Many people believe that we are the verge of a mass awakening of global consciousness that will usher in a New Global Golden Age for mankind. The converging prophecies of the Mayan Calendar, Bible prophecy, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce and many others point to future time of Utopia for mankind. Although, these sources have strong disagreements, as to the nature and timing of these events, there are many signs that something big is about to happen. Movies like “Thrive,” and the documentary movie, “Convergence,” by David Wilcock; all talk about the coming spiritual evolution of the human race.
The world is in one of the greatest periods of crisis in the history of mankind and people are looking for hope and answers. On many levels, science has merged with religious teachings that explore consciousness, meditation and new theories on the origins of man. As a consequence many people are turning to new fields in science along with contemporary and ancient religious traditions for answers.
The first thing we must understand about contemporary religious movements that use terms like “mass awakening,” “ascension,” and “ cosmic consciousness,” is that many of these ideas have their roots in Hinduism, Buddhism and the mystery religions of ancient Babylon. In addition, there is a global resurgence in the interest in the field of Bible prophecy, where growing numbers of people believe we are living in the last days.
These contemporary religious movements are rooted the teachings of ancient Buddhism, which has been re-invented and translated into high-tech Western scientific terms. What has been coined the New Age Movement, by the mass media is really the combining and blending of various spiritual movements that are centuries old.
For example, the origin of Hinduism dates back as early as 2000 to 1000 B.C. Hinduism has no historical founder, but its tradition teaches that its spiritual laws and truths were revealed to spiritual men called rishis, who lived along the banks of the Ganges and Indus rivers in northern India. According to Hinduism, Brahman is the supreme, absolute, eternal, infinite, neuter Spirit Being. Brahman is also perfect and unchangeable. Hinduism teaches that only that which is permanent is real. Because all things change except Brahman, only Brahman is real. Hundreds of lesser gods can be worshiped by the Hindu because all gods are seen as different aspects of the one Brahman.
According to Hinduism, every living thing has a spirit or soul, called an atman, which comes from Brahman. The final destination of the human atman is union with Brahman, but this cannot be achieved in just one lifetime. Therefore, each individual atman, or soul, must pass from body to body, lifetime after lifetime, guided by the law of karma. This is called reincarnation, or the transmigration of the soul. The law of karma determines what type of life will be lived in each reincarnation. According to this law, your current life is the product of your deeds in past lives. Your next reincarnation will depend on your deeds during this life. There is a whole new breed of spiritual teachers that have spread their messages on radio, television and the various social media of the Internet.
David Icke, a popular teacher on consciousness and conspiracies, visited the pre-Inca Sillustani burial ground located near Puno, Peru. Icke describes having a “kundalini” experience while standing on a mound of earth. “Kundalini,” is a term from Indian yoga, where psychic energy moves up the spine by activating energy centers of “chakras,” which bring you into higher consciousness.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is exploring all kinds of technologies, biology and spirituality in its” Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance” project. Scientists are recognizing that peak performance can be achieved utilizing centuries old spiritual practices like visualization and meditation. Radio talk show host and founder of the Foundation for Human Understanding (FHU), Roy Masters teaches a non-religious meditation technique, that many combat veterans have used to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).
The religion of Buddhism was founded in India by Siddhartha Gautama (later called “the Buddha” or “enlightened one”), who lived between 560 and 480 B.C., as a protest against certain Hindu doctrines. Siddhartha Gautama was raised in an affluent family and did not even know that poverty existed until he left the pleasant confines of his father’s palace. Siddhartha was so disturbed by the poverty and despair that existed that he decided to go on a spiritual journey to find answers. Shaving his head and donning a robe, Siddhartha Gautama traveled and consulted with gurus and spiritual teachers.
Finally, Siddhartha Gautama began to meditate, became “enlightened,” and developed what became known as the Noble Eight-fold path that would lead to nirvana or “perfect insight,” a quality of mind. These eight techniques consisted of: (1) right belief, (2) right aspiration, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right occupation, (6) right effort, (7) right thought, (8) right meditation.
