What is New Spirituality?
New Spirituality was spontaneously born among the postmodernists of the late 20th century and exists all around the world in a non-institutionalised way. One of those who formulated it explicitly is American Neale Donald Walsch. He has managed to cleanse it from old beliefs and expressed its characteristics as clearly as no one has before. Partially as a revised spirituality of the 60s and partially as a return of archaic thinking of eastern philosophies so marginalized in the western civilization, it experienced its renaissance around 1993. It is based on discontent over the current state of civilisation development on this planet and alienation of its members but also observes environmental degradation, huge technical leap forward with the advances of information technologies, political changes after the fall of the Iron curtain, wave of observations of paranormal phenomena and scientific discoveries in the area of quantum physics that all together refuted the idea of observable reality and stressed the spirit and interconnected nature of all things. At the same time NS warns us against the possible destruction of life on Earth as we know it. This destruction can happen in any moment, for instance incurred by the use of weapons of mass destruction in the name of separated God.
You can easily tell it is New Spirituality, because:
It urges you to look for truth and strength within you
NS explicitly stresses that the source of all strength and truth lies within you and that you do not need anything else. You alone are the source, light, truth, love, unlimited joy and freedom – and nobody can coerce you into experiencing it only under certain circumstances. It does not urge you to search outside – in none of the physical things in this world, neither specific force, nor any person or institution not even in a specific type of behaviour. It does not tell anyone what to eat, where to go, which idols to worship or what emotions you are free to express. You are the Master of your life and not even a flock of masters can compensate for your own soul and God within. In reality, NS pronounces you to be an enlightened master – the only question is whether you are aware of it in the given moment and to which extent you are able to be honest with yourself. At the same time, NS urges everyone to expand the notion of “self”. It believes that the larger the notion gets, the fuller and richer your life becomes. It believes that fuller and richer existence awaits those who use the tools of creation, while they are present in each of us. If NS functions in your relationships, you concentrate on your mutual experience and do not feed yourselves with advice gained from outside. If you cooperate on a task and express NS, you are able to unbind yourself from your personal stories and though, what you are creating comes from the depths of your very soul.
It disregards doctrines and asks questions
NS is an approach that does not hold the belief that humanity in its current state, understands everything it needs to create a world that it has been dreaming of – the world of peace, joy and harmony. It concedes, that it is necessary to further explore and expand the current beliefs of God and Life with new thoughts and notions. NS does not assert that something “should be like that”, neither that “something was meant to be like this” that something is “given from God”, that something is “right or wrong” and does not refer to any kind of moral code, but encourages you to verify the functionality of beliefs for yourself here and now. It encourages you to explore the true nature of things, to reconsider the most crucial beliefs both on a personal level as well as within a spiritual community. Nothing is “sacred” in a sense of not being able to be disputed. In reality, everything is sacred and therefore it does not want to let it die of silence and no discussion, let alone infallibility. It is very well aware of the fact that thoughts and beliefs are the sources of all actions that are its consequences.
The grandest spiritual leaders of the world – Buddha, Israeli prophets, Jesus, Mary or Mohammad were at their times considered to be revolutionaries or even infidels. They inspired their subsequent followers to leave the tradition and re-establish their relationship to God. Buddha urged his disciples in the final hours of his life: “Do not accept what you hear, do not accept tradition, do not accept assertion only because they are inscribed in books or because it is in alignment with your religion or because your master told you so. Be your own guiding lights for yourselves.”
It envisages happiness for all
The current theologies and ideologies preach separation and exclusivity. They say that absolution or fulfillment belong only to certain groups of people, certain nation, a chosen race or kind. We are going astray from a notion of God of division between “us” and “them”. NS expands the current theologies and ideologies so that they can become more true and functional ideologies of oneness looking for solutions for everybody.
Is aware of the variability of words
NS asserts that all Holy Scriptures are valuable and meaningful, that none of them is better than the others and that all must be approached in the context of the time and place of their origin, as well as their language. NS is aware of the fact that words can vary in their meanings and each possible interpretation and understanding of a word can be inaccurate. NS brings a notion of a living oneness. “Living” means that there is no static ideal state of affairs, but a process of a continuous balancing. “Oneness” means being aware of the whole and the willingness of all its parts to cooperate. NS understands the word “God” as a title for this living oneness. At the same time, it regards the word “God” to be interchangeable with “love”, “joy”, “truth”, “change”, “process”, “universe”, “oneness”, “freedom” or for example “Tao”. Last not the least, it is identical with the life itself. It can be interpreted also in a way in which NS actually does not believe in God but it sees the world as a whole that is larger than just the sum of its parts and thus constitutes a conscious whole being.
