“Beware of falsehoods from misunderstood teachings.”
An interesting and important theme for discussion. When we consider history we may see an undercurrent of alternative religion whereby some people deviate from orthodox or formal established religions. Additionally, in more recent times we have seen the development of what is referred to as “New Age” spirituality and usually yoga groups, and other alternative forms of spirituality, even admittedly negative ones such as satanism, or benign ones such as Wicca or Neterianism, that have been lumped in to that category (New Age). Considering the New Age related Christian groups such as Course in Miracles, Wayne Dyer, or Unity Church and other supposedly ecumenical efforts which try to promote a kind of interfaith model, etc. founded in western religion but infused with eastern concepts; most have similar formats in that they include some but not all elements of Mystical religions and yoga, while placing that in a contexts of (as the video by Anthony demonstrated) in a context of western materialism and or what is acceptable to western audiences. Perhaps this is done to appeal to the masses of western culture or out of cooptation (using someone else’s teaching and making it your own by altering it in accord with your purposes and desires) or out of sheer ignorance at not understanding what full religion or mysticism are supposed to be. In this way the New Age message can become convoluted and intellectually extensive (and confusing) as in Kabbalah or rivaling the dogmatism of the orthodox religions that they themselves profess to criticize by imposing their own brand of dogma. So one of the most important flaws is this cooperation whereby the New Age religion is constructed usually out of a salad-bar selection of tenets of the detested or envied traditions to cobble together a supposedly coherent teaching/message; though since this is usually done without benefit of preceptorship or guidance from the source of those takings, the arrangements are created with the taint of the ego of the person or persons doing the construction and the result is a “New Age” spiritual system that supports the ideas and ideals of the creators that turns out to be still a system that supports the egoism and fundamental values of the supposedly repudiated spiritual systems and secular society. Frequently, those who have the chutzpah, Self-confidence, Self-assurance or maybe we should better refer to it as: Gall, Nerve, Impudence, Effrontery, to mess with and attempt to reinvent an already created wheel (authentic religion), such persons are themselves flawed, narcissistic or suffering mental illnesses that can be taken as intensity, conviction, enlightenment, etc. Their apparent certitude and apparent intensity impresses all but the true knowers of what the path of religion is supposed to be intensity with understanding, relentlessness with forgiveness, teaching with humility and exhorting but not demanding followers to follow or serve or do anything against their conscience or free will. What can we say of New Age “gurus such as Wayne Dyer or Maryann Williamson? Positive human beings and helpful to an extent and no further. What can we say of televangelists such as Jimmy Swagart, Jim Bakker, Jim Jones? Can we call them helpful or injurious? What about cult leaders such as Charles Manson, and Jim Jones or satanists and nihilists? We could consider these in terms of sociopathy and psychopathy.
There is another kind of problem, the context within the larger dominant and diseased culture that seeks to define what is other than itself. An example of modern reinterpretation and distortion of Ancient Egyptian religion is the fascination with Ancient Egyptian religion as a form of “Egyptian Magic” and not religion or true mysticism and sometimes coupling it with the “Occult” (especially with negative connotation) “arts”. This is sometimes especially promoted as an ideal form of paganism. The idea of paganism and what is pagan is western in origin so placing our religion in a pagan form or title is accepting the western paradigm and definition of what we do; Therefore, the designation and definition are to be rejected and the tradition is to define itself by its own standards.
From the perspective of the mystic, the pathways of those who lead partial religion are helpful to an extent but from an objective time and space perspective are enablers and perpetuators of the degraded status quo. From another perspective, of course, New Age spirituality generally (some paths may be more authentic than others) is a futile effort as concerns the goal of enlightenment (in near-term) though in a larger context it is part of the spiritual journey of those who have rejected orthodoxy to some degree, who need something more but are not ready to go all the way to an already established full myth-ritual-mystic system. One important problem is that the move to new age spirituality does not help the overall society transform to a higher level of spiritual consciousness generally but rather helps modulate the existence of the orthodoxy and one could say, corrupt, spiritual system, government and economy that has allowed humanity to degrade to the point of near-term extinction. Nevertheless, from the standpoint of soul and immortality, there is time to grow in other dimensions and planes of existence or quadrants of this galaxy, for those who choose or who are compelled to take the road of prolonged and protracted sufferings and circular as well as horizontal spiritual movements and are not capable of pursuing vertical and spiral upward spiritual movements.