This entry, written by Trevor Baldwin, was originally posted in May 2013 on a previous site.

I wonder how many of us folks on a Spiritual journey of unfoldment are still slightly reluctant to consider ourselves as religious?

I was thinking of this today and recalling a time I lived next door to an ex-Falklands war sailor. He was on the same ship as the now well-known Simon Weston during the war and witnessed the awful events first hand.

When he returned to his family and home on Portland, Dorset he suffered seriously from the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and was even interviewed on TV about it and how it affected him. At that time it was a fairly newly realised issue.

I went out with him to a local pub for a drink and chat one day. During the session he shared much of his emotions with me and how the PTSD was taking over him. He admitted that he was changing and seeing things somewhat differently. His personal life became difficult and eventually, sadly, he was divorced. One of the ways he had changed, however, was that he now felt he was closer to God.

At that time, I was not into religion and found it hard to understand. He was a lad's lad and far from the white dog-collar type that I had thought were religious people. When we were returning home from the pub, rather happier than when we went, I was shocked when he quietly wolf whistled a passing lady and commented on her bottom. She did not hear him, by the way.

I questioned him about this and said, "I thought you said you were religious? That's not a religious action".

He explained to me that being religious didn't mean he was a Saint. He was human and had all the weaknesses of humans. For me and my tiny ignorant mind I couldn't get my head around that. I suggested to him that perhaps he was an hypocrite and told him that his vision of what God was completely differed to what mine was. His reply is one I will never forget for my entire life.

"A hypocrite? No, you are the hypocrite.", he replied, "A hypocrite is someone that stands between me and God. And if they are between us, it can only mean they are nearer to God than they know".

Now, that took me by surprise. I still have some difficulty fully understanding what he said, but I do understand the sentiments and realised that it was a very powerful statement. Since those days I've not exactly led an angelic Godly life myself. I too have divorced and moved on.

But I reckon these days I am religious in the Spiritualism way. I believe in God and I understand who and what God is. I work with God and pray to God daily. But not in the hands and knees way that back then I thought was what God-loving people did. In my own way - the way that I want.

Each day, I close my eyes and talk in my mind to God. I ask God for healing to be sent to particularly needing people. I ask that God help me with different problems and through different situations. I ask God to stay with me and work with me, even though God knows, I'm hard work at times!

That is all a prayer is. It's a deliberate address made personally from you to your God. It doesn't have to be flowery in words, mine never are. Just a simple conversation in simple thought words. God will always listen, of that I'm sure. I know that the answers to requests will come in some form or other that is meant to be. It doesn't make me a Saint either, because that is an award I'm not in the running for! It's just a bonding. A knowing that it is what it is.  ♥