Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spiritual but not religious

Literally my view. It changes every day.

When I first found myself single again at age 59, I checked out the online dating sites and even dated a few guys, with pretty good success. Not so sure I will go that route again, having learned an awful lot in the meantime.

But since it's Sunday, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about one of the categories on those dating sites that I always found intriguing. Religion. While a few people do indicate a religious preference, far and away the greatest number of responses are "Spiritual but not religious".

Well, just like almost everything else people say in their profiles, this is wide open to interpretation (never take anything literally that you read in someone's profile). Generally, the "not religious" part is right, but it's hard to say the "spiritual" always applies. I guess it's how you define it.

Having been raised a Mormon myself and then rejecting the religion of my youth over 30 years ago, I've since sought to find things in the world around me that give me a sense of comfort, peace, and a calm heart. It's a continuing journey and every day/month/year I see spirituality a little differently. I've learned a few things.

Brick and mortar churches are not for me. They all have a need to survive, and do so by inflicting a feeling of guilt, fear, and failure on people, who must continue to strive for perfection and approval by the great parent in the sky.

New agey religions are not for me. While there are some nice thoughts if you sort through all the fluff, truly people can get a little too goofy - wrong word? maybe esoteric? - for me.

In fact, all organized religions are too other-worldly for me. All anyone can say they know for sure is what we are experiencing on this earth right now. Anything after we leave this world is truly unknown to anyone. Many claim faith, and many even claim absolute knowledge. But we're all in the same boat - we'll just have to wait and see. I guess that's why I call myself agnostic.

But that's not to say I don't seek spirituality. My spiritual needs are most often met in observing nature, in beautiful art, poetry, and some other writings. Quiet contemplation, truly quiet without even background music, can be some of the most calming and renewing time I spend. And playing my piano truly recharges my batteries.

Spirituality means something different to everyone I meet. My atheist friends say they don't believe in spirituality, and yet they seek the same things I do. I think they just call it something else.

However you define it, spirituality is very personal and is that thing that fills a deep internal need to stay grounded in a chaotic world.


heatherbelle said...

I don't consider myself religious at all, and would as you do, say I am "spiritual".
However I do have immense admiration for those with faith.

troutbirder said...

mmm... I've always floated along, being polite, not wanting to upset anyone, bowing my head when others pray and not ever being able to articulate or maybe ever trying to articulate my "religious" views. You just did it for me. Thanks. On the other hand, a famous French philosopher whose name escapes me, once wrote ,,, If you deny God and there is no god or accept God and there is no god it makes no difference. If you deny God and their is a god or accept god and there is a god it could make a lot of difference. Thus I keep a low profile.

Jacqui Binford-Bell said...

Certainly always an interesting discussion. I live very close to Taos which is filled with what are sometimes called "Airy Fairies" and denounce them as frauds mostly and yet I own a deck of Zen Tarot cards.

I too do not like churches of stone and steel and immobile beliefs. Spirituality is a state of flux. To write it down or pin it to a definition would cause it to wither. I find my greatest "connection" to a cosmic consciousness or a a higher power when in nature or painting or like today sitting in my studio watching the birds coming to the feeder.

I some years ago chanced upon the Gnostic beliefs. I find them worthy continued research only because the early Christians were once the agnostics or those that did not belief as the gnostics believed. I think I am a seeker of what is true for me and that changes a lot like your view pictured above.