I was talking to my Mum about religion v spirituality last night and said that where I’m at is that religiously I’m Jewish, but spiritually I’m Buddhist if truth be told. I honestly feel my Buddhist practice makes me a better Jew and a better person in general. Through practising the Eightfold Noble path I’ve learnt to shift my perceptions of things and accept and work on my faults. I’m certainly not perfect – far from it – but I can accept where I fall short without equating it to being an inherently “bad” or unworthy person. I’m a pretty decent person, I just fuck up sometimes. I’ve also learnt that I don’t have to constantly “be” Jewish to have the right to identify as one. I think that has really hindered me in hindsight. Don’t get me wrong, I love being Jewish, I love my culture and the religion resonates within me, but I don’t have to be a walking Torah – I’m not a Rabbi or Rebbetzin. It’s ok for me to not be frum (ultra Orthodox), it won’t invalidate my Jewishness – that’s my birthright no matter what. I’ve also learnt – and most importantly I think, that I won’t lose or invalidate my Jewishness by embracing and celebrating the rest of my heritage. I’m so proud of my Scottish and Norse heritage and I think part of me felt that because I’ve had it all my life, whereas I only found my Jewishness as an adult, so I had to play “catch-up” and focusing on the Scot-Norse heritage would detract or invalidate my Jewishness. Once I let that go, I felt A LOT better about everything. FINALLY.
I have found that religion is an identity, while spirituality is who I am.