Religion and Spirituality
Is spirituality found in religion? Is it found in just a single religion, or can it be found through a combination of religions or somewhere else?
Some people say you can only learn about spirituality through religion. Others say religion actually hinders their spirituality. Clearly, each person is on his or her own spiritual journey.
I have found spirituality in a number of places. I've explored the Bible and the ideas from my own religion as well as the teachings of some of the other major religious leaders in the world. I have found that the Bible is an excellent resource that I can use any time, especially when I am faced with a challenge -- be it an issue with health, a friendship, other relationships, or even self-worth. I usually try to seek out inspiring ideas that help me feel good about myself. I've found that often the Bible supplies me with phrases that I can easily remember, such as "God is Love" (John 4:8). Ideas like this uplift me because they speak the truth to me.
While I am Christian, I'm still captivated by some of the ideas that I find from Buddha, Gandhi, and even authors like Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think the truth is the truth – wherever you find it. One of my favorite quotes comes from E.E. Cummings: "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you just like everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle that any human being can fight, and never stop fighting."
It's important to find yourself and stick to who you are. While we all can change over time with the knowledge and experiences we have, we should never change to become like someone else. And we need to make sure that we don't get so caught up in practicing "religious traditions" that we forget to be true to God.
Jesus taught us this. He said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven" (Matt 5:16). God made us, and He made us specifically to glorify Him; therefore, God loves who we are. So there's no reason to act differently than our normal, God-created selves.
I still have a long way to go in understanding my spirituality. I'm grateful I've found ways that make me feel closer to God and answer some of the questions I have. I am still rethinking and refining my ideas about spirituality and religion based on everything I'm learning. I think there's something to learn every day, and I think everyone has something to teach me.
Finding out who you really are as God's individual child is a big part of spirituality. The Bible has helped me do that. No matter what spiritual journey you find yourself on, it's helpful to know that you are always glorifying God.