BY STEVE WALLING
Harv Bishop’s blog, “New Thought’s Darth Vader Move”, about the far right appropriating New Thought practices shows that these people mistake the tool — the power of thought — for the larger philosophy that guides the use of the tool such as a hammer.
However just having a hammer — in this case the Alt-Right’s use of positive thinking — does not make one a carpenter, rather it often makes one a creator of chaos and harm. Harv rightly critiqued the Alt-Right blog by James J. O’Meara that credited New Thought and Neville Goddard’s practices with the election of Donald Trump and neo-Nazi ideas. My first response reading O’Meara’s original essay must have been similar to someone of the Muslim faith feels when Islam is blamed, as a religion, for the acts of terrorism promulgated in its name. O’Meara claims a connection between his ideas and New Thought, but in truth is using New Thought ideas in a false way.
Take for example O’Meara’s view on Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” It is certainly true that in New Thought we believe that thoughts have power and when applied to one’s life consciously you create change in your life. However, positive thinking is not, in and of itself, New Thought. Like the hammer it is a tool, and like the hammer it may be used to build or to create harm.
Mr. O’Meara says in his blog that he’s not read Dr. Peale’s book. Without having read the book, how can he understand Dr. Peale’s beliefs? His only quotes and references relating to Dr. Peale come from another like-minded far right writer, Steve Sailer, from another online racist web site (The Unz Review). Salier only cited “anonymous commentary” as his source on the relationship between Mr. Trump and Dr. Peale.
Mr. O’Meara throws together multiple belief systems in his essay, writing, “what I have called America’s home-made Hermeticism, our native-born Neoplatonism, our own two-fisted Traditionalism, the movement generally known as New Thought.” He further throws in Paganism, and New Age teachings into the mix.
It is sad, but true that a hammer can create wonderful things, but may also be used as a weapon of destruction and possible death. This, I believe is not too dissimilar to what Mr. O’Meara has done with these New Thought tools.
He attempts to comingle truth and subterfuge to create a convincing argument. He grasps some of the tools, however to anyone familiar with New Thought, there is a major component lacking. Where is God or Spirit? Where is the idea or concept of one aligning with Principle? Both Neville and Holmes focused their teachings in a spiritual God or Spirit. Both men taught, as did Jesus, the commandments to love your neighbor as yourself. And both also taught a concept of consequences if one choose to act in a negative way to create harm to another.
We make a mistake when we try to place labels and judgment on anyone, including those in public life. If we allow ourselves to become caught up in the material reality and lose sight of a greater Truth we create separation within ourselves. If we truly believe that we are all God expressing as individuals then it is there we should start.
I refer to this quote almost daily:
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.”~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Hillary Clinton and President Donald Trump are God expressing. It is not a matter of liking or agreeing with either. It is a matter of knowing a greater Truth and living in consciousness with that Truth. Yes I do realize that this particular political season has been emotional and even traumatic for those who embodied the conflict and embraced the hostility. But isn’t it really just life coming at us at the speed of life? If we are to create a greater good in the world we must turn to the Power for Good in the Universe that is always and everywhere available to us.
Mr. O’Meara’s attempt to hijack New Thought as a tool for his purpose of race hate is no different than any other individual or group that seeks to find a reason or a justification to support their position. History is replete with Bible-based terror, and yet Jesus taught Oneness and unity. The Quran is misused today. Japan used Shinto and Emperor worship as justification for their war activities and the Germans used the Occult and Paganism to promote their agenda.
It is correct to shine a light on those who act to bring darkness into the world. We should deny the false claims of a misguided individual or a group that wishes to bring harm. Our test comes in the inner acceptance of those individuals as God expressed.
Yes, we should act and oppose those who would bring harm, however we should not react with anger and hate. I believe that is what New Thought teaches; that it brings one back to an understanding of unity and the Oneness of all of creation and thus humanity.
I do not believe there is a ‘Dark Side’ to New Thought. I do believe that many of the tools used in New Thought may be misused. When Dr. Holmes said that Religious Science is not a get rich quick scheme I believe that concept may be applied to many other ‘aspects’ of New Thought.
We teach that it is done unto you as you believe and that thought is creative (what does that mean?) If you wish to call that positive thinking, the results may or may not be what we would call positive. We often aren’t consciously aware of our beliefs. Negative beliefs held on the subjective side of consciousness may play a powerful role in what is expressing in our day-to-day life.
Does Trump ‘use’ the power of positive thinking? I don’t doubt it, however I could just as easily call it the power of personal confidence. Is that New Thought? Can we replace those questions by asking what we can do to be more conscious and spiritually aligned to join with others in creating a better world?
We can be involved at the local level to bring a greater good into our neighborhoods. We teach that Jesus was not the great exception, but the great example. We are now called to be examples of a greater good. Are there not things within ourselves we need to realize so we can create a greater change within and without?
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.
Life comes at us at the speed of life. I believe our journey is the journey of discovery of that which we have failed to notice and as we discover what we so far have failed to notice we learn, we grow, and we express God in ever greater ways in our lives.
Rev. Dr. Steve Walling is senior minister at the Spiritual Awareness Center in Madera, California, east of San Jose. He hosts “New Thought Talk with Rev. Steve,” a provocative, thoughtful and highly recommended streaming video interview show via Central Valley Talk. Episodes can be accessed on You Tube. Check out the “New Thought Talk with Rev. Steve” Facebook page here.