Sunday, March 09, 2008

It seems so commonplace to make a distinction between spirituality and religion that I've taken it for granted in this blog. And I still do, but I've been thinking about the two and the contrast/connection between them recently. (to define them briefly: I think of spirituality as the inner pursuit of the spiritual aspect of life, and religion as the outward expression of that.)

Most mornings I spend about 20-30 minutes doing... well, how do I describe it? I haven't really put a name to it, it's just what I do. It usually involves meditation, sometimes it involves writing, or reading some sort of spiritually-oriented text. Often these blog entries spring out of that. But there's no formal thing that I do, it varies from day to day depending on how much time I have and what I feel the need for and what's going on. And sometimes (and sometimes often) it just doesn't happen.

Last week, I had a really nice experience one day. I would even say it felt significant. It was very affirming for me that I'm doing OK and I'm on a path that's effective for me. I'm not sure exactly how to phrase it, because it wasn't anything earth shattering and if I describe in detail what happened, it will make it into something it wasn't. So suffice it to say: it seemed like a good thing.

The next day I found myself trying to recreate the experience, trying to get all the external details exactly the same so it could happen again. And it occurred to me that exactly that impulse is the religious impulse. The desire to protect and reproduce a significant spiritual experience, to figure out what made it happen and facilitate making it happen again. Like the disciples after Christ's transfiguration-- let's stay right here and build an altar and do it again! I wanted to spell it out, figure out the details so I could reproduce it. The impulse to codify it, if you will, so you can explain it to other people and they can have the great experience, too.

maybe more on this later, but that's all for now--

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