Understanding New Thought Today
Most Spiritual Seekers encounter traditional New Thought teachings through the New Thought Archives but there are various websites and videos on YouTube etc … which promote what is most properly known as Late New Thought.
The difference between traditional New Thought versus Late New Thought is immense.
New Thought teaches us that “through changing our thinking, we change our lives,” while Late New Thought pays lip service to this truth while leaning heavily on a novel version of what traditional New Thought writers called “Eddyism” promoting a form of illusionism which Barbara Ehrenreich calls “Brightsiding.”
Great 20th Century New Thought teachers such as Ernest Holmes taught that the way to transform ones’ situation is to recognize what is, then affirm what one desires and work toward the manifestation of the desired reality by affirming a higher truth in alignment with highest good for all, through positive action.
In contrast to traditional New Thought which evolved organically from the firmament of spiritual and social revolution made possible through Human Rights and Freedom, Teachers of Late New Thought package their religion as a “product.” Some rely upon what they prefer to call “transdenominations” for training and “branding.” These parent organizations turned to expensive marketing firms to help them push forward their “product” with novel logos and crafted language.
Organizations with distinct cultures were amalgamated, then “in house experts” examined their “corporate” culture to determine how to transform their newly formed conglomeration so they could best mold their operatives to position their operations.
Yet despite all of this work, or perhaps because of it, attendance at Late New Thought Centers continues an overall decline to the extent that 49% of them closed since 1999. How do we know this? We manage the only Universal New Thought directory system.
When one reflects on all the time and energy put into their new corporate branding, then observes that these new corporate conveyors of religion missed the most important spiritual teaching to emerge in the 20th Century, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), is it any wonder that they are languishing?
While traditional New Thought promotes the core concepts,
Late New Thought relies upon branding and psychological manipulation. At times it seems that instead of having a firm faith in traditional New Thought principles and building upon them, the generation of Late New Thought which emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century could be a proverbial lost generation selling classes in a manner that has come to be associated with Scientology and instead of recognizing the value of different organizations simply seeking corporate consolidation of spirituality.
While traditional New Thought teaches us that we are in this life together and that as we each evolve ourselves into the actualization of our higher selves the spiritual outcome is co-creation for highest good, Late New Thought pushes concepts of individual reality generally divorced from the New Thought core concept of co-creation.
This presents a challenge for those seeking deeper spiritual truth because while they see the truth of our interdependence with our environment and each other, when they arrive at those New Thought Centers whose leaders are still teaching Late New Thought, they become confused due to what is called Cognitive Dissonance.
One of the principle means by which such confusion is generated is through a type of sleight of hand. Stories might be told about the power of money which everyone knows is simply a symbol for energy.
People are familiar with the fact that we earn money through being paid for work, selling items or ideas etc…. Late New Thought teachers will take the simple idea of money and transform it from being simple energy into the idea that “money is God ….” Sometimes “money is God in action,” or “money is God expressing,” or “money is God’s good.”
Everyone knows that money is only energy in an agreed upon form of exchange. Money can be used creatively or destructively. Many of us today use Bitcoin, we know that Bitcoin is simply a digital currency. It has no value in and of itself. Neither does paper money. It is all simply a means of exchange which can be used for good, or bad.
While gold might be used to create a shield against dangerous radiation, or to build electronic devices with higher conductivity, Bitcoin, like paper money is simply an idea. It is simply a form of energy. Money is a good means to meet ones’ needs.
Sunlight is energy. Plants can convert sunlight to food and we can eat that food. Yet sunlight can also burn us and if we were not shielded by the magnetic field surrounding our planet, sunlight would destroy us. It does not mean sunlight is bad, but simply that it is energy which can be productive and creative when understood, or highly destructive when not understood.
Late New Thought teachers love the “Prosperity Gospel” and often teach that money is not simply energy, it is “God’s energy.” Yet the average person can see that money can be used creatively or destructively.
If we apply the principles of life energy, which is called Chi or Prana, we understand that for this energy to be healthy it must flow. If we look at today’s economy, we can see that vast financial reserves do not flow. This is no mystery. It is simply a fact. The wealthiest people in the world generally sit on their wealth knowing that it will continue to grow without being active through that what some call “the amazing magic of compound interest.”
Traditional New Thought teaches the “Law of Circulation.” As of 2014, there is an amazing book called Capital in the 21st Century which illuminates this truth and many others. Within the NewThoughtLibrary.com, there is a wonderful book called The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. Capital in the 21st Century explains why this book is so wonderful and what Jesus meant when he said:
“Those who are rich will have more added unto them, while those who are poor will have what little they own snatched away.” ~ Matthew 25:29.
This is not a message of doom. It is a message about “laissez faire” economics. the importance of Democracy and the ability for people to work together through elected government to insure that all children have opportunity.
New Thought teaches us that we are in this world together and the beauty of Freedom of Thought is we can choose our beliefs , change our beliefs and share fellowship with those people who share our beliefs.
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
~ Article 18, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Human Rights has always been a core concept of traditional New Thought. While teachers of Late New Thought seldom spend any time or energy teaching the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the new generations of New Thought teachers recognize that the UDHR is an essential core concept of our teaching.
This is an important thing to look for when visiting a New Thought Community. Do you see a poster or set of posters on the walls celebrating the UDHR? When you do, you know you have found one a New Thought Community which understands what Abel Allen wrote in 1914:
“NEW THOUGHT is not, as many believe, a name or expression employed to define any fixed system of thought, philosophy, or religion, but 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.”
~ Message of New Thought
Confusion can be compounded through the fact that Late New Thought teachers mix traditional New Thought into their weekly talks, but then do not appear to follow those teachings in their actual lives. Traditional New Thought teaches Universal Spiritual Principles, yet often we find Late New Thought teachers relying quite heavily on Abrahamic teachings.
Traditional New Thought teaches that our lives generally reflect our belief systems, yet Late New Thought teachers often take this to an extreme which becomes absurd. This is most evident when teachers of Late New Thought blame the victim for the crime. In 2018, this was observed on a global scale when Tony Robbins attacked the #meToo movement.