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What is Spirituality? The interplay of Religion, Spirituality & Philosophy

Updated: Mar 5

There's a lot of stereotypes that come with being a "Spiritual Person"; that you have to be vegan, listen only to meditation music, burn incense, and always have a positive attitude, etc. These, like all stereotypes, are limiting because they not only pigeon hole us, they also lock us out. If we don't 'fit in', then we aren't 'spiritual' and a whole swath of life experiences are therefore unavailable to us.

Let me take this opportunity to burst your bubble...

If you've ever wondered whether or not there's a 'higher intelligence'... you're spiritual.

If you've ever wondered why we're here, why the Universe, why ANY of this exists... you're spiritual.

If you've ever wondered what happens after we die... you're spiritual.

If you've ever wondered where your thoughts come from... you're spiritual.

What if being spiritual simply meant that you were interested in the investigation of what is, and what goes on, beyond the physical; beyond what we can see, touch, taste and feel: the HOW and WHY it is. Philosophical, I know. And yes, Philosophy plays a huge role in it.

You could say that Spirituality has two branches: Religion and Philosophy

Religion is the practice, the 'how to worship', or how to interact with the Divine. When we're investigating something, we want more of it; we want to understand, see, be closer to and experience more of it. So religion is the particular practice of coming closer to the Divine, or what is beyond this world. Religion is the way in which we become closer to God, whatever you want to call 'God' in whichever 'religion' you choose.

Philosophy, then, is the exploration of the 'Why'. Why does the universe operate in the way that it does. Why does man behave in the way that we do? Why are we so interested in what's beyond the physical? Why do we feel this universal pull towards deeper thinking, beyond the obvious and mundane... if there is truly nothing there? What are we looking for?

Together, these create a 'spiritual practice'. Religion and Philosophy cannot exist without one another, for one informs the other. We use religion to bring us closer to the philosophical questions we ask, and in turn our philosophical quests is was invigorates our religious practice.

What is a Spiritual path?

There are many, most likely thousands of 'paths' for exploring the phenomena and mystery of life. A path, by definition, is a way that has been made by others before you. We follow a laid out trail because the evidence of footsteps or beaten down earth leads us to believe that this path will bring us somewhere. The more worn down the path, the better chance that its a good path, meaning that the trek is manageable and leads to a desirable destination (even if it's only back to yourself *wink*).

We may choose to follow a path, hopefully with a Guide, because its easier and more predictable. Note, I said easIER and not easY. Any worthy path is not easy, because while the path is laid out for you, the path will also lead you inward, and THAT terrain is anything but tame.

That's where the Guide comes in.

To try to navigate our own inner terrain, our own inner universe, with all our own idiosyncrasies while at the same time trying to unravel the mysteries of life, the Universe, and everything... would take a long time. And that's putting it lightly. There are sages, prophets, mystics and guru's throughout time who have carved out paths for us.

This is why so many people usually find a religious practice to follow, whether it be Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, etc. Sometimes, even this isn't enough. We need a point person; someone we can connect with personally to ask questions, share fears, receive guidance from etc.

Why is having a Spiritual Guide so helpful?

What we're looking for in any religious, spiritual or philosophic quest is a deeper connection to our selves through our understanding of the outside world. They are intimately intertwined. One cannot begin to dive into the deeper mysteries of the Universe without learning the deeper mysteries held within. And one cannot reveal the deeper mysteries within without gaining a grander understanding of the world around us.

The Spiritual Guide is one who can reflect the inner essences of life back at you. They are someone who has already trodden the path before you. They may not even be that much further ahead of you, but they are further enough along that they can look back at you and say "I know, I've been there, there is more, and you will get through." And really mean what they say.

How do we choose?

Of all the paths, guides and gurus out there, especially with all the 'sham-mans' out there exploiting the public's innocent and earnest for understanding for their own egoic and financial gain.. how do we pick one? How do we know which one is good and right for us.

Simplest: Do your research. Talk to people who have worked with them, look at the results in their lives. Are they exhibiting the qualities you are looking for in life: are they peaceful, calm, centered, do they love themselves? There's many things you can look for.

Another simple way, but that few people seem to think of is look at their path: is it well trodden, has it show good results. A simple way to see this for sure is to know their Lineage.

What is Lineage?

Lineage is a line that is traceable through generations. Any charlatan can say they can do and provide anything. What are their credentials? From whom did they learn? Where did their teacher study? As we talked about before, the ones who have walked the path before us are to whom we look for guidance, and the more people who have walked the path, the more likely that the results are good.

Use your sense, connect with yourself, and feel for yourself what is true. Find someone you can connect with and trust, who is nonjudgemental and can guide you through you awakening.

As a Spiritual Guide in the Lineage of King Salomon, I am happy to offer spiritual healing and guidance to all, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Madison White, RN, BSN

The Light Center

397 Main St Woburn, MA


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