Unfortunately, this vital distinction often is ignored. I suspect that most New Thoughters think that the only way to be an idealist is to believe not only that everything is mental but that there is only one mind. Horatio Dresser spent years unsuccessfully trying to help New Thoughters to understand that this is not the case. Dresser emphasizes that oneness of life need not be interpreted in a Hindu way as meaning that there is only one mind or life.
The essence of the New Thought, as I understand it, is the oneness of life ; the great truth, namely, that all things work together toward a high ideal in the kingdom of the Spirit. Otherwise stated, it is the truth that God lives with us, in every moment of existence, in every experience, every sorrow and every struggle. Using some helpful philosophical-theological labels, belief in the reality of only one mind is a form of pantheism , meaning that all is God.
Belief that there is one all-encompassing mind God , but that within that mind are many subordinate but genuinely real minds is panentheism , meaning that all is in God. Panentheism is associated with process philosophy or process theology or simply process thought depending on the context, but those names are practically interchangeable , which is a philosophy of the creative advance into newness.
Once we grant that there is God at work in the world, our next task is to find out how God does this job. In other words, we need to inquire into the nature of creativity. Creativity means that something that was not, comes into existence.
See a Problem?
How does this occur? Does it just happen by accident? Atheism basically says yes; the universe is just a giant accident, and we are little accidents within the big accident. However, most of us find purpose to be essential.
What is New Thought versus "late New Thought"?
But whose purpose, God's or ours? Here we find New Thought departing from Hinduism, which says that the universe is just God's play or dream. New Thought finds the world to be real, although mental, and ourselves to be determiners of what happens to us, determiners through the thoughts, feelings, hopes, and expectations that we hold.
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Hinduism and Buddhism teach that we should aim for release of desires in order to come to enlightenment. New Thought holds that it is appropriate to use our minds for achieving worldly goals, as well as otherworldly goals.
Everyone does it, but New Thought realizes that everyone is doing it. Conventional use of one's thought, will, and feeling are indirect in relation to the external world, in that they are used only to move one's muscles, which, in turn, produce speech, manipulation of tools, and other activities that make their mark on the world.
To know that we are applying our thought both directly and indirectly is not to know exactly what is happening when we do it. That is, there is disagreement as to how God enters into the creative process. Quimby's position that one sows belief guided either by divine Wisdom or by human misconceptions in the "spiritual matter" of one's mind, and thereby gets the corresponding health or illness, suggests a straight-line, unmediated, process of creation.
Thomas Troward's theory of roundabout, boomerang, back-and-forth, mediated creation maintains that one believes or feels or whatever and that by believing, or choosing, one impresses an unconscious yet intelligent part of God known as Law. This Law automatically shapes previously-unshaped substance and thereby presents to one whatever it was that he or she consciously or unconsciously ordered.
In other words, Law is a mediator, standing between one's choice and the outcome. Process New Thought which is a new understanding of New Thought, not a new organization is a champion of a theory of unmediated creativity. In order to understand the process outlook, we should take note of quantum physics, which many writers in recent years have found similar in some respects to Eastern mysticism.
Quantum physics recognizes that energy comes in the form of momentarily-existing bursts, rather than in an unbroken flow. There is no enduring substance; there is only activity, only process. At bottom, physics finds nothing but a hidden dance of energy, which becomes recognizable as atoms and all the material things that atoms make up. Science assumes that the bursts of energy are lifeless, and that somehow at one point millions of years ago clusters of bursts of energy accidently came together in such a way as to produce life. Alfred North Whitehead was wise enough to realize that a full understanding of process could come only if one interpreted all the bursts of energy that ever had been, or ever would be, as living experiences.http://brb.swirlonthru.com/jigu-cellphone-locate-on.php
Sermon Category: Spiritual Laws of SuperHeroes
Whitehead boldly proclaimed both that "a dead nature can give no reasons" , p. How does this relate to the rest of what I am talking about? For one thing, a process interpretation of reality is found in Buddhism, although the Buddhist version is atheistic. Whitehead knew very little about Buddhism, so this is not a case of indebtedness. Leibniz, Peirce, James, and Bergson were more relevant predecessors. Beyond the parallelism with Buddhism, process thought is of central importance to explaining how there can be unity with diversity and creative freedom.
