Our spiritual path of Oneness, Flow and Manifestation may cause us to reach out to a variety of books, workshops and teachings. For example, if we seek a sense of oneness we may select a workshop on “finding your life purpose,” or “communication with the ascended masters.” If we seek a sense of flow we may look to books and classes in art therapy, compassionate communication, heart-math, health and healing or meditation and prayer. Finally, if we seek better manifestation in our life we may read books on prosperity, the Law of Mind Action, “manifesting your dreams” or empowerment. None of these is inherently wrong; all of them can be useful along one's spiritual path.
The problem of religious syncretism
Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile disparate or contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. Religious syncretism, as practiced in New Thought churches, is the spiritual leader's attempt to make sense of the spiritual smorgasbord by mixing it all together and saying that New Thought is “open and flexible,” “non-dogmatic” and “unlike those in traditional Christianity.” It may be a convenient way to sneak the guru of the month onto the church calendar but, as explained in chapter one, it leads to long-lasting harm in the spiritual journey of those who come on Sunday believing in Mind-Idea-Expression and seeking oneness, flow and manifestation. Mixing the meat and potatoes of New Thought, however one defines it, with the extras confuses and frightens many.
Stating what is metaphysical and what is New Thought
A far better solution to mixing the smorgasbord all together is to identify that which is metaphysically useful, but not essentially New Thought. Doing so honors the rightful place of metaphysical pathways. What is the Divine Idea behind A Course In Miracles, and how might it help me to more fully see that my mind and the Mind of God are one? How might this workshop on angels help me to see that the Divine Ideas that seem to flow into my life while I sleep are pure, unadulterated messages from the Divine Mind? How might this Napoleon Hill study group enable me to make the connection between the activity of my thinking and that which I experience in life? And how might this Holographic Sound workshop help me to enter into a more relaxed state so I may more easily enter into the stillness of the Christ Mind?
In this section I describe other movements that are often associated in some way with New Thought and that find their way into the worship and programs of New Thought churches. I hope to show their metaphysical usefulness to one's exploration of Oneness, Flow and Manifestation and also to describe why placing them on the same platform with New Thought can be confusing to the spiritual seeker.
Depending on your point of view, it may be said that New Thought is “adaptive” and “flexible” or it may be said that New Thought has “unhealthy boundaries.” I look at these other movements from the perspective of the New Thought’s historical principles, which were defined in the first section and I do this to give New Thought clarity. It is up to you, the reader, to pass judgment on the wisdom of New Thought’s tendency to easily embrace “new thoughts.”