the key problem with this question is that it is so difficult to answer without losing perspective, as there are so many definite answers. So many factual documents which state the ultimate truth. Yet all are very different in there outlook.
Religion tends to be viewed as dogmatic and rigid. Spirituality tends to lean towards the more ebby and flowy flowery thought patterns of the new age. What I hope to answer here is the difference or lack there of between religion and spirituality.
To be quite frank I have struggled to write for quite sometime. The truth be told it is because I have struggled with the reality of what has been revealed to me during my retreat. By revealed I do not mean someone or some person told me. But in fact I am talking about true meditative realisations (and as I have said countless times, all I want to write about is what I have truly experienced and not what is being regurgitated everywhere and elsewhere).
I will start with an example which will have flavours of other writers elsewhere, particularly the Eckhart Tolle followers et al. (I worried that by jumping to and Bypassing Tolle I would lose some people, as what I will write may in fact contradict what I have written in the past but I will explain why.
Straight to it.
If you look at something as mundane and everyday as a door. We see it everyday, we use it everyday. We have become so familiar with the door that it has gone beyond judgement. We no longer judge it to be a door we have imprinted it upon our mind that that is what it is (this is judgement 1).
Yet if we delete the word door and remove every supposition of what that door is, we may be lost for a means of communicating and understanding what the door is and what it is used for.
Well what is it, look at it and say what you see is a wood panel, with brass hinges a handle, a locking mechanism. (This is judgement 2)
since we are trying to remove judgement's by removing imprints and re-evaluating them, lets delete all the words that we used in judgement 2 as they are mundane judgement's of each of the components of the door. Stop judging.
What are we left with wood and springs and screws rivets and rust and paint (judgement 3)
We have elements of carbon and copper made up of atoms and protons and neutrons. Little balls of matter which buzz about in free space and come together creating a bond which appears to us as solid matter of the components, of the components, and the actual components, and the actual door. (judgement 4)
Take it further come on really look!
What we have is free space, in fact there is more free space in an atom than any other “object” and since all matter is made up of atoms, there is more free space in matter than anything else. There is more free space, in us than anything else.
when we view religion v spirituality. In the above example. I would like to clarify religion and view of the human being.
Religion views the body as the human. Who has a soul. But is the body all the same. All importance is placed upon the body, the identity of the individual and whether that complete being will be everlasting. As in judgement 1.
The first level of spirituality recognises the being as a collection of its parts it has organs and a mind and possibly an aura made up of energetic organs and chakras. As in judgement 2.
The second level of spirituality recognises that beyond the body that in fact we are eternal beings and we have a temporary human body which will die bout we our being never will. It is permanent and has an identity. As in judgement 3.
The third level of spirituality recognises the ebb and flow of atomic intelligence which sees the true transference of matter and spirit from one form to the next passing through our entire entity, and entity which is centered on your being but includes all things in the universe. People with this understanding tend to state things like “I am god” etc. this is judgement 4.
and the final level of understanding (so far who knows what the future holds) recognises the true nature of the intelligent free space and matter. That there is no true and everlasting identity. That the “identity” is universal as is the being. It is all things, and yet is nothing, it encompasses all time and yet has no time. Is complicated and yet so incredibly simple, it places absolute fear into those who are not ready to hear it (or places them in a state of denial) this is what I have found on my journey (and I now want you to ignore it, ignore the Tolle's of the world etc.)
because each judgement is absolutely correct is truly in keeping with the perspective of the viewer.
Religion is the first leg on the spiritual ladder and is well up the path of development, and is a necessary step on the path to truly understanding the self, and truly developing spiritually.
Religion and spirituality are just differing stages on the path, the dharma or the tao.
Enjoy it, each stage was truly blessed, and each experience, has been a true revelation.
Very short sharp and to the point. I can expand at a later stage as in this I was only intending to answer the religion vs spirituality question.