I want to elaborate on my last blog about why I left the church, and dig deeper into the difference I’ve found between Spirituality and Religion.
Something that's come to my attention quite a bit lately is the fact that there are a lot of religious people in the world around me who claim to be spiritual, and yet have so much uncertainty about death and the afterlife and so much depression and anxiety and mental health issues stemming from fears and lack of direction in their life. Isn't a strong faith and spirituality supposed to appease that?
At 17 years old I had had enough of church. I just didn’t feel inspired, and I felt like I was being fed what felt like half-truths - I knew there had to be SO much more to this incredible Universe than the condensed version I was taught in church. I didn't have faith in anything after being raised in the church all that time -- in fact, it left me with even more questions. The church never gave me any peace as to what actually happens when we die, like what is our soul? Why do we bury a body in the ground if the soul isn't in the body? Where does the soul go? What is eternity? Do I only get one chance here to get everything done in my life, and when I die that's it? If I was good I'll go to heaven, if I was bad I'll go to hell, and that's my eternity? What about children who die? They only got that one chance to be here, and it was only a few years long, and then poof, eternity in "heaven?" What is heaven? What is hell? Where did God even come from??
I could go on.
Unfortunately, we're all encouraged not to question our "faith." Don't question God or you could go to hell. That sounds scary, doesn't it?
Anyone who uses fear mongering like that is manipulating you, and that's my firm belief. If you're coaxed into behaving a certain way because you're told the alternative has scary consequences, then RUN. By the way, the church isn't the only "authority" figure out there who uses fear mongering, but I'll stick to the topic at hand.
It was because I questioned my faith and the church that I was catapulted on the most incredible spiritual journey I could ever imagine, and that journey continues to go deeper all the time.
Through my questioning, I discovered my connection to the Universe and that this God I grew up believing in was actually a Source Energy from which we all came and will all return to, and that we are always part of and connected to. I read more, had conversations with others who weren't afraid to question, I did more digging on my own, and explored more of my own concepts. Perhaps Jesus was actually here to help us realize all these things? Perhaps he wasn’t actually God’s physical son at all, but instead a very enlightened, spiritually evolved person who was here to assist us on our spiritual evolution and path to enlightenment? Maybe he was here to help us, be one with us and make us aware of our own inner power to be just like him? He did help Peter realize his own ability to walk on water, no different than Jesus’ ability. All of us, sons and daughters of God - another way of saying we are all part of that original Source Energy. Maybe humanity wasn’t ready for that at the time. Or maybe someone else didn’t want the rest of humanity to know what power we all possess. So Jesus was crucified, and his message manipulated to fit what the powers-that-be wanted it to say, keeping the true power away from the people.
What are your thoughts? Surely I've stirred some up for you already, if you haven't had these questions to begin with.
Personally, I’ve come to believe we have our own power. We are all connected to and part of that One great God power. I discovered these truths on my own, and not just through conversations and books. When I say I discovered these truths on my own, I mean the feeling of resonance. You know, that vibration of energy deep in your soul, that when you learn something or discover something, you can feel its truth within you, lifting you up, empowering you, exciting you and igniting a thirst for more. I personally never experienced that going to that brick-and-mortar church building. But I discovered what it felt like to connect with God when I was out in nature, or having an enlightening conversation with a loved one, or wishing I had something and then suddenly that very thing appears in my life, or when a tough situation somehow just works out, as if by magic: I felt that presence of a great powerful energy. And when I realized I am part of that, and one with it, I felt that deep inner resonance even more.
This is spirituality. That inner knowing, that discovery for yourself, what it means to be alive, uninfluenced by any religious dogmas or doctrines thinking they hold power over you. What gives your life meaning? What builds your personal power? That trust and knowing that has the power to take away all fear in your life, and bring you the confidence that you are supported, you are safe, and you deserve and can attain the greatest of joys, that's true faith.
These things can't be taught to you. You have to discover them on you own. You have to personally resonate with them, and it's a solitary journey to discover that (though connecting with like minds along the way certainly helps!)
Religion is taught. Spirituality is felt. Religion is a culture. Spirituality is personal.
So I encourage you to set your religious teachings aside and tune into your heart and ask yourself, what do you believe?Wanting to explore your spirituality deeper? I’d love to help, but remember, this is a path you have to discover for yourself. I can’t show it to you. But I can give you the tools to uncover it on your own, and offer some great conversation along the way! DM me on social media @JamiChristine11 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more!