This week I tried to briefly explain my spirituality. By briefly I mean in three sentences tops- a bad idea. Spirituality and religion go hand in hand. While you can’t have religion without spirituality (when practiced honestly), you can have spirituality without religion. This means that someone can be spiritual without religion but religion helps.
Spirituality is defined as handling the spirit or soul in a manner that is beyond the physical world. One’s spirituality is a combination of their beliefs and morals that deal with anything that doesn’t concern their physical body. While they can include the beliefs or structure of an organized religion, it isn’t necessary.
Yoga is unique in that it unifies the mind, body, and spirit. Many people that develop a yoga practice will tell you that they feel more closely unified to their spirituality. I know I definitely do!
**Thinking about getting into yoga? Check out this post on why you should!**
This post isn’t about yoga though (even though I could go on and on about how refreshing it is). Its discussing religion and spirituality and how you can improve your spiritual wellbeing (which can further enhance a relationship you may have with your respective diety). One of the best things you can do to improve your spirituality is to learn about different religions. Even if you have an established one, it can solidify your beliefs and expand your perception.
Learn about different religions
It was in high school that I discovered that the classic version of religion wasn’t for me. Something was missing and it didn’t quite sit well in my mind. I have nothing against an organized religion but I didn’t feel like I could say I follow a single established belief system when I agree and disagree with things from multiple different ones.
Being a bit of a nerd (could you tell) I began reading all I could about every religion I had ever heard about. I fell in love with the tranquility of Buddhism, the harmony between Paganism and nature, and was inspired by the loyalty of those who believe in Catholicism. It was these things that stuck out to me and that I molded together to bring my spirituality to life.
It took me even longer to discover the difference between spirituality and religion. They need to coexist together within the psyche. Being spiritual doesn’t mean that you need to follow the organization of a church or entity. It means that you honor and enjoy the path towards living a life that enriches your soul in a way that is unique to your own person.
Write down what you believe in from each one
As I learned one exciting thing after another, I wrote it all down. Even if I never looked back through the journals (which I have frequently), I knew the words would live in my mind for longer than if I didn’t.
This also serves another purpose. As you write down things, you may find that the same ideas are repeated through the philosophies. The multitude of religions that are in this world follow some of the same main principles. Don’t be afraid to stray from some of it (for example heaven vs reincarnation). Find what works for you.
By writing it down, if you are ever feeling discouraged or different for what you believe, you can come back to it. You can reexamine your spirituality because you’ll have all the aspects of it in front of you. By doing this, you may actually learn something new about yourself that you had never put into words or noticed before.
Apply these beliefs
The amazing thing about studying other religions is that you can bring back what you’ve learned to your own religion or to your own brand of spirituality. It can than increase the appreciation you have for what you believe in, or it can slightly alter it.
Learning new things is good for our mental health, that’s why I preach to try to learn one new thing everyday. Our spiritual wellness is important for our overall health. Without it, something will feel like its missing and it can eventually start to negatively impact your mental health as well. So kill two birds with one stone and learn about a different religion or explore your own spirituality today.
What do you feel the differences are between spirituality and religion? Which one would you say more aligns with your beliefs?