What makes it so different from religion? This is a good question. The answer may surprise you. Find out which approach is best for you.
The Landscape of Your Mind
One of the questions we get the most is, “what is the difference between spiritual exploration and religion”? So, let’s start by breaking down the terms by looking at the continuum of spirituality.
Spirituality is a term with several meanings. The basic part of this term is the word spirit. This refers to the non-physical part of our mind. Many people believe we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Because of our nature, many people hear the call of an inner quest. We are explorers of the unknown.
We have to admit, the word spiritual suffers from misuse and overuse. Semantic satiation is a loss of meaning because of repetition or overuse. Words lose meaning because of misuse. This is when someone distorts the original meaning of a word. People like to sound spiritual. That’s because there’s an unspoken sense of respect attached to spiritual or religious people. So, it’s not uncommon for people to use this word to enhance their vocabulary.
So, we need to discuss how we use these terms and why.
We relate the word spiritual with the term Spirit or Soul. And, the human Spirit or Soul is synonymous with consciousness. We use the term spiritual because the processes are a way of exploring consciousness. Investigating consciousness is a common desire. Some people refer to this as the call of our spiritual quest. We use methods for traveling the depths of awareness and higher states of consciousness.
We use the term exploration because exploring consciousness is one of the primary purposes of these methods. They help us explore the fabric of our very nature. Above all, we use processes that are scientifically sound and repeatable. We investigate claims of new types of processes. However, we have found nothing new in the last 40 years. There are a lot of attempts to rebrand and repackage, but these are often substandard imitations.
This should help you understand the landscape of your mind. This should help you understand how spiritual exploration differs from religion. It is the use of processes to develop awareness and explore consciousness. It promotes the use and development of rational thinking, common sense, and logic. Whereas, most religions focus on belief in mythology.
The three most popular religions in the world focus on belief. These are the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions have over 3 billion members. Wow! And today there are well over 10,000 different variations. Everyone has a unique approach to the subject of a higher power.
Because of their critical mass, they have a significant influence on the cultural narrative. Whether you believe in these religions, you see their effects in all areas of life. They are the developers of groupthink manipulation tactics that make and maintain converts. Belief is such a powerful drug it has an inverse effect on the use of reason and common sense.
Still, the bottom line for religion is the belief in doctrine and dogma. Belief in these ideas gives admission to one of their 10,000 clubs. These religions are not original creations. They are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. Here mythology is passed off as spirituality. This has nothing to do with exploring the landscape of your mind.
How Spiritual Exploration Differs from Religion
The essence of this system is the use of methods for altering, growing, and changing consciousness. It has nothing to do with belief. If you can follow a process, you can use these tools.
A good analogy is following the recipe to baking a cake. To bake a cake, you need the right things put together in the right order and cooked at the proper temperatures. The result is something delicious. You just follow the recipe. So, for instance, the basic beginning meditation has a recipe. You find a quiet place. Then, you sit comfortably with eyes closed. Next, you bring your attention to your body, your posture, and breathing. The result is a quieting of the internal chatter. This silence is restful and delicious.
Now you can see how spiritual exploration differs from religion. One is based on beliefs and superstition. The other is based on processes for self-development.
The Origins of Consciousness Tools
You can find these tools for expanding consciousness all around the world. For instance, Shamanism is found on every continent. And, you’ll find several meditative practices from Eastern cultures. Other examples include Japa Meditation from India and healing arts like Reiki come from Japan.
There are also some processes from the Western cultural tradition, like The Enneagram Profile. Above all, these systems focus on sharing and safeguarding this valuable knowledge. Thus, preserving the integrity of processes. The actions of these cultures help to raise the consciousness of man.
Some of these technologies have gone through a marketing re-branding effort in the West. This makes them more ease to market. You can find creative visualization or guided meditation techniques across many Western paradigms. These processes have their roots in Shamanic tradition.
Let’s look at a more complete list of the methods we recommend.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. This is how spiritual exploration differs from religion. These tools result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. These are the processes for exploring the landscape of your mind. This represents a completely different approach from the doctrine of religion.
To Believe or Not to Believe
As an adult people can make informed decisions about reality. Everyone makes their own decision regarding how they respond to the call of the spiritual quest.
Most people don’t choose a religion, their family indoctrinates them as children. It isn’t an informed choice made from potential options, but a requirement of the family and culture. This is how religion grows and maintains its cash flow.
Others chose religion when they are going through a crisis. That’s because people in crisis are seeking help and so they are vulnerable. Vulnerable people are susceptible to groupthink manipulation tactics.
However, if you are reading this, you have the choice to become a freethinker, a healthy skeptic. You can reject mythology in place of facts. This is the path to spiritual freedom. You can still follow the spiritual quest, but you can do it without religion.
We hope you can see how spiritual exploration differs from religion. It certainly is the opposite approach of the three dominant religions of the world. Western religion focuses on belief in doctrines derived from mythology. Whereas, spiritual exploration focuses on the use of processes for expanding awareness.
Interested in learning more about this system of thought? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
We hope you answer this call to explore the gifts of consciousness. And, we also hope you find teachers who can share the tools to forge your way. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia