Although my intuitive counseling clients come from several faiths, the biggest majority consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” According to recent surveys, something like 60% of people in the US identify themselves that way. But it’s interesting to me that for whatever reason, the biggest percentage of my spiritual but not religious clients began as Catholic. The ones who no longer go to church, say that they were raised in the Catholic faith, but either felt it didn’t do much for them, or that they were decidedly turned off by either the doctrine, or the behavior of the clergy, or both.
I can certainly understand that, because I was raised in a religious Jewish family, and found that it didn’t much for me. No one ever explained to me what the words I was reading in Hebrew translated to, or what they meant. So as I was growing up, the experience left me feeling empty. And I couldn’t understand why the adults felt it was so important, when they also didn’t actually seem to be gaining much from the experience, as far as I could tell at the time.
But despite my experience I don’t think badly of the Jewish religion, the Catholic faith, or any other religion for that matter. I certainly may not agree with the policies or world views of their leadership, but the way I look at it, for millions of people all over the world, religion is the way of connecting to God. It’s not my way of connecting to God, but it is theirs. And I think that if God didn’t want religion to be here, it wouldn’t be here. I believe religion, with all its faults, is serving an important purpose in creation, so I try to steer clear of judging it, even though it’s not my way.
Surprisingly, as part of my own spiritual awakening, I discovered I have a deep connection to some of the key figures in the Catholic Church. One by one, I came to have powerful inner relationships with Jesus, Mary, Francis of Assisi, Archangel Michael, and Saint Anthony. None of these relationships has much to do with modern day Catholicism. In fact, when I visit a physical church or attend a mass every now and then, it doesn’t seem to move me. But I do connect very deeply with these great figures in my heart. Perhaps it has to do with past life associations with the Church, because I certainly haven’t had much of any in this life.
Whatever the reason, to me each of these great spiritual figures — as well as many others I’ve experienced within — are very much alive. On those wonderful occasions when I experience their presence, they feel as real to me as anyone, and in some cases even more so. Each have their own distinct personalities and energy, and each offer their love and support to me, in their own unique ways.
So I feel extremely fortunate to have this kind of natural connection to spirit, and still have my Saturday and Sunday mornings free. And I tell my clients, that if they’ve rejected religion, to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Much better to get very quiet and still inside, and ask for a visit. Ask to be open to receive the love Spirit can offer, and look for your own personal relationship to whomever you might have even the slightest sense of connection with. Follow your heart, and let it open.
But meanwhile ask to be helped to let go of anything between you, and Spirit. Because if we’re holding a grudge against religion, or God, or anything for that matter, it can block us from receiving love. So, it’s important to do some inner inspection, and see what we’re holding in front of our heart, that keeps the door closed. And then let it go like a hot coal. I think that’s a good policy whether we’re religious, or spiritual but not religious, or none of the above.
I developed a series of guided meditation programs about connecting with the spiritual figures I mentioned, and you can find them and hear samples at my website, the healing waterfall .com. Just log on and look for the category called Spirituality, and notice what calls to you. I hope you’ll find it helpful.