10 Ways to Get Spiritual for the “Spiritual, Not Religious” crowd.

Are you for health but don’t have time to eat healthy?

A world-changer but waiting to retire from your corporate Wall Street job before changing the world?

An environmentalist who doesn’t recycle?

Or maybe even someone who is “spiritual, but not religious?”

Which leads us to the question of what the heck is the “spiritual but not religious”?

Multiple choice question. “Spiritual but not religious” means:

A) You’re super religious but don’t want others to know it

B) Non-religious but use this phrase as a way to be politically correct and be socially accepted

C) Kinda religious when it’s Christmas time or someone dies

D) Not religious but spiritual enough to believe that if all this religious crap was for real and you found yourself in hell, you’d use the “spiritual, not religious card” to escape a life in purgatory.

“Is spiritual, not religious” a lame excuse?

It has become socially acceptable to say “spiritual, not religious” when asked what our religious preferences are. It  also seems to be the politically correct thing to say.

With “spiritual, but not religious” we get to say that we’re connecting with ourselves, a higher power or God but not in any formal or scripture-based way. And we don’t really have to do ANYTHING to satisfy that label.

How do you end up becoming “spiritual, not religious?”

Did you grow up in a cult and get burnt out?

Did you grow up in a strict religious household where you were constantly warned about going to hell?

Did you grow up in a household where you were told to stay far away from God and march with your comrades when the revolution started?

Did you live a life of faith only to find a God who doesn’t listen to your prayers and continuously disappointed you?

Why get spiritual?

If you’re neither spiritual or religious, fine.

If you’re religious, all the power to you.

But if you’re the “spiritual, not religious crowd” I’m writing this for you. And asking you to get spiritual if in fact you consider yourself a spiritual person.

I’m asking you to get spiritual so —

1)    You spend a part of your day focusing on your inner self and being, as you discover who you really are – your essence.

2)    You’re able to deal with life’s problems and challenges better with inner strength and wisdom.

3)    You realize that spirituality is a part of your personal development practice which allows you to be a better person to yourself and others.

10 Ways To get Spiritual for those without money for church coffers, time to attend religious services or tolerance for doctrines and dogma.  

Let’s say you’re  hell-bent on staying as far away from any and every religion, prophet, guru and sacred text. Then, try one of these practices for a few minutes a day to get in touch with your inner spirituality.

Stop saying you’re spiritual and get spiritual by:

1)    Meditating for a few minutes every day. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing without trying to think about the world around. You’ll become more mindful of your breath and ultimately be able to observe your mind.

2)    Attend a yoga class. Yoga may feel like a pure physical exercise. Yoga is actually challenging your body and mind and helping you make the connection between the two.

3)    Listen to music which stirs your soul. I would just suggest doing this mindfully so you’re actually listening to the music instead of when you’re on the exercise bike, playing a game of Angry Birds on your  iPhone.

4)    Attend a gospel concert. Yes, they may be singing about God but you don’t have to ‘hallelujah’ about God.  A gospel choir sings about God but also about hope, strength, self-belief and overcoming challenges.

5)    Be silent. No, I don’t mean shut up as a spiritual practice. Oh, maybe I do. I say be silent and observe the silence. Embrace the silence. In the silence, you might even hear or find your inner self.

6)    Watch your favorite televangelist. And no, you don’t have to pick the one that’s asking you to send in $5,000 to save your soul.  TV preachers ain’t all bad and many preach about overcoming life challenges and finding your inner strength during life’s rough times.

7)    Take a hike. When you’re one with nature, you can’t help but think about nature and before you  know it, your connection with nature. Nature has a way of revealing your true self.

8)    Watch a sunset or sunrise. Sure, this sounds like a recipe for a romantic getaway but also a way to uplift your spirit and soul. Glorious sunrises and sunsets may make you even start seeking a higher power.

9)    Help someone. Yes, helping others can be a spiritual practice all by itself.  The act of giving selflessly to others  brings out your best and highest self. Helping a friend when they  are overwhelmed, a relative who is struggling or an elderly person with a chore will help you make you feel a spiritual connection.

10) Send love out into the world. Sending out love is something that my friend Wendy Irene regularly writes about on her blog. This may be a little hippie-ish sounding advice you heard when sitting around the campfire at Woodstock. When feeling afraid, overwhelmed or worried for yourself or someone else in your life, feel love and illuminate love for a  few minutes.

You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. But if you think you’re a spiritual person or want to be more spiritually in tune, practice a little more spirituality in your life every day.

You’ll instantly feel the benefits of spiritual living; clarity, strength, compassion and connection.

For my book, Is God Listening?, about spirituality and resilience, click here


  1. I don’t know where I would be without my loving God and my Savior, Jesus . . . You can call me religious, but, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, I can see God’s mighty hand at work all around me. I live into the miracle every day, reading His word and spending time in prayer.
    This post is truly provocative, Vishnu, and I do hope it helps those seeking to realize that there is a spark of the divine within them.
    Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks Martha. God can provide a lot of positive benefits in our life:) Glad your day is filled with devotion and worship!

