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Patrick Miles

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On Core Spirit since November 2019
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Patrick Miles
What is New Age Spirituality?

New age spirituality refers to a non-unified set of beliefs and practices that emerged towards the end of the twentieth century in the western world. The foundations of new age spirituality are built upon both eastern and western religious traditions, and the belief system is inclusive to ideas from self-help books such as The Secret and the Law of Attraction, a holistic approach to health, motivational and positive psychology research, studies in both consciousness and awareness, and scientific principles such as those explained in quantum physics. “New agers,” as they are called, don’t limit their belief system to one particular doctrine.

A Sign of the Times: History of the New Age Spirituality Movement

New age spirituality started to appear in the early nineteen-sixties as people began to reject formalized institutions and question the cultural values of their parents’ generation. As the masses spoke out in favor of racial equality, gender equality, sexual freedom, and peace, there was a movement towards pluralistic religious beliefs. A number of people began to reject religious institutions in favor a personalized belief system encompassing a wide range of metaphysical ideas.

The shift represented a change in the way that people view their own spirituality. Instead of confirming to inflexible, restrictive, and outdated religious dogmas, people realized that they could take their spirituality into their own hands in order to get closer to the divine creator. Moreover, due to the inclusive nature of new age spirituality, there was a sense of acceptance and liberalism towards other belief systems and values.

New Age Spirituality Today

Today, the new age spirituality movement is still thriving. Many people choose to reject organized religions or to pick and choose the beliefs that they identify with. This method of developing one’s spirituality draws from the idea that spirituality is innate and one must find his or her own path towards spiritual nourishment.

Meditation has become one of the core tenets of new age spirituality. With recent research touting the physical, mental, and emotional health benefits of meditation, a lot of people have opted to access this technique in order to promote their own total well-being. Even those who still identify with an organized religion such as Christianity can benefit from meditation, because it promotes relaxation and is non-intrusive to one’s pre-existing beliefs. Meditation is a way of cultivating inner Stillness and bringing oneself closer to the divine.

New Age Spirituality and You

New agers have no specified spiritual leader and no rigid belief system. As such, if you are looking to further understand your spirituality, you can adopt this worldview. Within the realm of new age spirituality you are free to believe what it is that you want to believe and engage in the religious traditions that help you to connect with God. Regardless of what you believe or what you may have been taught growing up, you’re given the freedom to understand the world from a viewpoint that makes sense to you. Instead of conforming, you choose your own set of spiritual guidelines.

Meditation is one core practise of new age spirituality that you can truly benefit from. Not only can it provide a practical solution to a hectic, stress-filled lifestyle, but regular meditation also comes attached to health benefits such as increased longevity, reduced susceptibility to the common cold and flu, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. People that meditate have also been found to be happier overall and more likely to show compassion in their day-to-day interactions with others.

The concept of Stillness is so simple but so powerful. New age spirituality recognizes this important goal and enables followers to find it through their own means. When you join the Stillness Movement you open the door to experiencing a spiritual re-awakening. You gain the knowledge and the tools you need to take your spirituality into your own hands and start nourishing your connection with your creator. If you would like to find out how to start practising Stillness, take some time to learn more about this exciting spiritual undertaking with this simple

Patrick Miles
What Is the New Age Movement?

The New Age Movement can be hard to define. What do New Agers believe?

Have you ever heard something like, “You have the power to change your own destiny”? Has anyone ever told you, “To find happiness, you just need to realize your true spiritual potential”? Do you practice yoga or see a chiropractor? Have you ever used essential oils to treat an ailment?

You may not realize it, but all these concepts and practices were popularized by the New Age Movement. In fact, New Age philosophies and ideas have woven their way into the cultural fabric of many societies.

So what exactly is the New Age Movement? What do New Age practitioners believe, and how have these beliefs been assimilated into other cultures?

What Is the New Age Movement?

The New Age Movement (NAM) is not in itself a religion. There is no centralized leadership or formal organization, and New Age practitioners (sometimes called New Agers) are not required to hold any particular creedal or doctrinal beliefs.1

Rather, the NAM is comprised of groups and individuals who share a similar life philosophy or worldview. Generally focused on personal spiritual transformation, New Agers endeavor to usher into the world a new era of harmony and enlightenment.