It revives integration and oneness
NS recognizes that humanity, nature and everything around us is indivisible whole, which is its only law, from which all other principles stem. NS thus integrates or merely remings us of our bond with God and others. It sees everything interconnected or integrated and does not attempt to create any divisions. Hence it does not see the “spiritual” and “secular” realms as two separate realities but only one reality, beautiful and respectable – sacred. Body, mind, heart and soul – all aspects are regarded sacred. It brings the detested and rejected parts of ourselves its glory and legitimacy. Everything is recognized as spiritual and spiritual becomes bread. It does not encourage you to push anything away from you, to regards as evil by nature, but to accept it and its existence within yourself. But it does not encourage you to agree with it either – it emphasises the importance of self-definition.
Even things that we might not like and those we become irritated at are, in the realm of the NS, not separate from us and independent of our actions – everybody is on a certain level responsible for whatever is taking place in his life and cannot refuse it. There are no victims and villains – villains attract their victims and vice versa. Nobody is entirely a villain and nobody a victim. NS realizes that everybody does the best he or she can given his or her view of the world.
Respects the freedom of choosing one’s own path
It does not attempt to build a new fixed philosophical or religious system, it gives credit to many definitions and paths leading to truth. NS does not condemn anyone for the way he or she relates to the universe and everything that exists. Everybody relates to one’s environment in her or his own way – even if it is atheism or combat. It recognizes the omnipresent variability and changeability in a multidimensional universe of many unique beings. Our path is not better, it is merely one of the possible avenues as all beings and all their paths are necessary components of the indivisible whole. Therefore nobody is better than anyone else. In order for the whole to be complete not a single part must be missing and therefore everybody is necessary. As nobody is better, everybody is unique and is useful and beneficial for him or her to express himself or herself in the most unique and honest way. It is not desirable for him or her to deny his or her unique part of the ultimate Truth. Truth helps us realize the natural freedom. Society living in NS understands this. It does not attempt to change individuals in order to “fit in”. It tries to become all-encompassing and all-loving. Whatever it chooses to change, the change always occurs primarily within itself first, then in the external world and there is no effort to change the other whatsoever. It brings others what it considers best of itself but does not try to limit the uniqueness of their own path. NS can be a component of any religion.
It emphasizes natural freedoms of each individual and his or her accountability
Everybody has own freedom, to experience whatever she or he chooses and nobody can deprive him or her of this freedom. NS asserts that God’s intentions are identical with our own because ultimately we are part of God. A human being living in NS knows it is entirely up to her to what extent she or he feels happy and content and trusts the notion that nothing external is needed to be happy. It does not mean that we intentionally ignore what is happening in the outside world. It only allows us not to feel separate from anything, come closer to the recognition that everything is oneness which renders us perfectly tolerant towards actions and beliefs of others. Such human beings accept the external consequences of their actions with mutual respect and do not attempt to confine behaviour of one another. They always know, that whenever feeling discontent, it can be solved without any intervention. They know they are who have the decision power over their lives and this freedom cannot be taken away. Freedom is not something to deserve, we naturally possess it.
Functionality is what matters
NS does not label anything “right or wrong” – these terms become meaningful only in the context of what is an individual or the whole society want to achieve. In other words, nothing is right or wrong just by nature. The only criterion is functionality – something either serves us or it does not. There is no moral code of conduct, that could be too general or too inflexible and the legitimacy of which could be forgotten. It encourages everyone to discover what is or is not functional for everyone in the given moment. As NS does not preach division, it sees no right or wrong, it also sees neither common paradise nor hell. Whether we are in a hell or a paradise is decided according to functionality – here and now. No labels matter for it. Let us state a few examples to illustrate the implications: sex in any form is not wrong, deep commitment and submission in slavery form is not wrong by itself, a psychiatric client is not worse, less free, dumber or less worthy than a president, to think freely and see world in your own way is not wrong. These are just examples – truth, chosen in regard to the high incidence of judgment in our society. But it also goes for what out of custom could be labeled as “right” – to work for a charity is not right by itself, to be insistent and stubborn might not be right, to meditate is not always better than prostitution, to be able to solve complex philosophical, organisation or mathematical problems is not always better than being less intelligent…
NS also brings a gift of “her and now” to the practice – in relationship with others, we are not concerned about what we did in the past neither what the other used to do. We are content here and now and nothing is between us except for a sacred space. It does not mean to forget or not to set one’s boundaries or that we have to spend time with anyone who has attacked us or expressed different intentions than are ours. We are merely aware of what the past is and what the present is and each of us is “pure” in the present moment. The same goes for you – it does not matter what you did in the past but what you do in the future. NS encourages everyone to apply the profound lessons of spirituality into our day-to-day life.
