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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© Balroop Singh.