With modern day life bringing significantly more stress and chaos, more people are turning to intentional living than ever before to help restore a sense of peace.
From using aromatherapy for stress relief and crystals for cleansing, to intention skincare for conscious bathing, intentional practices have become a thread in the fabric of everyday life for many.
Some refer to these actions as a form of "spirituality" - a way to live life connected to Spirit. Some believe these represent different forms of religious practices - a way to lift up the most high.
Many question if they are one in the same.
Below, we'll go over some differences and similarities between spirituality and religion. We'll also provide examples of common spiritual and religious practices for reference. We do encourage you to continue to explore the many beautiful ways people connect with the source(s) of life to see what resonates with you.
What is Spirituality?
The Oxford language refers to spirituality as:
“The quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”
Some who practice spirituality might broaden this definition to more accurately capture how spirituality has evolved in recent times, “The practice of connecting with, honoring and cultivating the human spirit or soul as a method of growth; acknowledging the collective Universal spirit that resides in and illuminates every living being in the Universe; the personal practice of looking within for answers; an awareness of the God/Goddess energy within that co-creates a person's life experience on Earth.” (words of author, not an “official” definition)
What is Religion?
Religion, as defined by Oxford Languages is:
"the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods; a particular system of faith and worship; pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."
In many cases, religions were formed as a collaboration of shared values and beliefs in a particular deity. Many have evolved over the years to include a set of formalities and traditions that each worshipper adopts for himself/herself and typically practices as a member of a collective group.
Many different religions exist in the world today and while at times hard to differentiate, many share the same core philosophies: worship the supreme being, live in alignment with the values of the religion, and live in faith.
Some congregate inside a church to worship, some meet at a mosque, some create their own space at home dedicated to worship.
What’s the Difference?
Aside from what was described above, the main difference between spirituality and religion lays in the concept of inward versus outward.
Spirituality involves looking inward to cultivate the “God” within. Religion tends to look outward and upward to lift the “God” above.
Spirituality looks to oneself as the co-creator of all life. Religion looks to the supreme as the sole creator of all life.
What’s the Same?
Both spirituality and religion can help you discover life’s meaning and strive for inner peace.
Both can provide the framework for living life with virtue and integrity.
Both share the belief that there is a creator source that is greater than just one individual.
Both can help shape a person, family or community's moral compass and generational values.
Examples of Spiritual Practices
Many spiritual practices are performed with the understanding that you as an individual are a coexisting human spirit among the collection of spirits in the universe. Therefore, connecting to the collective source becomes an inward focus to help deepen the awareness of self.
Spiritual Practice Examples:
Yoga (Bikram, Ashtanga, Kundalini, and Hatha)
Intentional Breath Work
Plants as Healers
Spirit Animal Cultivation
Fasting and Sacrifice
Examples of Religious Practices
Many religious practices are focused on the whole unit of worshippers involved in patterned behavior designed to express and affirm their religious beliefs. This includes the purposeful studying of the words or scriptures of the religion's established teachings and ways of life.
Religious Practice Examples:
Fasting and Sacrifice
Can They Co-Exist?
In fact, one person can practice both spirituality and religion simultaneously. One person can both believe in Jesus as their savior and also understand that we are all connected as one collective God spirit. It doesn’t have to be “either/or”, it can be “and”.
What resonates with one person doesn't have to resonate or be judged by another.
Regardless of what you believe or how you practice, be a part the light that supports inner healing, peace and creating a loving environment for all. Strive to live life with intention, gratitude, and compassion and watch as the world shifts for the betterment of every single person/plant/animal alive.
A Skincare to Support Your Spiritual AND Religious Practices
Nefertem is an independent, family-owned intention skincare company designed to support the spiritual development of others. Offering soaps to connect with your spirit, moisturizers to honor self-love, and aroma sprays to create a space for worship. Learn more about us.