For the last few years it seems like everyone’s getting a little tired of hearing people say, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual”. I guess sometimes even the most important of words can get so over-used that it begins to sound trite. It seems saying you’re spiritual is so vague and leaves so many blanks to fill in that most can’t get a grip on what that even means anymore.
I, on the other hand, think when someone tells me they’re spiritual it speaks volumes about that person. I believe what it says first and foremost is simply that while I may not be able to share all of my beliefs with you in a few words, the one thing I can share in one word is that I’m not religious in the traditional sense.
I think we can all agree that when someone identifies as being Christian, Catholic, Jewish, or some other more traditional religious identifier, people have a better sense of where they’re coming from. Still, I also know having been Methodist, Christian, Baptist, and just a tinge of Spiritualist myself, that even those identifiers aren’t very specific. I’ve seen how everything spiritually based is always tinged, colored, and yes even perceived, in very different ways for each person who practices them.
In essence then, I believe any religion is spiritual in nature, as well as being highly individual, even if many who practice them don’t realize that yet. I also fully appreciate that those who follow certain traditional religion ideologies want to identify with it. I understand their labeling comes from a place of pride and respect for their religion, so I honor that.
Also, even though I’m not traditional there were things I liked, no loved, about each church I attended. I mean who can argue with the energy generated in a church full of people singing? That’s some powerful stuff. Also powerful is when there’s a really great sermon being given in such a way that everyone is riveted to their seats. For me, that’s the hook for any church. That sense of unity. That sense of mutual upliftment. After all, didn’t Christ say where two or more are gathered in his name great things happen? Imagine when there’s 30 or 100 or 500.
Hence, in having experienced all of these beautiful religions on such a personal level, I so “get” why some people love their churches so much. There were many moments when I loved every single church I stepped inside of. I just never found one that the feelings lasted for me. It seems when the pettiness that so often intrudes upon such magnificence whenever a group of people try to have a meeting of minds over things enters (and it’s been my experience it always does) the ugly comes out and I become disenchanted.
As a result, no matter how far and wide I look there is no church that really was “for” me. Plus, since I’m not so great at following rules that make no sense to me, I don’t imagine I’m “for” them either. Because while I agree that many of the rules laid out in any church are good rules, some just felt too man-made for me. And, if I’m going to worship anything, it won’t be a man, or his rules. Not saying others who attend that church do either, I’m only saying it spoils it for me.
Therefore, traditional religion doesn’t fit me right. What I do likely doesn’t fit them right either. Consequently, I’ve ended up moseying down my own slightly curved, but still very merry, little path. This is why when someone asks me today what religion I am (and they do), I always just say I’m Calleen’s religion.
As pompous as I realize that might sound, it’s not meant to be. What I mean in saying that is simply that I follow my own principles and guidelines. Also know that some of the guidelines I set for myself are pretty stringent. I’ve often heard a close friend of mine who does take a more traditionally religious route tell people that I have more spirituality in my little finger than she does in her whole body. Now while I don’t believe for one second that is true, it does feel good to know that someone who knows the good as well as the bad in me feels that way about something I hold so dear.
So, what does being spiritual mean? It just means that while the person may not fall into an easily definable belief system, they do have one. Most also believe in a higher power, which appears to be a common theme in nearly every belief system.
In the end, the rules of morality, integrity, belief, faith, and character is what you will be judged on when you meet your maker. You alone will be held accountable for your actions and deeds. I don’t think he’ll care so much about what church you did or didn’t attend. I think he’ll care a lot more about how you lived your life.
I think I’ve thought this way since I was a young girl sitting in church every Sunday. Somewhere inside of me I knew even then that no one person, nor any one religion, had all the answers, at least not the ones I wanted. Hence, I started out on my own spiritual exploration from a very young age, even though I didn’t let my parents in on it. Having a psychic child was more than enough for them to deal with (ha). But early on, I knew perception was the key.
I knew too that what any one person in any church on the planet perceived on any given Sunday would be slightly different than what any other person thought. I watched it happen, regularly. That’s the reason I knew from a young age that I would need to forge my own path if I was ever going to be able to believe in anything fully.
Does this make me right? No. There is no right or wrong, just different shades of perception, beliefs, and modes of living your life based on it. And yes, I have taught Spiritual Development classes at different times over the years. I even have a section or two in my Psychic Development Course about it, because I think having something to fall back on in spirit when working in spirit is really super important.
Still, I always make sure to share that it isn’t so much important what specifically you believe, as it is that you believe in something. I also let everyone know that what I share are my guidelines for my life, and they are encouraged to use what they want of them, dismiss the rest, and fill in the blanks with whatever feels right.
In the end I believe what you have faith in is, and should be, highly personal and well thought out. It is, after all, what you believe at the core of your being to be the truth. What you base at least part of your life and all of your afterlife on. So when I say “I’m Calleen’s religion”, it is precisely that. It is my beliefs and my truth. Something that runs so deep inside of me I probably don’t even know exactly what all of the beliefs are until I’m called upon to exercise them. Even so, they’ve never let me down.
Yet we are all human. As such, most of us are doing our best to be decent people who hold certain things above all others. This is why I don’t expect myself to be perfect, because I know all too well that I’m not. What I do expect is to try to be better after I fail. Additionally, I really do believe that the good, the light, always win, so I want to play on their team.
I also do my very best to honor everyone else’s right to choose too, provided they don’t hurt anyone in the process. And I really appreciate it when someone does the same for me, although I’ve found that isn’t always the case. Being outside the norm does seem to be a big sticking point for some people. It seems they want the freedom to believe as they do, but they don’t want to grant you the same freedom in return. Think about how many wars have been fought over this very thing. I believe it’s our fear of difference that does that to us. Otherwise, why should we care what someone else believes if they’re living a good life?
In conclusion, this is what being spiritual means to me. My only advice is to love more than you hate. Accept more than you judge. And strive to do the best you can do in any circumstance. Yet always do what “feels” right for you.
Even though this should all be so simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.