“Ancient wisdom, new thought”
According to Wikipedia, the New Thought movement originated in the early 19th century, and survives to the current day in the form of a loosely allied group of religious denominations (such as Unity, Centers for Spiritual Living, Agape and Divine Science and others), as well as authors, philosophers, and individuals who share a set of beliefs concerning metaphysics, positive thinking, the Law of Attraction, spiritual healing, lifeforce, creative visualization and personal power.
The Association of Global New Thought (AGNT) describes New Thought as “… a spiritually motivated way of life that embraces the ancient wisdom traditions of east and west. We embody the belief that consciousness is elementally creative, reciprocates thought, and thereby shapes all manifestation. Our principles reflect a universal conviction that the community of all life is sacred; our practices of meditation and prayer enhance a worldview promoting reverence for, and service to humanity and planet earth. New Thought is committed to global healing through personal transformation, community-building, interfaith, intercultural, and interdisciplinary understanding, and compassionate activism.”
The International New Thought Alliance (INTA) explains that “New Thought is an ever-evolving understanding that all of life happens through us, never to us. It uses the term or word consciousness to further explain the process, often quoting Emmet Fox’s statement, ‘Life is consciousness,’ that leads one to the ever-unfolding idea that in order to affect a change in our life, the realm of mind called consciousness must first change.”
The Affiliated New Thought Network (ANTN) sees New Thought as “a logical and scientifically based understanding and method of changing our experience by changing our thinking. It has a tradition that reaches back over one hundred years and is founded on principles that embrace many of the world religious and spiritual practices spanning thousands of years. New Thought recognizes that human beings function on many levels: that the individual is a mental, spiritual, emotional and physical being. In realizing our fullness, our wholeness and maximizing our potential we are, in essence, finding fulfillment. New Thought teaches people tools which put us on the path to fulfillment. The natural extension of this fulfillment is that as an individual’s life is better, their family’s life is better, their community’s life is better and this extends out across the planet.”
What does New Thought Teach? Generally, the belief in God as the one and only presence and power of the universe whose essence is absolute goodness, abundant supply, infinite knowing and abundant joy. Because we believe that man and woman are connected, as one, to this God-Source-Energy, these attributes of God are also available to everyone to demonstrate in mind, body and affairs. We would also believe that this Energy always moves through man and woman, never to them…because thought is either alignment with this omnipresent Essence, we each are the creators of our own reality.
We do not believe that God loves certain countries, churches, or people more than any other. New Thought empowers individuals to learn how to think and direct their own thoughts rather than forcing them into what to think or how to act. In New Thought one might hear, “Change your life? Change your thoughts.”
Science of Mind/Religious Science/Centers for Spiritual Living form of New Thought
The global Center for Spiritual Living communities “teach a New Thought philosophy that brings religion and science together and offers spiritual tools to transform personal lives and help make the world a better place. This is done through the study and practice of Science of Mind® and Spirit, also known as Religious Science®, which holds that all life is sacred—that each human being is an expression of God. We believe in Cause and Effect and teach that “it is done unto you as you believe.” In essence, our thinking and expectations create our reality. Our teachings incorporate the ancient wisdom of spiritual traditions through the ages. People of all spiritual paths — Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and others — are welcome in our communities. We help people experience a personal relationship with the creator; promote a community of tolerance, understanding and respect; provide classes, programs, prayer and meditation; and advocate a safe spiritual community of like-minded people interested in living a spiritual life.”
Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science (now called Centers for Spiritual Living) describes New Thought as “…the modern metaphysical movement whose philosophy teaches that we are living in a Spiritual Universe here and now. … They all base their belief on the theory that the Universe is a system of Intelligence, the movement of which is Law, the Intelligence being personal and the Law impersonal.” ~ Living the Science of Mind
NOTE: Some people confuse New Thought with New Age, but they are not the same thing. While a great many New Thought devotees also dabble, or even revel, in New Age practices such as Taro cards, spirit guides, astrology, and Ouija boards, New Thought itself is closer to principles of science-based personal growth and development where we draw our strength from Spirit within ourselves.