New age spirituality are spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in the Western world during the 70’s. Mediation, Yoga, retreats in Bali.
It’s easy to condemn today’s practices as inauthentic, and — especially if aimed towards ‘healing’ the world — hypocrite. But most people engaging in new age spirituality practice it because they are looking to escape nihilism¹. They are fed up with the lack of belief towards the reputedly meaningful aspects of life. With emptiness.
Almost everyone I know has had a feeling of “there has got to be more to it, this can’t be it” at one point in their life.
New age practices offer, or even promise, something else. They offer meaning. And the idea that consciousness is beyond a physical hardware.
But what often comes out is the opposite. Instead of revelation, people get caught up in their own journey, forgetting about what’s out there, only to be distracted by the things in there. It becomes another distraction.
In psychology, this is called disassociation. It’s what happens when you withdraw from the outside.
Our journeys become a trap. We become obsessed with ourselves.
In order to escape this trap, a balance of outside and inside is necessary. Recent research² shows that it’s not only our inner thoughts and ideas that determine who we are, but that in return our actions determine who we are as well. Our inside influences our outside and vise versa.
If we want to make a difference we need to look beyond ourselves, no matter how mysterious, challenging and satisfying the inner journey seems to be.
1 Nihilism is the philosophical viewpoint that suggests the denial or lack of belief towards the reputedly meaningful aspects of life.
2 e.g. Cuddy, Amy (2015). Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges.