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The 5 Biggest Lies New Agers Tell Ourselves
I'm a "new ager." I believe wholeheartedly in the law of attraction and was able to manifest a dream house and a six-figure income in the field I love through applying the law of attraction (I've got the dream journal to prove it! ;)! It works, and I preach it every chance I get, because I know what a transformative difference the universal laws can make when applied properly to your life.
However--and this is a big caveat--there are some unfortunate lies that we in the new age community often fall into believing, just as there are in every other belief system! Sometimes it's easy to focus on guru scandals and say, "Aha! Those fools should have known better," but in reality, it's the little lies that slip through the cracks of our judgment and intuition and become internalized that present the most danger. By learning to recognize these lies when they crop up, I think we can make the community--and certainly ourselves--healthier!
New Age Lie #1: I'm a Spiritual Being Here to Have a Spiritual Experience
Wrong! You are a spiritual being here on earth to have a spiritual and material experience. As much appeal as there is in the idea of being a mountaintop guru, if everyone was meant to have that experience during their time on earth, don't you think the world would be a bit different? There would certainly be more mountaintops to share. ;)
The biggest lie in the new age community, in my opinion, is that there is something wrong with you if you have basic human needs. Food, clothing, shelter, security. God forbid you have an electric bill to pay that gets in the way of meditation time! It's the guilt we feel for having to attend to these basic material needs that often pushes us to buy that seminar, that book, that "system." We keep believing that someone else out there has mastered the secrets, and if we don't have five hours each day to devote to "spirituality" (and who exactly is in charge of defining WHAT qualifies as spiritual, anyway?) like the gurus on Youtube, we are somehow less than. The truth is, that guru pays his bills by making videos about spirituality! And that's a perfectly fine way to make a living, but don't feel bad when you have to earn a living as an accountant.
New Age Lie #2: The Answer Is Outside of You
This is actually a fundamentally un-new age idea, but it's one that I see many newcomers to the scene falling into. Just as Christians and other religious folk tend to put too much emphasis on what a certain preacher with a cult following has to say, new agers can fall into the trap of believing that someone else has the answers. I call this "Guru Syndrome." That spiritual teacher just seems so cool, so perfectly balanced, so consciously aware, even of their unconscious tendencies, that it's easy to believe they have it all together. Even the down-to-earth gurus seem to have the art of not having it all together together!
What's the truth behind the lie that you need to understand? Regardless of your views on reincarnation, we are all living this life for the first time. It's great to take inspiration and guidance from others. Heck, even I've got a book to peddle! But you have to remember that the rest of us are doing the same thing you are. We're sharing our limited knowledge and experiences, what works and sometimes more importantly, what doesn't work, to the best of our ability in the hopes that it will help make someone else's journey a little easier! That doesn't make us perfect, and it certainly doesn't make us "more spiritual" (hah!). It just means that part of our life purpose is trying to help others understand theirs. You should never let someone else's wisdom--that includes mine--replace your own internal guidance.
New Age Lie #3: There Is Such a Thing as "More" or "Less" Spiritual
Again, who gets to decide what is spiritual and what is "unspiritual?" You may think to yourself, "But Josephine, surely there are some distinctly spiritual acts, like prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.!" And I would agree with you. The problem is when we start judging material acts as less worthy of time or attention--or even worse, judging people for caring about these things--because they don't seem to be inherently spiritual. Let me tell you, eating may be a material act, but to the person in the soup kitchen line who receives a hot meal for the first time in weeks, the person who took the time to make that food was performing a spiritual act! We are physical-spiritual beings. That is why the biopsychosocial model of human psychology has taken off the way it has.
Paying your bills and going to work (depending on your job) may not seem like an inherently spiritual act, but try focusing on meditation when your electric bill is shut off. It's all well and good to try to transform your life into one that allows more room and time for strictly spiritual pursuits, but the real world is so much more of a gray area than we like to believe. A good compromise is to try bringing spirituality into the more mundane aspects of your life. Working on autopilot? Listen to an audiobook about a spiritual topic you're interested in, or find a way to safely turn the task into an opportunity for meditation.
New Age Lie #4: Money is Bad and Unspiritual
If we're going to use the "more or less spiritual" language, money is by far one of the most spiritual concepts out there. Before you gasp, let me explain. Money isn't real.
Okay, so the bills in your wallet are real. But the thing that gives them value is a vague concept based on arbitrary standards of the value of how much metal the country has at its disposal. Think about it. This thing we base our lives around is an idea! That makes it remarkably responsive to spiritual applications, such as the Law of Attraction. There's a reason why most of the bestselling new age books and systems, much to the chagrin of the mountaintop guru, focus on money. Getting more of it, eliminating problems with it, etc..
The problem isn't money. The problem is our relationship with money. Two good people can be involved in a toxic relationship, and that is what the relationship between most people and the spiritual concept of money looks like. Money isn't inherently good or bad, but your beliefs about it are capable of creating a lot of good and bad in your life. Instead of being afraid of money or telling yourself that financial success and spiritual success are mutually exclusive goals, accept money for what it is: a tool, like any other. It can be used for good, bad, and everything in between. The important thing is that you are using money and money isn't using you.
New Age Lie #5: All Religion is Backwards
I may be biased as someone who is both spiritual (new age) and religious, but this "us vs. them" mentality keeps a lot of new agers from feeling like they can practice a faith without getting shut out of their spiritual community. Conversely, it also keeps a lot of religious people from taking the universal truths that are and should be the underpinnings of all new age thought seriously and incorporating it into their lives. There is nothing about a proper understanding of the universal laws that should preclude you from any faith, and vice versa, but so many of us act like religion is the enemy. Religion is a tool for understanding the universe. Fewer people depend on it than at any other time in recorded history, perhaps, but it's not going away anytime soon. If we're truly interested in promoting enlightenment, we have to stop practicing the same dogged conversion tactics that are so grating when others use them. We have to start focusing on the universal truths and allowing for their interpretation and application in a variety of faiths, not shutting people out and looking down on them as "less evolved" for daring to be part of organized religion.