In this article, I will be exposing some truths about life that many in the New Age movement seem to ignore, falsify or minimize. In my opinion, these beliefs serve to hinder the healing process for many people.
1/ Visualization will get you what you want
Vision boards, wish lists and goal setting all fall under this category. Of course there is some truth to this because what you focus on or set your intention toward will most likely manifest over time. However, what most people fail to tell you is that whatever you can imagine at a given point in time does not allow for the infinite possibilities that exist in Creation. You are basically settling for less when you restrict your dreams and desires to what is known to you only in the present moment.
And what’s more…nothing happens in a material world without taking action – visualizations, affirmations, or, ‘positive thinking’ are NOT enough.
2/ Once you are enlightened you will experience bliss
The following excerpt is an accurate description of what it takes to become truly ‘enlightened’…
“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.” ~ Adyashanti
3/ Forgiveness is not about condoning the actions of those who have hurt you – it’s all about your healing
This one is not exclusive to the New Age movement but I have heard it too often to ignore it – this goes way beyond being a myth because it is an out and out lie. Forgiveness is an interchangeable/synonymous term with condonation but not healing. Healing is all about processing negative emotions and thoughts. This is separate from whether or not you decide to condone someone else’s actions. Forgiveness is a great thing to strive for in life but do not kid yourself about its true meaning – if you cannot condone someone’s actions then you cannot forgive them even if you no longer harbor any animosity toward this person. For more on the REAL meaning of ‘forgiveness’ read the following article: New Age MythBusting: ‘Forgiveness is Necessary for Healing’.
4/ Fear is an illusion
Fear is very real when you see a tornado approaching or when someone is holding a gun to your head. Fear plays the most important role in your life of keeping you safe by alerting you to take steps to protect yourself in dangerous situations. All of the other fear-offshoots – anxiety, insecurity, doubt etc – also have a similar role to play when they arise. These feelings are only illusory when they are based on previous negative experiences that have nothing to do with your current situation. However, they may also be warning signs. For example, if you have been in abusive relationships you will probably have come to know some of the signs. These people are usually very nice at first – too good to be true – but soon after this you get to see their true colors. If you begin to feel anxious because of such a sign, take steps to protect yourself even if everyone else is telling you otherwise because this person seems so ‘nice’…to categorize all fearful thoughts and emotions as ‘illusions’ is truly delusional.
“Fear is wisdom in the face of danger.” ~ Sherlock Holmes
5/ Abandoning or dissolving the ego in order to evolve
The poor ego has had such a bad rap but little do most people know…if you are walking around on the planet in a body you have an ego. Its purpose is to make life possible for a spiritual being in a physical world – in the very first instance this involves your body. The other aspects that allow you to function and/or survive on Earth are your logical mind and personality. So…the only way to get rid of your body is death; the only way to diminish the other facets is to become someone who has no thoughts of her/his own, no personality. The ego does indeed have negative aspects (e.g. excessive fear, competitiveness, arrogance, etc) but it is not about obliterating these things (which is impossible) – it is in mastering these traits that you evolve. For more on the true purpose of the ego read the following article: Ego is Not a Dirty Word.
6/ Judge not lest ye be judged
This is another one that is not exclusive to the New Age…the truth is that ye does judge and ye is (and will be) judged. Judgment is a part of life. Period. Every time you decide whether or not something/one is right for you, whether or not you like someone etc, you are making a judgment. Others make similar judgments about you. All of these decisions reflect your (and others’) values. Do you value integrity, wealth, knowledge, image, power? The irony is that those who call you ‘judgmental’ are being just that when they refer to you as such.
Then there are those who claim that they “observe without judgment”. The only type of non-judgmental observation that can be made is a descriptive one – for example, “Your eyes are green”; “Your hair is brown”; “Your pants are black”, and so on. Any assessment you make about a person after observing her/him is a judgment (observe: to watch carefully especially with attention to details or behavior for the purpose of arriving at a judgment: Merriam-Webster 1828): “You’re aggressive”; “You’re kind”; “You’re weak”; “You’re trustworthy”. For the most part, observation precedes judgment.
7/ Everything you believe, think and say is a mirror of you
This ‘mirroring’ stuff began in psychology with the concept of ‘projection’ – that is, you see your negative qualities in others when you don’t want to see them in yourself. This is true sometimes but also very untrue at other times. In my opinion, ‘telling it like it is’, is also an indication of your honesty and assertiveness. Calling a child molester ‘vile’ does not make you ‘vile’; labelling an exploitative friend a ‘user’ does not make you one…you get the drift. Pay attention to those who keep telling you that you are mirroring your own issues every time you voice an unpleasant truth – they are usually the ones who “can’t handle the truth.” For more on this read the following article: New Age MythBusting: ‘Mirroring’.
Dear Helen, Absolutely! there is another one that really gets me: ‘everything in the cosmos is about me’. The old age traditions, to which I subscribe, always put the community in the centre of everything, not the individual, and were aware of that community as part of a much greater whole. can we re evolve to understand this again, I wonder?
Hi Caitlin, I am all for the individual but I certainly don’t believe that everything revolves around ‘me’. If this were true, I could have what I wanted, whenever I wanted it. I think we have been conditioned out of seeing the interdependency of all things, including people. I don’t hunt and grow my own food, so I go to the supermarket where thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world have worked to make my life (and many other lives) easier in this respect. I think it is harder to have a sense of community in urban environments but certainly not impossible. Even the internet is helping in that respect where people can form communities on Facebook, forums etc. Different times require different tools and techniques.