What Does It Mean To Be Spiritual?
Many people do not want to be associated with religion. In an age of information, the fallacies of religious dogma stand out like a horse and buggy in metropolitan traffic. Nowadays, being considered a religious person is about as dated as using a flip phone. It seems people would rather label themselves as “spiritual.” But, how can one attend a church, mosque, synagogue or hall, still consider themselves spiritual as opposed to religious? How can one maintain all the fixings of religion such as prayer, worship, tithing, Saturday and Sunday separation etc, be anything but religious? If you cook turkey and dressing on the fourth Thursday in November, you’re celebrating Thanksgiving. Believing in a resurrected son of a supreme being, heaven and hell, sin and engaging in various rituals, seems rather religious to me. When I hear people claim to be spiritual, I wonder what makes them different. What special, non-human exemptions are they now afforded? What can they do that skeptics, atheists, non-believers or those in the the secular world cannot? Can spiritual people walk on water or through walls? Can they levitate? Where can they go that others cannot?
“I’m not religious but I do believe in a higher power”. “I don’t subscribe to organized religion but I do believe there’s an energy greater than us?” That’s what I hear 90% of the time but, again, those remarks are the remnants of religion. “Higher power” and “greater energy” are terms still steeped in belief, not knowledge. Few take an “I don’t know position because there’s not enough security in that. Keeping some vestige of belief seems necessary to help regulate our fears of eternal punishment. We tend to keep our “just-in-case” cards handy, especially as the years past.
Is eating healthy, being “in tune” with the universe, exercising, meditating or minimalism being spiritual or are they just acts of loving oneself? An online search of the word “spirit” is defined as: the nonphysical part of a person regarded as a person’s true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation. I was okay with that definition until the capable of surviving physical death or separation part. There’s a hint of religion in that. It’s the whole life after death thing that one cannot possibly know, let alone define.
Some proclaim… “I’m god.” or “We are all gods.” I think they mean that we all have god-like potential. But, if there were no concept or pre-conceive notions of a singular, omniscient/omnipotent being, “I’m human” or “We are all human” would suffice. People that claim to be spiritual seem to possess the same likes, dislikes, desires, qualities, concerns, attributes and abilities as everyone else. Do we have an ethereal essence? Sure we do. Our thoughts are not made of matter but they are able to manifest into matter. So, claiming to be spiritual is like water claiming to be wet. That goes without saying. It’s also obvious that we are physical. We live and respond to the physical world. The term spiritual appears as just another way the influences of religion has managed to separate people; boxing us into this or that categories.
So what does it really mean to be spiritual? Does our newfound spirituality translate into being more kind, compassionate, loving and generous? Can’t one be all of the all of the above without this designation? I don’t blame one from running from the term religion but like they say… a clean break is better than a jagged tear. Congratulations, you’ve discovered the inherent fallacies within religion. It seems primitive now to believe that someone parted a sea, ascended into the clouds on a chariot of fire and caused the sun to stand still. You’re spiritual now! It’s an inner thing, you say. If that’s the case, why not just keep it to yourself? I know… it sounds modern. It’s hip to be spiritual…. whatever that means.