MacLaine's Guide to the 'New Age'

Last weekend, thousands of Americans participated in an event called the harmonic convergence. Millions more read about it . It was all part of the blossoming New Age spiritual movement that has spread across the country. View asked actress Shirley MacLaine, who has written four best-selling books about her own quest for spirituality and has a fifth ("It's All in the Playing") coming out this month, to explain what's happening.

Sigmund Freud dramatically altered our awareness of ourselves by plumbing the depths of the subconscious. People involved in the spiritually awakening New Age movement are investigating the heights of the super -conscious. And that is altering our view of ourselves just as dramatically.

To achieve such a metamorphosis, we need a new way of looking at ourselves: an intuitively right-brained approach.

As human beings, we are what we are consciously aware of. If we have a limited awareness of ourselves and others, our options are limited. When our awareness expands, we find ourselves becoming "enlightened." Our insight deepens and our sense of self and of others deepens, too.

The Western way of thinking is very different from the Eastern way. In this culture we are taught to think in linear terms, which requires a strongly logical and rational point of view. This is the province of the left hemisphere of the brain. We left-brain thinkers put one idea in front of the other (just as we use our feet to walk) along a clear, narrow line of logical thought.

This way of thinking accounts for our culture's scientific and technological brilliance. But it tends to ignore all things that do not lie directly within our familiar frame of reference. The Eastern systems of thought tend to be less linear, more lateral. They are more abstract and therefore are more capable of absorbing many contradictory concepts.

A Broader Connectedness

A person who thinks laterally, or with the right hemisphere, is capable of seeing a broader connectedness to events that would be little more than a contradictory puzzle to a left-brained Westerner.

The Westerner's rational and objective way of thinking is reliable in terms of linear reality and the physical world around us. But Western thinkers find it difficult to create new perceptions of the nature of reality itself. Eastern systems of thought find it easier to embrace perceptions that are not logical; Eastern thinkers are more open to intuitive thinking.

Today, the West is finally beginning to recognize the right hemisphere of the brain. Thus the fundamental approaches to our way of thinking are beginning to become more balanced.

Intuitive thinking is suddenly popular, even though it is deeply rooted in human nature and has always had more fundamental value for the evolution of mankind. It addresses higher dimensions and more realities, which enable us to feel connected to the source of what I call God Energy. It speaks to the language of the soul, the universality of the spirit.

We know now that we are more than just physical and mental beings. We are spiritual beings as well. To become an enlightened individual first requires a focus on this inner spirituality, and that entails the belief that when we "go within" ourselves there will be something there.

By accessing the Inner Truth, we becomes aware that the spiritual realms provide guidance that is not visible to our left-brain scientific minds. That guidance is the province of the soul.

Nearly everyone alive intuitively feels that he or she has a soul and that that soul is somehow connected to what is called God. When we become aware of that connection, it significantly alters our lives.

We seem to be going through a cleansing process in our country, with corruption and the bereavement of ethics being exposed on all levels. It is as though we are being directed to "go within" for our own salvation and integrity. One way to do that is through meditation, the art of putting aside the conscious mind to allow the soul to peruse itself freely.

Meditation takes practice, discipline. The experience of connecting with the grand truth within us is a quantum leap in understanding that we are more than just physical and mental beings. Indeed it takes trust in oneself that the whispers of the soul are a language that everyone will soon understand.

This is not a new religion. It is a new way of thinking that allows a connection with the "kingdom of heaven within," and each person makes his or her connection in a different way. It is what I call soul physics, because when the connection is made, there is a palpable reaction in the mind and physical body.

During meditation, many people see themselves as having lived before, sometimes experiencing dramatic events in past lifetimes that explain a profound fear in this lifetime.

Karmic Justice

The Eastern systems of thought take reincarnation as a matter of course, which explains their theory of karmic justice: What one sows so shall one reap--if not in this lifetime, then in another.

During meditation one begins to feel the subtle universal energy vibration which the Indians call "prana," the Chinese call "chi," the Egyptians call "ki," Wilhelm Reich called ozone energy, Mesmer called animal magnetism, and Reichenbach called odic force.

This universal energy can be used for healing. It is the energy of the God Source within. When you come into alignment with it you automatically feel yourself begin to quicken with vibrational frequency. It is a feeling of humming well being.

This "wellness" affects your performance in life and literally accelerates you to a higher level of understanding and consciousness. Thus you bridge the gap between the internal spiritual and its external manifestation. When the two aspects are recognized, balance and happiness result.

Who are we really? Where did we come from? Where are we going? Dare we understand that we can make a difference? Dare we believe that we have access to wise and divine spiritual knowledge?

New Age consciousness doesn't believe these things. It knows them. And that knowledge is setting people free. Free from fear, rage, anxiety, anger, frustration, helplessness, futility and willful destruction.

The West has given mankind science and technology, but the East is influencing a return to man's spiritual heritage. The focus is on knowing that our unseen internal reality is just as important to our well-being as that which is visible.

When the balance and harmony of the left brain and the right brain are complete, we will all have become citizens of the New Age of consciousness. Then the twain of East and West will truly meet and the people of the world will be able to spin a more loving and peaceful yarn.

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