Religion Vs. Spirituality.

I am putting this up for my cyber friend Jan — it’s written by one of my favorite writers Terry Tempest Williams. I believe this piece is from her book “Leap” – which is an amazing and fantastic read.

The piece is on Religion Vs. Spirituality…

Religion brings us into community with a shared set of beliefs, symbols, and songs. We can choose to be internally engaged or not. The religion moves forward whether we are present or not. The religion goes forward whether we are present or not. The rules are written. Those in authority tell us what to do. It is, for the most part, comfortable and supportive. We are known. We belong to a congregation and we are taught to worship a creed “the result and fruit of many minds… Purified from all the oddities, shortcomings, and flaws of individual experience.” There are answers to be found. It is a peace we can borrow. We learn compliance, cooperation, and sacrifice. We can bask in the warmth of feeling part of an organism that knows its place in the world.

Spirituality is solitary. Its compliance is conflict, a gnawing at the soul that cannot be ignored. We are engaged. There are no rules. There are no maps. We live with the discomfort and ambiguity of our own authority. At times, it is lonely, often informed by pain. On other occasions, it is the body submerged in a phosphorescent tide, every movement sparking a trail of illumination. Afterwards, we sit on the shore in moonlight. No candles are necessary. Spirituality exists when we are present, buoyed up by the waters of attention. We learn the courage of faith. It is peace that is earned. We can take solace in the heat of doubt knowing that is the pulse of poetry.


2 Responses to “Religion Vs. Spirituality.”

  1. Thank you for posting this. Although I have never bought into the “authority” of the church or even much of the creeds, I still find that sense of community there. Or at least I used to. I obviously still have much to sort out.

  2. I really like Terry’s writing – and writing that moves us is like a hand reaching out take ours. That is how it feels – the writer, musician, artist speaks to us in a way we understand. Shatters that isolation we can feel.

    This piece does that for me…explained to me why religion never worked for me.

    But I understand the appeal of religion and of course community. I’d like to explore the Buddhist path and find a place to worship.

    I know you will find the path that welcomes you, your partner and your lovely family…you deserve nothing less from a place that belongs to “god”.

    I’ll bet you ordered Gospel Truth from — I do look at sitemeter and that is where I send people that read the blog or posts about her music.

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