I am spiritual but not religious.

I recently heard on Speaking of Faith and interview with Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. Sasso articulates the distinctions between spirituality and religion in a beautiful way, and while I point you to check out the Speaking of Faith website and podcast to hear it, I will attempt to succinctly recreate her point.

The story goes that Moses went up on the mountain and received the 10 commandments. When he came down from the mountain his face had a brightness that was too bright to look at. Something happened on that mountain, something beyond Moses. Something bigger than one person. It was the literal 'mountain top' experience many people talk about in their own lives.

What Moses experienced on that mountain was a Spiritual experience. It transcended words and actions and was impossible to replicate to another. While the experience was a Spiritual one, the 10 commandments were the container of that experience. The 10 commandments (not the literal rules, but the material expression) is the way in which the raw Spiritual experience was expressed to others.

(This is in a sense what she articulated. Below are my musings on this theme.)

Moses could have easily had the Spiritual experience and came off the mountain with his face aglow and not told a soul about it. He could have cherished that moment for his whole life like Golem cherished the Ring in Lord of the Rings. But, just as Golem did, to hold on to that experience, Moses would have become focused only on that to the point of going insane or entirely self focused to death. Rather, Moses shared the experience with others by way of the container, the 10 commandments.

Could this the danger of being spiritual but not religious? We become so focused on our own spirituality, not sharing with others our lives/experiences/insights/thoughts, that we turn inward and atrophy?