The basic difference between a religion and a spiritual process is that a religion is essentially coming from a set of belief systems but a spiritual process is a seeking. So those who follow a religion are referred to as believers and those who are on a spiritual path are referred to as seekers. What is the basis of belief and what is the basis of seeking? Let us understand this because these two things are so mixed up.
Belief systems are of different kinds. They can be theistic or atheistic. One believes there is God, another believes there is no God, but there is no difference between the two; both believe something that they do not know. Essentially, a belief system is coming from a basic problem that you are not sincere enough to admit that you do not know. If you want to seek something, the first and foremost thing is that you realize that you do not know. When you see this, the longing to know arises, and seeking follows. Then there is a possibility of knowing. “I do not know” is a tremendous possibility. The moment you kill it with some kind of belief that is convenient for you, you are destroying all possibilities of knowing.
These belief systems arise because there is a certain convenience in this. The moment you believe something you can go about with a certain level of confidence. But confidence without clarity is a disaster. What we need is clarity of life. What we need is clarity of perception as to how things are. The moment we have confidence without clarity, we are blundering idiots. We can see this happening all over the world. If I want to walk through a hall full of people and I have no clarity of vision but I have great confidence, I will be all over the people in the hall.
If I have clarity of vision, then without touching a single person I can pass through the hall. This is exactly what you are seeing in the world. Belief systems fire people up with a great sense of confidence, and this confidence without the necessary clarity is a huge disaster. We are continuously paying the price for this. Especially when leadership is made like this, the price is very big.