A friend of mine said the other day, something along the lines of "I know your not religious but..."
I think he got this idea from the fact that I said I wasn't a church goer, but he is wrong... well kind of. I nearly pulled him up on it, but changed my mind as I didn't want to get into a deep conversation at that point. However I have been thinking about it a lot, and thought I would jot down a few notes...
I would say I have had the most bizarre upbringing in terms of religion, which might explain some the ways I view the world.
As a child my parents were hippies (in a big way), they followed a Guru, and were part of the Divine Light Mission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Light_Mission).
We travelled all over the world to hear this man speak, although as a child I rarely went to the actual talks. I do remember one of the ceremonial things however, as it was wonderful to do. We all (hundreds of us) dressed in white, and went down to a huge field. There the Guru would stand on a raised platform and fire huge water cannons (like super fireman's ones) filled with coloured water over everyone. It was like a huge party, and at the end, all the white had turned to rainbow colours, and we all went back, wet, colourful and happy to our tents. You can imagine how amazing this was to a 7 year old girl, and it has always stuck with me.
In stark contrast, my primary school in Scotland was a Christian one, and we stood every morning and said 'The Lords Prayer' before classes, had regular visits from the minister, and held weekly services at the school.
I was a little confused. At night when I went to bed, I didn't know whether to ask the angels to watch over me or the Guru . *chuckles*
I have to say that both brought me comfort though
As I grew up things changed, my parents split and my mother stopped following the Guru.
She became a Quaker, and this became a large part of her life, (if not mine). I did attend some silent Quaker meetings, and found them very beautiful in their own way, and I understood why my mother wanted to be part of this group. But by this time I was ready to leave home, and make my own way. Nowadays, my mother trains as a Church of England minister, and will be ordained in a few years!
I have met Buddhists, Pagans, Born Again Christians, Wiccans, Humanists, Jehovah's Witnesses and others, and one thing that has struck me over the years is that whatever you call yourself, and whatever church you go to, its whats inside you that counts.
Pagans believe that all Gods and Goddesses are one God, and that the icons we use simply enable us to identify, get close to, and understand our own inner spirituality.
People of all religions seek to understand themselves and the world around them better, to make sense of things which are beyond other more conventional explanations.
A person of good heart who seeks, not to glorify, but to understand, themselves better and to 'see that of God' in the world and the people around them, can, for me, be seen as spiritual no matter what religion (or not) they belong to.
I hope that my 'religion' leads me close to being this person everyday, however slowly that may be!