New Thought Yesterday, New Thought NOW
The New Thought movement is over 150 years old. It is variously described as a Spiritual Path, a philosophy, a way of life and a religion. It’s tenets are outlined in Abel Allen’s 1914 Message of New Thought.
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.
New Thought principles include:
~the name we give the Divine does not define, nor change the truth, rather names only define the giver and his or her relationship to reality
~ humans are partners with the divine, co-creating with the Divine, not victims subject to the whims of a God with a borderline personality.
~humans are not predestined according to a hidden plan
~ people are personally responsible for themselves and to work together. The excuse of “God’s Will” is no longer valid
~ Human Rights, including Freedom of Thought, are intrinsic to all people.
Despite the elegance and beauty of this spiritual truth, by the end of 20th Century many of these basic principles had been cast aside. The result were wide spread deviations from the higher thought that characterized original New Thought teachings.
How are New Thought adherents dealing with the wide spread errors that manifested during the Late 20th Century?
While New Thought is a spiritual path that embraces science, Human Rights, and the core concept of co-creation, toward the end of the 20th Century, some New Thought leaders substituted facile teachings such as the “Prosperity Gospels” and “blaming the victim,” in place of the deeper thoughtful teachings of their founders.
Readers familiar with these errors often pose questions:
Were these New Thought leaders seeking to grow their congregations?
Were some New Thought leaders seeking to increase donations?
What led to these errors?
The answer to the first two questions is “Yes.”
The answer to “What led to these errors?” is more complex:
While serving thousands of New Thought Communities through the NewThought.net/work, over the decades it was observed that growth and higher “tithing” levels were the basis for most deviations from Original New Thought Spiritual Teachings. These odd aberrations taught by New Thought practitioners, teachers and ministers at a wide range of New Thought Centers including individuals from Unity and Religious Science (which has since changed its name to Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL) became known as “Late New Thought.”
Substitution of Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for New Thought
The wisdom of Co-creation teaches that we are all in this life together and by recognizing our interdependence, together we can manifest a more compassionate world. The energy of the Unified Field (Universe) flows through all things at all times, thus the meaning of the expression “the kingdom is within,” addresses this truth. Consequently we are tasked to work with each other to manifest a more compassionate world.
In contrast to this teaching, promoters of “Late New Thought” pushed the view that seekers desiring more wealth could give money to their spiritual source (meaning the spiritual center:) and whatever they gave would be multiplied. Seekers desiring happiness need only rid themselves of a “victim mentality” then they would transcend to mastery and thus victorious success. In some cases, in lieu of the New Thought principle of “highest good,” some teachers promulgated the ideas of Ayn Rand. Seekers were told: “poverty is a disease which cannot be cured with empathy” and “poverty is a state of mind, once you transform the mind to ‘prosperity consciousness’ the poor will be healed of the disease.”
Even Institutes Fell Into Basic Errors akin to Fundamentalism
The insightful reader would think that the institutes created by people like the Holmes brothers (Fenwicke and Ernest), who came from economically challenged backgrounds depicted in great dramatic works such as Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms (which was one of the works for which O’Neill was awarded the 1936 Nobel Prize for Literature), would manage to maintain the truth of their founders while enfolding new wisdom such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), recognized today as the greatest Spiritual Wisdom to come to humanity through humanity.
In fact, isn’t all Spiritual Wisdom manifested through a human being, whether that person claims a “Divine Revelation” or like Ernest Holmes explains that his wisdom was the result of careful exploration and integration of the teachings of others?
Sadly, instead of remaining true to original New Thought Spirituality, some instructors at these institutions began to substitute their own ideas which unfortunately failed to enfold the higher truths embodied within the original New Thought teachings. Although Human Rights were always an essential part of New Thought Spirituality, these institutions failed to enfold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) into their training, while at the same time ignoring important insights provided by the expanding knowledge of Spiritual Paths outside of Abrahamic and Vedic spirituality.
