Religion and Spirituality
The word 'religion' originates from the Latin word religare, which means reconnection with God. Many of us associate ourselves with a particular religion, generally as a result of the circumstances of our birth. While religions introduce us to the idea of God, or a higher power, and while they serve to inculcate a basic moral code, many people subscribing to them feel unfulfilled spiritually and frustrated by a lack of purpose in their lives. It therefore becomes necessary to look beyond individual religions—to feel a connection with the divine in all of life and, as a result, to realize a tangible improvement in the quality of their existence. In essence, spirituality makes it possible for aspirants to seek, and to experience, the divine within themselves.
The spiritual guides of Sahaj Marg, have said that where religion ends, spirituality begins. This is not to minimize the importance of our religious heritage. When we follow a meditation practice like Sahaj Marg; our faith enriches our practice, and our practice in turn enriches our faith. The problem with religions occurs when teachings become calcified, losing the original intent of their founders. As a consequence of this rigidity, religions can turn inward, fostering a belief that their way is the only path to salvation. Thus it can be that religions separate us from one another, contributing to violent clashes and divisions the world over.
Spirituality is the essence of every religion; it is the common denominator that unites all faiths and beliefs in one human aspiration toward mergence with our divine source. When we worship an external God, there can be a sense of distance, separation and even alienation. Spirituality focuses our attention on the divine residing in our own hearts. This reveals God in a new light, of proximity and intimacy. Being within us, such an entity is readily accessible. All that spirituality seeks is oneness with God or Self, urging us to focus the mind inwards and to approach this inner presence with love.
"The end of religion is the beginning of spirituality. The end of spirituality is the beginning of Reality and the end of Reality is the real Bliss. When even that has disappeared we have reached the goal."