Spiritual vs Religious

Connection, Spirituality, Uncategorized

May 4, 2022

By: Alyssa

Let me preface this post by saying there will be lots of information and links that I recommend in here and it may take you some time to digest all of it, take your time. This is my experience and how I have interpreted what I’ve learned along the way. I’m no expert and am not claiming to know the ins and outs fully, I’m a work in progress as we all are. There are so many ways to move through your spiritual journey, I’m sharing what resonates with me and how I feel it’s beneficial.

This may be a bit controversial but personally, I believe being a spiritual person is vastly different than being a religious person. Here’s why, society (and history) has instilled in us that when it comes to religion, you worship, pray and recite the written word from the book of whichever religion you choose. Sometimes, depending on how you were raised you don’t even get to choose. You get drug along to church or whatever service your family attends and that’s that. What if I told you that living a healthy life, spiritually, doesn’t have to look the same as what everyone else or even your family practices?

My family on both sides are people of God, Christians. They believe Jesus is our lord and savior and he died for our sins. As Non-denominational Christians, they carry their beliefs with them and hold strong to those teachings and the value it has brought to their lives. Naturally, growing up I was apart of that life as well. I still believe a God exists and there is a higher power at work in our daily lives but over the years my connection to that religion has shifted tremendously.

Ever since I lost my mom I have battled my connection with Christianity. The thought of “His plan” somehow meaning I needed to lose my mom to cancer didn’t sit right with me. How is there a divine God who has this almighty power but allows the suffering of this world to go on the way that it does? What kind of life lesson is there to be taught in that way? Who willingly chooses to let His “children” suffer in starvation, poverty, disease and illness the way it plagues this Earth? Not a God I want to follow, that’s who.

Do I still believe he exists and in some ways has an influence on our lives? Absolutely. However, it’s not the end-all be-all for me. I don’t read the Bible anymore and I don’t let those religious beliefs consume and confuse my life anymore. Becoming a spiritual person, to me, speaks to the way we feel the world around us and connect to it. The energy, “the vibe” and following your intuition to become your highest self (best version of you) while being influenced by the universe and your spiritual guides. Rather than letting a book, rewritten by man countless times, recount the values that “get you to the golden city” on the other side of this life. We get to experience this life we’re currently in once and then that’s it, we’re reborn into a new life. Is that me saying I believe in reincarnation? In short, yes. I won’t go down the rabbit hole of explaining my thoughts on that for now BUT, ever experience Deja Vu? Where all of a sudden you’ve been in a specific place, with certain people, experiencing something you feel like you’ve seen or done before? Hmm, sounds like your current life connecting to a past life’s memory.. but I digress. You can determine how you feel about those moments for yourself.

I started working with meditation within the last year or so and it has been a profound sense of spiritual awakening. My focus has been on the energy around and within, harnessing it and wielding it as a weapon to unlock inner peace and channeling it to bring love to others. A few ways I love to meditate are with crystals, my favorite of all – amethyst. It’s a crystal that allows you to cleanse and open your mind. Every experience I’ve had with it has brought me such an emotional and mental release from what was weighing on me when I started my meditation session. If you’re a beginner and interested in giving it a try, here’s my recommendation:

  • Make your room comfortable; turn off/down all the lights or find a space with neutral colors. Bright colors can be overbearing and distracting.
  • Light a candle! My favorites are wood wicks
  • Turn on a salt lamp – the amber color helps calm the space
  • Grab an amethyst pyramid to place on your third eye (you can snag one from a local metaphysical shop – don’t buy them from Amazon!)
  • Pop on a relaxing meditation playlist. I loveeee Spotify for mine. My favorite to use is this one.
  • Hop on your bed and relax into “corpse pose” – flat on your back, palms up and open.
  • Before placing the amethyst on your third eye, hold it in your palm & to yourself or aloud, say: “I release all my stress and tension from the day, I am guided and loved at all times, I ask that you (Source, Universe or Spirit Guides) come to me in this safe space and guide me on my path to my highest self.”
  • When you are ready, place the amethyst on your third eye (see diagram below) and begin to focus on the sounds of your meditation music.
  • Relax in this position with your eyes closed for about 10-15 minutes and let whatever visions, colors or feelings wave over you. Focus on releasing all negative energy and thoughts from your body beginning from your head and out through your toes.

Meditation has significantly helped decrease my anxiety, stress and depressive habits I’ve had for as long as I can remember. I’ve become so much more self aware and really dove into different forms of self care and connection. There are a few books I’ve picked up that have helped me explore spiritual practices that really resonate with me. Here’s a short list:

When I first started along this little spiritual exploration, I began with the Buddhism for Beginners book. Why? I was really drawn to the calmness you see in monks. The contented feeling they emit and their love for being one (connected) with nature. Not to mention how they value the smaller things in life, they’re not materialistic people and they don’t chase a status or recognition. All they want is peace and love for all in whatever walk of life you may be in. The best part, you’re in control of your journey, buddhism just teaches you the tools to use along your way. No judgment, no fear of eternal torture in the after life. Just acceptance and support along your path to your highest self (also referred to as enlightenment).

Shortly after getting a better grasp of meditation and Buddhist practices, I started branching out into tarot reading for myself. My first deck that I started with was a very gentle mantra style deck, almost like words of affirmation. I bought it from a local shop here in Tucson Arizona, The Ninth House. They say that you can’t get started until you are gifted a deck but personally this one was a great starter to help me learn. I was recently gifted a full 80-card deck with the major and minor arcana and it has been a huuuge learning curve but I’ve loved it. So I guess that counts as my “actual” gifted deck to get started on.

Tarot reading was a way for me to connect to my spiritual guides. So far, it has been wonderful. Some sessions I close feeling refreshed, recharged and excited for what’s to come. Others I leave in tears because they told me what I needed to hear through the cards. It’s all in how you cultivate your relationship with your deck and your spirit guides. They know if you’re serious or not and when they feel you are open to their wisdom, they will hit you where you need it, when you ask the right questions. Since I’m still very new to tarot reading, I don’t have much to recommend but I will give you a few resources to explore if it interests you as well.

For learning how to do a reading for yourself I recommend reading through these articles below: (be sure to save for reference!)

Including the use of Palo Santo has made my journey that much more enriched. I’ve been able to co-mingle all these practices to cultivate connection in almost everything I do but most importantly it has heightened my self awareness. Which personally, I feel is key to understanding anything or anyone, you must know yourself better than anyone else. You are the longest relationship you will ever experience so it’s up to you to make sure it is a happy and healthy one.

If you take away nothing from this post, my one hope for you is that it has opened your eyes on setting the intentions for your relationship you have with yourself. Spiritual or religious, know that it is okay to find your way in this life in whatever way that makes you feel whole. Whatever brings you peace, chase it with the heart of a thousand lions. Just as my journey is still on-going, so is yours and I hope that you chase connection for yourself first. Then let it overflow into those around you and uplift them.

As always, from the bottom of my heart thank you for joining me here in this space and reading about my spiritual journey. If you enjoyed this, feel free to give it a like below and share with friends and family this may resonate with.

xo, Alyssa.

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