How To Be Spiritual Without Organized Religion

Spirituality is a topic that is frequently discussed, but it is frequently misinterpreted. Many individuals confuse spirituality and religion, and as a result, they bring their religious ideas and prejudices into debates about spirituality. Although spiritualism is emphasized in many religions, you can be “spiritual” without being religious or a member of an organized religion.

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What is it called when you believe in spirituality but not religion?

“Spiritual but not religious” (SBNR), sometimes known as “spiritual but not affiliated” (SBNA), is a popular phrase and initialism used to describe a spiritual life perspective that does not see organized religion as the only or most valuable source of spiritual growth. Historically, the terms religious and spiritual have been used interchangeably to express all components of the notion of religion, but in modern usage, spirituality has come to be connected with the individual's interior existence, emphasizing the “mind-body-spirit” well-being.

How can I live my life without religion?

1. Raising decent children does not necessitate belief in God.

Religion is not an indicator of a child's moral growth in and of itself. According to research, children's morality is influenced more than anything else by their parents' sensitivity to others' feelings and injustice. In laboratory studies, even one-year-old children of such parents showed a stronger sense of right and wrong. Our children are watching everything we do, which implies that parents have more power than we realize to replace old Sunday sermons with our own secular ideals.

2. We become gentler after experiencing wonder.

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When we feel little in the presence of a greater system—the grandeur of nature, a spectacular piece of art, the circle of life—we sense awe. When we're overtaken by awe, time appears to slow down, allowing us to feel more empathy and generosity. Take note of what happens when you spend time with your family in nature. Awe-inspiring experiences, which have long been expressed in religious terms, are universal human experiences.

3. Rituals provide context.

Rituals unite us, help us keep track of time, and encourage us to be our best selves. We don't have to abandon rituals just because we've abandoned religion. One family I visited has a weekly meditation, conversation, and sharing routine on Sunday mornings to enhance family relationships and establish a strong moral compass based on principles like fairness and justice. Teenagers in a nature-based coming-of-age program in the West were asked to consider the unique gifts they would each provide to the world. Solstice parties have taken the place of midnight Mass for some, while newborn welcoming ceremonies have taken the place of baptisms for others.

4. We all want to be a part of something.

Belonging is important, probably more than we think. Scientists have discovered that our sense of belonging—or lack thereof—is recorded on a molecular level in our bodies, altering our physical and mental wellbeing. And it's not how many connections we have, but how deep those connections are, that determines our happiness, feeling of purpose, and overall life satisfaction. Secular humanist groups, Sunday Assemblies, and atheist meetings are cropping up around the country for those who miss the company previously found in the pews. The Humanist Hub in Boston even boasts a new secular Sunday school for children of all ages.

5. Volunteering provides us with a sense of accomplishment.

Religious people are more philanthropic than nonreligious people, according to studies, and this is true not just for their own religious organizations. Those organizations are onto something when they say that volunteering even one day a month provides people a feeling of purpose and makes them feel more connected. Participating in meal-packing events, park cleanups, and blood drives provides meaning to many nonreligious persons I met. Our children need training wheels to learn the value of giving in our individualistic world, so choose a family-friendly event and bring them along.

My only regret three years after starting my book is that I didn't learn the name of the father who asked that crucial inquiry. If I could meet him today, I'd tell him what statistics can't: that millions of nonreligious Americans are developing meaningful rituals, finding a better sense of purpose, and bringing their communities together. It turns out that the Nones are perfectly OK.

How can I worship God without religion?

I would also recommend that you pay heed to the desire you have to know God. What Thomas Merton stated, “I adore what he said,” is one of my favorite quotes “People are drawn to be alone with God wherever they are: in the monastery, in the city, in the country, in the woods. They appear to be in the middle of their voyage at the moment, yet they have already arrived at their destination.”

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How do I discover my spirituality?

While spirituality is a personal matter, looking at what other people believe is a good place to start. You may uncover something that you feel is right for you by learning what others believe. There's no need to recreate the wheel if you can find something that works for you already. Here are several methods for determining what others believe.

