For the spiritual and non-spiritual alike.
The air smells distinctly of dragon’s blood essential oil and the devil’s lettuce, with a hint of lavender incense thrown in for maximum inner peace. “Dani California” plays in the background as your friend tells you, ad nauseum, about a new meditation method that his favorite TikTok spiritualist shared that will boost your immune system. It’s life-changing, man. You share a philosophy you saw on YouTube about how we’re actually all God and then you both sit quietly for a few minutes wondering, like…what even is life? The soft glow of string lights around the room illuminates a colorful tapestry depicting a figure in lotus pose and you ponder the seven chakras going up its body. Next thing you know, you’re opening the internet browser on your phone and typing “how to open my third eye” into the search bar.
That’s right. I’m looking at you. But don’t worry, I’m not here to judge.
I’ve been a part of the New Age movement for about six years now and what a journey it has been. Saying that it’s changed me would be a simple understatement. It has deeply altered who I am fundamentally and I’ve got to say, there were times when I was straight up not having a good time. In the beginning, I was dazzled by all of the pretty crystals and enamored by the beautiful New Age influencers who were sending me positive energy to lift my vibration higher so that I could manifest my true potential. I consumed as much content as I could, watching videos and reading books, listening to podcasts and scouring Etsy for the perfect lapis pendant to open my throat chakra and give me confidence in my Toastmasters meetings, and maybe some amethyst to crack open my third eye while I was at it. Of course, I’d read a few things here and there about how it’s dangerous to open your third eye chakra, but what did they know? They weren’t woke like I was (insert dramatic hair flip).
Fast-forward to today and I am able to reflect on just how naïve I had been when I dove headfirst into the New Age movement with reckless abandon. There are many things I wish someone had told me when I discovered this movement. Some of these things I wish I had known just for the sake of being a less toxic person, spirituality aside. It’s not like I would have listened anyways, but hindsight is 20/20, right?
1. Your journey is not their journey
A few years ago, I spent time with some cousins visiting from out of state. The older one spent a lot of time telling me all about his experiences with crystals, channeling, reading energy with his friends, and about some dark entity that seemed to be attached to him. He was a little intense for me, but I did find his stories interesting and was enjoying our conversation. My 15-year-old brother and younger cousin sat on the couch a game on their phones, completely uninterested in what we were talking about and my cousin remarked how he couldn’t believe that all they cared about were games. Didn’t they know how important all of this spiritual stuff was? How could they waste their time on such trivial things as phone games?
…Well, why wouldn’t they? Your journey is not their journey. His tone was bitter and it showed me a side of the New Age community that I didn’t like at all.
Who are we to say that some people can’t live their lives without becoming enthralled in an intense spiritual journey, or at which point in their lives they should become enthralled in said journey? In fact, I believe that casting judgement on those who don’t find metaphysics or spirituality interesting or appealing is counterproductive. Studying and implementing metaphysics in my life has changed me for the better in many ways, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Pushing our beliefs on anyone is exactly the kind of toxic behavior that most New Age philosophies advocate against, especially when it comes to organized religion, and if we don’t accept that kind of behavior from others then we shouldn’t accept it from ourselves. Respecting the journeys of others is just as important as respecting our own, even if they are completely opposite paths.
2. Their journey is not your journey
Here’s the flip side of the coin, and what I meant when I mentioned the importance of respecting our own spiritual journeys. Like with everything else (fashion, technology, sports, health, etc.), there are New Age influencers everywhere and they all have methods and philosophies that they swear by. For the record, I’m not here to drag New Age influencers; on the contrary, I think that they do us a great service by bringing information to us that we won’t typically get from mainstream sources.
That being said, it is easy to idolize them and set unrealistic expectations for ourselves based on their content and the lifestyles that they present to us. We don’t all have a separate room in our house that we can solely dedicate to yoga and meditation and creating content, we don’t all have the money to buy expensive crystals and chakra-aligning jewelry or the willpower to convert ourselves to a raw vegan diet, and we don’t all have a painfully optimistic attitude with the voice of a literal angel that brings in tons of views on YouTube. And that’s okay. Because your spiritual journey is about personal healing and growth that makes you feel whole inside, it’s not necessarily about an aesthetic. Their journey is not your journey.
For the sake of not being a total hypocrite, if those things do resonate with you then do you, boo boo. I stan a Pleiadean queen or king living their best life in a well-lit studio surrounded by gorgeous geodes and plants while they tell you about their enlightening experiences with past life regression therapy. But, for anyone else, please remember that you can be a potato person on your couch eating Taco Bell while you watch a documentary about DMT at 2am, and your spiritual awareness will still be valid.
Yes, that was very specific. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Moving on…
3. It’s okay to take a step back
Probably the thing I regret most from when I initially delved into metaphysics is not taking the time to really digest the information I was exposing myself to, whether it was from YouTube or books or anything in-between. One of the core principles of New Age teachings that’s based on the idea of reincarnation, is that all the information we need is within us already because we’ve lived many, many lives before this one and we only need to learn how to access it. Obviously, that’s easier said than done as there isn’t a search engine in the spirit world that we can just pull up on our phones (or is there…), so naturally we turn to outside sources of information. And there is nothing wrong with that, there is so much great information out there that can send you in many directions to explore in this space.
