RELIGION versus SPIRITUALITY

by

Alex PATERSON

http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/spiritual/religion.htm

Updated: 2 April 2010


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RELIGION versus SPIRITUALITY

Religion and Spirituality are often confused with each other, yet in many respects religion has very little to do with spirituality and everything to do with the attainment of secular power and wealth for rather base and venal reasons.

Religion invariably presents an over simplistic and narrow view of reality, is intolerant of contrary views and demeaning to the basic tenets underlying spirituality in that it attempts to present a finite and limited interpretation of the Infinite. 1

Spirituality on the other hand is usually a far deeper personal experience associated with an individual's personal quest to rediscover from within this realm his or her essence and who he or she really is. (i.e. the essence of one's identity so to speak) This quest invariably involves entering into some form of holotropic 2 or altered state of consciousness (either planned or spontaneously) and experiencing a life-changing spiritual event associated with the person's conscious reconnection with the Creative Principle (or God, for want of a better name) This 'reconnection' has no real counterpart in everyday human experience, so very few people who experience it ever talk about it. 3


FOOTNOTES:

1. The stifling nature of religion is well encapsulated by the Websters dictionary definition of the word:
Religion means "a strictness or fidelity in conforming to any practice, as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct."
Enjoined means "ordered by authority" (Source: Websters Dictionary 1898)

The etymology (historical origins) of the word 'religion' also encapsulates the rigid and stifling nature of most religions:
Religion: religare (French) meaning to restrain or tie back (Source: Merriam - Websters Dictionary 1898)
Religion: ME f. AF religiun, OF religion f. religio -onis (Latin) meaning obligation, bond, reverence (Source: Oxford Dictionary 1990)

The Classical Latin word religio (reverence, respect, awe; supernatural constraint, taboo; obligation)
derived from the Latin word religare (tie out of the way; bind fast; moor)
derived from the Late Latin word ligare (to bind; to tie; bind, tie, fasten)
Source:
Myetymology http://www.myetymology.com/latin/religare.html

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2. Holotropic state was a term coined by the American psychologist, Stanislav Grof, in 1992 to describe altered states of consciousness. It is a composite word meaning "oriented or moving towards wholeness" and is made up of the Greek words 'holos' which means whole and 'trepein' which means moving towards.

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3. To quote Stanislav Grof form his book 'The Cosmic Game':

"People who have had the experience know that they have encountered 'God'. However, for most of them the term God does not adequately capture the depth of their experience, since it has been distorted, trivialised and discredited by mainstream religions and culture. Even the names like Absolute Consciousness and Universal Mind seem to be hopelessly inadequate to convey the immensity and shattering impact of such an encounter. Some people consider silence to be the most appropriate reaction to the experience of the Absolute, because it is obvious to them that those who know do not speak and those who speak do not know...." Source: 'The Cosmic Game' by Stanislav Grof (p27)

Copyright Alex Paterson 1999


 

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ABOUT Alex PATERSON

Alex PATERSON is an Australian airline pilot by profession. He writes articles and advises on issues pertaining to aviation, politics, sociology, the environment, sustainable farming, history, computers, natural health therapies, esoteric teachings and spirituality.

He can be contacted at:

Photograph of Alex Paterson


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