Spirituality and religion are often used interchangeably. I refer to spirituality as an internally generated set of beliefs that reflect your connection to whatever you consider to be your God, source or higher self. Religion, on the other hand, is a set of spiritual beliefs that are learned externally. Lets sort this out by the stages:
Stage One- “‘God’ is whoever (or whatever) takes care of me.”
Stage Two―“There is no God” … ”There are no consequences or rewards (karmic or otherwise) beyond the obvious that exist in this world (such as the justice system, for example)” … “If you are not caught or exposed and punished, you have gotten away with something completely”… ”What you see is what you get.”
Stage Three―Whether an Atheist, a Fundamentalist_______ (name the religion) or anything in between―there is a strict and inflexible set of rules to be followed … “God is malevolent and unforgiving”… “If I disobey God, I incur his wrath (burn in hell, etc.)” … Certain religious dictums teach us how followers are a different and presumably better (or chosen) class of person than are non-followers.
Stage Four―“God is benevolent” … “If I do the right thing, God will love me.”
Stage Five―“Spirituality (often in the form of the organized religion that is most familiar) as well as observing religious traditions, is an important part of life.” However, the role of spirituality in life often is confusing and unsettled. In reflective moments, you ponder such questions as “What is the meaning of life?” or, “Is this all there is?” (as well as questions about such things as afterlife, dilemmas about God’s role in tragedy and injustice, etc.).
Stage Six― “Higher self resides inside of each of us, whose function is to connect us with our unique strengths, calling, purpose, principles and mission; and our commitment to reach our potential by pursuing these things” … Spiritual self (or lack thereof) is heartfelt and chosen. It may often call upon you to connect with and feel love and awe for the beauty of nature and the world.
Stage Seven— Just as Sixes do, Sevens march to the beat of their own drum spiritually― (In reality, Sevens characteristically come to and live by their own custom blend of spiritual principles. However, these are usually included in that blend.)―Laws of spirit apply to all of us (e.g., “We are all one”; “Our cores all want the same thing”; “We each have a unique purpose”; “There are karmic rewards and consequences to consider”; etc.) … “Those who act badly do so because they lost their way”… “We achieve solace with God by helping/serving others, including even our adversaries (on a personal level)”… “The mystery of whether or not there is an afterlife has no bearing on how this life is lived.”
Your spiritual beliefs are a part of you that can provide inner guidance for many aspects of your life. Many people consider their spiritual selves to be their most reliable source of truth. Practices such as prayer and meditation tend to open this channel wider and wider.