What is New Thought?Abel Allen provided insight into traditional New Thought writing in 1914 that NEW THOUGHT is:
"a term used to convey
the idea of growing or developing thought.
In considering this subject,
the word "New" should be duly and freely emphasized,
because the expression "New Thought"
relates only to what is new and progressive."
New Thought has been part of human culture from the moment humans began to think!
When people first recognized the truth that we are in this life together, that we are united in oneness, realizing that through cooperation we can manifest better circumstances for mutual benefit, we began giving thanks for our ability to think and thereby to transcend our circumstances.
This unfolded the higher truth that together there are situations we can control and there are some things we cannot. This led us to release anxiety to That That is Divine.
Humanity associated the Divine with surviving, thriving and creating. A person’s alignment with the Divine was demonstrated by that person’s ability to contribute to group success. Those individuals who demonstrated competence and capability were chosen for leadership on that basis.
Death was seen as a natural consequence of life. Red Ochre (iron oxide) became associated with blood which was part of life. Thus burial was accompanied by Red Ochre in recognition of the blessings the deceased bestowed upon his fellow humans. It was also a recognition of the cycle of life, death and new life. People were born covered in placental blood and Red Ochre symbolized that in death they were covered in the blood of the earth in which all people are born, move and have their being.
Humans were more like Bonobos than Chimpanzees; this was one of the great secrets to success. For thousands of years, humans were not the dominant species, neither were other members of the human family, the Neanderthals and Denisovans. They encountered one another and generally celebrated life together and on occasion even to live and have children together.
Eventually people populated practically every part of the world and with time populations grew. Increased organization led to recognition of the need for managers of various activities. At first societies chose leaders on the basis of competence without regard to gender or appearance. This continued until about 3500 years ago when the last partnership society, the Minoans, collapsed due to an earthquake and the tsunami which followed.
While the rest of the world suffered under what has come to be known as Dominator Culture, the Minoans continued the traditions of Partnership Society until a natural disaster brought Divine Life to an end. In Partnership Society, everyone is respected and no one is above the law. There is no archaeological evidence of starvation in ancient Minoan society. Minoans developed then maintained a careful ecological balance upon the island of Crete eating a wide variety of food. While the Minoans lived upon the island wild game flourished. Extinction was brought about by people from Dominator cultures who occupied the island abandoned by the Minoans in the wake of the catastrophe.
As the surrounding Dominator Cultures of the Mediterranean and most of the world fought for dominance under hierarchies based on financial and / or economic power, the Minoans lived the Divine Life of shared prosperity, equal application of the law and consequently common decency.
When people from Dominator Cultures began to attack, the Minoans developed a powerful navy which served to keep invaders at bay. While the surrounding cultures developed then lost technology through the destructive effects of war, or as a consequence of famine then disease leading to the collapse of their cities and loss of knowledge, the Minoans maintained a healthy population and preserved new technologies acquired through trade.
After the collapse of this last Partnership Society, Dominator Cultures curtailed the human rights and freedoms recognized today as an essential part of advanced civil society. For over 3000 years humanity suffered under the yolk of various authoritarian systems. The most popular was the genetic dictatorship called monarchy. All forms of dictatorship have in common the servitude of the people and domination of their minds. The latest incarnation of Dominator Culture appears to be Corporatocracy in which large faceless entities gain the same rights as human beings then corrupt the mechanisms of our democratic republics resulting in novel manifestations of powerlessness.
During the intervening three millennia since the collapse of Minoan Society, legal codes and universal laws were “set down” by powerful rulers with an eye to justice in order to manifest or maintain stability within the nations they ruled. Among these were the Codes of Urukagina and Hammurabi. There were also laws created by various priests of different religions which were generally intended to constrain behavior as opposed to insuring equal protection of all citizens from corruption or abuse.
About 300 years ago, humanity began to get out from under the yoke of authoritarianism.
With Freedom of Thought people escaped the long cold shadow of Dominator Culture into the sunlight of freedom which accompanies the illumination of Human Rights. Today Partnership Society is reemerging. Movements such as #meToo promote the Partnership value of respect worldwide. As long as people do not descend into passivity, Partnership Society can be reestablished around the globe.
Recognition of our self-evident Human Rights results in the free flow of ideas which in turn leads to shared peace and prosperity. Without Freedom of Thought, New Thought would not be possible. The flowering of freedom in the 1800’s led to breakthroughs in science and awakening of higher truth necessary for universal empowerment of humanity.
