Being spiritual is acknowledging a loving presence as part of our being and knowing it is in harmonic resonance with all things. Its essence is unconditional love. It is the expression of the All That Is as us.
Religions are the process, the belief systems, the collective and the community by which we choose to express individual spirituality.
In my view many religions have forgotten spirituality and what they think they do remember of it they confuse with dogma.
The word dogma comes from the Greek and its root meaning is “opinion”. Its’ root word “Dokein” means, “to seem good”. So when people say religious dogma, they are really saying, “religious opinion that seems good”. To me, “seeming good” and a knowing awareness derived through a direct spiritual experience of the divine is not the same.
Centuries of non-spiritual ritual and adherence to man-made rules have seen religions give more credence to doctrine, than to truth. Even the early Christians were cautioned about dogma in the Gospel of Mark – Chapter 7 – Verse 7. “…In vein do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”.
To some religious authorities a truth or revelation that may result from an improvisational action like prayer or mediation or a profound experience is discouraged and discounted.
History is filled with stories of inspired individuals, mystics, and saints, who have come in conflict with authority over an inner knowing versus a system of rigid principles. Galileo, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, Kabir, and Thoreau are examples to name a few. A direct communication with the divine cannot be proven; it can only be experienced. Personal enlightenment, however it may be expressed, will always disempower dogma and render mystics unacceptable to most religious authorities.
A prime example in recent history was the conflict between the Vatican and Dominican scholar, Dr. Matthew Fox. His enlightenment led him to preach and teach creation spirituality, a positive view of humankind’s inter-relationship with God, rather than the Catholic Church’s dogma of redemption spirituality; a view whereby human beings are born sinful. Fox was first silenced by the Vatican and eventually left the Dominican Order.
The Divine within each person, in the fullness of knowing, assimilates life experience as appreciation. All life, no matter where or how you find it, expresses the Divine, first through experience, then appreciation, and finally revelation.
Is not the creation and birth, a revelation that God is not discouraged with humanity as Tagore suggests? Are not the transformation of a seed to a flower, a caterpillar to a butterfly, or the uniqueness of each snowflake, revelations that belie scientific explanations? There is no explaining a revelation; there is only the aware experiential appreciation of it as it is processed through the spirit, mind, and body as an unexplainable joy.