Religion Or Spirituality?
Being religious is different than being spiritual. Exploring the differences and determining what is best for you is often a long process of self examination. After finding what is best for you, it is time to decide what rituals you will observe. Finally comes seeking others with the same beliefs.
Here are several questions to encourage your spirit to tell you what you need to know: How strongly are you connected with a particular religion? Do you enjoy the fellowship that a church provides? Is your higher power best felt when you are alone, or with others? Do you find comfort in nature? Do you like to pray before an alter? Writing out answers to questions like these often helped me when I didn’t know what to believe in. Seeing things like that on paper will reinforce what you have already determined.
Deciding that you are a religious person should put you on a path seeking an organized religion. Evaluating a church before committing to one is always a good idea. However, visiting several churches before committing to one may be necessary.
The importance of ritual may help you decide which church is the best for you. Consider what you need. Is weekly (or even daily) communion important to you? Many Christians believe in the Body and Blood, and don’t feel complete without the dose of holy sustenance.
It is much easier to find others to connect with when you are a religious person, rather than a spiritual person. Normally, this takes place in the church, but can take place in other areas as well. Many churches host study and prayer groups in places outside of church walls. Often activities are planned for children, so childcare won’t be a concern for those wishing to attend.
If you find that you are a more spiritual person, you may decide to worship your higher power from your home. Sometimes spiritual people feel a strong connection to the earth, so meeting with your higher power may take place in a natural setting. Rivers, rocks, and soil are often favored for their everlastingness.
Ritual for spiritual people can be virtually anything you are comfortable with. Many spiritual souls are finding their path with a blend of paganism and Christianity. This entails believing in the Christan beliefs that you are already familiar with, and respecting the earth.
Ritual for this person may be touching rock that is millions of years old, or letting river water run over your hands while giving thanks to God for the earth, and giving thanks to the earth for all that she provides. Sometimes ritual can involve sipping wine at an alter that pays homage to four beings or elements that mean the most to you. It is all interpretation.
Finding others who believe exactly what you believe when you are spiritual is going to be very difficult. Sometimes the best that you can hope for is to others with similar beliefs.
This isn’t really as bleak as it seems, because being spiritual with someone whose beliefs differ from your own can enlighten you. The spiritualist may find new methods for ritual, or new ideas to incorporate into the way they connect.