Beliefs in New Age “Religion” seem to be more complicated when compared to other religions, such as to traditional Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. My participation in New Age Religion lasted 20 years. For 14 of these years, while I was a monk with Self-Realization Fellowship, I was totally immersed and surrounded by 100s, sometimes 1000s, of New Age Religious followers. Outsiders don’t really understand New Age Religious beliefs and worldview.
This post explores New Age Religion’s core beliefs in healing and personal growth.
New Age Religion accepts contemporary medicine in treating symptoms with surgery or drugs. But, it denies that medicine can heal or cure the causes of disease. Disease is caused by a disturbance in the natural balance of the organism. For cure, New Age Religion says we need to integrate healing, personal growth, and enlightenment in one holistic package.
For New Age Religion, healing typically includes:
- Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, herbs, and reflexology.
- Holistic living like vegan/vegetarianism, yoga, and environmental activism– “GMOs and Monsanto is evil”.
- Shamanic-type channeling through practices like drum circles, vibration/sound, or sweat lodges.
For New Age Religion, personal growth + healing = enlightenment, which means:
- Restoring and reintegrating the individual to his/her original wholeness.
- Self-actualization. Reaching the top of the pyramid on Maslow’s hierarchy of individual needs.
- Enlightenment or God-consciousness is, ultimately, the only acceptable final goal.
New Age Religion makes enlightenment and god-consciousness the ultimate purpose and goal of life. It’s brought about through practices, such as the law of attraction and intention. Anything less than attaining total health, prosperity, and abundance is not success. And, each individual is challenged to find the deeper meaning of his/her illness and to take responsibility for causing one’s own lack of abundance. Karma, vibrations, past and present thoughts, and emotions are all causes of illness and pathways to healing, growth, and ultimately enlightenment.
Outsiders and criticizers of New Age Religion seem to think they can argue against New Age believer’s the same as they would attack the faith of Christians, Jews, or Muslims. Using the same arguments and attacks will not be effective. A core belief in New Age Religion is that god-consciousness and enlightenment depend on healing and personal growth for the individual. Healing and personal growth comprise many alternative therapies, including holistic lifestyles and environmental activism.
The New Age Religion healing and personal growth diagram above is my attempt to tease out or unpack why outsiders, and maybe even insiders, don’t understand the complexity of New Age Religion. And, why its not effective to try to unpack New Age beliefs the same way you might do with traditional religions. For the committed New Ager, their beliefs about healing and personal growth are integral to their whole lifestyle and worldview.
Questions for readers: Did this make sense? Any help in understanding beliefs of New Age?
Also, check out my post Channeling “Higher Self”
New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought, Hanegraaff, Wouter J., Brill: Netherlands, 1996. Print.