The line between the realms of spirituality & religion is very fine & somewhat blurred. Their definitions change from person to person & culture to culture. Their definitions are intertwined & complex. However, at the very root of its concept, these two concepts have separate meanings. However, as we start looking at their various aspects, we find that their domain overlap in certain aspects.
One of the most successful spiritual writers of our time, Mr. Deepak Chopra has beautifully explained this concept in a few words:
“Religion is a belief in someone else’s experience.
Spirituality is having your own experience.”
A Look at Religion:
- Religion is belief & practice in a certain defined set of thoughts, rules & customs with primary purpose of helping people live their lives with defined beliefs & ideology. These set of beliefs change from place to place & its customs are tailored to the basic needs of people in that region.
- Religion involves looking outward for one’s own acceptance.
- Social acceptance is one of the key factors in a religion’s growth. The shared set of religious beliefs within a community act as a social lubricant and oil the machinery of society to run smoothly.
- Conventions & social dogma are an integral part of the religion.
A look at Spirituality:
- Contrary to religion, spirituality is the practice of looking inside oneself for one’s own acceptance.
- An individual is not confined by a set of rules to define oneself. It is boundless, without any rules & without any promise of punishment or reward. All it offers is abundant inner happiness & serenity.
- The very foundation of spirituality lies in the positive basic human emotions like love & happiness. There is no place for fear in the realms of spirituality.
- Meditation, relaxation & concentration are integral parts of spirituality.
It is completely & entirely true that an individual might not share religious beliefs with the society but might still be a deeply spiritual person. An individual being does not necessarily require a religion to be spiritual. Whether one follows a certain religion or not has nothing to do with one’s spirituality.