By the mid 19th Century people were capitalizing the term “the New Thought” and “New Thought” in recognition of an emerging spiritual movement which is unique in its embrace of scientific thinking, universal spiritual principles and human rights.
Streams of Thought gave rise to New Thought StreamsEarly New Thought writers, philosophers, Spiritualists, Theosophists and others started exploring the streams of thought within human culture. At first they explored Abrahamic Thought, Vedic Thought, Greek and Roman Thought; later they continued discovering the underlying Universal Spiritual Principles found within all genuine spiritual paths.
Exploring streams of thought within the context of the emerging science of psychology, writers such as William Atkinson, Swami Abhedananda and Paramahansa Yogananda explore the Spiritual Principles and Practices within the Vedic New Thought Stream.
A host of writers including: H. Emilie Cady, C. L. Baum, Charles Fillmore, Myrtle Fillmore, and Jane Yarnall explored Abrahamic New Thought. Yarnall drew attention to the New Thought as a "... philosophy of healing by understanding divine law, ... to God as Mind, Spirit, First Cause, which are all names of Deity." In 1891, Yarnall drew attention to a number of existing streams of New Thought: "Metaphysical Science, Divine Science, Christian Science, Mental Science, Mind Cure ...” as well as "Science of Mind."
The Divine Science and Science of Mind Streams of New Thought are more like rivers in that they accept the flow of all New Thought Streams.
Divine Science was once robust enough to merit the attention of Mary Baker Eddy who felt threatened by the number of writers using the term Divine Science. The term was also used for a particular form of New Thought was at one time the largest organized form of New Thought.
Science of Mind is one of the streams of New Thought mentioned many times by multiple writers since American Philosopher John Bascom wrote the first Science of Mind text in 1881. Bascom’s major contributions to New Thought can be found in his books Natural Theology and New Theology.
On page one of his 1901 book The Goodness of God Bascom writes:
“This treatise on the goodness of God rests purely,
in whatever strength it may possess, on reason.
By reason we mean no single power of the human mind,
but the widest exercise of all powers, at any moment possible to us,
in the reconciliation of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual world as a coherent structure.
Reason means our most comprehensive exposition of the nature of things.
It is forever corrected by observation, instructed by experience and enlarged by intellectual activity....
The physical form and spiritual substance are, in the universe, inseparable terms.”
New Thought Streams gave rise to New Thought Forms:Reading Ernest Holmes 1927 edition of Science of Mind, one can easily see the influence of Bascom’s works. The Holmes brothers Religious Science form of the Science of Mind stream of New Thought is a masterful demonstration of the realization of the ongoing evolution of New Thought in form and practice. Sadly the expansion of Religious Science through two robust organizations was terminated when they merged due to respective financial difficulties. In contrast to the natural order of growth through branching and expansion, this move reflected a corporation consciousness of consolidation seemingly bereft of understanding the nature of mimetic application.
Authors such as Helen Wilmans and Wallace D. Wattles reveal that the potency and power of New Thought could be accessed by atheists and agnostics through the New Thought Stream known as Mental Science while at the same time referencing various spiritual works including the Abrahamic.
In the beginning of the 20th Century, New Thought teacher Annie Rix Militz published and explored the Tao Te King within her Master Mind magazine.
Out of these explorations grew Organized New Thought. The first of these was created by Helen Van Anderson. Not long after, came other New Thought organizations.
New Thought Today takes on a variety of forms. The largest form of Organized New Thought is Seicho No Ie, a Japanese organization which evolved between the World Wars and now has practitioners throughout Latin America and the rest of the world. The second largest form of Organized New Thought might be Unity which emerged from the Abrahamic New Thought Stream. The third Organized New Thought denomination is Religious Science which now uses the name CSL or the Centers for Spiritual Living. At one time the largest Organized New Thought form was the aforementioned Divine Science, but today it is down to about thirteen (13) centers. This is not an usual pattern. The largest form of Organized New Thought in the Edwardian Era was Home of Truth which had centers around the globe. Today the Home of Truth is down to the original center. Militz’ teachings are available in New Thought Library but not taught in any formal study program.
New Thought differentiated itself from "mystery religions" and the convolutions of Theosophy in 1899 at the
First Annual Convention of the Metaphysical League.
