Why you might not have a connection yet - and what you can do about it
Hi, I'm Kat!
What I am most passionate about is to inspire you to see that your life is your own and biggest masterpiece.
One of the best friends of my daughter is going to get baptised in June – and we are invited. She is 8 years old and thinks this is the coolest thing ever – and, knowing her very well, I have a hunch she actually just does it for the presents. BUT, it sparked some thoughts and conversations with my own kids, who are not baptised (and are not going to be). My husband has a non-christian denomination and I have quit church a couple of years ago.
In the conversations with my kids, the question came up what changes now for this friend and why this is good or not good. And, of course, you get into some discussions about what faith and spirituality is as well as what church and god are.
Disclaimer for anyone who is a faithful Christian and part of the Christian church: These are my views only and they might not be in line with what you believe in and this is completely fine. Each and everyone is entitled to believe in whatever they feel best with and which is in alignment with their faith.
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What is spirituality?
I have found many a definition in the textbooks and encyclopaedias and will give you the one from Collins dictionary:
1. the state or quality of being dedicated to God, religion, or spiritual things or values, esp as contrasted with material or temporal ones
2. the condition or quality of being spiritual
3. a distinctive approach to religion or prayer
4. (often plural) Church property or revenue or a Church benefice
What I don’t like about the definitions in most books is that at least one, mostly more than half of the possible definitions involve God, religion or the Church. For us in the Western world this might seem like the norm, but not everybody who is a spiritual person is connected to the Church.
So, my simple definition is: Spirituality means that you as a person believe in something higher than yourself, something that is not material and that you believe in laws that are governing our reality yet are beyond the materialised. That could be god, but it could also be you believing in angels, in source, in multiple gods, in the universe, in the forces of the universe or in the laws of the universe. It does not have anything to do with institutionalised belief systems like the church or with being an official member of a particular group. It has everything to do with your individual connection with reality and the whole of existence. Whatever makes sense to you and gives you a framework to live a purposeful life in that benefits you as well as the greater good, is perfect.
Church and being a good, spiritual kind human being are not connected
So, here comes my point of view: Holding up Christian views and morals and being a deeply good, kind-hearted and spiritual person does not have anything to do with being in Church. It might come together in some individuals, but this does not have to be the rule. Spirituality and a connection to God or the Universe or Source or the Divine, whatever you might call it, is very personal and does not need any intermediary like the Church. Quite honestly, if you look at it from afar, the Church is an institution and a corporation – the longest-living on earth until now. It is incredibly rich and has mixed up what Christianity is all about with power and money. Same is true for other religions and cults that make money out of the need of people to feel connected, to feel secure, to feel hold by a higher power than themselves.
I think a couple of decades or even centuries ago this has been a useful tool to establish peace, to ensure everybody was living by the same codes of conduct, the Christian values. Yet, the same is true these days for specific countries, where society works on the basis of a set of rules that is apparently based on divine laws. Yet, these laws, which are not Christian, bring harm, misery and death to many, outcast even more and are sometimes profoundly misogynistic. And we deem them barbarian – yet, I think of the Crusades, the Inquisition and the witch hunts, where the Christian Church really just did that.. And it happened again with systematic child molestation taking place in Church owned, Christian schools. And, till today, misogyny is running wild in almost all established belief systems. So, this is why I have left church a couple of years ago. I donate my money to institutions that are holding up real values, that are acting on them and that are caring for the elderly, the weak, the animals and climate change. Where I know that my money will be spent on the cause – and not on men that have no idea about life trying to force us to live a certain way. If I look at the grand churches and the riches that the Church has accumulated throughout the centuries, I must say that maybe that money should have gone to the people who need food and those who are starving instead.
Do spirituality and politics have to go together?
Yet, coming back to my earlier story about my daughter’s friend getting baptised. So, she is going to get inducted into this Christian community and thereafter will have religion as a subject in school. Because, in Germany kids are required to attend this when being baptised. So, the Church is not only collecting their taxes through our tax system, it is also in our schools. Kids do learn prayers and the stories of the bible. Which in essence, is a good thing. You need to know these kind of things, right? But, what I do not like is what is missing. My kids are not baptised and never will be if I have a say, and therefore, they will have ethics as a subject instead in a couple of years – and they don’t need to attend religion now in primary school.
Again, I do get – or believe I do get – where this is coming from; it comes from a time when the church was the one institution that could bring people together, make them believe in something and make sure that kids are raised on a common set of rules and how to behave. But these days, the majority of teens and kids are not part of the church anymore and do not believe in the things the Church preaches and does because it is not part of how they see the world. We could argue that we are in the Western world and that is simply the way it is. But, the world is changing, we are facing a crisis of which the dimensions are too dire to even think of, we will have migration waves that we cannot even imagine and our societies will change and have to change. And not everybody will have Western Christian belief systems. I might assume that the minority will live by the codes of the bible. The rest is left – in the air. To find their own way.
