How to Go Back to Your Spiritual Roots

Roots of trees serve three purposes. First, they take up the nutrients from the soil and bring them up to the trunk, branches and leaves of the trees. Second, they take hold of the water from the ground so that this water does not go down immediately to the river all at once but only gradually. And third, roots make the trees stand tall and firm by grasping the earth on which they stand. The life of the trees depends on their roots as also upon the sun, the air and the soil around them.

Your Spirituality Depends On Your Spiritual Roots

In the same way the vitality of your spiritual life depends upon the roots of your spirituality, your spiritual roots. That is why you need to go back to these spiritual roots. Most people do not even know that their spiritual life has roots, let alone what these roots are.

By going back to your spiritual roots you will know how you can stand firm in your spiritual life and you will be able to draw more from the richness of the tradition of your spirituality.

Why We Need to Go Back to Our Spiritual Roots

You also need to go back to your spiritual roots because for almost all of us, and thus it includes you too, our spirituality is something that is overlaid upon our native consciousness. By native consciousness I mean the consciousness with which we were born. Our spirituality is not integrated with this native consciousness, it only covers it. That is why I said it is something overlaid upon our native consciousness. A personal reference may make this clear.

I was born to Filipino parents. But no sooner than a week after my birth the mantle, as it were, of Catholicism was put over me by baptism. Catholicism is not a religion native to us. It was brought to our shores by the Spaniards. And so the process of overlaying me with Catholic doctrines and practices began. Naturally I grew up thinking I was a Catholic.

The truth of the matter was that I only behaved and looked like a Catholic. Deep within me the native religion of the Filipinos was suppressed and covered over with Catholic religious practices and my consciousness was drowned in the sea of Catholic doctrines.

My Native Religion

Later through readings I came to know what my native religion was called. Anthropologists and historians call it Animism. But when I personally revived my native religion I found a better term to call it with. It is not Animism but Vitalism.

Animism is based on the fundamental premise that plants and animals have anima, a soul. I found out that even this concept of soul is foreign to us Filipinos. It came to us from the Greek Aristotle through the Spaniards. So I do not subscribe to Animism as my native religion.

Vitalism, on the other hand, is based on the fundamental premise that all things, not only plants and animals, have life, not just existence. The soil, the stone, the iron railings, the clouds, the air have life. This is the basic belief of my native religion, covered over by Catholicism for many years. (This understanding of Vitalism is a bit different from that offered in the dictionary which defines it as the “theory or doctrine that life processes arise from or contain a nonmaterial vital principle and cannot be explained entirely as physical and chemical phenomena.”)

I do not know what your native religion is. But if you belong to one of the great religions of the world, like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, chances are that your religion has covered over your native spirituality.

And just as the strength and vitality of a tree depend upon its roots, so also the strength and vitality of your spirituality depend upon its roots, the spiritual treasures God gifted you with even before you were born, in the tribe or ethnic group to which you belong.

How to Go Back to Your Spiritual Roots

How then do you go back to your spiritual roots so as to draw upon these spiritual treasures? I already told you how I went to my spiritual roots: by reading about my native religion, by practicing it, and by reflecting upon it. You can do the same.

First, learn about your native religion, the religion of your tribe or ethnic group. Exponents of the world’s great religions may tell you that your religion is pagan and filled with superstitions. Do not entertain such comment. As you learn more about your native religion, you will appreciate its beauty and richness. Read more about your ethnic origins. All of us belong to an ethnic group because God created tribes, not just individual persons.

Second, practice your native religion. As you practice it I am sure you will respect and love more your environment. Today there is much talk about global warming and environmental degradation. The waters of the ocean are rising as the earth’s temperature increases, melting the icecaps of the north and south poles. This is because whole populations have forgotten the religion and spirituality God endowed them with and have adopted man-made religions which are manipulative of the earth.

Third, reflect on your native religion. Integrate it with the religion that you have acquired as an adult. The marriage of your native religion and that which you have acquired (if you did acquire one) will produce a richer and stronger spirituality. I am sure of it because it did in my case.

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