Physics such as quantum entanglement and the Laws of Thermodynamics can be used to explain metaphysical mysteries. Of course there is always the danger that shrewd hucksters will use psychobabble and pseudoscience to mislead seekers, but if you are an intelligent life long learner, you will not be fooled by the latest nonsense teachings or the odd permutations of Late New Thought FUism.
While there have always been odd exceptions to the Message of New Thought such as the meditations taught by Annie Rix Militz which were flogged as enabling people to live forever, or for women to become pregnant without sperm (parthenogenesis).
New Thought folks like to point out the influence of New Thought upon many of today's societies. There should be no doubt that this is true. Yet it must be recognized that while traditional New Thought has had a great influence on society, that recent aberration known as Late New Thought has also had an influence.
In 1901, at the advent of the 20th Century, William Walker Atkinson wrote:
MY WORKING CREED.
- I believe that the mind of Man contains the greatest of all forces --- that Thought is one of the greatest manifestations of energy.
- I believe that the man who understands the use of Thought-force can make of himself practically what he will.
- I believe that not only is one's body subject to the control of the mind, but that, also, one may change environment, "luck," circumstances, by positive thought taking the place of negative. I know that the "I Can and I Will" attitude will carry one forward to Success that will seem miraculous to the man on the "I Can't" plane.
- I believe that "thoughts are things," and that the Law of Attraction and the thought world will draw to one just what he desires or fears.
- I believe in the gospel of work --- in "hustling."
- I believe in the I DO, as well as the I AM. I know that the man will take advantage of the Power of the Mind, and will manifest that power and action, will go forward to Success as surely and steadily as the arrow from the bow of the skilled archer.
- I believe in the Brotherhood of Man.
- I believe in being Kind.
- I believe in everyone minding his own business --- and allowing everyone else the same privilege.
- I believe that we have no right to condemn --- "let him who is without sin cast the first stone."
- I believe that he who Hates is an assassin; that he who Covets is a thief; that he who Lusts is an adulterer; that the gist of the crime is in its desire.
- Seeing this --- looking into our own hearts --- how can we condemn?
- I believe that Evil is but Ignorance.
- I believe that "to know is to forgive all."
- I believe that there is good in every man; let us help him to manifest it.
- I believe in the absolute equality of the Man and the Woman --- sometimes I think that the odds are slightly in favor of the Woman.
- I believe in the sacredness of Sex --- but I also believe that Sex manifests on the Spiritual and Mental planes as well is on the Physical.
- And I believe that to the pure all things are pure.
- I believe that man is immortal --- that the Real Self is Spirit, which uses mind and body as its Tools, and manifests itself according to the fitness of the tools.
- I believe that man is rapidly growing into a new plane of consciousness, in which you will know himself as he is --- will recognize the I AM --- the Something Within.
- I believe that there is an Infinite Power in, and of, all things.
- I believe that, although today we have but the faintest idea of that power, still we will steadily grow to comprehend it more fully --- will get in closer touch with it. Even now we have momentary glimpses of its existence --- a momentary consciousness of Oneness with the Absolute.
- I believe that the great happiness consists in maintaining toward the Absolute the attitude of the trusting child, who, feeling no doubt of the parent's love --- no doubt of his wisdom --- places his little hand and that of the parent, and says "Lead Thou me on."
- I believe that he feels towards the Absolute, the trust fullness of the babe which places its little tired head close to the breast of the mother, will also be conscious of the tender answering pressure, as the babe is drawn just a little closer to the mother-heart.
This Creed was prepended to Atkinson's scarcely referenced but obviously influential book:
Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World (1906)
It is unfortunate that article 4 of Atkinson's Creed
- I believe that "thoughts are things," and that the Law of Attraction and the thought world will draw to one just what he desires or fears.
Within the great texts which embody that canon of work that we call Ancient Wisdom, the Law of Cause and Effect and its corollary the Law of Circulation are used by Shakyamuni Buddha, Lao Tzu and Jesus Christ among others to explain the power of sowing seeds of love versus hatred. They also illuminate the power of positive action to prompt dynamic change within ourselves and society. This is the Dynamic Power of Thought, Word and Deed to sow the seeds which ripen into the crop. This is the metaphor of the pebble tossed into the pond prompting ripples outward to the edge.
In short: What goes around, comes around.
That influential book Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World (1906) is scarcely referenced by any of those using the term "Law of Attraction." One can extrapolate many reasons for the failure to reference this book:
- Perhaps those speaking of the "Law of Attraction" would prefer to avoid the rest of Mr. Atkinson's Creed.