  • Discover the different types of organized religions. Learn about their religious beliefs, rituals, and practices. Check to see if any of the religions align with your current beliefs.
  • Do some online research. Look for local churches in your neighborhood and learn about what they have to offer and their beliefs.
  • Read spirituality-related books. Investigate the authors' viewpoints and take note of anything that appears to be relevant to you.
  • Read sacred scriptures from different religions. If something appears to be correct, investigate it further.
  • Inquire about the beliefs of your friends and relatives. Tell them you're looking for spiritual guidance and ask if they have any suggestions. Be willing to engage in spiritual debates.
  • Consult with religious authorities in your area. Inquire if they have any suggestions for discovering your spirituality.
  • Each week, try attending a service at a different church. Find out what you enjoy and what you despise. Examine whether you're drawn to any certain service or concept.
  • Take a religion or spirituality class. Learning more about what's available will assist you in deciding which path to choose.
  • Many television programs and documentaries about spirituality and other religions are available to help you understand more about other people's beliefs.

Is it possible to have a religion even without the belief in God?

Ronald Dworkin, an attorney and philosopher, was inspired or at least directed by James when he wrote Religion Without God, in which he claims that there can be such a thing as a “religious atheist.” Basically, you can have religion without God if you believe in something other than the physical reality of the cosmos.

How do you live and enrich your spirituality?

Religion brings spirituality to some people, but it does not bring spirituality to others. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to spiritual well-being. Here are a few ideas to get you started if you're not sure where to start.

According to a Gallup poll, 43% of Americans claim to be members of a church or other religious organization. These houses of worship provide a variety of opportunities for those living with mental illnesses to connect with others in their communities.

Reconnect with someone or an organization that shares your ideas and thoughts, whether online, over the phone, or in person. Find ways to connect with like-minded people in your religion community who can support and encourage you by reaching out to a pastor or spiritual leader.

“Many people's support mechanisms were taken away from them during the pandemic—church, volunteering, support groups,” Wester added. “It was especially difficult for individuals who were already dealing with mental health concerns.” I advise people to reconnect with their religion group as soon as they are physically secure to do so.”

It's fine if you don't have a faith community. Finding a cause that resonates to you and giving back is another way to feel connected to your spirituality and faith. Working in a food pantry, becoming a mentor or tutor, or fostering an animal are all options. As a result, your community will develop and you will be able to meet individuals who share your interests. It will offer you a sense of purpose and thankfulness to serve others.

You don't have to be a yogi to benefit from the practice's spiritual benefits. Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. It can improve your mind and spirit, as well as strengthen and stretch your body, by lowering stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms.

You don't have to be an expert meditator like you don't have to be an experienced yoga practitioner. Because it takes so little time, meditation is one of the easiest disciplines to keep. “Some people believe you must sit and be silent, but this is not the case,” Wester explained. “You can walk while meditating, paying attention to the sensations of your feet on the ground and the intricacies of your surroundings. Simply slowing down your body can help you calm down your mind.”

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Even five minutes of meditation can help you reduce stress, despair, and worry while also increasing your mindfulness. There are numerous fantastic guided meditation applications, such as Calm or Balance, if you need help.

Writing can help you process your emotions, raise your awareness, and provide a nonjudgmental space for you to express your feelings in the present. Start a daily thankfulness notebook with prompts or write down your anxieties and fears.

Spending time in nature, whether you live in the mountains, the desert, or near the ocean, can improve your spiritual health. You can't seem to get away from your phone, your day, and your problems. Even a few minutes spent watching the birds, trees swinging in the breeze, or crashing waves on the shoreline can be relaxing.

Find activities that you enjoy, such as knitting, coloring, cooking, sports, or working out. Focusing on things you enjoy might help you regain a feeling of purpose and stay present in the moment, even if only for a short time.

If you're having trouble connecting with your spiritual side or your mental health, get help from someone who is specially trained or someone you trust.

“Chaplains are specifically equipped to deal with religious issues in a clinical setting,” Wester added. They can assist validate your feelings without sweeping them under the rug. They can help you get back on track spiritually.”