“I’m Spiritual Not Religious.” – An American Thing
‘Don’t use Buddhism to become a Buddhist. Use Buddhism to become a better whatever you are.’ Dalai Lama
Most people don’t enter a path of spirituality when they are happy. It is when life gets hard that they look for help. When I started on a spiritual path, I learned a little of everything. –Meditation, Mindfulness, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Anything A Non, Judaism, Taoism and Sufism. I took a Spiritual Christianity class and learned about the Koran.
When I travel, I try and learn about the religions of a country –to see how God fits in their lives. The religious buildings are so much a part of the architecture that I love. I like to learn about the kind of people that use them. What I have seen is that the poorer the country, the stronger the faith and the community of faith. Spiritual but not religious people seem to be prevalent in America only.
My spiritual path is a bit of this and a bit of that. At the moment (and it changes often) It includes some yoga, meditation, mindfulness, quotes from everything, erratic Torah study, Tai Chi, Sufist readings , Indian food, bracelets and feng shui. I haven’t studied the books intensely of any of these religions enough to know the true meaning of the work. I take what I like and leave the rest. My eclectic spiritual path seems to place me on a path alone. My thoughts and belief systems start to change as I continue on to the unknown. It is my journey and my truth and I can become as self obsessed with it as I wish. Is this the religion of the me generation?
True spirituality is supposed to put you in touch with empathy for the world, I’m not seeing the correlation between good, kind and caring people and “ the new American spirituality”. I’m hearing the words but I don’t see the transformation. Being spiritual allows you to be ambiguous. You don’t have to have a belief system, you can just believe in something. There are no expectations about your behaviors or attitudes . You don’t have to be accountable for your actions.
Spirituality in the American version appears to be a bit selfish. I find myself being hurt by people who say they are spiritual. I give them qualities that they don’t seem to have yet. Their search for their own truths becomes more important than anyone’s feelings but their own. Spirituality and meditation seems to be about making yourself feel better. It isn’t about being part of something bigger or helping a community . It can be a bit narcissistic if you are inclined in that direction. Your own journey is the most important thing.
A Vietnamese Buddhist monk was teaching a meditation class. He said “If you hear bombs in a neighboring village and your first thought is where is my family? Oh, they are not there. Everything is ok” than continue to sit and meditate.”
So I will have to reconsider my spiritual path once again. I have to change my mindset. I have to make compassion, kindness and integrity more important than my own personal well-being. If the world is going to change, it starts with each of us.