“Religion is for people who fear hell;
Spirituality is for people who have been there.”
This morning was the first time I’d heard this quote, attributed to David Bowie or Vine Deloria Jr., depending on which corner of the Internet you hang out on most. It’s an interesting take on the difference between religion and spirituality, that Venn diagram of trying to define and manage the human experience.
I grew up super-religious, not because it was forced on me, but because I love rules and structure and a standard against which to evaluate my progress. As I grew older and widened my experiences, I was unable to stay committed to that way of moving through the world, especially in regard to my relationship to other humans. So, while I am religious about certain spiritual practices, I take a curious, Alice-in-Wonderland approach to exploring different spiritual concepts and perspectives.
Spirituality is a unique topic because everyone has a personal relationship to it, and, because it is such a personal experience, everyone’s perspective is accurate because it is their own.
I’ve been in the throes of a spiritual existential crisis for nearly five years now, so feeling uncertain about How Things Work or Why We’re Here is my new normal. But I think that’s okay, because certainty strikes me as an obstacle to true spiritual exploration.
Spirituality is often referred to as a path, but I prefer to think of it as an amusement park. Some of us are perfectly happy with one ride; others need constant change and new experiences. The journey is not linear. Whether your peace is found in the Magic Mountain rush of an ayuhasca ceremony or the It’s a Small World After All predictability of Catholic liturgy, there is the possibility of enlightenment and deepening in any human experience.
Whatever your practice, may this holiday season bring you peace, joy, serenity, love, and connection.
Strategy & Style,
Image: Mollie McKinley, “Pineapple Liturgy II,” 2017, Archival inkjet print from film negative, 32″ x 40″