Religion Or Spirituality – What is Your Choice?

I am veering toward the thought: “Religion is the opium of masses.” Not that I didn’t try to explore its depths. I approached it with an open mind, I have observed its nuances from a closer angle and have even discussed it with devout followers and youngsters.

Religion is confusing. I have tried to understand it in many ways, most interesting being asking the young and the free minds who thought they were religious. Why – “because they were told to believe in it and follow its rituals.” Why – because “their parents told them to.” But some of them spoke honestly and admitted that they were confused.

To begin with religion may provide emotional security, unknown anchoring may ease angst and promote hope. It may inspire to live a meaningful life. I agree that it offers solace but all that is transitory.

Let’s nor forget the real face of religion:

  • It imposes arbitrary rules and rituals
  • It thrives on fear
  • It tries to control you
  • It encourages you to follow illogical path
  • It blocks freethinking and tries to condition your mind
  • It creates divide and polarizes communities
  • It has been used for accomplishing selfish goals

Religion may be confusing but easier to follow, as it doesn’t demand any understanding.

Spirituality is easier to understand but spiritual awakening dawns slowly; it is connected with our psychological growth, which is quite natural. Within us lies a light, a light of thoughts, a light of sanity, of ethereal happiness the light that liberates, which may become divine at some point of time, if we make an effort.

Spiritual awakening starts unfolding itself when we learn to look within; sometimes it astonishes us with its presence in some unknown crevices of our heart.

Spirituality is just being in harmony with yourself, exploring your thoughts and empowering them, delving deep into what you want and not being led by the so called Gurus. It only comes with understanding people and the world. You can’t expect a teenager to be spiritual, as it is developing your intuitive power and listening to your inner voice.

When we start discarding negative thoughts, when we begin to understand the feelings and emotions of people around us, when we adapt to changes without any grunts, when we adopt a positive approach to life, when self-healing becomes our goal – we may be gearing towards spiritualism.


It is an accomplishment as…

  • It leads us to emotional maturity and a deeper understanding of self.
  • It acquaints us with the darker aspects of our personality.
  • We can recognize the emotions that weaken us.
  • We develop the ability to embrace pain.
  • We learn to bridge the gap between pain and pleasure.
  • We cultivate the resilience to face inner demons, which we flee from.
  • We become sensitive to disparities around us.

Spirituality, as we know today has detached itself from religion and centers around values and humanistic ideas. It concentrates on personal wellbeing and inner peace.

It emphasizes on meditation, mindfulness, tolerance and ethics.

Yes, it matures us; it keeps us grounded but it doesn’t compel us to become another Buddha or his follower.

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Thank you for your support. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

© Balroop Singh.

34 thoughts on “Religion Or Spirituality – What is Your Choice?

  1. I always had a hard time with religion. It seems more like a prison to me.It does feel secure at first – I experienced it but after a while you wonder, what is it that you believe in? Is it your choice really? After a while you don’t own your ideas, you follow the steps but are these steps that talk to you?
    I’d rather go for spirituality Balroop. It does enlighten lives. It does help us to grow, become better versions of ourselves. Spirituality gives us the freedom to be us.
    Thank you for sharing your views on this subject. Inspiring as always.

    1. I like to candid thought… ‘prison’…what an apt description! Religion is never your own choice, as it is either imposed by people around you or you get entrapped in it due to fears and insecurities of circumstances. I am glad you chose spirituality and freedom Marie.This freedom talks to us through our own instincts. Stay blessed dear friend.

  2. Beautifully written. I have broached this subject quite a few times, not in a way like you have though. One of the major difference is that religious practices are often outside influence whereas spirituality comes from within. Different religions have unique ideologies, practices, and approaches. This gets compounded when you find even within one religion there are differences – Orthodox, Catholic, Anglicans, Protestant in Christianity. Even within each of these following there are sub sects. This exists in all major religions – Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, to name a few. Spirituality is universal. The kind of impact spirituality has on a person is much bigger in scope than religion. If we have more spiritual people on Earth, we will have far less crimes. The only flip-side as mentioned by you is that spirituality awakens, unlike religion which one can opt and adopt!