But, honestly, this is wasted time. Kids are so much more spiritual than we are as conditioned adults with our set belief systems and traumas. Time in school should be used to not teach them a certain faith, but in spirituality, in how to connect with nature, with their nature, with their intuition, that they can trust themselves. It should be used in getting to know all faiths and what the basis of them are. Kids need to be taught the principles of spirituality to thrive, not the rules of an organisation. It seems to me that it is way more important for kids to have a connection to their inner voice and wisdom, to their innocent connection to the Universe, to the greater spiritual realm. They need to learn how to connect and be present, and really have this ingrained in their every fibre to be able to choose the right thing to do, to be a good human being. Only when we are trying to teach them something which they don’t really see an inner connection to, they will turn against it in the teenage years and not go there anymore. They will struggle more than is necessary by having no idea what it is that they are missing
They should be taught the laws of the universe that are backed by science, by Einstein even – and I will cover them in a later article and podcast episode. That would give them a basis of understanding of what spirituality is, what being a good person is, of how the world works. The laws of the universe are working just like gravity – yet, we are taught one, but not the other. They are not something to choose, but they are real. I mean, if you are good in science you know that it all started with a big bang – and that actually means we all have come from the same matter – animals, plants, humans, air and water. We are all intricately connected. And that is the oneness that we have. If you believe in this, you know that you need to treat others kindly, because if you treat others badly, you are treating yourself badly and you will get paid back on this. Ever heard of Karma? It is a real thing. So, I think this is a way more tangible, understandable way to get people to behave in ways that are in line with society. Einstein already proved that manifestation is actually a physical process and that we are all energy and, hence, spirit. We do not need any institution that will punish, kill or demonise people for who they are. We need to educate people how they can find strength and their inner voice within themselves. We need to show them avenues that are possible – and yes, meditation might be even better to teach to kids than prayers.
And yes, spirituality in the meaning of the laws of the universe, in believing that we are all one, that what goes around comes around and the law of attraction SHOULD be part of politics. If we all acted on this basis, life would be good for all. But not if we hang our politics and systems up on a certain belief set that is based in ancient misogynistic times. This is not how we and the next generation can face the future.
So, what to do?
We need faith. We need connection. We need to feel part of something bigger.
Yet, some of us, just like me have left Church because this is no club for women I think. It’s a boys club just like most big corporations and it does not give me anything to uplevel my life and mindset. And I have a feeling that this is why a lot of people, and a lot of women struggle so much with finding their purpose, their sense of security, their sense of who they are and what they are supposed to be and do. Because the intricate connection between Church views and values and politics are omnipresent. And I do believe that we would have been better off getting taught the principles of spirituality instead.
I, actually, have been the biggest opponent of any kind of spiritual practice. Church and its rituals never resonated with me, although I was exposed to it heavily as a kid. Any other spiritual practice was out of my comfort zone. Reason behind that: My aunt is very spiritual and when I was younger, she was deemed the crazy one in the family, leaving church, going to yoga retreats, practicing tantra and going to the most dangerous places in the world helping people with Lepra. She was really a trailblazer and a guiding light and I did not see it. Because in my family, that was deemed crazy and not normal. And, as a young kid, that became my set belief system – because our belief systems are set before the age of seven. Everything after that is hard work to change. And it took me literally, decades to unravel that and see what spirituality is and how to use it to truly find happiness and a way of living. What if that had been taught in school instead of Church religion? I guess, I might have handled puberty and the very confusing teen years differently, I would have made different decisions in my life. Would they have been better? I will never know – but, I now know that the more aligned my future decisions are, the better for me, for my kids, for my community and the future of this planet.
For each one of us, it is important to find a sense of security in oneself, in a belief system that makes us the best possible version of ourselves and that does us and our community and everything on this planet good. And we should support those who are acting on these principles and make sure that this thinking, this mindset, that feeling of oneness and acting not out of search for materialistic things but for connection, love and fulfillment is ingrained in us, in our kids and in our community. You cannot change the whole system all at once, although I really would love to. But we can start to change ourselves and inspire those around us and especially the next generation to be able to deal with whatever is coming and to carve a purposeful way of living for mankind actually.
So, I know that this topic probably resonates very differently with different people, but I think there is a lot of misery for people because they have not been exposed to spirituality on the individual level or have been told that only freaks to that. And when church does not resonate they are just floating – especially in the teenage years when they need these practices of finding their own centre are the most crucial.
Let me know your thoughts.
With all my love!