Spirituality vs. Religion

Dear fellow explorers of spirituality,

I was just about to initiate a discussion on this subject when I stumbled on an existing discussion thread. Let me share some of the thoughts about spirituality and religion here. I could have not come up with a better definition than the one by IFeelFree: “Spirituality is the dimension of human experience that transcends ordinary consciousness. It is concerned with the transformation of consciousness, or awakening to the still awareness that is alive at the core of each person’s being.” To hear such profound statements on the Amazon discussion board is very inspiring.

Vern’s remark about the Aboriginal spirituality reminds me about the cultural prejudices that portray pantheistic, Shamanic spirituality as somehow less acceptable. I thoroughly agree with him about the cultural bias of religion though. Most of the people I have discussed this subject with agree that there is a wide gap between religion and spirituality. At the same time, most religions have esoteric and exoteric traditions. The esoteric ones are usually associated with meditation, enlightenment and self-realization; the exoteric ones, on the other hand, are mostly associated with rites, morality, indoctrination of the masses, which is why they are generally considered the “opiate for the masses.”

When spiritual experiences begin to include all kinds of “odd experiences” – that is when you begin to discover that you are not who you thought you were! Transcending your stereotypes about the range of acceptable experiences opens up the doors to experiencing the fullness of life. However, that is where religion starts crying “foul” and imposing all kinds of moral and cultural taboos. God forbid, you venture into the unknown and discover that most of the things you were taught are pure mumbo-jumbo!

Inability to accept some or all “strange” or “unconventional” spiritual experiences appears to be the main reason why most religions tend to restrict their followers from learning the profound life lessons contained in those experiences. It may be strange to hear this type of statements from a Tibetan lama, but somebody, preferably an insider, must expose religion for what it is: a bunch of empty phrases about constant delegation of one’s responsibility and power over one’s life into the hands of some external deity or invisible entity. Most of those who really experience oneness with the universe realize that there is nowhere to go and nobody to worship. We are exactly where we need to be at any given moment and experience exactly what we need to experience in order to learn the shocking truth about the mystery of our existence.

Good luck with your journeys.

Fly agaric mushrooms

About the author

Lama Somananda Tantrapa is the holder of the lineage of Qi Dao that has been fostered in his clan for 27 generations since 1224 AD.  He has over 30 years of experience in Qi Dao and other internal martial arts.  After pioneering Qi Dao Coaching in 2000, he has provided wellness, peak performance and life coaching to hundreds of clients from all walks of life.  His coaching has inspired many professional athletes, speakers, dancers, singers, writers and actors to open up to the infinite source of power that exists within everyone. 

            Lama Tantrapa authored the book and DVD entitled “Qi Dao – Tibetan Shamanic Qigong.”  Being an avid speaker and presenter, he appeared on many radio and TV programs in the US, Guam and abroad.  He currently serves on the NQA Board of Directors. For more information about Qi Dao Coaching, workshops, retreats, and long-distance learning opportunities, visit www.qidao.org.

One thought on “Spirituality vs. Religion

  1. Religion vs Spirituality???

    There are various forms of spirituality some are purely philosophical, some religious, others either / or.
    When you speak of religion it seems as if you are referring to a particular religion because you are very biased as to what you say about “religion.”

    “awakening to the still awareness that is alive at the core of each person’s being”
    I believe an ‘awake’ individual has the ability to see every individual’s full potential, that is, their aspect of “awakeness,” an aspect as you quoted that is alive at the core…

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