The Philosophy of FU-ism displaced original New Thought Teachings
While New Thought teaches that people are responsible to work with each other toward positive goals in alignment with highest good for all living beings, during the late 20th Century some New Thought folks found it useful to teach that odd aberration of New Thought known as Late New Thought which is based upon an arch and generally unconscious philosophy known as FU-ism. FU-ism (F-You ism) is a philosophy that centers on the self without regard to the well being of others.
FU-ism relies upon blaming the victim. Thus victims of assault seeking support from FU-ist New Thought practitioners at New Thought Centers including CSL and Unity communities were confronted with the question:
“What did you do to bring this into your consciousness?”
Somehow graduates of their respective New Thought Institutes emerged lacking a basic understanding of New Thought spirituality. Whether individually influenced by Objectivism, other right wing forms of thought, or by politically correct forms of thought usually considered left-of-center in the United States, FU-ism is not New Thought.
While original New Thought teaches us that:
we are all interconnected and interdependent; through training the mind & understanding the dynamic fuel of emotion, we can transform any condition,
some New Thought folks found it useful to create a new form of determinism. This form of determinism was predicated upon the belief that everything in a person’s life was the result of choice. The ultimate extension of this was the teaching of the “Ticket System” which promotes the belief that people choose their lives at a “future life” ticket bureau. Proponents explain that “really painful and difficult lives are actually some of the best life packages because you are able to release a great deal of karma.” The “Ticket System” provides its adherents with a novel form of determinism which supports the FU-ist philosophy. After all, “if everyone has chosen their lives, then oppressed or abused people chose to be victims.”
Odd philosophies gleaned from World War 2 did not help
Some FU-ists found that by searching Italian philosophies of World War 2, they could find teachings to derive the thesis that “at any Spiritual Community, including your own, only ten percent of the congregation feel ‘ownership.’” On this premise, they began to propound that “instead of sharing New Thought teachings with new people which thereby creates more work for the minister and staff, it is better to focus on encouraging the existing members to give more support in the form of money and energy.” Obviously such a philosophy would not lead to the empowerment of more people through the teachings of New Thought, but simply to declining attendance. It did just that. This is why since 1999, over 49% of New Thought Centers around the globe have closed their doors!
Affirmation of Solutions was replaced with Denial of Problems
One of the more important teachings in New Thought is the concept that the Divine is within, thus New Thought teaches personal responsibility. This contrasts with religious determinism which blames an external “God’s Will” for everything bad and good.
Personal Responsibility means it is not appropriate to wait for some outside power like Santa Claus or a magic being to fix things. New Thought teaches us that unawakened people are in a process of unconscious co-creation which precludes them from efficient influence on / control of their lives. By using the Tools of Transformation / Keys to Heaven, we awaken to conscious co-creation and thereby become efficient participants in the process of life. However, FU-ists carry the concept of personal responsibility to an extreme belief that each person is living in an illusion which is formed and created by his or her thoughts to the exclusion of others. If a person buys into the FU-ist belief that everything is an illusion, this can lead to harmful actions.
While Mary Baker Eddy’s expression: “It’s all good” was dismissed by original New Thought leaders as delusional, provides irresistible appeal to some FU-ists. These FU-ists began to teach that practitioners should ask and seek whatever they desired without regard to the impact on others. FU-ists would say that if a practitioner declared that the Divine provided the means to insure that highest good was part of the equation, he or she had no further responsibility for the results. Instead of encouraging creative love based solutions leading to compassionate action, the result was thoughtlessness and mindlessness.
FU-ists also taught beliefs such as “the rich are wealthy because they are blessed by God.” This, along with other teachings, echoed early colonial ministers whose sermons were responsible for crimes such as the Salem Witch Trials.
It became common when attending New Thought Spiritual Living Center with FU-ist leadership to hear the term: “Stinking Thinking.” This was applied to any in attendance who had not managed to master the way to prosperity in accordance with FU-ist philosophy. One Religious Science minister who had visited Brazil proposed in a Sunday Sermon that “the reason there are so many poor children in the city of Sao Paolo is because the children are possessed of ‘poverty consciousness.’”
There is no excuse for blaming children.
