The other day I posted a video featuring a young woman, Albany Rose, and her husband speaking out against the New Age Movement. The woman had tragically been molested as a girl and later, habitually raped and physically abused by a romantic partner. She describes herself as being involved in New Age philosophy through her dad and friends over the course of seven years. When she turned to them for guidance in processing her abuse, they let her down. Her takeaway was that there are no victims in life. Everything we experience in our lives (good and bad) is a choice. She learned that bad things happen to us because we chose them as souls before we were born; setting us on a course of fate that cannot be derailed.
As I listened to her story I had a lot of thoughts and emotions pop up. For one, I agreed with much of the philosophy she heard, but unlike her, I find it tremendously comforting. Albany, a victim of violence, is vehemently opposed to the concept that we would consciously choose a path that is wrought with difficulty or suffering.
[The New Age Movement] What I Believe
I agree that as souls we pick our parents. I believe we choose a general path that leads us down a road of possible experiences. I believe we experience many lifetimes, each giving us many opportunities to for soul expansion (sometimes called soul ascension), which is just a fancy New Age term for gaining wisdom on a soul level . I believe, at the end of our lifetime, we go through a sort of “download” or “life review.” In Christianity (how I was raised), we arrive at the pearly gates of heaven and are judged. My belief isn’t all that different except I don’t think the consequences of our life’s decisions ends in eternity in heaven or hell, but rather an opportunity to either experience new soul-growth opportunities or repeat lessons (karmas) that we struggled with in previous lifetimes. I also believe that some lifetimes are generally easier or more difficult than others. Sometimes we get a little “life vacation” where we don’t have to worry about simply surviving and are afforded the opportunity to explore thoughts and emotions in relative safety.
While we are living here on this plane, in our physical bodies, we are pretty limited. When we are born, our conscious awareness of our past lives and experiences is severed. We aren’t as aware of our connection to each other and to the Universe (God, Source, etc.). This allows us to focus on the objectives of this lifetime and to act and react based on our experiences without all the extraneous information from the Universal Consciousness flooding our being. It’s hard to concentrate on the radio when the TV is on, someone is talking to us and we’re reading a book at the same time.
I believe that as souls and as people, we are not defined by the bad things that happen to us. Albany does not have to be defined by her rape. She IS NOT her rape. That’s not to say, however, that these horrific experiences do not affect who she is. Her experiences have made her uniquely qualified to have and share her opinion with the world. If this hadn’t happened to her, I wouldn’t be here writing an existential narrative and contemplating my own purpose as it relates to hers.
What I Don’t Believe
I don’t believe that everything is fated. I don’t believe much is fated for that matter. Albany and her husband talk about, what they feel, to be hypocrisies in the New Age Movement—that the philosophy teaches both free will and destiny. I believe there are many paths, maybe an infinite number. I believe it’s in our free will—in our choices that the work gets done. Our soul growth doesn’t happen when we are hurt. It happens in the moment we make the choice how to react to that hurt. I think Christ would agree. It comes down to choosing fear, or choosing love. I don’t want to confuse fear and love with right and wrong. Choosing fear is not wrong. It is a necessary part of our path. It’s what we do in order to become better so that we can choose love next time. That’s why, I believe, we get so many lifetimes…so many chances…so many opportunities to live out our karma.
Defining All New Agers
I felt a lot of frustration watching this video due to the labeling of New Agers. The thing about defining the New Age Movement is that it’s incredibly difficult to define. In many ways, it’s defined not by what one believes in, but rather, what one doesn’t believe. It’s partly a definition through exclusion. Albany says New Agers believe, “we are all gods and goddesses. They believe in one soul. We are all energy. We are all combined. There is a higher power, a God, but we are all connected to it. We are also gods.” New Age is a self-attributed label. I’ve spoken a lot about what I believe in this post, but in no way can I say that this is what other New Agers believe. Some believe in one all-knowing God, while others believe we are all gods and goddesses. Others believe only in energy without association to God at all. As you can see from this post, some New Agers believe there are no consequences for our actions. As Albany’s husband says, “[The New Age Movement] thrives on no consequences, do what you want. No guidelines. It’s what YOU feel. If it feels ok for her ex-boyfriend to beat the hell out of her, that’s ok. It’s his truth.” I, on the other hand, believe in karma. I believe there will be consequences for his actions. I just don’t believe those consequences will mean he’ll burn for an eternity in hell.
There is so much more I can say regarding this video, but I’m going to stop here. If I go on too long no one will bother to read it. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting themes discussed in this video again. There is a boatload of delicious new-agey topics to discuss. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.∞