There's no doubt that spirituality (often lethally appropriated by the bastardizing structures of organized religion) has been the most divisive issue of our time, before our time, and most likely after our time is over.
The reason I do not make a hardcore distinction between religion and spirituality is due to the fact that in life (and I suppose also in death) things are not that cut and dry, not that absolute or polarized. There are many kernels of spirituality in religions. I heard it expressed once that religion was the thing pointing to the stars, but it was not the stars themselves. Religions often have the urging of Spirit, the unction of Spirit, the thirst, the hunger, and hears the call of Spirit, but it is no more the fullness of spirituality than a larvae is a butterfly. A larvae has the ingredients and the makings of a butterfly but it is not one yet. In the same way, religion can have the ingredients of a fully evolved spirituality, but it does not yet. And in the current forms, structures, and in the limited egoic power-mongering that it often walks the Earth as, it never will.
Religion in our world has done little more than prevent humanity from fully walking into the fullness of what it means to be a spiritually enlightened being.
However, like calls to like. Deep calls to deep. So there is something there, and although many of us sense it, many of us are not willing to risk the security religions provide in order to truly touch, embrace, and kiss the face of God.
Religion, Spirituality, and the Body
In our practice, it has become abundantly clear that several of the major hurdles towards physical and spiritual healing and wholeness are the constraints that many of our Christian traditions have placed upon our bodies and our minds. We have been chained and imprisoned by the very thing that was supposed to free us! For many of us, we grew up with a warped view that the body was inherently evil and destined for some fiery hereafter. However, Spirit, in creating a physical body to house its essence, unequivocally and irrevocably deemed the body "good." It is the temple of us. We are spirits housed in a physical shell. Or, as C.S. Lewis once stated, "We are physical, spiritual hybrids." We posses the best of what is seen and what is not seen - what is eternal and what is passing away.
When one does not value a thing as worthy of life, one abuses it, mistreats it, disregards it, uses it as a means to an end, a cheap thrill, or worse. In our work as Erotic Embodiment Coaches, we delve into the mysteries of the body, the secrets it holds, and the stories it desires to tell. Our culture has forgotten how wise our bodies are. I repeat, our bodies are VERY wise! They hold memories and energies most of us never tap in to.
We are inviting you BACK into your pleasure, BACK into your earliest knowing, BACK into oneness - not division.
You see, religion divides - right, wrong, up, down, left, right, black, white, good, evil. There is always a foe to defeat and an enemy to vanquish - somewhere. Religion is in constant war. ALWAYS! There is no peace in religion, not so long as it continues pointing to the stars as a place to attain rather than realizing that it already possess all the elements to be a star, and hence, is a star in the most basic of senses. Religion, by its very nature, is divisive. Spirituality, however, is inclusive. Spirituality sees the oneness in all things - how everything, regardless of favorable or unfavorable labeling is connected. Spirituality understands that you can not ultimately separate something that is, by nature, one.
We are not in the business of cutting off or cutting out. But instead, integration.
So, what ever do we mean when we speak of Spirituality?
In short, we speak of the oneness of you - how ALL the parts of you are integrated into a self-accepting, confident, highly esteemed individual, fully aware of your place in the tapestry of life. We teach that it is not through the rejection of the body that healing and ascent come, but instead THROUGH it!
Imagine, if you will, that you are traveling through the cosmos in a spacecraft. This spacecraft is protecting you from the vacuum of space. Let's suppose that because the ship wasn't created to all of your specifications, you start throwing out parts and resenting other parts. In time, due to your judgement and non-acceptance of what is, your disdain for the vessel results in negligence and in time your ship is in such a state of disrepair that eventually it ceases to be your safe haven and starts to become a liability and life-threatening. Inevitably it ceases to do the primary thing it was created for, to protect you from the bleakness of space and deliver you safely to your destination. The ship eventually loses life support and you die.
This, is how many of us are treating our bodies and the bodies of others. Many of us are so indoctrinated in the worthlessness and sinfulness of the body that we fail to realize that it is within this vessel of clay, we exist. It is our vehicle, our "space-craft."
And as Dr. McCoy once told Data when speaking of the Enterprise D during the premier of Star Trek TNG, "Treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home."
When we speak of spirituality we are also speaking of the health of your relationship with the divine, however you define that as and whatever name you use as a label. We are speaking about your own spiritual nature: your self confidence, your self-esteem, your self love, and self acceptance. We believe that these are spiritual issues before they manifest as physical ones. We are speaking about how you see yourself in the world around you, your friends, your family. And we are especially speaking about how you see, feel, and think about yourself when no one is around - when you are without companionship save your own thoughts.
Spirituality is far more integral, visceral, and basic than anything religion could possibly comprehend or truly teach about. It must be experienced. It must BE! Spirituality (unlike religion) is not a construct. It's not a monolith. It's not a place to go or a way to act, think, or do. No, spirituality is an "is-ness." It just is - who you basically are. Imagine religion as clothes we put on to shield ourselves from our internal doubts, shames, guilts, and fears. However, they only remind us of how much more clothes we need to cover up these qualities we deem unfavorable. It is time to stop covering up! It's time to be naked, vulnerable, exposed, free.
You can never transform something by ignoring it. It will always be there when you turn back. We teach that you can only transform something once you more fully understand it, give voice to it, and accept it as your own.
Only then can you know the truth. And only then can that truth set you free!