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The New Age Movement and New Age Philosophy

Understanding The Origins and Evolution of New Age Spirituality

The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts draw on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions The New age philosophy aims to create a "spirituality without borders or confining dogmas". It is a philosophy that embraces multiple aspects or parts of many other traditional and non-traditional belief systems.

A most wide-spread philosophy embraced within New Age Understanding, is one that seeks to co-operate and co-exist instead of separate or confine. Perhaps the 'new age' can be thought of as a doorway that opens up to a new dimension of understanding and awareness of self, others, life, humanity, and all of creation or Being.

Let us seek to bridge all that separates or is mis-understood for the purpose of having a foundation that serves the highest good of all Beings; upon which, to build and establish a united understanding and awareness of what is truly out of order and causing dis-ease, dis-connection and dis-harmony, in order to discover and co-create positive and harmonious solutions that is for the benefit of all.

If this attempt to define what the New Age is seems vague, it is because the New Age Movement is in a class by itself--or no class at, really. Unlike most formal religions or religious philosophies, it has no holy or sacred text, central organization or leader, membership, formal clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. The New Age is a free-flowing spiritual movement--or free-flowing spirituality; a network of believers and practitioners who share somewhat similar beliefs and practices, which for some, even add on to whichever formal religion that they follow, if any.

"In turbulent times, in times of great change, people head for the two extremes: fundamentalism and personal, spiritual experience...With no membership lists or even a coherent philosophy or dogma, it is difficult to define or measure the unorganized New Age movement. But in every major U.S. and European city, thousands who seek insight and personal growth cluster around a metaphysical bookstore, a spiritual teacher, or an education center." - John Naisbitt

The History and Origins of The New Age Philosophy and Movement

New Age teachings became popular during the 1970's as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity and the failure of Secular Humanism to provide spiritual and ethical guidance for the future. Its roots are traceable to many sources: Astrology, Channeling, Hinduism, Gnostic traditions, Hermeticism, Spiritual Alchemy, Spiritualism, Taoism, Theosophy, Wicca and other Neo-pagan traditions, along with various aspects of Alternative Science and Healing, etc. The movement started in England in the 1960's where many of these elements were well established. Small groups, such as the Findhorn Community in Inverness and the Wrekin Trust were formed. The movement quickly became international.

During the 1980's and 90's, the movement came under criticism from a variety of groups. But the movement has become established and has since become a stable, major force in North American religion during the past generation. As the millennium comes to a close, the New Age is expected to expand, promoted by the social backlash against logic and science.

Mis-Understandings and Assumptions About The 'New Age'

Oftentimes, conservative Christians and other religious (and even non-religious) groups alike, do not differentiate between the New Age and the Dark aspects of the Occult, Satanism, Wicca, other Neopagan religions. But there is a huge difference. This is not what the new age is or represents. Many philosophies and ideas found with the New Age tradition or spiritual/metaphysical understanding is associated with the terms Esoteric or Occult. When referring to the New Age, these two words are important to define because they are often misunderstood. The terms Esoteric and Occult are very similar. The definition of these words is basically 'hidden knowledge', or secret or un-revealed information meant only for a select few, or 'initiates' who have chosen by their own free-will to seek out this knowledge and search for its meaning.

A certain level of spiritual awareness is required in the understanding or un-veiling of this information as one receives it. What seems to be cloaked in darkness is merely information and understanding that must be brought into the light. When the student is ready, the teacher will come.

The 'hidden knowledge or information' is not the final 'say all' on everything, but is merely a stepping stone for ones own personal spiritual journey and quest for truth, purpose, and meaning in life. Exploring Esoteric information can help to enrich ones understanding of themselves, others, the world and all of creation as a whole; it can enrich one's life for the better of themselves and for All.

This is not to say that the 'Esoteric' information is actually hidden or kept secret deliberately. The information is out there in plain sight in its 'exoteric' or outer form, but there is also a deeper meaning to all things--or a 'esoteric' or inner understanding. To understand esoteric or 'inner information', one must have (inner) eyes to see, and (inner) ears to hear

It is not the information or ideas of any religious, spiritual, esoteric or occult/hidden understanding, new age system or personal practice that really matters; but instead, it is what one does with that information--or what one intends to do with that information or knoweldge--that is key.

New Age Spirituality, Personal Choice and Responsibility

All individuals have the ability to choose between what is true, right and good, as opposed to what is not true, false or bad. That which is labeled as 'good' is really good is simply that which is of benefit to the whole, or which serves a higher purpose, helps and creates harmony. That which is labeled as 'bad' is simply anything that which is not of benefit to the whole, or which serves a selfish purpose, harms or creates dis-harmony.

It makes no difference what that individual's personal religious or spiritual belief systems are--or lacktherof. Just because someone who claims to be a Christian, Muslim, Atheist, etc., commits a wrong or makes a poor choice, does not indicate that Christianity, Islam, or Atheism in itself, is bad or the 'wrong' spiritual path; similarly, just because someone claims to adhere to a certain principle or idea of a religion or alternative spiritual tradition and chooses to take a negative action, does not make the principle or idea in itself void of any positive outcome if used for a good purpose or intention. The same applies for an individual who chooses to follow a 'new age' or any alternative set of beliefs.

If an individual of any religion, spiritual tradition, or alternative belief does something dis-harmonous or harms another does not make that particular religion, belief system or spiritual path wrong or harmful. Again, intention is the key.

This is similar to the concept of "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" , and in the same sense, Religion or Spirituality, in itself, does not harm people or lead them astray necessarily. It is solely the responsibility of an individual to choose between helpful or harmful actions, words, thoughts and behaviors when dealing with themselves and with others.

A Unified Understanding of New Age Spirituality

All paths lead may just lead to the same source. If one is seeking to do what is right and just, then it should not matter what spiritual or religious path one chooses in order to gather information or receive inspiration to assist them in growing on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. If an individual is choosing to follow a specific spiritual path, traditional or otherwise, then as long as this individual is choosing this path in order to become a more conscious and positive person and is not harming others, then so it shall be, that we can't judge another or the path that they choose to walk--until we have walked a mile in their shoes. If the Goal and the destination is the same (Love, Peace, Harmony, Health and Well Being, Positivity, Compassion, Unity, Faith, etc) then the path or the journey is just part of the growing and learning process along the way.

In other words, plain and simple: It does not matter whether an individual chooses to follow, believe in, or study Christianity, Buddhism, New Age Philosophy, or any Eastern or Western religion, spiritual tradition, movement, belief system or philosophy, if that particular path or belief system is helping them to improve their mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health and well being, and is assisting them by opening up to a more loving way of being and perceiving the world, themselves and others, and is improving the quality of their thoughts and actions and helping them to become a more conscious and considerate human being overall.

If an individual should harm one's self or another either through their thoughts, words, actions, or behaviors, then let that individual be help responsible and accountable for their own choices---and not the philosophy, religion or spiritual path that may or may not have influenced that individual's personal free-will choice to do harm; and on the other hand, if one is influences by a particular belief system or path, and chooses to exercise their own free-will to feel good and create good things in their life, in the lives of others and within the world, then also, it is not to say that these good actions are solely due to the influence of that persons particular beliefs or the religion or spiritual path that they follow.

It is not the information or ideas of any religious, spiritual or new age system or personal practice that matters, but what one does with that information, or what one intends to do with that information.

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