      Everyone does have an inkling of the divine in them – a spiritual calling. I decided to propose a few ways to practice that spirituality a little bit every day. We take care of our physical and emotional needs regularly, why not our spiritual ones too?

  2. Vishnu, thank you so much for the link! I really appreciate it. While I was reading the 10 ways I kept thinking I am so on board with each way. In regards to #6, something similar I love to watch is Soul Sunday on OWN. It feels like my kind of church from the comfort of my home. There is such a variety of people on Soul Sunday, along with Oprah of course, and they all teach the same message of love in different ways.
    Thanks again for being so generous and kind!

    1. THanks Wendy – I really enjoy reading your blog and especially your videos of late. Reading your blog and others that I read could also be ideas for spiritual practices:) Glad you’ve found your own way to get church from your home via Soul Sundays. I know from reading many of your posts, that you’re the perfect example of someone who is infusing spirituality into their life every single day!

  3. I have a pastor friend who is so sick of the “spiritual, not religious” label that he calls himself “religious, not spiritual”. Too far? Perhaps. I think that the two labels in the essence, are reflections of each other. One is not better than the other.

    1. ha ha intrigued you have a pastor friend and good one – religious, not spiritual! Are all religious people, spiritual? Debatable. But I think it would be safe to say not all spiritual people are religious. People could practice spirituality without following any formal religion – just harder to do so unless you’re self-motivated, put spirituality as a priority or interested in starting a cult. lol

  4. Yo Vishnu,

    I have a question: What is “spiritual”? As I read this post I kept thinking “yup, yup, that sounds good. Yeah, I’ll do that.” But then I thought to myself “this will be good for my own spiritual practice.” But then I realized I was using the word spiritual interchangeably with religion.

    What is the difference between the two? Help a brother out V! I’m confused :).

    Maybe this is a future post in and of itself. Or maybe it is something that everyone defines for themselves.

    1. thanks Izzy for your question and for your idea about a future post. how to be spiritual when you have no idea what spirituality is:)

      My take is that anyone who is practicing religion is likely to be living or experiencing some sort of spirituality in their lives. Spirituality, for me, is coming to terms with who you are and realizing your inner being. Religion is a good way to go about that but sometimes we get so caught up in the dogma and the word, that we forget the practice.

      Spirituality may be just recognizing the world and people around us are one in the same as us and treating them with the same respect and love, as we would treat ourselves.

  5. I think I’m religious – less so in recent years, but certainly more spiritual, Vishnu. But I’m beginning to realize that all religious people are not spiritual – and that’s just sad, don’t you think?

    I love your ten ideas to get spiritual!

    1. Thanks Corinne – yeah, sometimes we get so bogged down with religion, passages, words and rightness of concepts that we forget to live a life that’s honest, kind to others and compassionate! And we forget to practice spirituality every day which is why my 10 ideas:) I’m sure there’s plenty more.

    1. I knew it – when is the Brownson religion going to start and how much does it cost to register!! 🙂

  6. Hey V, people do say “spiritual but not religious” quite a bit, don’t they? I guess I sort of always thought it was a way of saying you follow a set of spiritual beliefs but prefer not to identify with a specific organized religion. I am spiritual AND religious!

    1. thanks Jody – I’ve found the spiritual, not religious crowd to use that line as an easy way out to not be spiritual or religious. ha ha Or like the analogy I use in the post – someone who is committed to being healthy saying they don’t have time to eat healthy or exercise:)

      I would encourage everyone to get religious so it can bring out spirituality in your life. Or get spiritual. Or just do something that reflects on your soul daily:)

  7. A very thought provoking Post that I could definitely relate to. I am a Spiritual person and it is more important for me at least to have a Relationship with the Lord rather than just a Religion. Sometimes I have noticed that one can get caught up in a form and fashion of Religion but without really cultivating the Relationship with God and then the Religious aspect seems hollow and superficial really. As a Christian I Believe that Jesus warned of this in Scripture, going through the motions of Religion and yet not having the Heart of God as focus… and so it has always been my Intent to know Him Personally & study His Word, with or without ‘Religion’ being my focus or having a label of a particular denomination. Dawn… The Bohemian

    1. Good point! I know what you mean about trying to find the spiritual aspects of your religious beliefs through your relationship with God. Even religious people aren’t necessarily spiritual. We just have to step back sometimes and reflect upon what it is we’re doing.. Are we doing religion for the sake of religion? (which is superficial and hollow like you say) or are we doing it to know God better, know ourselves better, etc.

  8. i do consider myself “spiritual but not religious” to me, that means I follow no religion, because i believe that religion is man made and the best way to tap into source/god/universe is from within, my own ‘spirituality’, because everything else is the middle man!

    1. Good job JB! no need to be religious – you can be 100% spiritual. Tapping into your own spirituality and cutting out the middle man makes sense! we each have to ultimately tap into our own spirituality. I’m all for it as long as we spend time each day focusing on this aspect of our life – I guess being actively spiritual instead of passive spirituality or spirituality while we sleep:)

  9. hey Vishnu
    i am religious but i don’t mind learning about spirituality as well
    i believe they are both connected , thanks for the post

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