For many, religion is a part of their identity. In most cases, you are born into it, the same way you’re born to certain parents in a certain country of a certain ethnicity and with a certain name. All of these things come together to shape how you perceive yourself and are perceived by others. But the incredible thing about religion that’s sadly often ignored is that it teaches us we more similar than we think. This commonality is most evident in our spirituality. Let me explain.
The Link Between Religion and Spirituality
Every religion has two parts. The first includes a code of conduct for living in society along with some concept of God however that is defined by your religion. This part provides a sense of belonging and an outlet for life’s challenges. The second component to every religion is the spiritual. In each religion, whether it’s Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, or something else, there are ways to follow it and grow within your spirit. Spirituals paths include, but are not limited to, the Yogic, the Vedic, the Sufi (Islam), the Buddhist, the Kabbalah (Judaism), the Christian, etc. All essentially lead you to a spiritual dimension with the purpose of growth. What you follow doesn’t matter. It’s going to lead you to the same place. That’s the beauty of this spiritual aspect.
To reach that spiritual place, one must undergo a specific process that’s unique to each religion. Some religions would say to practice meditation, while others may say utilize mantras. And still others would say raise your awareness to the point of oneness so that you can begin to see everything in the world in the same light. Regardless of the methodology, at the end of the day, every religion is leading and guiding you to the experience of the soul.
So you have three choices: 1) You can follow the principles and spiritual process of the religion you are born into, 2) you can follow another religion’s spiritual process, or 3) you can begin an independent spiritual process. Meditation is a common tool for many people because everything that we do at a mind level is all the same process and has the same outcome. Why? Because we’re all humans. Religion simply gives you a platform for your spiritual journey of which you can choose on your own.
The Five Spiritual Types
The path to spiritual consciousness starts from seeking answers. The seeking can lead you to the spiritual aspects of different religions and universal teachers. You study your options, and then pick one of the processes and grow into it, practice it, and watch as it enhances your life. Everyone falls into one of the five spiritual types:
1. The Curious Type: Those who are interested in learning more about the spiritual aspects of the world, but don’t do much about it.
2. The Casual Seeker: The casual seeker explores spirituality a little bit, but doesn’t take the spiritual process too seriously or really dedicate themselves to learning more.
3. The Sincere Seeker: The sincere or true seeker will explore and get themselves to the point of knowledge because they want to gather information. They might visit a spiritual teacher or mentor or travel to other countries with different spiritual practices. They actively seek and learn.
4. The Experiencer: All this seeking and learning leads to knowledge. But knowledge about something and and truly knowing it are two different things. All of that knowledge about spirituality turns into wanting to “know” spirituality and experience it for themselves. These are the people who are growing into experiencing their own consciousness and the universal consciousness. Once they’ve experienced spirituality, then they can share it with other people and encourage them to grow and do the same.
5. The Teacher: Lastly, there are very special souls, like Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, who go beyond the experience of spirituality. For them, the world is beyond reality; there’s no good, bad, pain, pleasure. They accept everything in its totality. They have only one goal: To uplift humanity into their own spirits. So based on their teachings, we have made religions.
Why Spirituality Is So Important
In a sense, spirituality is the great unifier of religions. It’s something they all have in common. Although we start from religion to get to spirituality, really religion can be seen as an offshoot of spirituality. Religions are based on the spiritual experiences of the great masters or teachers as a way to allow people to experience spirituality in a way that that might not otherwise.
One benefit of developing the spiritual aspect of your mind and soul is that instead of turning outward to deal with issues that come up, you turn inward to yourself and you work on yourself. You deepen the connection with yourself and grow into it. As that happens, you are able to help other people, and others may turn to you for that help, which is fulfilling.
Related: A Meditation for Unity
The second major benefit—and the most important one—is that spirituality helps you recognize the sameness of all people, across all religions, ethnicities, and locations. When we access our own consciousness and the universal consciousness through meditation or other means, it becomes clear that we, as humans, are all part of the same whole. The more you start to realize that all people are alike, the easier it is to accept other religions and those around you. Today, this is more crucial than ever, so I encourage you to look to your religion or your chosen spiritual process and think about how you can take it to the next level. Challenge yourself to acknowledge the oneness of the universe and you’ll find that you’ll have a greater acceptance for all people—no matter where they come from.