What you will find in this article
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I was thinking of creating a small series of videos about spirituality and I realized that probably the best thing to do was to start with a video to explain what true spirituality is in comparison to the new age spirituality that people often mistake for the real thing. I’ve been pretty deep in both and can tell you there’s a huge difference so let’s have a look.
New age spirituality can also simply be defined as personal development and has absolutely nothing to do with true spirituality. In new age spirituality often many things are spiritualized. You can think of meditation, chanting mantras, wearing crystals, doing yoga, and all those kinds of things. Some of these things can definitely help you to prepare for true spirituality but they have nothing to do with the real thing. True spirituality is extremely simple. I define it as the simple act of realizing that you are Spirit and nothing but Spirit. And identifying with Spirit and nothing but Spirit.
So let’s have a look at the main differences.
New age vs true spirituality, the main differences
When people start their spiritual journey they often begin to read self-help or development books, they are introduced to The Secret, the law of attraction, meditation, breathing exercises, many start a yoga practice, and others are attracted to crystals, as a decoration in the house or to wear on their body as jewels. And I am no stranger to any of these things I’ve done it all, I even had an online crystal store several years ago. And I love crystals, they are beautiful.
I even became a crystal therapist many years ago. Now, when people find out and ask me what crystal should they wear to protect themselves, I always tell them to grab a relatively heavy stone with sharp edges so in case they need to defend themselves they can throw it at their attacker. And then people freak out when they realize what my answer was. And, of course, crystals have energy, just like everything else in this universe, in this dualistic world that we live in. And they can help you to provide a small push in the right direction for anything you want to achieve in life. But if you don’t control your mind, no crystal will help you to achieve what you want to accomplish. Their influence is usually so subtle that if you really want protection you better get a big stone and make it physical.
New age spirituality mixed up with true spirituality
Now, let me be very clear about this. None of the things I mentioned before are bad. They can definitely help you to feel better, to feel more at peace with yourself and your surroundings. And for sure they help you grow as a human being. But we’re talking about what the difference is between new age spirituality and true spirituality and all these things that I just mentioned are new age. Even people going to India going, to retreats, silent retreats, meditation retreats, satsangs with gurus, mediums, and other potentially wise people.
In the new age phase, we love to read books from Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsch, Gabrielle Bernstein, and others, in which they confuse true spirituality with personal development. They mix the law of attraction with true spirituality, while in reality that cannot be mixed.
My start in spirituality
When people ask me when my spiritual journey started I always mention an event in 2010. I had a breakup with a girl and I decided that that was the last time I would feel that way and that I would not be having my life under control. But in retrospect, of course, that was the start of my new age phase. That lasted for a little over six years. And that’s when I was introduced to true spirituality and I realized that all these new age things simply had prepared me for the next step. So when you ask me if new age spirituality is bad or is something you shouldn’t do, I will always tell you that you should do what you feel that you should do.
For most people jumping from nothing to true spirituality is a leap way too big. And much new age stuff, therapies, mental exercises, learning how to control your breathing and your thinking, they’re fantastic tools to prepare yourself to go deeper within to find what you really are. The problem is that sometimes what we believe to find within is spiritualized and is used to glorify our personal development and our improvements. And I see that many people stay stuck in the new age phase.
Moving from new age to true spirituality
I can definitely understand that because taking the step to true spirituality is one of courage and faith. Not many people will take that step and many of the ones who do, decide not to continue forward. Because what they find is that everything that has been built up in the new age phase needs to be broken down. All the personal improvements. They just prepared you to be destroyed again. Because true spirituality as I mentioned before is the simple act of realizing that we are Spirit and nothing but Spirit. Spirit is changeless, it’s eternal, and it cannot be identified as individual. Spirit is our source, it’s where we are united as one with God.
And when you start this practice and you slowly start to understand that identifying with Spirit means disidentifying with your individual persona and all judgments that you hold of the world, things get serious. It’s like you’re looking in a giant mirror and there is no escaping anymore from everything that you believe to hold dear for yourself. If Spirit is one, cannot be divided, is changeless and eternal, then everything that is not changeless and is not eternal and is not one, must not be you. And when you realize that, that’s when the transformation process starts. All the new age stuff prepared you for this and still for most people it will be too hard, too painful, and too scary.
Letting go of new age spirituality
And after a while, you start to let go of the new age spirituality. Meditation remains useful to go deeper within, yoga might help too. But you realize the action in itself is not spiritual. And you realize at the same time that anything you believed before was not spiritual, could be spiritual in potential. Depending on how you perceive what is going on and who you are. You can be drinking a beer and eating a pizza and be spiritual at the same time because within you identify with Spirit and realize that you are one with Spirit together with everything and everyone else. including the pizza and the beer.
In the end, what matters is what happens in your mind, and your capacity to perceive the world around you and within yourself as a dualistic and material world or as a spiritual, unified, and projected world.
And when you manage to understand and identify the reality of the spiritual world, you will see that you will lose the need for external validation. And to show and prove to the world who you are and what you do. Often people that believe they are spiritual will let the world know about it. Their Instagram is full of pictures of crystals, yoga poses, weekend retreats, peaceful meditation stuff, and deep and wise quotes from some enlightened master. There’s nothing wrong with it but it does show quite clearly that they have not yet found who they really are.
True spirituality to end suffering
For me, the biggest difference between new age spirituality and true spirituality is suffering. In new age spirituality, many things are focused on self-improvement, the attraction of wealth and health, and love. All to feel better, happier, and suffer less. And yes, many people will feel better in this phase. They start to take better care of their bodies and of their minds. Their thoughts become more clear, they eat healthier and their relationships either improve or they simply stop existing because they are moving towards other people that are more aligned in their thinking. But suffering never disappears.
When you practice true spirituality and you dedicate yourself to this practice, in time you find that suffering is a mental construct. Just like the entire universe. And I can tell you from the experience of almost 5 years working and practicing with true spirituality that if you truly dedicate yourself to identifying yourself and the world as Spirit and nothing but Spirit, the suffering, pain, and attachment to the physical world will start to fade away from time to time.
At first, this is scary. But after some time you will find this pleasant feeling of inner peace. This state somewhat feels changeless. Your empathy heightens, you seem to understand other people better, injustice is now not painful anymore. It’s simply something you observe. The things you valued before slowly lose their meaning. Because you understand that this newfound inner peace comes from within, from the identification with Spirit and nothing of the dualistic and material world can provide you the same feeling of contentment.
The definition of the difference between new age and true spirituality
So, to define the difference between new age spirituality and true spirituality I would say new age spirituality is simply personal development and only provides some temporary moments in which you avoid or alleviate suffering. And true spirituality is the art of identifying oneself and one another as Spirit and eventually leads to the end of suffering.
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