Like anything else, though, learning how to listen to your subconscious, what some call your Higher Self, takes practice. Learning how to do this is what helps us differentiate between the information that best serves us and the information that doesn’t. The thing about New Age concepts is that it can all be extremely overwhelming if you aren’t careful, so much so that you can feel on the verge of a mental breakdown. Not just because of how much information is out there, but because of the nature of the information itself. The phrase “time is a human construct and an illusion” is the tippy top of the metaphysical iceberg. My advice to you is remember to take a step back sometimes and be mindful of how your mind and energy are responding to information that you’re learning. If you need to take a few days, weeks, or even months to really contemplate and digest a new concept, that is okay. In fact, I highly encourage you to do so.
4. Learn how and when to let things (and people) go
Like I mentioned before, learning how to listen to your subconscious takes time and practice and, honestly, I would personally consider it the number one skill you need to learn to be successful on your spiritual journey and just in life overall. Not only will you be better able to discern between information that best serves you and information that doesn’t, you’ll also be able to identify people or habits that no longer serve the best purpose in your life and in my case it’s even helped me become a smarter decision-maker.
A painful yet necessary part of personal and spiritual growth is letting go of toxic behaviors and people, and being aware of the fact that just because someone shares the same beliefs or interests as you doesn’t make them the best person to have in your life. From a metaphysical perspective, we talk about energy vampires who sap the energy from you whenever you interact with them. As you start paying attention to the behaviors or habits that are toxic in your life and letting them go, you should also note your interactions with the people in your life and how they’re changing. Are you starting to feel drained or annoyed more and more frequently after conversations with a friend you’ve known for years but you can’t quite put your finger on the reason? Pay attention to those feelings and meditate on them. Nine times out of ten, in my experience, your energy will fall to match theirs rather than theirs rising to match yours whether it’s in a friendship or a familial or romantic relationship. It’s okay to put yourself and your well-being first, even if the other person doesn’t understand or accept it.
Most importantly, do what you feel is right. If deep in your gut you feel that you’re just not ready to let someone or something go even if you know it’s not good for you, acknowledge that. Weigh the pros and cons and really try to listen to what your subconscious is telling you by listening to your intuition. If I hadn’t learned to do this, I wouldn’t be married to my amazing husband today. It took coming together, disconnecting from each other completely, and then coming back together as friends for over a year before we were finally on equal ground in terms of our personal growth and were able to have a healthy relationship that was 10 years in the making. When the time is right and you’re truly ready to move on or make a change to yourself or to a relationship, you’ll know. Trust that what’s meant to happen, will happen. There’s not a single thing I’ve mention so far that isn’t easier said than done and remember, nothing is set in stone.
5. Protecting yourself really is important
And I don’t mean just protecting yourself from “low-vibrational entities”, you guys. Protecting yourself from negative thoughts and feelings in general is so, so important to your well-being and mental health. As someone who struggles with bipolar disorder, I have had plenty of experience with negative thoughts that can easily spiral out of control, especially when I’m having a severe depressive episode. So when I say to protect yourself from those negative thoughts, I don’t mean to just ignore them or avoid them…because that’s not very realistic for most people.
We can’t stop the bad thoughts from entering our heads or the negative feelings from hitting us right in the gut, but there are things we can do when it does happen. I am a strong advocate for allowing yourself to feel emotions, even the icky ones, so that you can process them and release them. Suppressing emotions has never turned out well for anyone, to my knowledge anyway, which is obviously infinite because I’m 25 and I know everything (at least that’s what my daughters think and I’m sticking to it). When I’m feeling intense emotions, I make a point to really focus on exactly how I’m feeling mentally and energetically and the thoughts I’m having while I experience the emotion. In the case of sadness or anger or jealousy, this is super important because once I’ve acknowledged the source and effect of what I’m feeling, it’s significantly easier to let it go.
Visualization is by far one of the most important concepts of the New Age and has even made its footing in psychological studies. This is just one of the many, many articles you can find online about the benefits of visualization, including how it can be used to fight negativity. Visualization can be deeply personal and goes hand-in-hand with the law of attraction. When it comes to using visualization to combat negative thoughts or emotions, my favorite thing to do is lie down on my back, allow my body to relax, and imagine a white light moving down through my head and then my entire body. To me, the light is so bright that there is no more room for darkness i.e. dark or negative thoughts or feelings and those things have been released. The thing is, regardless of whether you believe in the law of attraction or energy healing methods, visualization can still be beneficial to you, even if you believe that it’s only you tricking yourself into feeling something different.
If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to reward you with a bonus lesson: remember that you are human. Whether you believe you are the reincarnation of a being from Andromeda or you believe that literally nothing happened before you were born and nothing will happen when your life comes to an end, right now in this moment you are human. And that’s a beautiful thing. We make mistakes and we learn from them, we experience an incredible range of emotions from blissful joy to intense sadness and every emotion in between and every single one of them are valid. Be patient and be kind to the best of your ability, not only to others but to yourself as well.
Finally, if there is anything I’ve mentioned here that you would like me to specifically cover more in-depth in future articles please let me know. I’m always looking for ways to bring helpful and inspiring information and experiences to the world through my writing and your input is important to me!