Authors Note: If this is your entry into this series I strongly suggest going back and reading Part 1 and Part 2 first. All the posts build off each other and I imagine reading them out of order might be a little confusing! Thanks!
Part 3: New Age
So, what attracted me to the New Age? Some of the ideas just seemed to ring true to me. I was intrigued by the idea we are all connected through consciousness, and the world we live in isn’t the ultimate reality, but a place to learn and grow spiritually to prepare us for eternity/Nirvana/Oneness. It also seemed like it wasn’t a “judge-y”, exclusive, kind of spirituality, which was what turned me off to Christianity. I was also fascinated by angelic spirit guides, astral projection and NDE’s (near death experiences.)
I still believe in a lot of these things in principle, but through which I believe I’ve found the true meaning, in Christianity. For example, connected consciousness (through the Holy Spirit – which Jesus actually prays for in John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”),that we are here to learn about God, to glorify God, to learn how to love one another, how to serve one another, be forgiven and how to forgive etc.., to prepare us for eternity, and I also believe in angels and that they serve God and humanity for his purpose and glory. I’m still very fascinated by NDE’s but I’ve had to learn to listen with discernment. As far as astral projection, I’m not sure. But because of it’s long history with the occult, and my belief that our world is a very dangerous place – spiritually speaking, I would advice everyone to stay the heck away from that stuff – for the same reason we all shut and lock our doors at night in a bad neighborhood. And as of right now, Earth is still a bad neighborhood! So don’t open that door!
Anyway, I would order books in the library on meditation, prayer, and astral projection. One of the books was on a two month waiting list, and when I finally got it, I had left it in my car for a day or two. (I was working long hours at this time and hadn’t time to read it yet.) When I finally went out to the car to read it, I found every page of that book torn, ripped or shredded. I remember being so pissed and wondering which one of my friends would do such a thing – even though I hadn’t seen any of my friends that week, I had to assume one of them did it. I couldn’t think of anyone else that would be in the back seat of my car. Anyway, I had been looking forward to reading that book for such a long time, and now I’d have to pay for it, plus librarians scared the crap out of me back then! (Haha!)
Looking back, I often wonder if it wasn’t a blessing in disguise. Because even though the New Age beliefs I was getting into filled me with wonder and hope, I also became very strangely obsessed with death and dying. Not dark death, but happy death – if that makes sense. Fluffy clouds, angels, past lives, etc . . .
But, I would have strange urges to kill myself that came out of nowhere especially whenever I drove over a bridge or an overpass, or strange urges to drive into on-coming traffic or a tree or telephone pole… It would sometimes take all my concentration not to yank the wheel and give in to the desire. To this day I find it very hard to explain psychologically. I didn’t feel depressed at all – quite the opposite. I felt very optimistic. (Apparently, I’m not the only one that has felt this weird phenomenon. A group of psychologist are trying to study it. I think their conclusions are a bit flimsy at this point, but the reader comments are interesting, at least.)
But, soon after – things started to change.
I remember reading in one New Age book on meditation and prayer that specifically said not to pray to Jesus or The Father. I found that really strange. I had thought that New Age was somewhat tolerant of all religions, borrowing from many traditions – including Christianity. So, in a way, some alarm bells went off, but instead of just tossing the book and giving up on the philosophy altogether, I just modified it to what I felt comfortable with and prayed to ‘The Father’ anyway. (Since I was a kid I always started my prayers with ‘Father in Heaven’.) I don’t really remember my prayers at the time, but I’m sure they were pretty New Age-y kind of prayers. I definitely didn’t consider myself a Christian at the time.
Then a series of events happened all at once. One by one, I had a falling out with my closest friends – including my friend from middle school with the wicked sense of humor. That one hurt the most, to be honest. For weeks my phone calls weren’t returned and I couldn’t figure out why, when I finally got through to her she told me that I had changed and she no longer recognized who I was. Apparently, I had become obsessive, insensitive, and just generally annoying to be around.
I was blindsided. I had no idea what she was talking about! In my mind, there was no way she could be talking about me. And really, the things she was bringing up seemed like really minor things, but for whatever reason I had become intolerable to her and to some other friends of mine. The odd hours I had been working further isolated me from hanging out with my friends.
Looking back now, I don’t doubt what my friend was saying. I very well could have been all the things she was describing, but I honestly think I was so self absorbed that I probably was incapable of recognizing it.
I felt separate, alone, misunderstood and sadly, not liked. Seventh grade felt like a cakewalk compared to this – at least I had a best friend to lean on!
So, where was God at this time? He was there, but something was getting in the way of discovering who God really was.
To be continued…
Author’s note: If you have any questions – please feel free to ask them in the comments.