Saturday, November 7, 2009

The New Age in 2009

By Naia Smith


The beginning was ever so slight, only the inkling of an idea here and there, devoid of any real shape or form. Gradually the idea took amoeba-like form in the metaphysical and spiritual counterculture groups of the 1970s and 1980s. Then as with all of nature's creations, a period of successive mutations, shaped and re-shaped the new form.

The evolved form that emerged in the 1990's was more robust, but hardly perceptible as the start of a profound shift. The idea persisted, gradually gaining critical mass through popular works such as The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (2005) and the film The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (2006), finally surpassing its tipping point through to today where we find ourselves inescapably in the midst of a New Age.

The New Age movement spans across many global realms including the realms of spirituality, politics, economics and climate. In economics, we see great shifting from and collapsing of unstable financial structures reminiscent of the fall of the Roman empire and the end of the age of dinosaurs. In politics, the United States entered a new era of racial harmony when its people elected the country's first African American President to office.

In climate, glacial melting, record high temperatures, increasing frequency and intensity of deadly floods and hurricanes are our new daily norm. A recent MSNBC article states that the Arctic is warmer today than it has been in 2000 years. In the realm of modern spirituality, the ideas of consciousness, The Great Creator, higher-self, and human spiritual evolution are mainstream whereas in the not so distant past such terminology was limited to the enlightened few.

A paradigm shift of global proportions is definitely afoot. My own journey to spiritual awakening is a story of serendipitous turns and mysterious synchronicities. Read on and learn more about the New Age and your role in ushering it in.

Spiritual Celebrities

Spiritual teachers are gaining popularity and reaching celebrity status. With increased media coverage, they are able to influence more and more of the masses including myself, a busy mother working a full-time job. After repeated references from co-workers to Oprah about an enlightening new book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I finally made a point to read it.

A New Earth is about spirituality and letting go of our identification with roles, material things and the way we think life should be. The book refers to such ideas as human consciousness, universal intelligence, living in alignment with the universe. These terms are definitely new agey and I was surprised to find such a book resonating with the masses.

The book is a #1 New York Times best-seller, is published in over 30 languages, was selected for Oprah's book club and successfully featured in Oprah's "webinar" series across the globe. Over 3.5 millions copies of the book were sold in the four weeks following announcement of its selection by Oprah's book club. Clearly, the masses are not turned off by such terms as The One Consciousness. To the contrary, the masses are embracing the call for spiritual awakening.

Personally, reading the book helped me undergo a dramatic change in attitude. Three decades of previous thinking had produced a person of limited patience. The one message that really altered my outlook is to not mind so much what happens. Okay, there were a lot of other life-changing events culminating at the same time as my reading this book. My mother was dying of cancer and my long-time boyfriend and I were breaking up. I was forced to let go of a lot of expectations and I chose to find peace in it rather than heartache. The book really helped me to find that peace and to be much more accepting of situations.

Not too long after finishing A New Earth, I watched a Mike Myers film The Love Guru. Having watched a few of his previous films, I was expecting more of the same-a spoof of some sort on popular culture. Instead, the movie was a spoof on spiritual gurus of all things! While the film bombed at the box office most likely due to the general public not being able to relate, it is of keen interest that Mike Myers chose to center the entire film around the idea of spiritual enlightenment. The film references the spiritual guru Deepak Chopra. Not familiar with whom Deepak Chopra was, I assumed the character was completely fictional.

Until perusing the library book shelves not too long afterward, I chanced upon a book and gracing the cover of the book was none other than Deepak Chopra. It turns out Dr. Chopra is a real-life spiritual guru who is a practicing physician and author of many books on mind-body medicine. Today, Dr. Chopra is a regularly appearing guest speaker on CNN for his expertise in matters of health and spirituality.

The Key to the New Age

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts" - Aristotle, Metaphysics

A recurring theme in New Age practice is meditation as a daily means for connecting to the Source, the Creator, to the Universe. This repeated reference to the importance of meditation led me to explore the use of it in my own life. I began with my first attempt, then graduated to sporadic practice and progressed to a concentrated and disciplined effort at daily meditation.

From my meditative sessions, I have literally found peace, clarity and inspiration. My daily meditation involves a conscious effort to align my individual actions with service to others, to humanity. Through meditation and observation, I have come to the strong conviction that the key role for humans in the New Age is to act at the individual level while at the same time act in alignment with a greater, organized whole. The outcome is the organized and deliberate actions of individual humans to create a meaningful whole that is greater than the mere sum of its individual actions.

