My favorite professor at Seattle U was a 72 year old Jesuit. In his world religion class – the very first thing he said was “I hate the catholic church but at my age what else am I going to do?” God I love the Jesuits! Anyway – he shared his perception regarding the difference between religion and spirituality by pointing our attention to their latin roots. Religion’s root Religio simply means to ‘bind’. You can be bound to anything – your job, your golf handicap, relationships, limiting beliefs, dogma, prejudice, your pet, your bank balance, your title, etc. I get the sense of the external in the word ‘religion’….
Spirituality’s latin root Spirare means “to breath”. Breath is life. Regardless of what we experience in our lives – we have to breath to keep on living – period. Breath doesn’t judge, perceive, qualify, analyze, et al – it just IS. Largely – by our autonomic nervous system – we aren’t even choosing to breath – to live we don’t have a choice – breath IS life. I get the sense of the internal in the word ‘spirituality’.
Tell me if the logic bears out – participation in any religion is a choice but spirituality is not. We are all spiritual beings – consciously or not – aware or not – in agreement or not. To me – embracing that power of divine internal breath – allows us to dive deeply into all the experiences of our lives – free of any constraints of judgement that may hold us back from the full journey. Rather like Life…
There’s a Dante’s Inferno in each of us – can we allow ourselves the gift of that journey in and through our own particular hell and see the beauty of the experience when we surface?
Raiana Golden – all rights reserved