The Western world (Europe, the Americas, and some of Oceania) has been experiencing a shift in consciousness for over forty years, from materialistic, black-or-white, individualistic thinking and acting to a more expansive, energetic, collective mindset.
Spirituality is becoming a central focus in many people’s lives.
In the 17th century, Sir Francis Bacon asserted that our senses and physical observation must be used to test theories. This gave birth to empiricism, the idea that all knowledge comes from our five senses. Empiricism was the foundation of the Scientific Method, the belief that man can observe and manipulate the natural world.
Discoveries from such luminaries as Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus cemented this form of thinking and launched the Scientific Revolution. It created a method of research that entailed identifying a problem, collecting data, and developing a hypothesis. The hypothesis was then empirically tested (through observation and the senses). Reality became based on a person’s five senses.
The Scientific Revolution led to the Age of Enlightenment, where reason and scientific thought were the main modes of thinking.
Today, most people still trust science and scientific discoveries and believe our senses are the only truth or reality. But a significant shift has been underway for many decades and has been accelerating over the past several years.
The New Age Movement
Even though there is no consensus or agreement on the history of today’s western spiritual movement, most researchers agree that it took off in earnest in the 1970s with the New Age Movement. American theosophist David Spangler developed the fundamental idea of the movement by stating that a new consciousness was being born from a new cycle called the Age of Aquarius. He believed that spiritual energy being released could help manifest this New Age.
These New Age ideals were influenced by and built from other movements and traditions, such as Theosophy, the counterculture of the 1960s, Eastern religions, and more. Fast forward forty-some years, and we have today’s growing shift toward spirituality and away from science as a religion.
The New Age movement itself has waned and transformed into many diverse types of spirituality, from Eastern traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism to practices such as Forest Bathing. Both business coaches and psychics teach the principles behind the Law of Attraction. Astrology, tarot readings, and channeling have become forms of therapy to some. Courses instructing individuals how to channel their Higher Self or guardian spirits are becoming more common.
Channelers, psychics, mediums, and other individuals who can connect to something beyond our senses are becoming more and more popular. And celebrities are emerging. Tyler Henry, star of Hollywood Medium and Netflix’s Life After Death, purportedly makes $1 million a year. Esther Hicks, Law of Attraction expert and channeler for a group of spirits known as Abraham, is estimated to be worth $10 million. Even AA and 12-step programs teach about letting go and believing in a Higher Power.
Spirituality is becoming a big business and is accepted by more people each year.
A New Road to Oneness
I’m Catholic by birth and Tibetan Buddhist by choice. I’m open and interested in any spiritual or life modality that teaches love, acceptance, and oneness if it helps people find their true selves and connect with something bigger than them.
I believe there are so many religions and spiritual paths because there are so many different types of people on the planet. It’s up to each of us to find the right way while respecting others’ views.
I was attracted to Tibetan Buddhism because I’ve heard The Dalai Lama say multiple times that a true Buddhist practitioner never criticizes another religion. He states Buddhism doesn’t need more converts; he hopes listeners will find something useful that they can apply to their faith or in their own life. There’s no converting or trying to get a person’s money – His Holiness spreads a message of love. And he laughs a lot!
The Dalai Lama preaches kindness toward oneself and others. Obviously, there’s much more than that, but I like that he teaches a simple message that is not so simple – it’s not easy to live with love and compassion twenty-four hours a day. And many paths can get one there.
I believe Covid has given us all an opportunity to sit back and reboot our inner selves. Many people have moved, left their job, or gone through significant life changes. I’m one of them. Many people have had the time to re-evaluate what’s important in their lives. And I believe many are now minimizing material things in their life, like money, clothes, a fancy car, or 80-hour-a-week jobs. They are redefining success to mean how they feel and live their lives.
I believe relationships and experiences are becoming more important than materialism. More people are looking to connect with their Higher Self and their spiritual side. There is an increasing acceptance of things beyond our five senses.
The Spiritual Revolution is joining the Scientific Revolution. Quantum physics, consciousness, and spiritual modalities beyond our five senses are being studied more seriously. They are being used with science to take us into a new era of connection and hopefully peace.