The definition of spirituality, "life and consciousness away from the body," implies the existence of spirit or soul. Very different implications arise from the first dictionary (Oxford, 1980) definition of religion, "belief in the existence of a superhuman controlling power . . . usually expressed in worship." Worship implies that whoever is doing the worshiping is not as good as the one being worshiped. It also usually results in clergy, priests, ministers, or leaders who gain power and influence over worshipers by claiming they have superior knowledge.
After the death of a religion's great spiritual leader, it is common for followers to develop hierarchies and rules that are far removed from the teachings of that leader. These rules tend to promote the hierarchy in preference to the teaching. It seems to me that the fundamental words and teachings of the greats like Lao-Tse, Buddha, Krishna and Jesus are as valid today as when those men walked the planet. However, the followers running the religious hierarchies resulting from those teachers have often interpreted the original teachings to suit the hierarchy. This, of course, often radically alters the original teachings.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "The ultimate in self responsibility: Wherever I am unhappy, there is where I need to change myself. Most of us blame others."|