Today, an increasing number of people call themselves “spiritual but not religious”. Like religious people, many of them believe in a higher power and follow some creed, leader, teacher, or philosopher. Instead of God, they call this higher power spirit, source, or energy, and reject the dogmatic principles and rules that are laid down by traditional religious authorities as incontrovertibly truths. Sometimes new communities emerge under modern spiritual leaders, teachers, and Gurus with single truths, which can quickly become dogmatic and similar to traditional religions.
Mysticism provides a way out of this dilemma by asserting that all humans have the potential for enlightenment or full awakening, and that there are no single truths, paths, or practices that lead to this realization. Mystics usually refuse to have followers, students or organizations. Instead, they inspire, empower and support others in finding their own practice and path without creating new power structures, religious organizations and hierarchies.
We will explore the upsides and downsides of these approaches to a spiritual life, finding meaning, and making the world a better place.