Spirituality versus Religion

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When we pray, meditate, enjoy nature, listen to music, dance, make love, connect deeply with ourselves or any of the activities that bring us spiritual pleasure, they stimulate our "happy hormones. Our neurotransmitters are released and this makes us feel euphoric and connected and we experience this thing we call the "divine" or the origin of creation. In my view, biology or science and spirituality are not on opposite sides of the fence.

Science is spiritual, the spiritual is science.

I think science, biology, physics, etc. What is more spiritual than getting to the roots of who we are, where we came from, what we're made of and how it works? It connects us with our core and so does spirituality. As I see it, they are one in the same. What is more magical, wondrous and awe inspiring than neurotransmitters, hormones, chemical messengers, neuron receptors, synapses and how it all works together perfectly to let the body and brain communicate with each other when it's given what it needs?

What is more complex, miraculous or astounding than the workings of the mind and body, a birth of a child, watching your child grow into an adult and the intricate complexity of the human body and mind? How amazing and magnificent is a butterfly, a tree, a bug, the sun, water, formation and movement of clouds, a bird looking you in the eyes as it takes food from your fingers, the formation and colors of a rainbow, the face of a chipmunk, a roadrunner, waves crashing against rocks, sea urchins sticking on a rock, the sunset and sunrise, flowers blooming in spring, a bunny wiggling its nose at you, the wing span and soar of a turkey vulture, colors in a rock, energy in a rock, majestic mountains against the sky or an ant carrying food away from the kitchen.

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When we look at it this way, the debate on spirituality vs religion becomes very clear. Another important aspect for the alcoholic and the whole addiction and spirituality cycle is that nurturing a spiritual life helps keep you moral, honest and decent. It breeds integrity, character and high values. These are important to the alcoholic, because when we engage in behaviors that aren't honest and decent, it promotes feelings of shame, guilt and remorse and damages self-esteem, which can possibly lead back to the drink in an attempt to cover up the feelings.

They are not the cause of alcoholism; however, they can perpetuate it once it is set in motion. Living a moral life doesn't mean a religious life and it doesn't mean we're perfect, but it means we're always striving to be the best that we can be. Behaving in an ethical and responsible manner, not because someone tells you it's the right thing to do or you fear going to hell, but because it's what feels right inside and it's who you are.

It promotes harmony and peace in yourself, the world and people around you. This does not mean you can't or won't make mistakes, absolutely not. It can take a long time to break out of these patterns and develop a healthy value structure. This may mean falling on our ethical faces several times before we get there. We are all capable of engaging in behaviors that are shameful, hurtful to others and distasteful.


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However, we need to keep an eye on our motivations. If we do engage in dishonest or hurtful behavior, then we need to try to understand why and learn from it. We need to make amends to those affected and use it to grow and become a better person because of it.

It doesn't happen overnight, but the goal is to always be striving to be as honest and decent as possible. Someone who takes the side of religion in the spirituality vs religion dispute is not anymore moral than the one who sides with spirituality. In many cases, but not always someone who lives a spiritual life is much more honest and moral than those who follow religion. Religion is often used as a smoke screen to lie, cheat, abuse, deceive and manipulate. Many followers are good religious people only in words while at the church, but don't actually live by the ethical principles on a daily basis.

However, by no means is this true for all followers. I would agree that there are some religious people who are genuinely moral and honest and seek to do good things in our society. Once the age old dilemma of spirituality vs religion is resolved within yourself, how do you nurture spirituality without religion or God? As I deepened my relationship with my core self and learned how to listen to her needs, I discovered that spiritual fulfillment comes in many different ways. I learned how to fulfill my spiritual yearnings in a healthy and satisfying manner instead of turning to drugs, alcohol, sugar or men.

They are the activities that make you feel complete, alive and connected to yourself and the Universe. The ones that give your life purpose and meaning and enable you to know yourself more deeply.