Thank goodness, intelligence and compassion, (or perhaps shrinking attendance), for the fact that in recent years, at least one New Thought denomination: CSL has at very least begun paying lip service to addressing this dreadful deviation from original New Thought teachings through the formulation of a “Global Heart Vision” which proposes the creation of a “world that works for everyone.” Is this enough? Will it also be accompanied by an upgrade in training?
New Thought at the end of the 20th Century
Perhaps the reason that some New Thought leaders began discarding the original New Thought teachings, and embracing the aforementioned odd concepts known as “Late New Thought” was due to a paradigm shift in post World War 2 United States emphasizing salesmanship over creativity while seeking solutions through market-based ideas and policies.
Whatever the reasons, the consequence of this shift from Original New Thought teachings to Late New Thought had negative effects across the entire spectrum of society including New Thought organizations.
Spiritual Living and Positive Spirituality became weapons!
While we call this odd aberration, characterized by abuse and blaming the victim, “Late New Thought;” New Thought Millennials term the phenomena “the thrall.” Being under the thrall of something means a state of being held in bondage through an overpowering influence of a corrupting philosophy, person or group.
Under “the thrall” of delusions engendered by what Wisdom Holders have recognized as “nonsense teachings,” some New Thought leaders, even in CSL and Unity embraced FU-ism.
While FU-ism may be empowering in some professions, it is characterized by old “dominator paradigms” and thus antagonistic to core New Thought concepts, including co-creation. Insightful spiritual readers will also note that FU-ism is diametrically opposed to Riane Eisler’s Partnership paradigm embraced in New Thought 3.1.
In light of evidence provided by the recent economic cataclysm which was facilitated by Phil Gramm with the assistance of the Bush and Clinton families, it is clear that leaders embracing compassionate action will not be aligned with any political party, but rather with humanity. We need sensible leaders capable of learning the lessons of the past, then making decisions in the present which will lead to a better future for the greatest amount of people.
The result of deviation into Late New Thought was a massive drop in attendance.
Since 1999, over 49% of New Thought Centers around the globe have closed, yet New Thought has more adherents than ever. How is that New Thought is growing while so many New Thought Communities are closing?
The reason for the drop in attendance is the aforementioned bankrupt FU-ist philosophy. An aberration from original New Thought teachings, Late New Thought is characterized by parasitic doctrines called The Prosperity Gospels, in addition to nonsense teachings such as Crystal Beds, and a comprehensive failure to understand the wisdom of compassionate action. Here is an example of the sale of Crystal Bed Therapy.
In contrast to the failed doctrines and creeds of Late New Thought which manifested after World War 2, New Thought 3.1 returns to the true principles of New Thought which are rooted in the teachings of suffragettes, abolitionists and free thinkers. The majority of these early New Thought Spiritual leaders and writers were women. This is one of the reasons we use the term Spiritual Wisdom and not Theology or Thealogy. If Spiritual Wisdom is indeed Universal as taught within original New Thought, then it must include the Sacred Feminine not as a separate discourse but as an intrinsic part of the Spiritual Path.
Reasons that New Thought 3.1 is growing:
▲ New Thought 3.1 includes the UDHR
The UDHR is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. New Thought Millennials and properly trained New Thought practitioners know the UDHR is the highest spiritual teaching today. All previous spiritual teachings that do not agree with the UDHR are no longer valid and must be discarded.
The New Thought Principles of the New Millennium are featured in the New Thought Archives and can be read at www.NewThought.info. They can also be explored in the article: Understanding New Thought Today, or New Thought 3.1.
▲ New Thought 3.1 recognizes a spectrum of New Thought
While “late New Thought” characteristically leans heavily on Abrahamic Thought, or in some cases Vedic Thought, New Thought 3.1 includes New Thought paths which rely on Goddess Centered Spirituality, Buddhism, Taoism,as well as Indigenous Teachings from around the world.
These thought streams serve as primary foundations for a number of New Thought Forms while remaining inclusive regarding wisdom which aligns with the UDHR. There is even a form of New Thought known as Mental Science which is the preferred vehicle for atheists.
