By Steven Bancarz – A lot of people confuse spirituality with being New Ageism, and I hope this article can help clear some of that confusion and controversy. The New Age is not the same as spirituality. While you can both entertain New Age thought as well as practice spirituality, they are not the same thing.
There are many New Age profiteers, teachers, and charlatans who are spiritually inept. There are also many amazing, genuine, and loving people who have been confused and led astray by New Age teachings, which is why the distinction needs to be made between New Age and spirituality.
Spirituality, simply put, is about your relationship with yourself. It’s about how you interact with your thoughts and emotions, and the states of consciousness you occupy. New Ageism is this blend of Eastern philosophy, polytheist religions, alternative sciences, alternative forms of healing, alternative history, loose understandings of quantum mechanics, and divination.
You can be spiritual and also subscribe to New Age ideologies, but New Ageism isn’t spirituality in and of itself. Some people may not agree with making such a strong distinction, but in my mind the distinction between the two is as strong as the distinction between Buddha and Drunvalo Melchizedek. Or Jesus and David Wilcock. In terms of content, the two are totally different. I am not saying one is more right or wrong than the other, but they need to be kept distinct.
Here are 3 major differences between New Age and Spirituality
1) New Age relies on spiritual “tools”, spirituality relies only on mind and heart
Spirituality has been practiced for tens of thousands of years, literally. Since the formation of language, man has been inspired to pursue the transformation of consciousness and connect with the divine. It is only very recently that humans started using external tools for spiritual progression. If you think back to some of the greatest teachers, mystics, and gurus of our history, how many of them used tarot cards? Runes? Astrology charts? Crystals?
All of them taught reflection, repentance, surrender, meditation, love, compassion, and grace. All of the things you need are already inside you. Spirituality teaches us to look deep inside ourselves for answers to our questions, whereas New Ageism teaches us to reach outside of ourselves for answers.
A huge difference between spirituality and the New Age community is the means by which people come to reach higher understandings. Spirituality is self-reliant. New Ageism is tool-reliant. While there is nothing wrong with using spiritual tools, people can get into the habit of using them as a sort of vibrational crutch instead of going inside themselves for answers.
2) New Age is unscientific, spirituality is neutral
Let’s be honest. There is nothing scientific about Kundalini, chakras, or crystal healing. Is there any scientific evidence for the reality of these things? How about fortune telling, quantum healing, chi energy, prana, light-body activation, astrology, channeling, or dowsing? The list goes on and on.
I have written many articles on evidence for the existence of the soul, reincarnation, and the afterlife. There is good evidence out there for these things, and absolutely none for any of the things mentioned above. Don’t get me wrong, just because something lacks scientific evidence does not mean it doesn’t exist. There are things I personally believe in without there being any scientific evidence. It doesn’t mean it’s false, it simply means it’s not scientific.
But the problem begins when people start identifying with their knowledge-base as if their beliefs define their spirituality. People who practice spirituality may also believe in these concepts, but these concepts are just accessories to their spiritual practice. Many people who practice spirituality don’t believe in any of these things, and once again, all of the great mystics, gurus, and teachers never mentioned anything about them. Why is that?
New Ageism is inherently unscientific, whereas spirituality is inherently agnostic.
3) New Age is belief-based, spirituality is experience-based
New Ageism is typically belief-based, whereas spirituality is strictly an experience-based pursuit. Spirituality does not take any faith, because all you have to do is refer to your own personal experiences and revelations. All great spiritual teachers will tell you “Don’t believe me, look and discover it for yourself.” They tell you where to look, but they don’t tell you what to find.
New Age teachers tell you how to look, where to look, what you will find, and how to interpret what you find. For example, let’s say someone is trying to deal with past traumas. The New Age teacher may tell them they are carrying the wounds of their ancestors in their DNA, and they need to do faith-healing DNA reprogramming for Karmic relief in their root chakra. What does this even mean?
The spiritual teacher will tell them something more along the lines of get still, revisit those past experiences in your mind, and see what emotions and thoughts arise. Watch without judgment and without interest so that you can be in full acceptance of the past and can release resistance towards it to prevent further suffering.
Making the distinction
One relies on what you believe in your thoughts, the other relies only on your heart and your relationship to your thoughts. It has been said that religion is believing in the experiences of others, and spirituality is having your own experience. One is learned, and one is confirmed through experience.
New Ageism is unnatural to you. It is about collecting ideas and beliefs and defining yourself by them. Spirituality is about removing everything that is unnatural to you and returning to your true self.
Although the New Age movement has added a lot of positive value to people’s lives, some of it is just jargon. Spirituality has kind of gotten a bad name over the last decade due to the rise of the New Age movement, and it’s time to finally make the distinction between the two.
If this article offends you, ask yourself this. Why? Only a thought can be offended by a thought, and an idea can only offend you if you gain your sense of identity from an idea it conflicts with. What would happen if we lived in a world full of people who didn’t get their sense of identity and value from mere ideas? This is the real Awakening that needs to take place.
About the author: My name is Steven Bancarz, and I am the creator of ‘Spirit Science and Metaphysics’.