New Thought Movement which advocates spiritual and metaphysical beliefs such as the Law of Attraction, quantum healing and power of positive thinking gradually gains momentum throughout the world.
The New Thought Movement or New Thought is a spiritual movement which started in the U S during the late 19th century and it particularly emphasizes spiritual and metaphysical beliefs. It consists of religious sub groups, secular organizations, thinkers, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of metaphysical beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, creative visualization, the personal power. It promotes the ideas that “Infinite Intelligence” or “God” is ubiquitous, spirit is the totality of real things, true human self hood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, all sickness originates in the mind, and ‘right thinking’ has a healing effect. The followers of this movement believe that divinity dwells within each person and that all people are spiritual beings, and that “the highest spiritual principle is loving one another unconditionally . . . and teaching and healing one another, and that our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living (Wikipedia).
The movement named New Thought came into being from a series of religious and mystical ideas and based upon the spiritual vibrations of the mind. Most of it emerged in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century, from preachers who had been researching transcendental philosophy. The first person to use the term “New Thought” was Phineas Quimby (1802-1866, a New England philosopher and healer) though figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horatio Dresser, Mary Baker Eddy, Joseph Murphy and Ernest Holmes, can be considered pioneers too.
Ernest Holmes (1887–1960 an American writer and spiritual teacher, who was the founder of a movement known as Religious Science, also known as “Science of Mind”, a part of the New Thought Movement. He represents the most simple and, at the same time, the deepest spiritual version of the new thought movement. According to him, God is soul, and He is everywhere and in all things and beings of the universe. In human beings, the spirit of God is in our thoughts; it is His spirit that gives our thoughts its creative dimension. We must allow this dimension to grow and flow smoothly:
We must think about ourselves as the way we want to be. We do not make the thought to be creative, but He. There never was a human thought; all thoughts are divine, thought within the human condition. We do not need to look for other powers, because we possess the greatest of all powers.
New Thought is clearly very different from all other major religions in terms of ideologies. Its ideology and faith is not dogmatic; on the contrary, the essence is open to the evolution of thoughts. It is not a static creed but an eternally developing mental and spiritual process. The five basic principles of the doctrine of New Thought as summarized by Brenda Barnaby in Beyond The Secret applicable are the following:
- God is the source and the creator of all. He is One, good and is present everywhere.
- We humans are spiritual beings, created according to God’s image. The spirit of God is present in each one of us, and for this reason, each person is intrinsically good.
- We humans create our experiences of life through our thoughts.
- Positive thoughts are powerful because they strengthen our connection with God.
- It is not enough just to recognize these spiritual principles, we must also live and experience them.
The dominating idea of this movement has been that thoughts or beliefs have an effect on the physical world us and the people around us independently of our doing anything. Thinking creates reality. To a great extent happiness and health are the direct result of our beliefs and thoughts. We have the power to change our beliefs, and thus our state in life, at will. If we are sick, it is because we are not thinking correctly. If misfortune befalls us, it is because we are not thinking correctly. Health is due to correct thought; the truth will set you free and the truth is that you need only faith to be healthy, rich, saved, whatever (Brenda Barnaby in ‘Beyond The Secret’).
There is no denying to the fact that the people throughout the world irrespective of their religion and race have tremendous faith in their beliefs as they themselves quite often witness their impact on their life. However, there is no concrete scientific evidence to support any of such ideas like the law of attraction, quantum healing and creative visualization being advocated strongly by the strong adherent of New Thought Movement. The opponent of this movement have gone to extent of saying that such beliefs encourages delusions in other areas of life and the billion-dollar industry of Self-Help is driven by the so called empowerment delusion. I feel it’s not prudent on our part to dismiss the philosophy or the ideas being promoted by New Thought Movement so casually because of the fact that positive thinking and strong beliefs do play a significant role in our life in which most of the time fear and anxiety rule over man’s basic nature.