FROM THE PAST TO THE PRESENT
Coupled with these ancient belief systems (Hinduism and Buddhism) are the more recent ideas of women like Madame Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society and wrote Isis Unveiled in the late nineteenth century. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Movement emphasized the Hindu and Buddhist teachings of reincarnation and taught there are mahatmas (“great souls” or exalted beings) who have come to earth to teach us the way to enlightenment.
The ideas of the Theosophical Society blended with Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science teachings and with dozens of other hybrid religious movements in the early twentieth century. However, the most immediate spiritual predecessor of the contemporary New Age Movement was the Hippie movement of the 1960s and the earlier Beatnik movement of the 1950s. Both of these cultural and social phenomena came about as reactions to the materialism of the post-World War II years.
Poets, writers, philosophers, and intellectuals (such as Alan Watts, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Gregory Corso) called for a new brand of American consciousness and popularized the use of marijuana and Eastern meditation in our culture. By the 1960s, the ideas of men like Timothy Leary were increasingly acceptable to larger segments of society, and the appeal of pop music groups, such as the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Starship, the Doors, and the Beatles, ushered the psychedelic-mystical revolution into the living rooms of millions of ordinary middle-class teenagers. When John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison began to follow the guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation™, millions of Americans joined them.
Many of the spiritual movements now popular in the New Age movement had their twentieth-century revivals in the 1960s and early 1970s. In fact, many social analysts believe that the New Age movement is nothing more than an attempt to rediscover the interests of the 1960s and the idealism of the Hippie movement.
But the current New Age Movement has made some interesting departures from its earlier predecessors that reflect the maturity of its followers. There has been a de-emphasis in the use of drugs in favor of health foods, meditation, channeling, crystals, and astral projection. Channeling and astral projection have replaced the powerful psychedelic experience of the 1960s, although there are signs of a possible resurgence of LSD through the work of modern shamanists like Terrence McKenna and the popularity of the Albert Hoffman Institute in Los Angeles, which seeks to protect the use of LSD experimentation. (Albert Hoffman was the Swiss chemist who accidentally discovered the chemical LSD.)
At the same time the New Age Movement was taking off, the Jesus Movement also exploded across the country, where hundreds of thousands of Hippies converted to Christianity, under the teaching of men like Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. The Jesus Movement emphasized a literal interpretation of the Bible and an interest in Bible Prophecy. The members of the Jesus Movement saw prophetic significance in the reformation of Israel as a nation in 1948. The term “Jesus is coming,” was popularized by this movement, which believed in the any moment return of Jesus Christ, in an event called “The Rapture.” Although, the timing and Biblical validity of “the Rapture,’ is hotly disputed, it was a core belief of the Jesus Movement.
NEW AGE PRACTICES AND TERMS
To understand more clearly what the New Age Movement and other contemporary religious movements teach, we must understand some of the terms associated with it and the practices employed by it.
Channeling - The practice of channeling is not new. It is what the Old Testament termed mediumship, consulting with spirits, and spiritism. Channeling or mediumship is when an individual willfully yields to a spirit by going into a trancelike state. Channeling has been around for centuries and is mentioned in the Old Testament. King Saul consulted mediums and channelers when he was looking for supernatural answers.
First Samuel 28:7 says: “Then Saul said to his servants, ‘Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.’ And his servants said to him, ‘Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at Endor.’” We knew that Saul knew that it was wrong to consult mediums, for he had to visit the medium in disguise, having previously cut off all mediums and spiritists from the land. Saul disregarded the Old Testament teaching sought counsel from the channelers of his day.
Astrology - This New Age practice goes way back in to the Tower of Babel, which was built as an astrological worship tower. The practice of astrology was forbidden in the Book of Leviticus. The prophet Isaiah warns against the practice of astrology in Isaiah 47:13-14: “You are wearied with your many counsel; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they have become like stubble, fire burns them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame….” Yet, many American presidents and their wives have called famous astrologers into the White House for counsel, including Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Ronald Reagan was also a big believer in Bible prophecy and planned foreign policy on the belief that Armageddon was coming soon.
New Age medicine and holistic health have become a big part of alternative medicine. Terms like homeopathy, herbs, chakras, acupuncture, deep tissue bodywork massage, Rolfing, polarity energy balance, clinical ecology, environmental stress, Reichan Therapy, Tibetan Reiki Therapy, Kirlian photography, electro-acupuncture, mineral balancing, chelation therapy, colon hydrotherapy, amino therapy, aromatherapy, integrated metabolic programs, bio-energetics, flower essences, and reflexology are just a few of the current trends in the medical arts.
It has only been in the last thirty years that many Christians have embraced nutrition. It is not a New Age or religious idea, to eat foods free of chemical pollutants and dangerous pesticides. Reducing our cholesterol intake by cutting down on red meats and fats, and eat more bran, fruits, and vegetables. Although, vegetarianism has its roots in Hinduism, due to the belief in reincarnation, many people are avoiding meat and dairy products to the amount of hormones, antibiotics and chemicals placed in them.
Vegetarianism and eating healthy can be a universal idea. The Apostle Paul talks about the importance of taking care of the body. “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Meditation - This ancient Hindu and Buddhist practice involves emptying the conscious mind in order to become passive and to awaken the God-consciousness within you through the use of a mantra. By concentrating and chanting a mantra word, your mind supposedly becomes attuned to what mystics call your higher self or cosmic consciousness.
Today, meditation can be practiced in a religious sense and as a non-religious exercise, where an individual is clearing the mind of thought, which has scientifically beneficial results, apart from religion.
Also, there is a long tradition of sound Christian meditation, not to be confused with Eastern forms of meditation. It is certainly proper to meditate on the Word of God or to think in a concentrated manner about what God is doing in your life. “I have more insight than all my teachers, for thy testimonies are my meditation,” says the writer of Psalm 119:99. Meditation on the Bible involves focused thinking about what God has said. It is completely different from opening your mind to the “cosmic consciousness.”
Visualization - First of all, visualization to some degree is a normal function and creative tool of the mind. Every person before beginning any project or goal employs some kind of visualization in order to achieve it. Many athletes use a technique of visualization when they mentally picture themselves winning or performing a specific task successfully. Studies show that good automobile drivers who have low accident records often visualize or fantasize how they would get out of a particular accident situation while they drive. When they are faced with a potential accident, they have already rehearsed in their minds what action they are going to take to avoid it.
A certain degree of visualization is necessary to perform activities in life successfully. This kind of visualization is, however, different from the shamanistic Hindu practices that are magical in nature.
When considering things like a mass awakening of global consciousness that will usher in a New Global Golden Age for mankind, it is important to understand the historical roots of ideas that are theological in nature. Ideas have consequences. For example, many people believe in total pacifism and the teachings of Gandhi. That is a noble aspiration, but again ideas have consequences. Gandhi’s approach worked because he was appealing to the British Empire. Whatever you think of the British Empire, they had to one degree or another, a moral code. If Gandhi had tried the same approach with Adolph Hitler, who believed in brute force, with no moral restraints, Hitler would have slaughtered Gandhi and his followers.
There are tremendous pressures on society, families and mankind right now. Through technology we have the power to destroy and enslave, at scope that is beyond the human imagination. The desire for world peace and harmony are not bad things. But, they must be understood historically and theologically. Millions believed Hitler was a Messiah, who would bring in a new golden age for mankind. When Adolph Hitler spoke, his words created a mass awakening. But, the fatal flaw in the followers of Adolph Hitler who killed over eight million people and Lenin, who killed or imprisoned over 100 million people, was the failure to discern the nature of evil.
That is why you cannot just study one religion or philosophy. I personally believe the study of the Old Testament and New Testament is essential for understanding the time we live in. The Bible has distinct way of revealing the dark side of mankind, which we must understand, if we are to be free people. When you study Bible prophecy in particular, you see specific warnings by the ancient prophets, about a world charismatic leader who will rise in the last days. This leader will rise to power, promising a new golden age and world peace. However, in the end, this world leader is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and he will bring tyranny and destruction. I am optimistic about the long term future of mankind. But, I want to learn from history and make sure that before I jump on board, a “Mass Awakening,” that it is the right kind of awakening. In other words, I want to look before I leap.