It describes what God is not what God wants
NS is aware of the fact that God, Oneness, Universe or the Whole is everything and therefore needs and requires nothing. It does not try to tell you that you have to do something. It does not tell you to satisfy God in any way or that God has any needs in the first place. It even says that you do not have to worship him in order to use his beautiful and mighty force. Thus instead of telling you what God wants, NS tells what God is – i.e. is the Whole. It is The Only Thing/Territory/Time/Thought/Team/Tantra/Term That Is – TOTTI). NS therefore answers three basic questions:
1.What is God? and the answer is: God is Life and everything in it.
2.What God wants? and the answer is: Nothing.
3.What is the meaning of God? and the answer is: God can be used – is a source of strength.
As God is everything he could ever want, there is nothing left, he might desire, nothing else to long for, nothing else to condition her love with. Quite the opposite – she gives all her might at our disposal. As he is content as it is, there is nothing he wishes and his will is given to us. If we want to be with her and use her power, all we have to do is become aware of our oneness and use the fact that we are not separate from anything. We become one with the Whole needing nothing. If mankind comes together to become one, there will be nothing more it needs or requires.
It acknowledges the self-sufficiency of life and self
NS asserts that Life/World/God is fully self-sufficient, nothing is missing and lacks nothing as it contains everything that can be possible needed. Hence it does not pronounce anything not to be God or not to be coming from God. It hence does not says that God does not want something or that you have to do something in order to avoid suffering. Joy is our natural state of being because the Whole is not missing anything and thus there is no reason why not be joyful. It also means that nothing happens to us unless we (on the level of our soul) choose it and that it can be changed in any moment. As NS accentuates perfection, self-sufficiency and the cycles of life, it also reflects on its relationship to nature. It observes the way nature deals with energies, physical matter or organisms, strives to grasp nature and use its methods. Therefore a person living NS strives to use his or her life to look after the environment and uses technologies that do not cause its destruction.
Life is the highest value
NS conceives love as an universal, natural and free state of being
If we consider ourselves as a whole not excluding anything, we come to realize that we are fully self-sufficient, joyful and free. Love, as another name for God, does not know any boundaries or conditions. It is impossible to be forced or restricted to one object and is expressed by freedom. Love simply is and we either feel it or not. Some of the parts of the whole may evoke it to a higher extent than other, despite the fact that we all are same love-worthy. Some parts can be closer to us but still – we are all loved by God to the same extent. The more we are aware of our divinity, the more we love everything and everyone. To connect in the sacred circle of oneness, it is enough to hold hands with our dearest ones and by a chain reaction, we connect with everybody else as well. To express and experience oneness, it is not necessary to love everyone in the same way or to be perfect. The natural state is to be a part and if we all became God, this world would cease to exist.
It provides new and surprising ways to recreate the reality
This is a brief thought over new possibilities stemming from the philosophy brought forward by Neal Donal Walsch in his books:
From the single law of NS – the law of oneness – spring new overwhelming tools for the recreation of reality. God demands nothing except what we demand – we, who are a part of God – the Whole. Therefore we are constantly in a decision process with our fates being created by our intentions. If our actions influence our lives, then they are derived from our beliefs and intentions. Strong decisions attract miraculous events, because our actions spring from the state of our consciousness and our worldviews. Each and every of the other aspects of life and the whole reacts to our worldviews as we are separated from nothing. Everything works in our favor. Non-living forms of energy as well as living creatures – it all reacts to our views and if such views are in sync with them, they foster and support it. If we are in our hearts connected with the whole, everything fosters us. What is therefore truly and permanently beneficial is the oneness – which is by nature beneficial for all parts of the whole. NS believes that not only what is beneficial to the whole is good for the individual but vice versa. Our actions and experiences are solely created by our views. Our opinions and views determine who we are. In the case when we do not possess any specific views or opinions, we transfer the creative power onto our sub consciousness and will of others. We can see that anything is possible it is an expression of the whole rather than denying it. This freedom of choice also stems from the fact that in the perspective of the whole, everything happens in one single moment and we merely choose which part of it we want to be experiencing in the given moment. NS believes that what we give to others, we will experience and gain ourselves. It is because we realize that we cannot possibly give something we do not possess. Anyway, it works even if we are not aware of it. In order to experience something, let us be the source!