Comparisons between Spirituality and Religion
Religion and Spirituality may share some common characteristics. However, they are different.
In my early life, I grew up a devout Catholic. I made my First Confession, my First Communion, my Confirmation; and actually enjoyed the process of making every one of those religious sacraments. When I made my Confirmation as a teenager, we went to a special location, and for our hour of silence, we were actually put in individual rooms. It was really more spiritual than I believe my son's hour of silence was before he made his Confirmation, as he wasn't in a room of his own.
You have to remember, I grew up with a very French Canadian background. I went to Canada to visit my grandparents, and we went to Quebec City, near where my Grandfather was born, and went to this huge Catholic Church, where my Great Aunt was a nun. I remember getting two sterling silver charms while I was there. In which BOTH were blessed. I have quite a few good memories of travels to Canada. This was definitely one, as was trips to the Roy Family Horse Farm. Which was in our family for 250 years before it was sold a few years ago.
On to the differences of spirituality and religion:
Religion tends to follow a set of rules; emphasizing what you can and cannot do. Spirituality has no rules. Spirituality embraces being a human being. It encourages you to connect with your higher self. It makes you discover your own truth. Spirituality encourages your own journey of learning. While religion makes you dependent. Spirituality sets you free and lets you be independent. While religion emphasizes punishment to force you to act a certain way. Spirituality does not punish you. It emphasizes karma. You will always get what you give - by doing unto others as you would do to yourself. Spirituality allows you to create your own path, discovering your own truths. Religion tells you everything about life and what we are supposed to be doing. Religions have a rule of criminalizing and separating you from other religions. Spirituality encourages all of them because its all a form of self expression and a higher consciousness. Spirituality is within you. Your biggest achievement is already won and you possess it deep within yourself.
I believe there is room to have both religion and spirituality in one's life. I take what Religion has taught me, and bring it with me through my spiritual journey. I look at all ways to be spiritual, as I know that I am descended from many different people, including Native American.