Charterhouse Chronicle by Bronwen Astor
C HRISTIANS are awakening to the New Age. A lot of Christians call the New Age movement evil and will have nothing to do with it. They say it is
dangerous. pagan and pantheistic. That it is pride in another form. But I find there is often more pride in the Christian, insisting there is only one way to inner healing, their way, making them Pharisaically unable to hear where the other person is coming from.
Certainly New Agers encourage one another to do their own thing and find spiritual inspiration in other religions, but Jesus said of a healer: "Anyone who is not against us is for us." (Mark 9.40) It is becoming increasingly necessary for Christians to include the earth and the body, both emphasised by the New Age. in a more dynamic life of healing and rebirth. We can become more aware that earth, air. fire and water are, for example, all essential to produce bread and wine, the Body and Blood of our Eucharist.
There is a fundamental interconnectedness in all the universe. This is not pantheism but panentheism: the belief that God penetrates but goes beyond and is more than the universe.
Much of the violence in the world is a projected image of our own deep-seated fragmentation and self-disgust encouraged by the Gnostic tradition that separates spirit from matter which we have inherited.
It is not surprising. therefore, that there is a growing movement to reconnect with our inner truth, within and beyond; to develop gifts of healing. "It is the Father, living in me, who is doing this work... I tell you solemnly... (you) will perform even greater works." (John 14 12)
There is a real need for dialogue here and an openness and willingness to share profound feelings and some prejudices on both sides: a need to be heard and to be listened to.
Christians venturing into the New Age movement must be prepared to develop humility and that is surely a good thing!
Some New Agers came to this Conference to find out more about Christianity not having had much exposure to it, or perhaps to the loving side of it.
One person described her childhood Sundays as pure hell. Dragged to two services as well as two Sunday schools every week. God for her was associated more with fear than with love. Someone else had never been baptised or set foot in a church.
My own chi Idhood experience in the Church of England left me thinking the Dove was superfluous and ineffective: the Father a figure of unwanted authority: thereby God was whittled down to a man who did impossible things and whose example, if I followed it, led to excruciating suffering.
Not for the likes of me anyway as I was female!
II in all. there was no message there that I thought relevant. So what religious belief I had was solitary and mystical. A Celtic longing for oneness, wholeness, bliss. A "hiraeth" in the soul fulfilled fleetingly by a sunset, a piece of music, a light in someone's eyes.
Whatever path we follow it is a long and lonely journey of inner transformation for each one of us. It is essential to encourage and support one another rather than to criticise, entrenched in fear and ignorance.
Jesus is not threatened by the New Age. He is now in every age and ahead of us. He is the way, He is the truth and He is the life and we are the light to illuminate Him. We have to become enlightened!
Then like His disciples we shall make a real impact in our exuberant acclamation. Because if we don't, Jesus says the very stones will cry out. Goodness. whatever did He mean? Nothing could be more New Age than that.
Around 80 people met at Regents College in London last month for a day's conference organised by the Bridge Trust to discuss the inner journey: finding God within.
The Bridge Trust seeks to bring like-minded people together who are open to the new wave of consciousness and change in all its forms in our present time. As Fr Diarmiud O'Murchu pointed out at an earlier Bridge Trust gathering, a shift is taking place of hitherto closed systems opening up, of boundaries disappearing, of reality, moving into spiritual domains.
We have to think globally as well as individually. This extension of our horizons demands a new quality of consciousness: a new and bigger heart in order to flow with change and hold the inner and outer together.
Of the two talks. one was a spiritual and the other a psychological approach to the journey inwards. Both speakers were Catholics and spelt out more or less how to embark on the search for the imminent Godhead and what is likely to be experienced.
At the end of the day an Anglican priest led us in meditation.
It was all pretty safe. No-one discussed astrology or tarot cards or crystals. Reincarnation hardly got a mention. We did do some circle dancing which filled and united us in a delightful calm and energy. Another group painted pictures straight from the unconscious: