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The Astonishing Difference between Religion and Spirituality

The difference between religion and spirituality is negligible because the two are aspects and perceptions of the same nameless, formless, infinite truth.
The difference between religion and spirituality can be ambiguous at times, but both are paths to the same infinite truth.

Are you trying to figure out the difference between religion and spirituality and choose what’s right for you?

You’re not alone.

The age-old debate between religion and spirituality is still raging today. You’ll be able to find people who have found peace in religion and others who have found peace in spirituality.

So, what is the difference between religion and spirituality and which one is right for you?

Is one inherently better than the other? Let’s explore.

There are a ton of opinions out there on the difference between religion and spirituality.

And the key is right there, they’re opinions.

Every article or blog post you read leans one way or the other depending on the perspective of the writer or the company he or she is writing for.

This is why you should be very careful when getting any sort of information on the open web – the article telling you that milk is an essential part of your diet might very well be funded by the dairy industry for the purpose of making more milk sales.

So apart from looking at the sponsors of an article, the company posting the article and any biases the author might have, how do you know what the right answer to any question is? Even scientific articles can lean either way depending on who’s funding the research!

Before I go on, I want to make it clear that this issue exists in all fields.

This ambiguity exists everywhere.

You might argue that we have more science today than we’ve ever had in the past, and you’d be right. The issue is that science can back anything. Numbers don’t lie, but their interpretation is coloured by the biases, hopes and intentions of the interpreter.

Let’s go back to the dairy example. You can find articles arguing diary is an excellent source of calcium and that drinking lots of milk will ensure you have strong, healthy bones. Then again, you can also find articles arguing that dairy decalcifies the bones and leads to osteoporosis. 

So, who should you believe?

I would argue that in any debate, you shouldn’t believe either side. Listen to their arguments to inform yourself and then make an educated decision based on your own experiences and intuition.

difference between religion and spirituality | The Astonishing Difference between Religion and Spirituality

The one thing that will never lie to you is your body. 

If, every time you drink a glass of cool, cow’s milk you immediately have to go to the bathroom, maybe you should stop drinking milk.

On to the difference between religion and spirituality

In this debate, the answer doesn’t lie in negating one side or the other. This is because the difference between religion and spirituality is negligible. The two are paths that lead you to the same truth and what you should focus on instead is finding what’s right for you.

Modern day religion seems to have lost sight of its origins. With time, it has transmuted far from its humble beginnings. On the other hand, spirituality has taken many different forms and definitions that may not necessarily reflect what it is. However, the basis of both religion and spirituality is pure consciousness.

The teachings of every religion come from enlightened spiritual masters and this is why there are similarities in every world religion. They all come from the same source: the nameless, formless, infinite truth that is a part of each and every single one of us.

It goes without saying that the nameless and formless will become distorted in a world of name and form.

My unifying experience with religion and spirituality

To illustrate what I mean, I want to share my personal experience with both religion and spirituality and how I’ve come full circle.

I used to think that religion was a method of control. Brainwash the public and then take their money. Religious rites didn’t make sense to me. It was just arbitrary meaning that people assigned to everyday things. And worst of all? Religion makes people behave in crazy ways. It preaches peace and love but breeds hatred and separation.

At least, that’s the part of religion that I chose to see.

Though my parents are religious, I never really believed and being pushed into tradition and traditional ways made me angry and made me rebel. It wasn’t until I underwent a spiritual awakening and began my spiritual journey that I became grounded in my practice and started to understand the foundation of religion.

As I progressed on the path, I added more practices to my routine to help me maintain clarity of mind and inner calm and slowly my life completely transformed. As I began to pay more attention to both spiritual and religious texts, I realized that there was no difference between the two.

The teachings are the same and the practices are surprisingly similar.

Though my path is yoga and in my mind there’s absolutely nothing religious about it, I can see how certain things I do to keep my mind and body healthy can be perceived from the outside as religious. Without the understanding of why certain things are done in certain ways, they can be perceived in the same way that I used to perceive religion: crazy, brainwashing and nonsensical.

Having arrived where I have without the comfort and familiarity that religion gives to some people, I truly admire those that have such strong faith. I’ve experienced how hard is it to believe in something that you can’t see but I now know, without a doubt, it’s there.

The path of yoga

The path of yoga is the path that resonated with me.

It’s a scientific path that satisfied my thirst for knowledge where religion and other forms of spirituality didn’t, and this is exactly what enabled me to progress so far on this path.

All my questions were (and still are) answered very logically by scriptures and knowledge discourses.

And this is true for any legitimate religion and spiritual practice: diving into the core concepts and foundations will naturally bring you the insights and answers that you seek.

difference between religion and spirituality | The Astonishing Difference between Religion and Spirituality

The goal of yoga, religion, and spirituality is to bring you home to your Higher Self

Despite how religion and spirituality may come off, both mean well.

Like a game of telephone, when the original message passes through so many ears and mouths, it inevitably becomes distorted. There’s no one to blame in this phenomenon but it is nonetheless there.

What you need to do is take all of this in stride and find what resonates with you.

Choosing what resonates with you

No doubt, you are exploring the difference between religion and spirituality to be able to make a choice regarding what suits you.

To make this decision, you need to set boundaries.

Don’t let anyone tell you what to believe. You are 100% capable of forming your own opinions and making your own choices. If someone is constantly telling you to bow down and pray and it doesn’t resonate with you, don’t do it.

Blindly following a belief system that you don’t understand or have no interest in exploring breeds resentment and negativity. It doesn’t benefit you or anyone around you.

By taking responsibility for your own decisions and not doing something just for the sake of doing it, you take back your power and become more grounded.

You’ll be able to explore your inner inclinations and intuition more and it’ll bring you that much closer to reconnecting with your authentic self and settling the difference between religion and spirituality in your life.

difference between religion and spirituality | The Astonishing Difference between Religion and Spirituality
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Parm Saggu

Hey, I'm Parm! I help people who long for a deeper meaning in life but feel caged by societal expectations to break free, uncover the secrets of life, and forge a path to be the difference they want to see in the world.

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