and works independently of religion. It leads to a personal relationship with spirit, nature, source, energy, God, etc. Universal cooperation is built into spirituality.
Spirituality is the mystical experience of an individual that all too often leads to the formation of a religion, by others who have not had this mystical experience. Preaching (sharing) universal truths need not lead to forming a religion. While religion puts information in you, spirituality uncovers what is already in you from birth; intuitively felt, but not yet discovered.
Traditional religion needs followers. Spirituality requires nothing more than for you to lead yourself. Religion can be a comfort or a cause of discomfort. Spirituality can only comfort, and offers a way to transcend the suffering of this world. Religion is filled with ritual and ceremony. Spirituality is spontaneous. Religion makes you dependent on it to intervene between you and God; to be your intermediary.
Spirituality offers independence through direct contact with God. Salvation is a cornerstone of traditional religion. Spirituality reveals that there is no need for salvation and makes you independent of everything.
With religion, your divinity is external and difficult to reach. With spirituality, your divinity is within and well within reach. The holy God can be judgmental, angry and disappointed in you. This is a God that craves obedience and loyalty. With spirituality, God is nonjudgmental and has no need of your obedience or loyalty. This true, inner God is unconditional love.
Traditional religion is taught. No one is born knowing religion. It must be learned. Religions can be very different, so anything can be taught. Spirituality is intuitively understood. It cannot be taught. It must be felt. It leads you to your beautiful, inner being; your true self.
There is more to you than meets the eye. Life is not random. It has a purpose. Life’s purpose is a spiritual one — To know inner peace, you must make conscious contact with the spirit within you; which is undetectable by your five senses. And, you need to do this while still in your physical body. We all come with expiration dates, so there’s no time to waste. Once this personal contact is made, how “successful” you are in the external, physical world is no longer of prime importance.
Once your spirit, which is perfect, takes physical form, which is imperfect, it takes on flaws and weaknesses. It also takes on gifts and talents. All are unique to you. You are one in the universe with this as your personal combination. My “Six-Step Path” is designed to help you overcome and accept your flaws and weaknesses, and to encourage and blossom your gifts and talents. This path guides you to channeling this creative spirit within to satisfying actions in the physical world.
My Six-Step Path
From Stress to Inner Peace
Step 1. Observe yourself without judgment.
Step 2. Forgive yourself and others.
Step 3. Accept what you observe.
Step 4. Love yourself unconditionally.
Step 5. Awaken from your dream.
Step 6. Celebrate life forever.
To have a spiritual awakening, an epiphany, an enlightenment is a direct, prompt way to discover the meaning and purpose of life. It is so powerful and personal; it needs no outside validation; no stamp of approval. It is to be accepted as authentic. Following such an event, you awaken to your connection to all life; especially all human life. It’s clear — to serve others is to serve yourself and, vice-versa. This can be done in many ways, on all levels. Freed from suffering, you transcend what Buddhists call “The Three Poisons:” Greed, Anger, and Ignorance. Open now, to your true, inner self, you encourage your unique gifts and talents (that we all have) to emerge and to blossom. This satisfies your very human need to express yourself in your way. It allows you to serve creatively.
Service to others brings peace of mind and a natural, effortless personal growth of talent or gift. Your satisfaction level soars. You know you’re doing the right thing. Living through your unique gifts, you become the best you can be. All growth takes effort; work. But this “right” activity is so true and so honest that progress is assured and quick.
You are no longer part of the (human) problem. You glow with the knowledge that you are now part of the solution (to the human condition). You not only know what to do to express yourself and serve others, but you are making wiser decisions on when and how to do it. It becomes an easy effort.
Your learned urge to compete morphs into an urge to cooperate. You see life through compassionate eyes. People first, all else second. Your self-reformation has united you with all life. Work is now joy and happiness. As Confucius said, 2,700 years ago: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
In case you are one of many who has not had an epiphany; a spiritual awakening, not to worry. That is the “front-door” approach to finding meaning and purpose. There is an equally satisfying “back-door” approach to self-fulfillment.
Be still and non-judgmental and look within to see what it is that makes you truly happy. This is not necessarily only one thing, one activity. You may have multiple activities that please you. Explore with kindness the inner you, the true you. Not what you’ve been taught to like or do, but what you honestly enjoy doing.
If it’s your passion to sing, then “sing as though no one is listening. If it’s your passion to dance, then dance as though no one is watching. And, as often as possible, love as though you’ve never been hurt. Discover what brings joy to you and begin to do it now. Do it, nurture it and share it. You will be sharing on a deep, spiritual level.
This focused, passionate living puts you in sync with the rest of the universe and creates a personal atmosphere conducive to enlightenment. When you live your true, inner self, your “divinity within” awakens and you begin living the life you are meant to live…your “enlightened” life. This “back-door” approach is satisfying on all levels and builds on itself. As you get used to living your real self, your life gets better; your world gets better. You have fulfilled your destiny as a human being. You are in sync with the cosmos.