Aristotle astutely observed and understood the importance of the general principle of holism some 2400 years ago. What makes the whole more than the sum of its parts is its unification, its organization. Clearly, the completed puzzle is much more than its jumbled pieces in the box.

Following Nature's Direction

The impetus for humans to organize comes from a source larger than us. The theme is seen ubiquitously in nature. All complex organisms including you and your cat are products of multiple, simpler organisms acting both at the individual level and at an extremely organized and unified, holistic level.

The ability to organize and operate at increasing levels of complexity is no small feat, however. Life on earth originated about four billions years ago and life-forms remained relatively simple for the next three and a half billion years. Only in approximately the last fourteen percent of life's existence on the planet did simple organisms figure out how to organize together to create completely new and complex organisms. Once simple organisms "learned" how to organize with a unity of purpose, the floodgates to the multitude of diversity of life were opened and there was literally a world-wide Cambrian explosion of evolution.

Being in the midst of a New Age, we are on the cusp of another explosion of possibilities and the keys to the new era are organization and unity of purpose on global scales. Organization and unity of purpose is certainly not a new concept for humans. Our society is filled with organizations of varying scales and diversity. We have governments, educational institutions, religious groups, dog shows, Star Wars conventions and so on and so forth. Our next challenge is the organization of humans at global scales with a purpose that applies to all. Such global purposes include: peace and love.

Variations on the Same Theme - We are all Connected

Nature repeats itself over and over on many different scales large and small. An international collaboration of astrophysicts created graphic simulations of the universe at different stages of evolution. The image representing the way the universe looks at present time looks strikingly similar to images taken at the micron level of neurons in our brain. That the networks in our brain mirror the networks of our universe is interesting indeed and telling of the greater and smaller scheme of things. From the large scale of the universe to the tiny scale within our brain, we see that we are all inextricably connected by the same universal threads.

Our Brains are a Reflection of our Purpose

Our brains are the result of millions of years of evolution so that we may perceive the world the way it truly is. Our left-hemisphere gives us our ego - a sense of self separate from others. Our right-hemisphere gives us our sense of oneness with the universe. Together our left and right hemispheres give us our whole brain, one hemisphere not to be pitted against the other. We are meant to continuously act at the individual level (left, egoic hemisphere) while maintaining our sense of connection to others (right, all-encompassing hemisphere) in order to also act on a larger level.


Our unique human gift of free will, of choice comes with an obligation to choose worthy purposes. Everything else in nature automatically operates along the lines of universal intelligence. Choice is our greatest gift and our greatest risk, whatever we decide. We choose our roles in contributing to humanity at large and we choose whether the contribution is productive or destructive. Creating the larger image of humanity is at hand.

Organization and unity are the keys to the New Age. We have numerous organizations, all perpetuating and doing together what cannot be done by one. But where there are many more possibilities to explore is the mass organization of individuals across the world for effective and worthy benefits.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit is one shining example of where humanity is headed. Wikipedia is a non-profit organization providing free access to its vast collection of articles. It does this through volunteers and many, many donations of time. It is truly a collaborative project where no one person profits above the whole of humanity. Like humanity, Wikipedia is vulnerable to periodic outbursts of vandalism. But more often than not, as we observe, the integrity of Wikipedia prevails and the unity of good spirit emerges as productive and useful-free access to an instantaneously updating collection of history for all.

Other possibilities for our New Age existence are the emphasis of our commonality when meeting adversity. Perhaps the prophesied changes surrounding December 21, 2012 involves dramatic change in order to help us evolve to the next level. We must choose to unify and organize in the face of adversity. Only in unification are we better able to survive and flourish. This is our calling in the New Age and apparently we are already responding with open arms.

Naia Smith is a licensed professional engineer with a keen interest in societal and environmental issues.

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  1. Check out Deepak's new iPhone app at It's based on his new stress reduction program

  2. Nice article, a lot I agree with, I especially like that the author uses the term New Age to refer to the movement (not many people do.) But the tone seems so light and airy, as if all the scary economic stuff and global warming is all okay, because a New Age of harmony is on its way, all we have to do is sit back and watch.

    Well, not exactly true, this article does put an emphasis on unification, and that I believe, is the most important point. But what exactly are we doing to unify and work together? The article doesn't say, seems to take for granted that its happening.

    I don't see it happening. I see most spiritual people being primarily concerned about their own personal development rather than our collective transformation. And, contrary to popular belief, they are not the same thing.

    How do we recognize each other, and build social capital for change, unless we start using a common identity? I think we should bring the term "New Age" back from where we left it lying around and use it to unite us again.