Awaken Into Life Blog

Religion and Spirituality

spiritualityI was raised with a traditional, conservative, Christian upbringing.  It was rare for us to miss a Sunday church service, even during a cold, icy, Pennsylvania winter.  The five of us would pile unto the bench seat of my father’s pick-up truck.  One of us had to sit on my mother’s lap so we would have enough room.  It was a happy time.  Those Sundays began with breakfast at my grandmother’s house and then onto church.  After that we were off to my other grandparents’ house for snacks with all my cousins, aunts and uncles.  It was the best day of the week.

As I grew, fear and shame became my companions.  Afraid I was going to hell because I disobeyed my mother.  I argued with my mom a lot.  I remember the first time I challenged her.  I was 10.  She yelled a lot.  I yelled back.  And then there was the shame.  I felt ashamed.  The thing is, I could never figure out why I was so ashamed.  Ashamed of who I was?  Ashamed of who I might become?

Over the years, I studied the bible and sang in the choir regularly.  As I got older, I led bible studies from my house and joined in other small group study circles.  Something in me began to feel unsettled with my religious studies.  I began to feel like I was being suffocated.  I felt like there was more to the story than I’d been told.  Something important was missing.  I knew there was more I needed to explore and that meant learning about many different religious and spiritual traditions.

“Religions have words to describe themselves, but spirituality has none that do it justice.  It is an experience of deep belonging in which all traces of fear, judgment, guilt, separation, and doubt disappear just as darkness is dispelled by the sunrise.  Religion has forms, precepts, rituals, rules, and stories that can sometimes deliver us to this place of unspeakably sweet wholeness and belonging.  But it is only the vehicle that gets us there.  We have to jump off at the destination, while the train continues to make its rounds.”

-Joan Borysenko from A Woman’s Journey to God

Watch the video:  What Spirituality Means to Me

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