Find out how exploring your spirituality differs from the belief in a religion. Learn how to make the world a better place to live.
Religion Versus Spiritual Exploration
The confusion begins with the word “spiritual.” That’s because the term spiritual has a wide range of meanings. It often depends upon who is using it. But, we aren’t here to argue whose definition is better. It’s part of the battle of worldviews that has been going on for eons.
Our task is to clarify the differences between religion and exploring your consciousness or spirt. We will attempt to do this by examining the tools of religion and the tools of what we call spiritual-exploration.
We contend that these are two opposites. Religion versus spiritual exploration is at opposite ends of worldview perspectives.
Here we go.
The Tools of Religion
Many people in Western culture associate religion with spirituality. The reason for this is simple. The Abrahamic religions expend considerable effort to “identify” their belief systems with spirituality. Western organized religions are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions.
To camouflage this mythology, they use ceremony, ritual, dress, and spiritual language. And, after all, these religions have the most followers worldwide. They control most of the cultural narrative with over 4 billion members combined. The level of influence depends on your level of integration. There are specific tools of doctrine for integrating people into these paradigms.
1) Mandatory membership and allegiance to a Supreme Being, (God or Gods)
2) The justification for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior and values
3) Required belief in the afterlife, or life after death with either rewards or punishment
The Tools of the Abrahamic Traditions
These three above doctrine deserves a closer look.
1) Accepting the premise of a Supreme Being is central to these belief systems. Is this a valid premise? Or, does it depend on your perspective? Let’s look at this premise by asking a question. Would you consider the belief in Apolo or Zeus as belief in the Gods of the Abrahamic tree? If you answer NO, then you probably a member of a version of the Abrahamic model. If you answer YES, you probably view all Gods as mythology.
2) Establishing boundaries to justify murder, rape, ethnic and gender discrimination, genocide. It empowers leaders of any given sect to enable behaviors that would otherwise be unacceptable. Does this justification qualify as spiritual in your paradigm?
3) The afterlife is the all-time best-selling spiritual idea for recruiting and retaining members. It uses both reward and fear as compelling arguments. The reward, eternity in Heaven for the believer. Or, an eternity in Hell for the non-believer. There are no unsatisfied customers. Because the reward or punishment is only revealed after death. A quote from Bill Hicks sums up this last point.
Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s, infinite love. ― Bill Hicks
We hope this overview of the tools of Western organized religion is helpful. Organized religion seeks to blur the lines between mythology and spirituality.
The Tools of Spiritual Exploration
In contrast, exploring your spirit or consciousness is the application of processes. That is you use methods expanding awareness and investigating higher states of consciousness. That’s it. It’s all about the use of processes for developing human potential. This is the essence of “inner work.” These tools increase our ability to think.
Why Not Call It Consciousness Exploration?
Why don’t we call it consciousness exploration or something else? We choose the term spiritual exploration for two major reasons.
First, to keep the techniques intact. The originators use spiritual vocabulary to describe these methods. For example, they use language about spirit and consciousness. They talk about the Soul and the Observer of our awareness.
Second, we want to honor the cultures that pioneered these methods. These tools are the spiritual heritage of humanity. So, you could refer to these processes in many ways. Some refer to it as awareness research or the investigation of human potential. You could also call it the survey of the parameters perception, or methods of cognition.
A Eureka experience is a personal breakthrough characterized by the euphoric realization that; what you believe about spiritual reality is wrong. Joy rather than resignation is the effect when boundaries of belief and dogma are smashed to bits. ― Guru Tua
This sums up the conflict between religion versus spiritual exploration.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. Everyone who can follow a process can use these tools.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group. We like this simple method of grouping.
The first group is several analytical tools to enhance critical thinking. The Enneagram Personality Profile is the first tool of our blended learning process. This tool provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct.
The second group is the tools of logical reasoning. These tools help you to think logically and assess information using common sense. These tools are Logical reasoning, spotting logical fallacies, and logical axioms.
Next, a research tool we call Comparative Analysis. This is a process to help us explore and compare belief systems. This process is a scientific process form of comparative religious studies. Together these analytical tools give a solid foundation of common sense thinking. They sharpen your ability to discern facts from fiction.
Seated meditation is the heart of most spiritual practices. This includes a wide range of meditation techniques. It starts with Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation. It progresses to more advanced forms like Japa Meditation the Siddhis of Patanjali.
This is another foundational element that strengthens the mind-body connection. Moving meditation is another tool key to our health and wellness. This progression includes several methods of energy collection. Here we teach Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi. It also includes more contemporary processes for Grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Pathways for expanding awareness include a variety of tools. This group includes practical tools like a Spiritual Journal and Automatic Writing. Here we introduce Lucid Dreaming, the Shamanic Journey, or Guided Meditation. There are also techniques for Third-Eye Awakening and soul memory awareness.
Healing practices are the last group. This branch includes Pe Jeut, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is an important element of this group. It is vital for normalizing our inner work and maintaining our health and wellness.
The Battle of Worldviews
Religion versus spiritual exploration is a contrast between two very different paths.
We hope you found this article helpful, maybe even thought-provoking. You will find more interesting posts on our blog page. Use the “search” option on the blog page to find articles by key terms, topics, or category.
Do these methods of exploring consciousness interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia