spiritual but not religious

if social media is any indication, most “yogis” under about 50 years old consider themselves “spiritual but not religious”.

i find this equal parts depressing and hilarious.

depressing, because it seems like there is no place for God (however you like to identify and name him, her, it…) in today’s world. even in the yoga world.

people think they are too smart to believe in God. they are too worldly or too profound. or something…?

let me just say, first of all, that if you read the yoga sutras of patanjali, the very practice of yoga is predicated on ishvara pranidhana. submission to a higher power.

now, perhaps you practice yoga postures. maybe you can even do a handstand or put your leg behind your head. but that is not the practice of yoga. that is yoga-based physical exercise. yoga practice goes a lot deeper than that.

it takes a highly inflated ego to believe that there is no power greater than yourself/humanity in this world. (and yoga frowns upon inflated egos). man did not invent the universe, so no matter what you call it–call it “science” if nothing else–there is something bigger and greater than us out there.

and what is the real purpose of religion, anyway? personally, i think it was created to provide us with a moral code of living, a shared human connection, and maybe even some hope. science can’t prove God. but it can’t disprove God either.

society’s loss of God also represents something deeper and sadder. on some level, it represents a loss of faith. and, believe it or not, if you have faith the size of just a mustard seed, you can move mountains.

and what’s funny is that people with no spirituality whatsoever label themselves as “spiritual but not religious” instead of just “not religious”. why? are we so desperate to prove that we have some universal connection that we have to put in the “spiritual” bit? if so, why not just make it God?

what are people trying to prove by disavowing their religion and their roots and supplanting it with general “spirituality”? what does that spirituality look like? because, in my experience, even a great percentage of people who do subscribe to a particular religion don’t have any true spiritual connection to anything greater than their personal day-to-day happiness.

so my question is, what makes you spiritual? without the presence of God, what is left to connect with that is higher and bigger than your own ego?

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