Thursday, October 11, 2018

The story of the New Age

So what is the New Age about? This term means different things to different people, just as the word ‘spirituality’ means different things to different people. Terms need to be defined if we are to be able to understand each other. The New Age is a time of great atomisation, as it applauds individuality and everyone’s right to define the world as they please. It is a huge worldwide movement, made possible by the explosion of free information which is available on the internet. Many spiritual seekers find themselves getting lost in its vast choices and some become cynical about its more trivial aspects.

When did it all start? It began with the trauma of two world wars which gave way to new hope and increasing prosperity in the 1950s. Even the mediaeval Vatican made modernising reforms with the second vatican council. In the hippy era of the 60s, young people had money in their pocket and they rebelled against their parent’s staid and traditional lives. Young people were inspired by spiritual exploration from abroad, certainly India, to some degree Hawaii, Tibet and other exotic places. The creativity of music and the arts opened the minds of an entire generation. Belief in the magical and mysterious introduced the possibility of a radical new era when the sun moved into a new constellation, described as ‘The Age of Aquarius’ when a better world would miraculously appear. 

Sadly, illegal drugs entered our communities around this time, causing much distress and dysfunction. We were told to 'tune in and drop out' and to live in the 'now' but without education and work, how could bills be paid and, for society to continue, taxes needed to be paid. 

Due to the precession of the equinoxes, no-one quite understood whether and when the New Age would occur but eventually it was decided that the year 2000 would be the date when the world would improve. Our Prime Minister, Tony Blair and his wife took their holiday in Mexico where they smeared each other’s bodies with mud and fruit and were ‘rebirthed’ in a sweat lodge. Maybe they were influenced by Hillary Clinton (wife of President Bill Clinton) who was involved with ardent proponents of the New Age, such as Jean Houston, Mary Catherine Bateson and Marianne Williamson. (In her autobiography, Hillary describes inviting Marianne and Tony Robbins to Camp David to discuss Bill’s Presidency of the United States.) 

Over this time, more and more people were questioning the belief in God. The world was being searched for ancient practises to investigate, such as reincarnation, meditation, dream interpretation, channelling angelic beings and shamanism, and new techniques in healing, such as Reiki, became popular. Ordinary people sought answers to their problems through tarot and rune experts and other fringe occult methods, and sat in encounter groups and sought ways to restore their energy and balance their chakras. Interest in health and wellbeing brought disciples of the body, mind and spirit together with new philosophy and psychology and these became mixed up with old and new ideas, creating confusion for genuine spiritual seekers. The ‘New Age’ became fashionable! 'A' list celebrities jumped on the brandwagon suggesting that they had all the answers to life's more difficult questions. 'Pick and mix' opportunities combined and mushroomed into newly created entertainment, learning, enjoyment and experience - and new ways of making money! 

2012 was then heralded to be the time when the world would be touched by enlighenment, sadly, it is still eluding the powers that be and is still in the grip of the machinations of big business and unscrululous politicians and our world continues to create pollution and global warming. ar

People revived after clinical death reported strange experiences of the Afterlife which have convinced many people of a life to come after this physical one has expired. Quantum mechanics appears to support all kinds of theories that the afterlife does exist. Many people in the past would visit a church to see their local priest or pastor for spiritual guidance but now people want more and look to the New Age to provide it. They want evidence, to make an important discovery which will change their life and the lives of others, they want to have exciting experiences and have talking points to interest their friends, “you will never guess what I did, and what I was told! The internet has provided access to ecourses, videos, in depth information on everything imaginable, but are we clearer about our spiritual path or more confused?  

Much confusion is caused by the euphemistic language of the New Age! Come from the 'heart' we are told but the heart is a muscle that pushes blood around our body. We need to use our intelligence and speak clearly so everyone can understand. Emotionally, we need to have greater empathy, to listen and think intelligently. The New Age is very pre-occupied with what things look like and not with intrinsic value. 

Is the New Age pulling the wool over our eyes or does it show us how we can create a more intelligent society or be an individual who walks in the world with greater wisdom? Very few purveyors of the New Age would wish to speak about integrity, ethics, morality and other values that have been espoused for millennia by all their world's greatest religions. However, values are the only spiritual path and hard work they are too! There is no easy way to walk the path to 'enlightenment'. The path involves caring at all times, commitment and responsibility, practicing compassion, kindness, speaking the truth - especially to power, living a life which is wise and one in which understanding is given, and all these without thought of receiving anything in return. 

It was all there in times long gone and we do our society no service by having thrown the baby out with the bathwater! 
Article by Racine

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