In the beginning,
Creator put four peoples on the earth.
He gave them each a continent and way to live.
He placed the whites in Europe and gave them a way to pray.
He placed the blacks in Africa and gave them a way to pray.
He placed the reds in the Americas and gave them a way to pray.
He placed the yellows in Asia and gave them a way to pray.
He gave them animals and plants to help them live.
And He gave them all Free Will.
Over the years, some of the people used their free will
and chose to become different. Some became too busy to pray and did
not want to live the way Creator had given them. Some used their free
will and chose to pray and live in a different way. Many of them traveled
beyond their given home.
And now we have many new peoples and many ways to pray and live. From the different cultures that evolved in the different lands come different religions and different forms of spirituality. And they seem so different. And we wonder why, if there is one God, are there so many religions?
For many people spirituality is troublesome. They don't know what to believe in because there are so many different beliefs. They don't know what religion is best because there are so many. And many people who want to turn their lives around struggle with spiritual concepts because they have an aversion to religion.
Many who enter the circle of recovery from addiction and/or alcoholism struggle with the spiritual aspects of the 12-step program.
Let me offer this concept: Spirituality is not the same as religion. Religion is not spirituality. You do not have to be religious to be spiritual. And being religious does not make you spiritual. Going to church every Sunday and donating a portion of your income does not make you spiritual. It makes you a religious follower.. not necessarily a religious person.
How can that be? Let me offer some ideas that religion and spirituality are two completely different and separate things.
Spirituality is natural. We all have it, whether we know it or practice it, it is in us. And it really is a rather simple thing. We want to be happy and live a "good" life. To have friends and be social and have a special someone. We want to be "good" and do the right things. But we have some very deep questions. What happens when I die? Is there a God and who is it? How should I pray to this God? How did we get here?
These questions are usually overwhelming for many people. And human nature is to turn to an authority to tell us the answers. When we have a medical question, we turn to a doctor. When we have a legal question, we turn to a lawyer. And that is the purpose of and the origin of religion.
Religion is a man made, culture based doctrine that guides it's people in the practice of spirituality. Religion is a good thing that in some cases has had bad consequences on some individuals spirituality. Not because religion is bad, but because it was applied in a bad way.
Because religion is man made and culture based, it naturally has some of the rules and taboos of that particular culture built into it. Unfortunately for some, many cultures have chosen to use the fear of God to enforce the man made rules of that culture.
And some wonder, how can there be a loving God when so many terrible things happen to some people. Creator gave us free will. No one, no thing, can totally control that which has free will. Although Creator has a great plan for us to be happy, healthy, and good people, He has no control over it. If we choose to follow this great plan, our lives can be wonderful. But there can be sadness or pain or misfortune even if we follow a good spiritual plan. Because that is the flow of life. Things happen in life that are not always good. Many people chose not to follow a spiritual path and do things as they wish. And while those people walk through life, they cause an imbalance that affects the web of life and all living things.
It does not mean they are bad people. Though some of them choose to be bad and know better, many don't know any better. Many don't even have a true understanding of goodness or spirituality. Many were never taught. Many had reason to doubt what they were taught. Because these non-spiritual people go through life doing things of their free will, they sometimes produce situations and conditions that have a negative impact on our lives. It is not our Higher Power bringing bad things to us. It is the free will of a person who has passed through our life. Some ask, "if God is good, why do good people die tragic or sudden deaths?" When a person dies, an autopsy is done to confirm the cause of death. No inquiry is done as to what may have killed them in 3 days or months from now. Could they have cancer? not determined. Could they have gotten AIDS from a transfusion? Not determined. Do they have an aneurysm that may burst in a few weeks? Not determined. When a good person dies suddenly and/or tragically, we can only have faith and comfort that they were being compassionately protected from a long period of pain and physical/emotional suffering.
You can be a spiritual person without being religious. You only need to have faith that there is some Higher Power out there. Pray to that Higher Power for guidance and strength, faith and protection, help and wisdom. You need not pray in some specific way. Only quiet your thoughts and focus on praying. Maybe you will think your prayers. Maybe you will say them out loud. Maybe you will read them from a book or collection. Try to be humble and focus more on prayer for goodness and for other people. Don't pray for great things for your self.. only for guidance in living in a good way. Pray for yourself for protection and strength.
Some will have trouble having faith in something they don't understand. How do you pray and have faith in something you don't understand? Ironically you do this every day. We have faith that when we flip a switch, electricity will light up our darkness. We have faith that when we bring our food home and put it in the refrigerator, electricity will keep safe from spoiling. Yet our best scientists don't really know what electricity is. There is an Electrical Theory that suggests an electron is jumping from atom to atom. No one has ever seen it happen. Yet, without question, without a second thought, we have faith in the great power of electricity, which is explained by a theory, to make our lives better. Why does it need to be so difficult to have faith in the great power of spirituality to make our lives better?
Elan Michaels "Windwalker"
Song: Star Keeper
Windwalker's Web Page