Spirituality is the recognition that we are more than physical substance
and mental process. It is the awareness that there is purpose to
human existence, that there is more to us than our biological structure,
that there is an innate desire to transcend our ordinary consciousness.
Spirituality is more than inherited doctrines and dogmas, although
they can be an integral component in spiritual formation.
While religion is corporate and communal, spirituality is more of
a personal expression. Religion (from the Latin religio, “to
tie back”or “to reconnect”) tends to be systematic
and structured. In our postmodern culture, many persons claim to
be “spiritual, but not religious,” meaning that they
want to be free to explore their transcendent nature and the implications
for daily living without being bound to organizations and codified
systems of beliefs.
I believe that one can be both spiritual and religious and that
these terms often overlap in their meanings and connotations. Throughout
our lives we may follow different spiritual paths or explore various
expressions in the search for that which resonates with our own inner
needs and yearnings. Some may be comfortable with the inherited structures
of the past while others are restless travelers on a journey that
needs no destination.
In this section I explore some paths with which
I have become familiar and which have had some meaning in my own
pilgrimage of faith. They are not as divergent as they may appear,
for so often these paths merge and follow the same course for a
while before branching off again in other directions. But in the
end they may arrive at the same place and it may be where we have started—in
the mind and heart of God.