Hello everyone, here’s another philosophical little opinion for you all.
Today’s post is about the New Age movement and it’s influence as the rising star of spirituality in America today.
Anybody with eyes should be able to see that New Age beliefs are on the rise. Crystals, ascension, holistic healing, and manifestation are topics on the lips of today’s people.
If you’re living in a large city, nobody will think you’re an alien for talking about your trip to the crystal shop. Much like the hippie movement of the 60s, this generations spiritual movement is the New Age and older generations are hard pressed to understand what all the fuss is about
New Age beliefs are varied, allow for constant introduction of new material, and focus primarily on success as their marker. It’s safe to say that Western civilization and culture go hand in hand with the New Age movement.
As someone who writes about manifestation and has engaged in some of the practices of this belief system, I think it’s incredibly important to investigate and analyze where all of this is coming from.
First, let’s discuss the core of the New Age. It’s an almost impossible task, but there are still there are a few characteristics
- Boot-strapping. People who subscribe to New Age beliefs tend to focus only on positive energy and positive thoughts. Negative thoughts are considered to be intrusive and must be changed into positive thoughts. The belief is that you can live a better and more fulfilled life through your own personal hard (spiritual) work and that you will be rewarded for this work with a blissful life.
- Individualism. New Age does not have a belief in a strong community as central to its adherents. For the most part, people who believe in New Age theories see the world as being for them and all its happenings as being created by them. There is little along the way of acknowledging others as co-creators or as active participants in the world atmosphere.
- Growth. New age focuses on growth in many different aspects. Believers seek to grow personally in their own lives while the entire system of belief also grows continuously; ingesting and adapting different beliefs from older systems as well as creating new beliefs.
While there is no true one source of New Age, Theosophy has been credited with serving as a template for New Age. Theosophy was introduced as a change from the Christian and Abrahamic religions of the time, where spiritual knowledge was not acquired directly by the individual, but was usually a product of the society and familial surroundings.
New Age is the non-religion religion.
The reason many people have rejected religion is that it was never a conscious choice for them in the first place. They were forced to experience God and spiritual teachings through a church and family structure. In this way although they had heard of religion it was never anything more than a custom. Very few people who were raised in this way become true devotees of God or true followers of their religion. There is no zealot like a convert, as the saying goes.
Theosophy and subsequently the New Age movement offer a remedy to this system.
If we compare tribal beliefs of tribes all over the world, the beliefs are tied to the land, people, and current culture. The tribe members can strongly accept these beliefs because they are born out of their true daily lives.
How many people today can relate to the antiquated message and ways of speaking of the Bible? And yet people all over the world from incredibly different ways of life try to adopt and accept these teachings!
It is no wonder that so many young people see no purpose and no use for Abrahamic religions. We do not live in a tribal system anymore and the world has changed so much that it seems completely impossible to follow those old books.
This is not to speak in favor of the New Age, but simply to understand what those who are in the New Age belief and feel.
Naturalist beliefs worked well for ancient “pre-civilized” tribes. Abrahamic beliefs worked well for the tribes of Israel. And New Age beliefs are working for Western civilized people.
If we take into account the three markers of New Age that I described, boot strapping individualism, and growth we can see all the hallmarks of American civilization and it’s no surprise that America is where New Age has seen it’s strongest hold.
Theosophy started out as a Christian based belief system that offered a personal, directed approach to God and enlightenment. As society progressed, the Christian God was removed and New Age has become a free for all pursuit of happiness and enlightenment, throwing together any and every method towards spiritual goals.
To me, the best part of the New Age movement is in it’s lack of disciplined steps. The relaxed approach invites many people to join in and it’s lack of a central God and sometimes even it’s complete absence of God makes it an appropriate system of delivery to a huge audience. Social media has propelled New Age beliefs into the mainstream, with conscious memes and thousand if not millions of Instagram profiles dedicated to the subject.
It has such a simple and pure appeal: join us and you’ll be much happier!
If asked for a more personal opinion on where I stand with the New Age I would say that I appreciate it’s viral spread and the audience that it’s reaching. I love that people are tuning into healthier, better ways to take care of their bodies and souls.
Overall, New Age thinking doesn’t require much thinking! Of course it feels good to meditate, it feels good to think positive thoughts, and it feels good to embrace the lovely side of life. Who doesn’t love to feel good?
