Monday, April 13, 2009

Spirituality vs. Religion

I feel that I should clarify something right off the bat so as not to offend anyone who might read this: the title of the post isn't meant to say that spirituality and religion are somehow opposed to one another, as in one sports team versus another. Rather, that to me they are two separate entities and can either exist together, separately or not at all.

Religion, as defined by Webster's dictionary:
1 a: the state of a religious religion> b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural(2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
Spirituality, again, by Webster's:1 : something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such2 : clergy3 : sensitivity or attachment to religious values4 : the quality or state of being spiritual
This time of year seems to be one that reminds people of both their spirituality as well as their religion: for Christian's it's Easter and the resurrection of Christ. For Jews it's Passover. Pagans and Earth Centered the Vernal Equinox. I don't want to appear to be excluding the Muslims, who, as I understand it, follow the lunar calendar for holidays so are on a different schedule and don't have a "set" time of year for theirs.
All in all, this is a very powerful time of year for many of the major spiritual practices. People come out in droves for church services to celebrate. There is also a large secular component to the holiday, as we have seemed to do for every religious holiday, with the Easter Bunny, egg hunts and gifts.It's a time to appreciate the arrival of spring, or what passes for spring in New England, anyway. It's all part of the celebration.

Last week there was the intersection of 3 major days: Good Friday/Easter Sunday, Passover as well as the full moon. Regardless of what philosophy you follow that's some powerful energy. Although I am a card-carrying UU and have been a member of the local church for 10+ years, right now I don't feel like I need to do the group worship thing. I'm very content to sit on my zafu each day, take care of myself, my family, friends, pets and my small yard to the best of my ability, trying to do things with kindness and mindfulness. This may not seem like a true spiritual practice to most people, and it certainly doesn't qualify as "religion" by Webster's definition, but it is what satisfies my craving for spirituality. And I guess that is the most important thing.

1 comment:

Tina said...

Well done Kim, well done!