Religion vs Spirituality (mindfulness) an introduction...
Updated: Feb 23
Although spirituality stems from the ideologies of many religions (Buddhism being a dominant influence) its presence within us supersedes any of the dogmatic, rule-driven or scripture based teachings affiliated with the theological doctrines of the establishment. Spirituality is the fundamental basis for using our minds in the most systematic and life-enhancing ways possible. Learning to lead a happy life from our hearts rather than a fearful one informed by suffering. Our suffering resonates through our thoughts, which can only be rectified by accessing our spiritual selves and turning all of the fear, which controls our lives, into love.
This isn’t just another namby-pamby self-help blog, written by someone who wants to put across his obscure views of the world. I am iterating this point because I mentioned the word ‘love’, alongside life. I will be dedicating a section of my blogs solely to Loving oneself but before then, you need to understand the impact it has on your life, and your spiritual growth. All religions know this but they substitute you, the most important thing you need to love, with whichever provident deity they choose.
I’m going to throw something controversial out there now. When the magnificent religious figures of the past, say, Moses or Jesus or Mohammed, reflected upon their life plans through deep, heartfelt prayer (what I might call meditation), the God they heard and responded to is the same God, or quiet voice, that we all hear. We hear it when our minds are cleared from all the frustrations and distractions of everyday life and open to the beauty, love and serenity of an undistracted, clear head. The quiet voice is that of your own thoughts and, just as we can have good and bad thoughts, we can mistakenly understand the sinister thoughts we may be experiencing, as ‘voices’ in our heads, which is when things can begin to feel out of control. I have explained to you the importance of quietening your mind, through mindful meditation, allowing the loving, innocent thoughts to permeate your psyche as Godly apparitions.
I am not here to tell you to believe in a God but I do know that the human race does not exist to wage war against itself. We, as a species, are a naturally loving and empathetic race. Whether or not the good thoughts and feelings we have manifest themselves as a God to worship, or merely an insightful way to lead your life, however you choose to label the practise that helps you achieve it we are all in it together.
Throughout section of my blog which I will be updating on a regular basis, I will chronicle my own spiritual upbringing, the paths that I took, turned from, and am now taking, to reach my own enlightenment. When I mention ‘Religion’ I am talking about a rule-driven, scripture-based belief in a higher power that requires unadulterated commitment to staying truly faithful. When I talk about ‘Spirituality’ I am talking about a mindset that allows you to see the good in everything, and something that uses meditation to help connect the instigator with their higher, loving, happy selves, which is, if you like, God.
I am not going to berate any religious doctrine. Each and every one of them has influenced and moulded the lives of many millions of people on this planet and to chastise something so close to people’s hearts is nonsensical and unnecessary. Surely the very existence of so many different religions must be cause for questioning whether or not you’re practising the right one, or if there even is a God. I will come back to this presumption later.
Most religions base their teachings on the fundamental morals of how to lead a good life but those morals don’t derive from the religion itself. They are often the basic principles of humanity. My friend George, who fancies himself as a bit of a theologian, devized his own concept for this, stating that ‘morals are just an evolutionary extension of [reciprocal] altruism’. He is a scientist and a veterinary surgeon, a background from which he has derived this viewpoint, but in defining his statement he remarks that morals have nothing to do with any religion. Instead, they have evolved through natural selection. Take animals that live in their own structured societies, for example, like monkeys or meerkats or lions. As a species, it helps that they all get on with one another. If Dave the monkey keeps stealing food from his family, he may benefit from a short term gain (chewing away on his coconut chunks) but if all monkeys did this, the likelihood of the species surviving would diminish considerably as fewer young would survive. It boils down to common sense, or moral sense.
It is important to remember that spirituality is a personal journey and not something that can be imposed upon someone. Each person has their own beliefs and understanding of spirituality, and it is up to each individual to find their own path to enlightenment. This can be done through various forms of meditation, mindfulness practices, and self-reflection. The goal of spirituality is not to judge or impose upon others, but rather to find peace and happiness within oneself and to spread love and positivity to those around you.
One aspect of spirituality that is often overlooked is the importance of loving oneself. This may seem simple, but in a world filled with negativity and self-doubt, it can be difficult to truly love and accept oneself for who they are. However, this self-love is crucial for spiritual growth and for living a life filled with joy and inner peace. When you love and accept yourself, you are able to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, and instead focus on the positive aspects of your life. This, in turn, allows you to spread love and positivity to those around you.
To conclude my introduction, spirituality is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It allows us to connect with our inner selves and to find peace and happiness in a world filled with chaos and negativity. Whether you believe in a higher power or not, the principles of spirituality can benefit everyone. By clearing our minds, practicing mindfulness and self-reflection, and loving ourselves, we can live a life filled with joy, inner peace, and a deep sense of fulfillment. So, take the time to explore your own spirituality, and see where it takes you. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards are limitless.
The next blog will be all about my spiritual development from attending crazy christian camps in my teenage years to how I broke away from it and eventually found my own path.
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