What are some good, emotionally-fulfilling spiritual alternatives to religion for a twenty-year old guy?

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In Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, Pierre Bezhukov turns to Freemasonry when he had a personal crisis, but he found it to be unfulfilling. Similarly, I’m going through a few feelings of emptiness myself, but I don’t know if there are any good organizations that are good for inner spiritual development.
I’m irreligious, and I can’t accept any god or higher power, but I was wondering if you knew any good or alternative pathways than religion which would give me emotional strength.


  1. All though most westerners think of Buddhism as a religion it is not. It is a way to live ones life. The purpose is “enlightenment”. Much like “self actualization” being that that is a life long process and unattainable.
    My suggestion is that you take a look at the thinking and draw you own conclusions.
    If you choose to take this advise I would suggest you purchase the book, “The Teachings of Buddha”.

  2. You know, most religions seem to have begun as emotionally fulfilling alternatives to the other religions of their day. =)
    Sorry, that’s not what you asked; more to the point, I believe that the only way to spiritual fulfillment is to struggle to achieve some goal with all your heart. For some this might mean following the precepts of their faith; for you it could mean “being good for goodness’ sake,” or perhaps simply striving to create change that you believe will allow the human race to flourish.
    Or perhaps the only way to true spiritual contentment (and I rather like this idea) is to do what you’re doing know: seeking out the truth, though you may never find it. To be truly spiritual is to never stop seeking.

  3. I have found that helping those who are worse off than yourself can be very emotionally rewarding.
    Though you seem to be asking two different questions.
    Helping others will help you with emotional strength, but if you can’t believe in a higher being, how can you develop your inner spirit?
    If you believe you have a spirit, then you must believe in something which is not physical. If it is not physical, then where is it from if not from a spiritual dimension?
    You don’t have to believe in religion to believe that there is a higher being. Religion is just the organised worship of a God or Gods, it is not God. It may have been inspired by God, but once man has got his grubby little hands on it, it has been corrupted and taken totally out of context.
    I suggest you try helping others and also try having a one to one relationship with (God) you can use any term or name you want, but leave out all the religious rigmarole and keep it on a personal level between you and him, them or whatever.

  4. this should be the perfect place to ask your question! i say take an eclectic approach which you seem to have already started to do by reading Tolstoy. Studying sociology or philosophy might help. Sounds like your going through a bit of an existential crisis so try reading some existentialism which fits in under the philosophy umbrella. Studying history might help, you might be able to learn from people from different era’s who you can relate to. Finally the guys promoting Yoga and Buddhism might be right.

  5. I think you should open yourself up to the possibility that there might be something beyond this life on earth. When you accept Christ as your savior, you might be surprised how much your life improves. Remember that he loves you so much that he died on the cross for you.
    I love freemasonry but I have to clear something up. It’s not a religion nor is it a substitute for religion in anybody’s life. If that’s what you are seeking, of course it will be unfulfilling since that’s not what it does.


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