Put another way, they embarked upon the spiritual path.
Of course, the spiritual path is nothing new; but until this shift, it had been the purview of a limited, mostly monastic, few. In my college days at Rutgers, I knew not a single man who described himself as being on the path or working on himself. It hadn’t yet been invented as a popular phenomenon.
But when it happened it happened big. In what seemed like no time at all American society was flooded with an impressive panoply of newly invented or rediscovered healing arts, spiritual practices, self-awareness workshops, musical forms, and of course, the jargon to go along with all this. Needless to say it was far from organized, and remains so today.
Despite there being a lot of bullshit around the New Age, the process still represents a totally legitimate expression of the ancient human longing for what may be called self realization. People want to personally evolve and attain the highest state possible.
Though this whole deal is virtually brand new, people fall prey, after having had a few mystical experiences, to thinking they’ve developed true wisdom in regard to the workings of the spiritual path. They will sometimes quote another’s casually uttered remark as if it were established truth. Handled this way, New Age thinking can become a rather dangerous collection of platitudes wherein true wisdom becomes cheapened and obscured. “We are all one.” (Really? What does that mean?) “All paths lead to the same place.” (How do you know that?)
The path is complicated and difficult, inducing seekers to deal mostly with their issues and practices, leaving the foundations of what they’re doing and experiencing largely unexamined. So I’m creating for this blog a category of posts called Questions About “The Path.” Please contribute to the discussion.