We have seen that, according to process thought, there is nothing actual nothing concrete , to use a technical term but living experiences, which we also could call momentarily active minds.
What do they do? They co-create themselves with God. God is present as the initial aim , or perfect plan, or divine proposal or offer, individually tailored for the experience in question. We can also call this divine initial aim the Christ , the indwelling presence of God offering perfect guidance to the experience.
This guidance is not limited to human beings, but is found in everything. The past is made up of all the experiences that have finished their fleeting development. When an experience completes its choosing, within a fraction of a second, it changes from a subject a unit of currently-developing awareness into an object a completed experience available for the awareness of all later experiences. Past experiences are forever kept perfectly in God. Creativity must be unmediated; one's reward must be in the process of choosing, since after it the chooser has no experience.
To be sure, later experiences will be influenced by one's choice almost as if there were an active, responsive Law, but this scarcely is what Troward had in mind.
The Law of The New Thought
The reification "thingification" of law is an instance of what Whitehead called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness , which is the mistaking of the abstract for the concrete. Laws are abstractions; they are descriptions summarizing how the world works; no law ever did anything. At best, Law is a poor name for an active side of God. God's offering of initial aim is an act of pure love, not law. Natural laws are not fixed, but are evolving habits of interaction of experiences.
New Thought Transformation
It is changeless because it could not be otherwise; it is the way that everything has to be in order to be at all. It is the great metaphysical discovery of all time. There is nothing but this process producing new creation. Perhaps I should add that many collections of living experience such as stones and steel beams correctly are called inanimate, and as collections, aggregates, they are lifeless, although the individual experiences that make them up are living.
We need to be careful not to commit the fallacy of misplaced concreteness by considering the observable things to be concrete, since in reality they are abstracted from or built up of concrete living experiences. Through God's steady reception of new experience, God is growing in content, but God's perfectly reliable loving character remains unchanged. Process thought answers the New Thought demand for a God who is perfectly impartial without falling into the common New Thought error of calling God called impersonal, when what is meant is impartial. For God, to be personal is to be self-conscious, rational, purposeful, and giving of perfect possibilities and appreciatively receiving of completed experiences.
A God lacking the qualities of personhood would be less than we are. It would make no more sense to call such a cosmic zombie partial than impartial; such a pathetic blob of unconscious totality would be worthy of pity, not worship. The notion of a genuinely impersonal God is a thinly disguised atheism. It is only because God is perfectly personal that God is perfectly impartial. For most later experiences, any particular earlier experience is likely to have little relevance and little, or practically no, influence.
But some experiences are extremely relevant to their successors, some of them so closely associated with us that we call them ourselves, although they are such only abstractly, not concretely. The influence of highly relevant past experiences we may call karma or the principle that as we our past selves believed, so we later selves in the line of development that we call ourselves receive.
We are somewhat like motion pictures, in which we are unaware of the separate frames, although there are only still photographs projected so rapidly that we interpret them as one continuing picture. So it is with ourselves. We have what I call serial selfhood. Our bodies are vast collections of many-at-a-time experiences not only guided by God but strongly influenced by the one-at-a-time minds that are ourselves. Bodies are composed of servant-experiences themselves relatively free. All experiences are servants of God, so the entire universe with whatever dimensions it may have is God's body.
In this sense, if one considers one's body to be part of, or within, oneself, there is nothing but God, a God who is rich in diversity, whose unity does not overwhelm the many. The major concern of New Thought is healing , of every sort, whether of bodies, pocketbooks, or relationships. What is healing in Process New Thought perspective? Healing is the reduction of the contrast between the past and the perfect possibilities given by God.