Thursday, April 17, 2014

Religious vs Spiritual

Finally, after a long time, I am writing again.. Phewwww... It's been a super-busy month after the last holiday in Tangkahan that I feel like I was in a military bootcamp.

So, again I incidentally met up with a topic of being a religious person and a spiritual person. Mostly we refer both terms as being the same. Let me tell you.. They are not the same.

Imagine if someone tells you, "Hey, you never go to church/mosque/temple. You should go there and develop your spiritual life". If someone ever tells you this, knock that person on the head and tell him/her that he/she gets it all wrong. OK, I'm just kidding. Don't knock anyone's head, yet.

Being religious means that you understand all the content of whatever the religion you are embracing. You understand the rituals, you understand the content in the holy script, you go to church/temple/mosque and you pray properly. Does it make you a spiritual person? The answer is NO.

I could go to temple everyday, I could memorize all the mantra and the songs for the divines, I could practice yoga perfectly, I could preach in front of a group of people about devotion and religion and holy script. Do all these make me a spiritual person? The answer is still NO.

Spiritual and Religious exist in opposite spectrum. A person could be both spiritual and religious, but being one of them does not mean that he/she is being the other as well. An atheist is definitely not religious, but he/she could be a very spiritual person indeed.

Being spiritual means that you see beyond your personal existence. It means you understand that you are just a part of a greater means. A spiritual person would love himself/herself, but not to the stage of being selfish because a spiritual person believe in union. A spiritual person understands that we all are connected in one dot and hence, he/she has the capacity to love others the way he/she loves himself/herself.

You may observe many people out there who do not involve in religious activities - they do not meditate, they do not say chants, they do not carry the holy script all the time, but you could see that they are a fine and kind person. You could see kindness in their movements. This is because they care about others, they try to find a way to help others to betterment, they respect others, and most of all, they understand that nature has its own power that no man could play around with.

There are many religious people out there who can't be said as "kind" at all. They love to judge others without trying to see where they are standing. They believe by getting up in the morning, practice yoga, be in a state of deep meditation and pray before leaving the house make them superior. Believing that they are superior give them the authority to underdog others who do not do the same as what they do. These people are religious by word, but they are not spiritual by heart. They follow certain dogma which is far from love, care, and understanding. They are not connected to their own surrounding. Instead, they are self-centered and they do not share the goodness they have within them with their surrounding.

There are several examples that I could say about these spiritual people that exist in our lives. I will give you two for today.

The first - I know a person who seldom goes to temple. He doesn't know how to chant all the mantras and he definitely does not know all the rituals needs to be done for the prayers. That's his religious background. But, one day, there was water tap running unused and he was very angry with the fact that no one cared about it. In that anger he was saying something like this "Look, there are millions of people out there including infants and women who do not have access to clean water at all - not even once a year. They have to drink the pee of the camel in order to quench their thirst. We may not be able to go there and supply the water to them. We may not be able to help them directly, but the LEAST we could do is to respect what we have. We have clean water running all day and night. We have the electricity to pump that water from the well to to entire house. Respect that. Be grateful for that. Do not behave as if you don't care about anything except your own well-being". Does this person a spiritual person? The answer is YES.

The second - There is this one girl I know who hates the topic of God. She does not believe in the existence of God. But, if she sees someone litters without thinking of the consequences, if she sees someone goes inside a forest with all the backpacks full of snacks, eat them there and throw the non-biodegradable garbage in the forest instead of taking them back where they could throw them properly - she would hit the roof. Other than that, she respects animals the way she respects human beings. She won't harm animals unless it has to be done. Does that make her a spiritual person? The answer is YES. Subconsciously, this girl has made a connection with God by having such warmth in her heart. The problem is that her brain does not want to admit that, yet. I do hope she understands that soon and make peace with that contradiction.

I believe that being spiritual is to follow your inner conscience. If you truly listen from within, I assure you that it will never give you a wrong answer because God lives in you. The only problem is whether we are sensitive enough to listen to it or not. Whether we want to follow that path or not.

Being spiritual means to be connected with God in a one-to-one interaction instead of through all sets of rituals and chants. Being spiritual is when you see beyond your personal existence and come to the image of God. It is when you respect others, it is when you care about others, it is when you help others when you can, it is when you care about the animals to the extent of your capability, and it is when you care about the well-being of this mother earth where you are standing.

I understand that no one is perfect and it is impossible to be a 100% spiritual person. There will never be a word "perfect" in our lives. We will never achieve that "perfection", but what is it in life if we don't try ourselves to perfection, isn't it? ;)

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