The New Age is a free-flowing, decentralized, spiritual movement or consciousness : an attempt to describe all those who share an acceptance of the right to follow one’s heart rather than a religion. Many classed as new age hold similar beliefs and practices, but there is no standard.
“New Age values are conscious evolution, a non-sectarian society, a non-military culture, global sharing, healing the environment, sustainable economies, self-determination, social justice, economic empowerment of the poor, love, compassion in action, going beyond religious fundamentalism, going beyond nationalism-extreme nationalism, culture.”
New Age awareness allows each individual to “shop” for the beliefs and practices that they feel most comfortable with.
- Monism: All that exists is derived from a single source of divine energy.
- Pantheism: All that exists is God; God is all that exists. This leads naturally to the concept of the divinity of the individual, that we are all Gods. They do not seek God as revealed in a sacred text or as exists in a remote heaven; they seek God within the self and throughout the entire universe.
- Panentheism: God is all that exists. God is at once the entire universe, and transcends the universe as well.
- Reincarnation: After death, we are literally reborn and live another life as a human. This cycle repeats itself many times. This belief is similar to the concept of transmigration of the soul in Hinduism.
- Karma: The good and bad deeds that we do adds and subtracts from our accumulated record, our karma. At the end of our life, we are rewarded or punished according to our karma by being reincarnated into either a painful or good new life. This belief is linked to that of reincarnation and is also derived from Hinduism
- Auras are an energy field radiated by the body. Invisible to most people, it can be detected by some as a shimmering, multi-colored field surrounding the body. Those skilled in detecting and interpreting auras believe that they can diagnose an individual’s state of mind, and their spiritual and physical health.
- Personal Transformation A profoundly intense mystical experience will lead to the acceptance and incorporation of inner beliefs and practices of compassion. Guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, and other behaviors are considered useful to bring about and enhance this transformation. New age people often hope to develop new potentials within themselves: the ability to heal oneself and others, psychic powers, a new understanding of the workings of the universe, etc. There is an optimism held that a major spiritual, physical, psychological and cultural planet-wide transformation will happen as people become more loving/compassionate towards themselves and others.
- Ecological Responsibility: A belief in the importance of uniting to preserve the health of the earth, which is often looked upon as Gaia, (Mother Earth) a living entity.
- Universal Religion: Since all is God, then only one reality exists, and all religions are simply different paths to that ultimate reality. The universal religion can be visualized as a mountain, with many sadhanas (spiritual paths) to the summit. Some are hard; others easy. There is no one correct path. All paths eventually reach the top. They anticipate that a new universal religion which contains elements of all current faiths will evolve and become generally accepted worldwide.
- New World Consciousness Some new age adherents look toward world government, an end to wars, disease, hunger, pollution, and poverty. Gender, racial, religious and other forms of discrimination will cease. People’s allegiance to their tribe or nation will be replaced by a concern for the entire world and its people.
The New Age Movement has no holy text, central organization, formal membership, ordained clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. It is about human belief in a world impacted significantly by mass media, the internet, globalization, industrialization and new knowledge in most areas of research.
We are approaching a new age of synthesis. Knowledge cannot be merely a degree or a skill… it demands a broader vision, capabilities in critical thinking and logical deduction without which we cannot have constructive progress.
New Age is a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. The strange thing is that Stonehenge, over 4000 years old, is a common image for the new age. 🙂Full Glossary Index