Practical Spirituality


If we think of spirituality as our
deepest experience of The Sacred, in the world and within us, then we see that
religion may be a support to exploring and experiencing these elements. The
religions of the world are vast repositories of practices and philosophies that
point us toward The Sacred. They offer timeless wisdom and sophisticated
systems that can advance the soul. Yet, if we understand that spirituality is
ultimately about a person’s sense of identity, connection, and meaning, then it
is equally true that religion is
not necessary either.  Sometimes religion may even be an obstacle to

A religion is typically a social
organization built around common beliefs and practices that reflect a shared assumption
about the nature of The Sacred and the Self. There are many people who find
their spirituality ignited and fed by their religion. Spirituality and religion
may function in harmony. We must not forget all the good work, charity, and
service that is done in the name of religion. There is also great value in
understanding and honoring your heritage: your language, your ancestors, your
traditions. These strong foundations can bring great meaning and stability to a
spiritual path.

In contrast, for some their
spirituality will never closely follow a religious community or prescription. For
many, religion becomes a barrier to spirituality, and feeds off fear, a desire
to belong, and a lack of willingness to truly question and explore the nature
of life, the self, and The Sacred. The gift of religion is its capacity to
preserve and transmit teachings of philosophies and practices that, if engaged
with a spiritual focus, can serve as powerful vehicles of connection and
awareness of The Sacred. When politics and ego get involved, religion can be
dangerous. While I believe that a conscious spiritual practice, supported by
guides and community is essential to a life of peace and balance, I have not
found religion to be necessary. There are many ways to find these elements.

Excerpt from Return to the Sacred


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