Lightmind Extract 059
Hey that’s interesting, I wasn’t aware of Haanel! Thanks for posting that, Jana! My own favorite New Thought teacher is Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science aka Science of Mind.
New Thought writers usually trace the origins of the movement to P. P. Quimby, a highly original thinker who started a metaphysical healing practice in New England in the mid-1800’s. He was Mary Baker Eddy’s mentor for awhile, though she later repudiated him after founding Christian Science.
What’s distinctive about New Thought is not its underlying metaphysics, which indeed is quite similar to western “occultist” thought and, in many ways, to eastern ideas. The distinctive thing about New Thought is the emphasis on the practical application of this metaphysical knowledge, for obtaining physical health, prosperity, and all good things in the here and now, in real individual’s lives. In this, it resembles the magic(k)al traditions to some extent. Truth itself is one, and it takes on many forms in human history, some purer than others.
New Thought originally arose as a modification or reinterpretation of Christianity. As time has gone on, the Christian cast of New Thought has faded significantly. New Thought has blended with New Age ideas and practice. Personally, although I love the New Age and New Agers, I think there’s a benefit to keeping the two traditions conceptually distinct, for there are areas where they disagree.
In my own personal experience, it’s been a bit humbling for me to realize that I actually do believe in the basic principles of New Thought, because I like to think of myself as a rather highbrow philosophical type, and New Thought is distinctly middlebrow! Quimby himself was uneducated, for example, and in contemporary New Thought, highly educated people are scarce even among the leadership. There’s something childlike about New Thought beliefs which is distasteful to the academically trained mind. Also, there’s no doubt that New Thought can easily be turned into a populist, sensational, get-rich-quick scheme which appeals not to the Spirit within humanity as much as to the unredeemed egotistical POV (drishti).
Still, there’s a bedrock truth there in New Thought that I’ve come to adopt and, more importantly, demonstrate to myself in my own life. The intellectual side of me can revel in, for example, the parallels between New Thought and Plotinus or Emerson.
Filed under: Lightmind Extracts, New Thought | 3 Comments