By Carmela Cattuti, author of Between the Cracks: one woman’s journey from Sicily to America
There are countless differences between organized religion and the true spiritual seeker. In this brief article, I will highlight what I feel are the major distinctions. Every organized religion on planet earth proclaim that if we follow their three R’s, rules, regulations, and rituals, we will be on the fast track to heaven. If we follow their principles, then we will be saved. Organized religions suppress the human spirit and dupe us into thinking that we need them to communicate with Our Universal Creator. They would have us believe that we need to be “saved,” and that our innate flaw (original sin for many Christians) requires a ritual of baptism to cleanse. There is an over-whelming need for organized religion to control their followers through fear.
If we are a member of a congregation and have an unsettling feeling that we are being manipulated, then we need to listen to our feelings. This is our intuition calling our soul to wake up and is usually the first sign that your soul desires to grow naturally. Following organized religion is not an organic process for humans. If we feel that we need to be saved by an institution, organization, religion, or force outside of ourselves then we need to ask ourselves why. Once we receive an answer we need to discern if the answer came from the mind or the intuition.
How do we identify the intuition’s voice? When we receive an answer from the intuition it is illuminating and encourages our life to expand. If the response feels manipulative and limiting, then it is most likely from the mind. For example, we might ask “How can I meet someone special?” An answer from the mind might sound something like “You need to meet someone through the church with the same beliefs.” An intuitive answer would sound like “Open yourself up and consider everyone you meet today as a potential relationship.”
When we start communicating and following our intuition we are on the true spiritual seeker’s path. It is a path of uncertainty and countless pitfalls so it is not a journey for the faint of heart. Those with a weak heart will stay with organized religion and the predictability of a mind based life. We are programmed to believe that we need to follow the mind to live a happy God fairing life. The truth is, those with the messiest of lives tend to be the most genuinely spiritual.
The next step for the true spiritual seeker is to access the wisdom of the heart. The heart and intuition are intimately connected and are comrades in arms. They communicate on a regular basis and are concerned with our spiritual progress. They want us to become our own authority without input from organized religion. The heart is where we access our compassion and empathy. If there is judgment involved, then that is the limitation of the mind.
That is not to say we need to disregard the mind, but we want the heart and intuition to light our path. When we need to calculate, and figure out logistics of a situation then the mind is useful, but it should never run our lives. The true spiritual seeker strives to become sovereign and contemplates the unseen world. The ability to access dimensions other than planet earth become a possibility. As the seeker becomes adept at feeling and sensing energy an entirely new world opens and the wonder of being alive takes on a new meaning. The possibility to expand our spiritual awareness is all around us not in a building with stained glass windows and an altar. That paradigm will only lead to limitations. The true spiritual seeker moves beyond any religion into the realm of magic and mystery.
The yoga practitioner knows this. He or she knows that life is created from the inside. The yogi is a spiritual warrior who traverses the inner landscape so that the unknown can be known. The yoga practitioner seeks wisdom of the self and face the inner shadow with a sense of adventure. Next week we will be exploring the path of the yogi and its relationship to spirituality.
Carmela Cattuti started her writing career as a journalist for the Somerville News in Boston, MA. After she finished her graduate work in English Literature from Boston College she began to write creatively and taught a journal writing course at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education As fate would have it, she felt compelled to write her great aunt's story. “Between the Cracks” has gone through several incarnations and will now become a trilogy. This is the first installment. The second book will be available shortly.To connect with Carmela email her email@example.com.
About Between the Cracks
Join Angela Lanza as she experiences the tumultuous world of early 20th century Sicily and New York. Orphaned by the earthquake and powerful eruption of Mt. Etna in 1908, Angela is raised in the strict confines of an Italian convent. Through various twists of fate, she is married to a young Italian man whom she barely knows, then together with her spouse, immigrates to the U.S. This novel is an invitation to accompany the young Angela as she confronts the ephemeral nature of life on this planet and navigates the wide cultural gaps between pre-World War II Italy and the booming prosperity of dynamic young America. Author, artist, and teacher Carmela Cattuti created Between the Cracks as an homage to her great-aunt, who survived the earthquake and eruption of Mt. Etna and bravely left Sicily to start a new life in America.