Sunday, May 20, 2007

Religion without Spirituality | Spirituality without Religion

It has become quite fashionable these days to call oneself 'spiritual'. Also there is a growing trend to discard anything religious. But this is nothing but spiritual extremism. Pretending or assuming oneself overly-spiritual has its flipside. Just like any form of extremism, it is dangerous.

Religion without spirituality become only dry rituals, completely dogmatic, life-less 'follow this, follow that' and selfish actions. In our current world there is no short of example of what religiosity can become when spirituality is taken out of religion. One can become cold blooded murderer even in the name of religion, in the name of God and justifying unthinkable crime even holding a holy book of religion.

What is interesting is that Spirituality without religiousness again becomes selfish, an escape route for something called 'personal enlightenment (!)' which can be extremely ego-centric and disguised selfish pursual. Religions, no matter what religion i name, offer a codified way to life, guide us with a tangible guidance.

Religions encourage and call one to action, while only spirituality is abstract ideas, hollow talks (even though seemingly elevated talks) and can be very artificial. You can say all day 'i love God', but religions of all ages teach by & in action what to do when you wish to realize that.

If the essence of spirituality is the search to know our true selves, then know that its a life long process, and perhaps it requires many births and rebirths (only God completely knows the true mystery of our soul and its evolutionary process of merging with Truth). You don't need to pretend or become overly-spiritual, who only seeks personal enlightenment. Thats extremely self-centeredness. Just as meditation can not be forced, so is the attainment of spirituality. All you need is to be aware to life, aware to oneself.

Then what's next? Next is to serve.

Here comes the power of religion. Organized religion in all forms and tradition does a very good job aspiring the faithful into that. It gives the necessary form, lays out the foundation and organize for the individual and collective to be in the very world and to serve. To serve others. That is the way to serve the Creator, by serving the creation.

One may become 'so called spiritual' and completely ignore the extremely poor person who comes to the house as maid servant (continue to pay almost nothing for her hard work) and can spend thousands of dollars to travel to see a tomb in a far away land, or perform pilgrimage. He or she can ignore the hungy beggar kids, the homeless on the street and arrange another overseas trip abroad only to join a 'so called spiritual group'. Thats so nonsense in the eye of Beloved, who cries at the suffering of humanity and laughs at the joyful heart of humanity.

Don't you think gladden the heart of that extremely poor of the humanity was much more important than going on so called spiritual travel (another escape route for selfish luxury)?

What is Spirituality, by the way?
. Wikipedia entry has some light shed on it.
. Sri Chinmoy on Spiritual Life
. What is spirituality via Spirit Now
. Definitions of spirituality

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