By Wes Annac, Openhearted Rebellion
The new age movement has produced a lot of interesting ideas, many of which have been criticized for being zany or outrageous. But beyond the zaniness, some truth exists in new age philosophy that can help us if we choose to see it.
How we approach these ideas will determine what we get out of them, and here, we’ll look at five common new age ideas from a different perspective.
- Peace is more important than fighting for justice. Engaging in activism or fighting the powers that be will make you less spiritually aware.
The obvious flaw here is that the elite relies on a passive populace that does nothing about injustice. In this sense, spending all your time meditating in the mountains somewhere is just as helpful to them as sitting on your couch and watching TV all day.
Meditation is very different from television, as it brings insight and spiritual growth whereas the latter lulls you back to sleep. But in a world where you must struggle to achieve anything significant, focusing only on your spiritual practice can be akin to binge-watching TV on your couch. In both cases you are too preoccupied to stand up for what’s right, which allows injustice to continue.
Personally, I’d still recommend spending plenty of time on your spiritual practice. But if you care about the direction this planet is heading in, you can blend your practice with social action.
Despite the flaws in the idea that peace trumps justice, peace is important. Although revolution is necessary, history has shown countless times that a revolution can get out of hand. Most people don’t want that.
If we can approach revolution in a new way – one of peace and the refusal to let our anger reach dangerous territory – we can keep from committing inhuman acts in the name of our rebellion. It would certainly be more difficult, but in the end, we would prevent unnecessary violence.
I believe in peace and focusing on personal development to an extent, and I agree that we shouldn’t stoop to the level of our “leaders”. But by now, enough should be enough. We’ll eventually have no choice but to take a stand, and we can choose how we want to do it.
- You shouldn’t openly share your views with people. This will only cause an argument, so you’re best to stay quiet.
This is like the first idea, and the message in both is the passivity enables spiritual growth. Once again, the flaw here is that we should in fact discuss things that are important to us.
We should make our views clear, especially if we’re passionate about them, but we should also be patient with those who aren’t so civil about it. Even if you try to be nice in a debate, some people just don’t care about civility. In these situations, patience is a virtue.
The upside to this idea is that it gets us thinking about whether we benefit from arguing with people. I think that instead of refusing to talk about religion, politics, conspiracies, or anything, we should find an emotionally mature way to express our views. In doing so, we should hear what the other person has to say and explain why we feel they’re wrong without insulting or patronizing them.
Calling someone a brainwashed sheep because they disagree with you about the government won’t achieve anything; except to create division where none needed to exist.
Overall, this new age idea is nearly correct but misses the mark in discouraging us from speaking up. I disagree that being passive will bring spiritual growth, because passivity leads to apathy and the willingness to look away from injustices that would horrify you if they happened to you or someone you care about. This is the opposite of compassion, which is key to spiritual growth.
- Angels, extraterrestrials, and other higher-dimensional beings will save us and bring a new age to Earth, so there’s no need to improve ourselves or our world.
This point is a little extreme. The new age movement is known for its ideas about angels, enlightened extraterrestrials, and other higher-dimensional beings. These beings are believed to guide the spiritual seeker through his or her journey and, depending on what you believe, will either save us or are waiting for us to save ourselves.
In a practical sense, the flaw in this idea is that anything regarding angels, spiritual ETs, or higher states of consciousness is considered pseudoscience. Mainstream science has yet to catch up with ancient knowledge, and as a result, most scientific minds are skeptical about anything spiritual; especially when you start talking about aliens.
Although some might disagree with me, I think this skepticism is understandable.
In a spiritual sense, the flaw here is that you should rely on anything other than yourself for a better life. It again encourages us to be passive and essentially not care about helping the world. Beyond that, I like to think that these beliefs about communicating with angels and ETs can reunite you with a genuine source of inner guidance.
I won’t argue whether these beings are real, but any reason to get in touch with your intuition is a good one. Regardless of why you connect with it, your intuition will provide you with source of infinite wisdom and guidance. You won’t regret it. As long as you make this connection, it doesn’t matter if you believe it comes from God, your higher self, an angelic being, or your subconscious.
No matter what you believe, you must do the work to reach higher states of consciousness. If the idea of being guided by an angel or even an ET helps you achieve that, then more power to you.
But try to understand why it would be hard for some people to see things your way. If they have a completely different view of the world, one not as open to these topics, then it would be courteous to keep that in mind before overwhelming them with your ideas or responding harshly if they think differently. The idea is to blend these beliefs with action and appreciation for different perspectives.
- You shouldn’t interact with “negative” people because they’ll bring you down.
This will be tough to explain, so let’s start with this idea’s positive aspects. Far too many people are stuck in a negative or abusive relationship. Every article I read on the subject encourages sufferers to get out and set themselves free, which is valuable advice. Sometimes you just have to distance yourself.
Even if a relationship is not abusive but diminishes your sense of wellbeing, it might be worth taking some time away from that person. Some people really are “energy vampires” and will feed off of your negativity by provoking you, gaslighting you, or generally being awful to you. I’d stay far away from them.
The problem is that, like anything, the spiritual interpretation of this idea can go too far. In an extreme instance, you could label someone a “negative” person if they don’t share your opinion or your beliefs.
The less extreme aspects of this idea can still miss the mark.
The idea that most people are hopelessly negative to the point that you should avoid them is a little judgmental and oversimplified. Everyone resorts to negativity at some point, and while some do so more than others, it doesn’t mean we should abandon them. If they’re not too harsh, we might be able to help them.
- The whole enchilada – new age beliefs in general.
If we’re being honest about new age beliefs, they can be fanatical and detached from reality. But there’s another side to these beliefs and those who have them that you won’t see from the outside looking in.
I’ve met what you would call “new agers”, and they’re some of the kindest, most thoughtful, creative, and compassionate people I’ve ever known. The new age community has plenty of dreamers, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I like that the new age encourages imagination, introspection, spiritual growth, and a different perspective on reality. It can genuinely make life better for a lot of people. It’s helped them become more peaceful, caring, empathetic, and willing to give instead of thinking only about themselves.
You might call them kooks, but I call them friends. My life would not be as interesting or fulfilling without them.
In conclusion, we should never assume we know the full picture when it comes to someone’s beliefs. We can approach new age philosophy from more than one angle, find what helps us, and throw out the rest. But keep in mind that an idea you think is garbage might help someone significantly.
Having colorful beliefs does not prohibit you from being compassionate or helping the world – unless you let it.