How many times have we all heard people make such a statement as, “I’m spiritual but not religious?”

If only I had a dime for every time I heard someone say it.

What someone means when they say this is a little more complicated: they mean to convey something more like,

“I do admit that there is a deeper reality than the everyday reality most of us encounter, but I’m so disenfranchised from the religionists who make little to no sense or have no substantive value to their practices that I do not commit myself in a formal or enduring way to an organized religion.”

Naturally, it’s much easier to say one is spiritual but not religious.

The real problem is that yes, there is a lot of corruption in organized religion, and at times, the orthodoxy in many religions is not encoded or poetic, it’s outright incorrect and doesn’t line up with reality, and maybe even more to the point, most people are idiots.

Okay, forgive the over-bearing, superiority-complex-laden statement above, but it’s the truth. The reality is that the number of people who actually understand what a religion is trying to convey through its mystical currents and decide to ride the waves to the so-called “other shore” on those currents is depressingly small, and they are and always have been in the minority.

Now, it’s true, not every person wants to make the mystical journey, and that’s okay- it’s their right to not do so, but it is also our birthright to be able to do so if we choose.

There is certainly a time for religious and spiritual exploration. Absolutely. Do not mistake me- this period can last a long time, especially now in the age of the internet with so much information immediately accessible to us, so many different paths presented and explained, so many Gurus, Teachers, Holy Men and Women who claim that their way is the best way (sometimes going so far as to say the only way), the contradictory paths and ideas and summaries of the people who have made the journey, and it can all become rather mind-boggling.

But we must take heart and sort through the mess, and for the vast majority of us, it will be easier to choose a path and walk down that path, come-what-may.

There is likely a time when we need things such as dogma and doctrine to guide us, and that is fine- but the time for dogma and doctrine to guide us will end as well, and we’ll have to keep walking with no such signposts or rules.

Religion often exists without the mystical core, and mysticism can exist without a definitive religious framework, but it’s much easier if they work together. Psychology, especially Jungian psychology, works as a translator between religions and mystical systems.

Another thing that irks me is when people try to say a religion is not a religion. This is not exclusive to any one religious group, but it does happen among various ones: I was taught in Christian school that Christianity is not “a religion” but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ- that Christianity is God teaching Man, while religion is merely Man seeking God.

I’ve also heard the same about Buddhism. Buddhism is not a religion; it’s a way of life! Again, wrong. Buddhism pretty much falls in line with the definition of “religion,” and it’s difficult to dice it otherwise.

So, the point is, religion, even formalized religion, provides us something, something important. It’s okay to be religious. It’s okay to be devout. And it’s also okay to question the orthodoxy of a religion. There is such a thing as being too rigid.

These are just some thoughts.

Beaux


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