Reality is so much more than our mere five senses can analyze, and so many people restrict themselves to just those five senses. When they do, they lose sight of the more spiritual side of life. The more complex and connected side. There is more to life than just what our physical senses can see/hear/taste/smell/touch. As humans, we are complex – we have a physical (and/or sexual) side, a spiritual side, an emotional side, an intellectual side. All need to be tended to in order to be a whole person.
Often people become hung up on the spiritual and emotional side of humanity. Some would try to live without their spiritual side, but then they restrict their lives and they miss crucial aspects of reality and life.
Is spirituality the same thing as religion?
No, it is not.
What is spirituality then?
It is discovering the center of your being. Your inner most self, and from there, understanding yourself as you are in the present. Not what you hope to be tomorrow or what you were yesterday, but what and who you are in that present moment. That is the heart of spirituality. Understanding yourself and your spirit, and from there accepting your past and embracing your future. Spirituality involves loving yourself, and through that love, you can understand yourself and be able to step outside of yourself in order to empathize with and love others. Some may expand their spirituality to things outside of themselves, such as nature or other people or even a higher power of some sort.
Religion is dogma; it is rules; it is doctrine. It is concerned with the inner being, yes, but it is not necessarily about finding your inner center or understanding yourself in the present moment or even accepting yourself; either of those could be a part of the religion or they may be barely mentioned. Generally, religion is more concerned with following the will of something above yourself – the will of a higher power, and that will imprints rules on your life that you should follow in order to live a good and healthy life. Sometimes this is good for a person, and sometimes it is bad, especially when religion is taken to an extreme.
Anything taken to an extreme is usually bad for one’s well-being.
The emotional side of humanity is often neglected in cultures that view an outward display of emotion as wrong. Emotion taken to an extreme can be unhealthy for anyone, but expressing emotion is necessary for one’s health as well. It is through the expression of emotion that we are able to process traumatic/tragic/painful events. There is a multitude of ways to express emotions in a healthy manner, and one of the most poignant and captivating way is to do it through art, writing, or music. Creativity often involves emotion, and if you tried to rid yourself of emotion, you would find the well of creativity within yourself start to run dry.
There is always a balance to such things, and it is that balance that is often disrupted and may cause unhappiness or confusion or a feeling of “being lost” or even anger and pain in a person who is unbalanced and whose needs aren’t fully met.
Humans are complex beings, and in order to be healthy and whole, we need to balance all aspects of ourselves and meet our basic needs. Finding out what our basic needs are often involves spirituality to some degree as well as introspective intellectualism – that reasoning capability we all share.
To try to simplify humanity to just black and white is to lose sight of who we are as a people. We are complex; we are beautiful; and most of all, we are a spectrum of diversity. To simplify that and try to ignore it is to choose to be unhealthy and stupid.