Can you have too much of a good thing becomes the central question whether New Age beliefs should be embraced or not.
That life is always wonderful and perfect is what separates New Age thinking from traditional religious thoughts and teachings.
Now, my blog is called Manifesting with God and I do preach Love and Peace.
I must inform all my readers however, that there is a very practical reason I teach Love and Peace. Love and Peace is the babes milk on the spiritual journey. It is the bait and hook. All of us can easily relate to wanting to feel good and not wanting to feel bad. It is a universal system all over. No one wants to suffer and when we do suffer it can have disastrous effects for lifetimes! By introducing people to spirituality through it’s positive benefits I feel more able to guide them into deeper waters. If things ever get rough on their spiritual journey, they will be able to lean on the Peace and Love they’ve felt before to get them through.
Let’s quickly compare happiness and enlightenment in three different systems of spiritual thought and see how different systems have handled the questions of Eternal Bliss.
- Buddhism: The Middle Path was the method towards enlightenment prescribed the Buddha. The word Middle describes the path perfectly as it is the path of moderation in life. Buddha taught that one should reject both desire and aversion to find perfect peace. Middle can also be used to describe the state one reaches during Enlightenment. When asked about what happens when full enlightenment is reached, Buddha responded that he would neither be nor not be. Bliss comes from the transcendence of personal ego desire and eradication of dualistic thinking. Eternal Bliss is only obtained through the removal and cleansing of all negative thought patterns, karma, and desire (for anything, including positive experiences), it is also tied to the after life experience, although in a more complex way.
- The Christian Path: The Christian Path is more subtle and sometimes harder to understand than the Buddhist path, which is very well described and detailed in a precise manner. Instead of overcoming the world and reaching Oneness (Enlightenment) through individual efforts, the Christian uses Jesus Christ to accept Oneness (God) into themselves. There is an acceptance and belief that a human life can never rival God in perfection and that we can only do this through our acceptance of the God energy into our Earthly bodies. In Christianity one must become one with God and his will in order to live the proper life. Bliss comes from removing the ego self and accepting the will of God in place of the personal will. Eternal Bliss is achieved in the after life, where those who believed and followed the Commandments will be fully reunited with God.
- The New Age Path: No definition of Enlightenment that can be agreed upon, however it appears that enlightenment and bliss comes from the personal fulfillment of the ego desires and the rejection of negative situations. Enlightenment comes through individual efforts to eliminate negativity in the body/mind/soul and accept only the positive elements to life. There is no acknowledgement that negative events can happen, only that if we eliminate negativity from ourselves, the outside events and worlds will turn to all positivity. Eternal Bliss is achievable in this lifetime if one eliminates all belief in negativity. Alternatively, New Agers who believe in ascension believe the world will be moved into a state of complete Peace and all people with positive vibrations will ascend into this new world. This is a difficult school to analyze as there are no written sources or acknowledged leaders of the entire movement.
The biggest shift to me in thinking has turned from learning to accept bad or negative events as part and parcel of our lives and something we must learn to accept, into things that can be avoided through the individual mind power and efforts. It’s interesting to see how as time has progressed, the definition of negative behaviors and energies has changed. We are at the point where we are trying to fully eliminate the belief that things can be negative.
Here’s how I put it all together in my mind: In the course of life and the trajectory of human spiritual progress, Western civilization is representing the Yang aspect. It is the driving force of positivity and self-enlightenment, New Age theories are just an outpouring of that energy. Eastern civilizations have represented the Yin element with their focus on punishment and passive acceptance of darkness as a necessary part of the world, all the organized religions to come out of that area can be placed under that umbrella. All religions understand and embrace the concept of Oneness. We must work hard to bring together the energy of the Sun and the Moon.
We must always focus on what can be applied and tested true time after time, there lies the Truth.
In my perspective all of these theories must be synchronized in order to come to Oneness. No one way is correct and it cannot possibly hold all the answers. As a human with amazing capabilities for both logic and intuition, you must seek all the answers within yourself.
I wrote this post to analyze the mentality behind New Age and compare it to the spiritual thought systems before and in the process I found that New Age is very empowering for the individual and gives us back the ability to reject any and all negativity. Is that the way to Eternal Truth? I’m not sure! I’ll definitely be writing more on the topic.
Peace and Love.