‘Spiritual but not religious’ (SBNR) is a term that defines spirituality as a way of life that places emphasis on the wellbeing of body, mind & spirit. Within SBNR are those that practice activities such as Meditation, Shamanism, Tai Chi, Reiki and Yoga, amongst others, which focus on the inner life of the individual. SBNR have a mix of intellectual reform-seekers and those with a mystical yearning, impatient with the methodologies and mindsets of established churches. Demographically it is the younger generations seeking this form of spiritual definition and interestingly such a spiritual movement is more common in the English and North American cultures, perhaps because the terms ‘spirit’ and ‘religion’ have narrower meanings in the English language.
In the past, religion and culture, as well as national identity, went hand in hand and we can find the words religious and spiritual being used equally to describe all the many and various aspects related to religion. However, these days, many religions tend to focus more on the political and hierarchical structures of their organisations, whereas spirituality can be seen as being the search for the ‘God within.’ Interestingly, such seeking is not something created recently by those of New Age, or similar, persuasion, as spirituality can be researched to have existed throughout time, often hand-in-hand with religious lifestyles.
Religious and spiritual ‘experiences’ are very similar, being seen as mystical, unorthodox and exotic and with deep connections to the Earth and to the Universal Intelligence, called by many religions, God.
Being SBNR may encompass various observations and exercises, including:
- personal private practice and experience
- personal empowerment and individual freedom
- seeing beliefs as a hindrance rather than as beneficial
- values such as curiosity and intellectual freedom
- experimental approaches to religion.
SBNR people are also many and varied in their ways of putting spirituality into practice but predominantly they are people who realise that every moment is perfect and practice meditation as they go about their daily tasks, understanding that there is no need to create another reality but instead to fully embrace the sacred nature of their temporary existence in this life, in this moment.