In fact, the term “New Age” refers to an approaching era of love and light, which New Agers believe will come through transformation and healing on an individual level. According to J. Gordon Melton, the director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion at the University of Virginia, “The New Age [is] seen as a vision of a coming new era defined by the transformation of our broken society—characterized by poverty, war, racism, etc.—into a united community of abundance, peace, brotherly love, etc.”2

The Shaping of the New Age Movement

Though the New Age Movement gained most prominence in the 1970s and 80s, its origins can be traced back much further than that. Because many New Age concepts are rooted in ancient Eastern religions (notably Hinduism), Gnosticism, and occultism, some historians date the beginnings of the New Age Movement to the second century CE.3 In more modern history, the NAM was directly influenced by the nineteenth-century metaphysical religions of New Thought, Spiritualism, Theosophy, and the Human Potential Movement.4

The New Thought Movement, which most immediately preceded the New Age Movement, affirmed the belief in the divinity of each individual. New Thought’s major contributions to New Age philosophy were the belief that the fundamental nature of the world is spiritual rather than physical, the concept that “thoughts are things,” and the idea that positive thinking has the power to change the world.5

With Spiritualism came the notion of spiritual progress after death and the role of trained “mediums” in contacting the spirit world. While most New Age groups did not adopt the specific methods of mediums, they did embrace the underlying idea. Many New Agers believe in contacting the spiritual world and receiving spiritual truths from non-humans through a practice called channeling.

Theosophists introduced Asian religious concepts like karma and reincarnation to New Age thought. “Specifically, Theosophy’s notion of a series of past lives that progressively lead toward an evolution of self-awareness became a major part of the New Age worldview, which envisions human development as just such a progressive evolution.”6

Finally, New Age groups embraced the Human Potential Movement’s belief that human potential has been limited by society. People must experience spiritual healing and growth in order to remedy this, develop their full potential, and live meaningful lives.7

Unlike the many religious movements that extend through evangelism or institutional growth, the New Age Movement was primarily spread through New Age literature and media. New Age books and periodicals like Jane Roberts’s The Seth Material and Helen Schucman’s A Course in Miracles—both purportedly channeled texts—were published as trade paperbacks by mainstream publishers. In the 1980s Shirley MacLaine’s book and television program Out on a Limb spread ideas like reincarnation to a wider audience than ever before. This kind of media also made contemporary New Agers aware of a larger body of individuals who shared their beliefs.

Scholars estimate that today there could be anywhere between 20,000 and 6 million New Age adherents in America alone.8

Common Beliefs of the New Age Movement

While the New Age Movement is not an organized religion, those who identify with it often hold a collection of similar—if eclectic—beliefs.

New Agers are united in their rejection of traditional monotheism (belief in one all-powerful God).9 They instead embrace monism—the belief that everything is one—and pantheism—the belief that god is in everything. In fact, when it comes to god, New Agers believe that the self is the seat of the divine. That is, there is a god-aspect within each of us—a tiny sliver of god in every person.

Moreover, everyone has a responsibility to develop his or her own god-aspect. New Age groups encourage individual human evolution to increase awareness of this divine nature. This does not refer to biological evolution, but rather a spiritual evolution—a progressive awareness of the self as divine. This need for and possibility of personal spiritual transformation is a foundational part of the NAM.

Other frequently held New Age beliefs include the idea that the spiritual realm is responsible for much of what we see and experience in the physical world, as well as the notion that development of one’s own innate divinity will lead to global transformation and world harmony. Belief in reincarnation, the ability to access the spiritual realm, and spiritual explanations for physical suffering are also common.10

Practices of the New Age Movement

Since there is no formal organization and most religious rituals occur privately, New Age practices vary widely from individual to individual. However, New Age customs can be broken down into two categories: occult practices and humanistic practices.

Occult practices involve contacting the spirit world and accessing the spiritual dimension, often through altered consciousness. This includes channeling, crystal work, tarot card reading, astrology, and various forms of spiritual healing.11

Humanistic practices are those focused on self-sufficiency, self-improvement, and the development of the god-element within the self. Some examples are yoga, meditation strategies, studying New Age texts, creating a positive environment, and communing with nature.12

Many New Age groups believe in alternative scientific systems and natural or spiritual healing practices. Alternative medical practices like acupuncture, chiropractic adjustment, natural foods, and herbal remedies are common.13

The New Age Movement Today

Over the past few decades, some New Age ideas have been adopted by mainstream culture. While yoga and meditation are not exclusively New Age practices, their popularity and prevalence correlate with New Age influence. Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, promoted by Oprah Winfrey, has become a best seller, and the use of alternative medicine has dramatically increased over the past few decades.14

All of this seems to indicate that, though the hype of the New Age Movement may have died down over the years, some New Age ideas and practices are here to stay.

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