SPIRITUALITY IS NOT RELIGION
The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.
The above definition of spirituality, "life and consciousness
away from the body," implies the existence of spirit or soul.
Very different implications arise from the first (Oxford 1980)
dictionary definition of religion, "belief in the existence of a
superhuman controlling power....usually expressed in worship".
Worship implies that whoever is doing the worshiping is not as
good as the god being worshiped. It also usually results in
clergy, priests, ministers or leaders who gain power over
worshipers by claims of superior knowledge.
Human existence can be considered a house of four rooms, the rooms of 1.the body, 2.the mind, 3.the emotions and 4.spirituality. Which rooms do you favor or leave unattended?|
After the death of a religion's great spiritual leader, it is
common for followers to develop hierarchies and rules that are
far removed from the teachings of that leader. These rules tend
to promote the hierarchy in preference to the teaching. It seems
to me that the fundamental words and teachings of the greats
like Lao-Tzu, Buddha, Mohammed and Jesus are as valid today as
when those men walked the planet. However, the followers running
the religious hierarchies resulting from those teachers have
often interpreted the original teachings to suit the hierarchy.
This, of course, often radically alters the original teachings.
If your religion sticks closely to the original words of these
leaders and discards words of other less important prophets/
teachers where they conflict with the teachings of the great
teachers, then it is probable that you have a religion that
permits you happiness. If not, then it is helpful to remember
that faith, not religion, is usually the crucible that permits
happiness to florish.
It remains popular today among a few of the better educated to
hold the Marxist belief that "religion is the opium of the
people." That does seem true for some sects of the more strident
variety, but lumping all spiritual and religious systems
together without closer examination does not seem particularly
intelligent to me. By taking this judgmental position, such
people seem to be throwing out the baby along with the
With my clients I am often a sales agent for spirituality (any
happiness-permitting variety). For without some sense of or
belief in one's spiritual nature, (1)we miss much real
satisfaction in life and (2)we retain much unhappiness in
perpetuity. For more information, I recommend consulting
healing-spirituality pioneer Dr. M. Scott Peck's The Road Less
Traveled. In my therapy office I often dialog with clients
about their unhappy spiritual beliefs, particularly those that
preach hatred and condemnation of others. Condemnation of others
seems to violate the words of most great founders of religion
(Jesus, Lao-Tzu, Buddha and Mohammed).
More Excerpts This Chapter
WAS THIS CHAPTER BANNED IN BOSTON?
GOLDEN RETRIEVER MAGIC
SPIRITUALITY - TRUTH OR QUACKERY?
SPIRITUALITY IS NOT RELIGION
WHEN DOES RANDOM CHANCE BECOME A FRAUD?
TWO HAPPIER BELIEF SYSTEMS
ONE-TIME-AROUND VS. REINCARNATION
PAST LIVES THERAPY
THIS IS A SAFE UNIVERSE
I GET EXACTLY WHAT I NEED
WHAT ABOUT BEING A VICTIM?
SUMMARY OF BELIEFS HAPPY AND UNHAPPY
This Chapter's Quiz
Book Table of Contents
Psychology of Sex Education - Psychological Sexual Health Care
SPIRITUALITY IS NOT RELIGION © 1995-2004