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They supply you with energy, inner strength, peace, comfort and hope. One of the best ways to find your spiritual food is to be still and listen to your inner voice. In stillness you connect with your core, its wisdom and euphoria. Follow the path that brings harmony to your life and makes you feel peaceful, whole, connected, and content with life even in the midst of storms.

You'll no longer have a need to deliberate the spirituality vs religion question.

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What is spiritual food for one may not be the case for another. For one person it may be community service or environmental activism while for another it may be daily meditation or Tai Chi and yet for another it may be planting a garden, drawing a picture and enjoying the sunrise. It can also be found in dance, making love, exercising, relationships, writing, communing with nature, music, food, sports, reading or walking the dog.

Here are some sources where I find my spiritual food: Spending time by the lake or ocean, deep stimulating conversation, taking daily walks, country rides, admiring the cloud formations, feeding and watching the birds, feeding a stray cat, listening to music, singing, writing, reading, dancing either with a partner or around my living room by myself, making love, gazing at the stars and moon, the feel of the wind on my body, watching a good movie and spending time with my son.

I find all the sources I mentioned above to be very nourishing, but my most important spiritual food is nature, walking and time with my son. I can feel as high today from an intimate moment with nature or a deep conversation with my son as I could years ago on a bottle of wine, a big fat joint, a line of cocaine, a bottle of prescription pills or half a dozen beers.

Even more so. It's a much richer, deeper and more meaningful experience and one that I remember in the morning. I'm not hung-over and it stays with me and feeds me for hours or days. Nature is my lifeline. It rejuvenates me and helps me to go on. It makes me feel alive, full of life and connected to the Universe.

There is nothing more nourishing to me than spending a day on a blanket by my favorite lake or ocean shore and being intimate with nature. Spending it with someone I love and engaging in deep conversation is even better. I can feel so euphoric from the stunning colors of nature when the leaves are turning in the fall or a beautiful snowfall, it's almost orgasmic. I also find deep breathing exercises, meditation and prayer to be essential methods of spiritual food that I engage in daily. Yes, even those who don't believe in a higher power still believe in prayer. However, I don't really believe anyone is listening to me.

I think it's basically just a conversation with the deeper self -- a form of verbal meditation that connects me with my core and stimulates neurotransmitters that make me feel good. Your journey with spirituality is uniquely yours and what you find to be spiritual food may change in response to where you are in life. As you grow and evolve, your spirituality evolves with you. So keep in mind that I am still on my spiritual journey as well. I am sharing the truth as I know it at this time. It took me a long time and many different paths to resolve the spirituality vs religion confusion and it may be the same for you.

Regardless of where you find your spiritual connections, nurturing your spirituality on a regular basis is as essential as feeding your empty stomach. When you neglect this important aspect of your life, you lose touch with your core self and this puts you in danger of looking for spiritual fulfillment in the wrong places like alcohol and drugs. Essentially meaning, God is with your mind, body, and spirit.

Spirituality vs Religion

These words popped in my mind and something occurred to me. I aimed to further my mental capacity mind , allow my body to move and exercise in the ways it pleased body , and look for my connection to existence spirit. Then I realized that everything I looked for already existed within myself, not in an outside deity. Furthermore, through this revelation, all of the similarities between organized religion became incredibly clear. Fundamentally, religion guides you to find answers outside of yourself. When, in reality, the answers currently exist within you.

They are just waiting to be unlocked. Spirituality is having your own experience. Essentially, I just urge you to ask the hard questions and deeply analyze the answers you receive. Never stop exploring the greatness inside you whether that is by your own means or with the guiding hand of religion. For years, I rejected both organized religion and spirituality, believing they could only exist together.

If you inhibit the mind from pondering questions of destiny and ethics, you shut yourself off from the true potential inside yourself. The greatest aspect about spirituality lies in how individualistic it is. The University of Minnesota notes these questions as the hallmarks of spirituality:. After years of rejecting organized religion and subsequently the label of spirituality, I realized a gap existed within my life. While spirituality is the path I follow, finding your own answers and spiritual-existence through organized religion is equally as honorable.

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