The Difference Between Spirituality and Religion

Meteora Monastery - photo by Dragan Sasic

Meteora Monastery in Greece (upper left). Photo by Dragan Sasic.

By Doug Marman

There is only one way to see the difference between spirituality and religion: Through experience. Only by walking the two paths can we see how different they really are.

They start off similarly. A person finds a connection to something larger than themselves. It might come from a book they read, a person they meet, or they could discover it by just being in a certain place. Whatever form it takes, it inspires the person and uplifts their view of life to a new perspective.

At first, it is just a glimmer, but the sensation grows that life is more meaningful than they realized. They find themselves involved in a new reality, at a higher level than ordinary life. This isn’t yet an idea, a pattern, or a teaching. In the beginning, it is simply an experience…

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Sukhmani – The Secret of Inner Peace

New Translation and Commentary by Doug Marman

Down through time, mystics, seers, and spiritual travelers have journeyed into higher states of consciousness. They returned transformed and inspired. Each described their experiences differentlSukhmani-New-218x280y. Some say they saw the Cosmic Tree of Life. Others tell about merging into a pool of truth, or visiting a golden temple of wisdom. These are not myths, but poetic ways of describing the awareness that bathed, illuminated, and enlightened them.

“Sukhmani” means “bringer of peace to the heart.” Guru Arjan wrote this book over 400 years ago, after someone struggling with life begged him to share how he found peacefulness. Arjan’s answer is one of the deepest and most insightful testaments ever recorded.

However, this book tells another story, as well: That spiritual teachings are often lost through dogmatic thinking and the practice of rituals – even when the author warned of this danger…

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The Masks of God

Masks of God

By Doug Marman

(This article is an excerpt from The Silent Questions, pages 234-238)

If the people are Hindu, It has appeared as Krishna, Buddha, or Vishnu, so they would know him. It is Zeus to the Greeks; Jupiter to the Romans; Ishtar to the Babylonians; Varuna to the Aryans; Jesus to the Christians; and Allah to the Mohammedans. It has appeared to all in every age of this world since its creation. As the vehicle for God It has come in the form to which the people are most accustomed and by the name familiar to them.

These are the masks of God. The one timeless power guides and protects whoever may contact It in every age, yet we know no more of It than our own limited understanding. To see Its true form, to personally experience It in Its unlimited reality, we must remove the masks of God to look beneath.

No outer path, no holy book, no metaphysical formula can show It in Its full force. We must find for ourselves what is the truth behind all life. It is a personal journey…

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