In a rapidly changing world, we are seeing the escalated evolution of everything around us, almost as if we are living in Fast Forward mode. A shift of particular interest, because it effects the very basis of life itself, is one from Religion to Spirituality. While most of the traditional religions are alive and well, there is a blossoming group of people describing themselves as Spiritual, but not necessarily Religious. Even traditional religions are moving away from old dogma, as evidenced by the current Pope and his welcomed expression of increased compassion, acceptance, and love. This refreshing change is showing up in every aspect of life as it has affected our attitudes, our interests, and our very consciousness.
In short, it changes everything!
Spirituality is commonly described as recognition of a Higher Power (called by many names) that is Creator of all things and is perceived as being in everything around us, but most noticeably within. This sense of well-being or joy within appeals to avid church-goers as well as a generation of youth who are not “joiners.” They gain spiritual energy from the internet, reading New Thought authors, yoga, meditation, walking a labyrinth, participating in a gong bath, visiting an ashram, sitting in nature, and much more.
This thirst for empowerment and peace has impacted the Best Seller list by recognizing such authors as Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsh, Wayne Dyer and a host of others, who appeal to readers from a wide variety of religious sects. In many cases the focus for reading and receiving direction has shifted from such traditional sources as the Talmud and Torah, or the Bible, to inspirational workshops, speakers, shamans, and other experiential events that have torn hundreds of thousands away from their fear of sin, guilt and judgment and sent them in the direction of personal empowerment and spiritual enlightenment. Many spirituality authors have hit the Best Seller list time after time. There is an insatiable thirst for more and more information about finding and using that Energy Within, whether one calls it God, Spirit, Ala, Creative Mind, etc.
Even among those that attend regular weekly services in traditional churches and synagogues, many admit to supplementing their spiritual food with a variety of these uplifting readings and experiences. The attraction now is to messages of peace, gratitude, self-improvement, self-healing, service, and generally widening the scope of what humankind thinks is possible. It is so inspiring to believe that Creative Spirit can be felt within each person, and that a God of Pure Love conspires for our good and supports us in all ways, always. Original Blessing, for many, has replaced Original Sin. More and more are truly believing the words of one of the greatest teachers of all time:
“The Kingdom of God is Within.”
“These things I do, you can do also, and even greater things can you do.”
“It happens unto you as you believe.”
The relatively new field of Quantum Physics is further expanding the limits of what we think is possible in our lives and around us.
It boldly suggests, and proves, the existence of much in the surrounding environment, that we cannot perceive with our limited five senses, but which is present nonetheless. As our knowledge of the world expands outward in a macrocosmic way, it also expands inward microcosmically. That is, we are now learning much about what exists beyond our Universe, while also realizing there are microscopic elements yet to be discovered, beyond what we previously thought to be the smallest particle in existence. Energy in the form of a person’s aura or someone’s thoughts is now discernible with scientific equipment. Concepts previously taken on pure faith are now being supported by scientific evidence. It appears that, at least in some ways, faith and science are beginning to overlap.
Churches of all genres are shifting a previous humanitarian focus of helping those in their church community to reaching out to their community at large-- their schools, hospitals, and even the international community--with humanitarian support. This causes much of the community to have an additional reason for becoming involved in spiritual institutions.
The Bottom Line:
While some view the world as in a state of turmoil, this new way of looking at Life, fueled by the shift in consciousness to a new spirituality, leaves us with a sense of gratitude, peace and infinite possibilities for Good.
Jody Whitley is a Spiritual Counselor, Writer, and Speaker, specializing in the areas of Bereavement, Healing, Relationships, and Personal Empowerment. She lives in Denver, Colorado.