Whole Living Daily

How to Save Your Soul Without Religion

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Photograph by Sally Davies

Having spent half my life as a nun working at a Catholic College for women – Saint Mary’s in Notre Dame, Indiana – it wasn’t until I moved to New York City in 1990 and became a writer that I discovered so many people whose souls were nourished and saved without any religion at all.

And now, 20 years later, not only is my life richly full of ordinary people living extraordinarily meaningful lives (without religion), but I am beginning to believe that those seeking to save their soul without religion will soon become the fastest growing “religion” in America, possibly the world. I’m clearly not the only one who feels that way, either.

Losing My Religion
Last month, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life released a report entitled “Religion Among the Millenials” which found that one in four 18- to 29-year-olds are unaffiliated with a religion, but also appear to be more spiritually conscious and driven than older generations.

Similar studies also demonstrate a growing trend away from organized religion by those seeking to enrich their spiritual lives.  Church attendance among American Catholics is down to an all time low of 30%, and even lower in Europe.  Among the other 70% are members of my own family.

We’ve christened all the great nieces and nephews in their homes surrounded by family and friends, baptized by their parents, and anointed by those surrounding them; the community that promised to love and help raise those children.

My nieces and nephews are among those free-spirited “millenials” who are certainly more spiritually conscious than I was at their age, even as a nun.

What It Means to Find Your Soul
So the purpose of this weekly column is to share thoughts on ways to save our souls without religion, live blissfully happy lives, and teach children to do the same.

When I talk about soul, I simply mean the inner life from which our best self emerges, or not.  It’s the deep-seated consciousness of who we are and what we’re meant to do in this lifetime; the source of energy, the breath of life, the creative spirit, the intuitive guiding voice which leads us to a divine experience of life, if we listen and follow.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.”

In other words, we are not human beings on a spiritual journey.  We are spiritual beings here on earth to experience how divine it is to become fully human.  “Salvation” then, lays in the blissful fulfillment of our life which belief in God and religion may or may not facilitate.

Yes, I'm Talking to You
This blog is for everyone who’s soulfully serious about living happily every after; who believe in God and those who don’t.  What you will find here is universal, non-denominational, soul-saving; something for everyone.

All that matters is what we share in common, not what divides us as morally and spiritually superior.  Religious belief is not the only basis for a system of morality.  When we listen to the divine truth within, we are fully capable of safeguarding moral values and following spiritual paths that revere all life as sacred and harm no one, animals included.

We are all bearers of soulful truths, called to become messengers of divine love on earth; but whether we do that or not, the choice remains ours and ours alone.  Religion alone can’t save our soul, as corruption in Catholicism’s’ protection of pedophiles demonstrates clearly.

But once we discover our soul, our best self, and begin listening to its divinely inspired voice, saving it in any way we can becomes an inner necessity, with or without religion.  At least it did for me.

Until next week, think about this:  “May we open our hearts and listen to the Voice that constantly comes from within.” --Rumi

Karol Jackowski, Ph.D., became a nun in 1964. She's also been a college administrator, graduate of New York University, manager of a toy store, author of eight books, painter of religious folk art, and sister to everyone she meets. Please visit her website at KarolJackowski.com.

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Comments (11)

  • Karol, I have seen your name so often, and your dear friend, Michelle Harmon, has mentioned you so often. She shared this with me and I feel very privileged that she did. I have never read anyone's blog (can you believe it??! ) So thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am a former sister, also, but in these later years I am so close to believing as you do. But I love liturgy...ritual..and I do attend Mass on Sundays. But every day I feel more and more that religion is so divisive in this world...it is so dualistic in its approach (a word I have adopted from my readings). I have more "belief" about the Eucharist...maybe that is something I should share in blob with someone like you. This short note is to just say I am so glad that Michelle has such a good friend like you and I know you must value her friendship so much, also. Again, I will let her know how grateful to her for letting me read your blog!! Thank you. Lorraine

  • Lorraine, you can find comfort in the fact that I have never blogged either, but like you I find myself on a spiritual path where organized religion becomes less and less meaningful...too much hating, killing, judging, and abusing children in the name of God. It's not working for me any more. I think it doesn't matter what religion anybody believes as long as it makes them capable of loving one another. In the weeks to come you will find everything we loved in the sisterhood that are still part of my life now, including ritual and communion. Who knows, we may even become expert bloggers. Bless you and thank you for taking the plunge. Karol

  • Kare,
    Your column was right on target. You were your own true self, as usual. Everything you said is so very truthful. I am proud to say that you have been my best friend since we were in kindergarten...still am to this day. Kudos to you. Keep up the good work.

  • Well you better keep reading so you can pass the pop quizzes I'll be sending...Looking forward to your blogs every week.

  • Amen, sister/Sister. :)

  • ...and a big alleluia.

  • I enjoyed this very much! My sister is Kathie Cammann (NYC)- & I know Kathy Cazana & I'm very fond of her!

  • My name is Ginny Cammann Walters - my sister is Kathie Cammann (NYC) - & I know Kathy Cazana & I'm very fond of her! I very much enjoyed your column.

  • welcome to the sisterhood of psychic kathy cazana. and it's always good to hear someone found joy in something I said. I hope that happens every week. Tune in and find out.

  • I was googling Kathy Cazana, a psychic I used to see but lost contact with a number of years ago. The google search led me to this page. Do you know if Kathy still does readings, and how I could get in touch with her?

  • I have also gone to Kathy Cazana, while living in New York. I understood she relocated to Texas. Do you have contact information for her? Thanks.

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