One of the reasons that some New Thought Denominations have experienced a decline in attendance is due to a failure to recognize the full spectrum of New Thought, another is timidity when it comes to embracing higher truth.
While today New Thought denominations and leaders overwhelmingly embrace the LGBT community, most leaders stayed on the sidelines when the struggle was most challenging. This was not the first time. While our research revealed that Unitarian ministers marched and fought in the 1960’s for Civil Rights, we did not find demonstrations of the same with regard to New Thought ministers. In fact, when one examines the history of the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL), the reader will find that one reason Johnnie Coleman founded this wonderful New Thought denomination was due to her experience at Unity Village.
Readers should note that since 911, a number of New Thought Institutes have been stating that they teach forms of Christian Philosophy in order to fall within the Islamist definition of what constitutes a “people of the book.” Not only are these claims tenuous and regarded as spurious by fundamentalist adherents to various forms of Abrahamism, we recognize such contentions as fear-based thinking.
It is important that all adherents to New Thought understand that Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that:
“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.”
▲ New Thought 3.1 embraces compassionate action
New Thought teaches that change begins within, and New Thought adherents have a responsibility to co-create a more compassionate world. New Thought leaders are tasked to be life long learners who understand that Wisdom is manifested through the combination of knowledge with compassion. This is clearly evinced by Abel Allen’s 1914 Message of New Thought.
▲ New Thought 3.1 understands the importance of Riane Eisler’s Partnership Paradigm
New Thought 3.1 embraces the truth that a core teaching of New Thought is co-creation. Riane Eisler’s work on the Partnership Paradigm illustrates the power of co-creation in maintaining and creating a more compassionate world. Riane Eisler recognizes and explores this potent paradigm in her works which form a core set of teachings for New Thought 3.1.
▲ New Thought 3.1 rejects “Bodies Without Souls”
The word corporation can be broken down to:
corpor = body
a = without
ratio = soul
A corporation is a legal entity created by the filing of papers with a state. It is essentially a “body without a soul.” Within the United States, the 14th Amendment has been exploited to extend the concept of “corporate personhood” to such legal entities granting them the rights of living people. This odd extension presents a clear and present danger to all people because a stack of papers does not have thoughts or feelings and is unable to demonstrate responsibility which is generally concomitant with human rights.
The New Millennium ushered in the most bizarre legal manipulation ever conceived when the US Supreme Court essentially ruled that political bribery in the US is legal, through a ruling titled Citizens United. The results of this ruling were joyfully summed up by US politician Mitt Romney as meaning: “Corporations are people, my friend.”
New Thought Millennials reject the concept that a stack of papers can have more than a limited set of rights and assert that Human Rights must always be given deference vis a vis the rights of “Corporate persons.” We believe that human beings are people, whereas corporations are stacks of papers not qualified to have the same rights as a living natural person. We believe the highest and most profound spiritual wisdom imparted to humanity through humanity is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Corporations are not people. Manipulating legal interpretations of corporate “citizenship” to say that corporations are people is a blatant distortion of jurisprudence and spiritual truth.
New Thought is a spiritual path which embraces science, Human Rights, and the core concept of co-creation. Co-creation teaches that divine energy flows through all things at all times, thus the “divine kingdom is within.” People are responsible to work with each other toward the goal of highest good for all living beings. Properly trained New Thought practitioners are fully apprised of the Spiritual Wisdom of original New Thought including Abel Allen’s 1914 Message of New Thought.
We encourage you to read Abel Allen’s entire book, which includes:
- New Thought Defined -
- Origin of Creeds -
- New Thought and the Creeds -
- New Thought vs Christian Science -
- Universal Mind in Man -
- Man Illimitable -
- Man Unfinished -
- As a Man Thinketh -
- Ethics of the Creeds -
- Ethics of New Thought -
- Voices of New Thought -
- The Art of Living
Ultimately when we understand the principle of co-creation and know that “as we change our thinking, we change our lives,” we can begin the process of personal change; then as we change ourselves, the whole world changes with us. One of the best ways to guarantee the health and safety of all humanity is to insure that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is fully implemented throughout the world without exception.