- Perhaps, like Ernest Holmes, they prefer not to provide references to previously published ideas.
- Perhaps it provides a vehicle to shame and blame. If people are poor, then it is easier to blame them for their situation by saying: "They attracted poverty into their lives."
- Perhaps by avoiding the rest of Mr. Atkinson's Creed, then it is possible for the Late New Thought Practitioner to ask that odd question when a person is physically attacked: "What did you do to attract this into your life?"
"In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user's alter ego or character. An icon or figure representing a particular person in a video game, Internet forum, etc. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities."The discerning traditional New Thought practitioner is aware that the principle that "thoughts are things" is similar to an avatar. When used as a means to support a manifestation in alignment with highest good, it is a New Thought practice. When used to support a manifestation from ego, it becomes part of the aberration known as Late New Thought FU-ism.
"Not only do our thought waves influence ourselves and others, but they have a drawing power - they attract to us the thoughts of others, things, circumstances, people, "luck," in accord with the character of the thought uppermost in our minds. Thoughts of Love will attract to us the Love of others; circumstances and surroundings in accord with the thought; people who are of like thought. Thoughts of Anger, Hate, Envy, Malice and Jealousy will draw to us the foul brood of kindred thoughts emanating from the minds of others; circumstances in which we will be called upon to manifest these vile thoughts and will receive them in turn from others; people who will manifest inharmony; and so on. A strong thought or a thought long continued, will make us the center of attraction for the corresponding thought waves of others. Like attracts like in the Thought World - as ye sow so shall ye reap. Birds of a feather flock together in the Thought World - curses like chickens come home to roost, and bringing their friends with them." ~ page 7, ...The Law of Attraction in the Thought World
As we can observe, toward the end of this paragraph in which Atkinson explores his premise, he writes: "as ye sow so shall ye reap." Thus the great master law, the Universal Mystical Law of Cause and Effect is cited, albeit obliquely.
Using the Late New Thought philosophy of FU-ism a person can become the CEO of a Corporation, or even the President of a Nation simply by using the Law of Attraction. Such a person might be confronted with truth, but declare it to be false, then push an alternate version of reality which is sourced solely within his mind declaring the truth to be "fake news."
This is not traditional New Thought because it is not in alignment with "highest good." There is another law, the Law of Unintended Consequences. The unintended consequence of Atkinson's work has been a massive shrinkage in attendance at those New Thought Centers where New Thought leaders have been indoctrinated into Mr. Atkinson's theory. This is in no small part due to a public perception of indifference and lack of compassion on the part of those who ask the question: "What did you do to bring this into your consciousness?"
It is also due in part to those who tout the influence of New Thought upon those societies which still celebrate Freedom of Thought while continuing to ignore the greatest spiritual teaching of all time: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
These same people apparently never read Abel Allen's work. They have also failed to understand the essential work of Thomas Picketty & Riane Eisler to New Thought Today.
Perhaps it was convenient to believe that Atkinson's Law of Attraction could supplant the Universal Mystical Law of Cause and Effect, and its corollary the Law of Circulation. Or perhaps it was simply bad luck, after all number thirteen (13) in Mr. Atkinson's creed is "I believe that Evil is but Ignorance."
Lest the reader feel that Mr. Atkinson got it all wrong because of his novel creation of the Law of Attraction, it must be pointed out that he also wrote:
- - 16. I believe in the absolute equality of the Man and the Woman --- sometimes I think that the odds are slightly in favor of the Woman.
- - 17. I believe in the sacredness of Sex --- but I also believe that Sex manifests on the Spiritual and Mental planes as well is on the Physical.
- - 18. And I believe that to the pure all things are pure.
- - 19. I believe that man is immortal --- that the Real Self is Spirit, which uses mind and body as its Tools, and manifests itself according to the fitness of the tools.
- - 20. I believe that man is rapidly growing into a new plane of consciousness, in which you will know himself as he is --- will recognize the I AM --- the Something Within.
Perhaps those who used the Law of Attraction as a crutch, then had trouble grasping why attendance at New Thought Centers has shrunk so vastly that 49% of New Thought Centers have closed since 1999 will awaken to the higher wisdom represented by champions of traditional New Thought. This group includes Ernest Holmes, who built upon the timeless truth observed by Abel Allen in the Message of New Thought teaching that New Thought is:
"a synthesis of the laws of science,
opinions of philosophy,
and revelations of religion,
applied to human needs and
the aspirations of humankind"