    1. Outside influences often pressurise to follow a particular path, they try to change your thoughts by entrapping us in the web of words they choose to unleash but our own choices give us the liberty to explore and learn. ideologies may differ but human tactics remain the same. We must see through those strategies and let our spirit feel free. Spirituality raises us above human failings to enlighten us.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective arv. Have a wonderful weekend.

  3. I am veering heavily toward spirituality these days. I’m Catholic but distressed often by what the Pope does in the name of God. Really? I can’t even claim him as my leader anymore. Spiritual fits me.

    Thanks for this thoughtful discussion.

    1. Welcome back Jacqui, hope you had a refreshing break.
      I can understand that frustration of leaders not coming up to the expectations. Most of them turn out to be mere humans, devoid of virtues! Thanks for chiming in.

  4. I am certainly not religious, but I don’t tend to consider myself very spiritual either. I do like how you describe spirituality here. I often find myself rolling my eyes at “spiritual” folks are who into crystals, etc. To me that is just as ludicrous as other forms of worship.

    1. People have their own ways of getting inspired. So called magical objects don’t inspire me either. Good thoughts do. Thank you for standing by to share your thought Jeri, much appreciated.

  5. Such a well written Post Balroop.. I think you know my answer. Loved this sentence ” Spirituality, as we know today has detached itself from religion and centers around values and humanistic ideas. It concentrates on personal wellbeing and inner peace.”

    If we all concentrated on these objectives, we would have a greater understanding of what ALL religion should be about.. That of LOVE.. Instead religion is pitted against each other creating further Divisions..

    Love and Well wishes dearest Balroop and Stay Blessed my friend ❤

    1. Thank you so much Sue. You understand these two words and the emotions that are attached to them so well! Religion has been exploited so much that it seems to have lost its real meaning. That’s why modern generation has been drifting away from it. 😊 I appreciate your thoughts. Love and blessings back to you 🤗♥️

  6. I’ve always preached spirituality over religion myself, although I was always fascinated by some of the qualities of Buddhism since it’s not based around a God but looking inwards. Fantastic post. I look forward to reading more from you. 😊

    I wrote a post on the benefits of balancing the mind, body and soul which seems relative! Feel free to drop by one day.

    1. Buddhism too has degenerated and follows the same diktats as any other religion. I have spent half of my life trying to understand religion and people who follow it without any questions…couldnt find a single answer!
      Thanks for coming over to Emotional Shadows and sharing your view, much appreciated.

      1. Yeah, I suppose there are many sects and religion will always be subject to corruption by man. I myself am not much of a follower and could never fully commit to a religion, but I do keep some of the teachings of Buddha close to my heart 😉

        Cheers for the thought provoking post

  7. I think that it’s possible for a religious person to become spiritual, but it doesn’t happen near as often as the religious think that it does. I’ve met one that made the trip. Surely there are others, too. Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

  8. I know at least with Christianity, the religious aspects of it (rituals, services, etc.) are supposed to be a means to carrying out faith and worship of God, so the problem comes when they become a means to an end. Religion by itself, while providing stability and security perhaps, is hollow. It can also lead to weird beliefs if the true purpose is lost. It’s like a mother telling her kids to stay on the grass, and not go on the road: green is good, black is bad. If that’s all they remember, green becomes a lucky color, black is an taboo color with no recollection of why that is. Anyway, great thoughts. 🙂

    1. Thank you David for sharing your perspective. Welcome to Emotional Shadows, much appreciated. I like the analogy of safety zone. 🙂 How true! Binding somebody within the cages of rituals and diktats stifles the growth.

  9. Fantastic thought-provoking post. Even though I agree to disagree. Personally, I believe we are able to encompass both. Whereas, religion is my moral compass and spirituality is my guiding light. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I like the points you made and they ring true to me…but what if we are ushering in a new age by the celestial entity Christ said he would send back to us. What if “Spirituality” is the evolving spiritual maturity we are learning through “the counselor” that was sent back, the Holy Spirit?! Sacred Spirit?! Now that would link the two and dismiss neither of them. Awe…God is good. I write on similar topics!

    1. Hi Jane, welcome to Emotional Shadows, I appreciate your standing by to share your insights. Even if two are linked, I would prefer spirituality for obvious reasons I have raised in the post. Thanks for the follow, I am glad to connect with you.

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