Not religion, spirituality. I think of religion as a construct people created to try to explain spirituality. It can be a good force in someone’s life or a bad one. It depends on the construct. For many of us, we have known people who invoked religion to justify their abuse of us and of others. That’s why I think it is so important to distinguish between religion and spirituality. Too much harm has been done in the name of religion.
Spirituality, on the other hand, is always a powerful positive force in our lives. Spirituality is the genuine connection to something greater than ourselves. Spirituality is the realization that we are all connected to each other and to the universal force that is called God. Spirituality is the connection that allows us to find strength and courage and wisdom when we need it most. It is the understanding that we are all connected, no matter what our superficial differences may appear to be. Spirituality is discovering the power of prayer and meditation. It is connecting with God so that we realize who we are best meant to be and who we are capable of becoming.
I believe that all harm is done because someone is afraid or doubts or hates him or herself. I believe that all harm occurs because the person is cut off from their spirituality and awareness of their connection with God.
What does this mean? It means that if we allow ourselves to discover our connection with that power greater than ourselves and allow ourselves to drink in the love inherent in that connection, we will not need to hurt others. We don’t have to be afraid if we know that whenever we need to, we can connect to that universal power and source. As we feel the utter acceptance God has for us, we can let go our own sense of shame and guilt. We can become the person we were meant to be.
If you were hurt as a child, you may be angry at God and wary of anything that asks you to talk to God again. But it wasn’t God who hurt us—it was all too human beings. You may personify God or you may think of it as simply a force greater than yourself. Either way, if we risk opening up to that greater power, we may truly be able to find a sense of peace. We may truly be able to find joy in our lives and trust that we can be happy NOW.
For me, an image that has resonated since I was a young child is to picture myself in the woods. There is a clearing. That clearing is filled with golden light and when I step into that light I feel total acceptance, total love, and I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that here is strength and wisdom and courage to draw on whenever I need to do so.
I hope that all of you will be able to find a form of spirituality that speaks to you and brings you comfort and strength and joy. Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),