Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, once said: “There is a Power in the universe greater than you are and you can use it.” This quote perfectly illustrates the basis of New Thought Philosophy – a movement evolved from the writings of American Philosopher Phineas Quimby, in 19th Century USA.
The ruling beliefs of New Thought philosophy today include that God or something higher than ourselves is supreme, omnipotent, and omnipresent, that each person is a divine, spiritual being, every physically manifested ailment has a mental origin, and finally that our thoughts and mental state have a profound effect on how we experience life. There are various subsets that fall under the umbrella of New Thought, such as healing, the Law of Attraction, and creative visualisation. The varying approaches to New Thought Philosophy are all rooted in different cultures and religions, to achieve the same goals of increased health, happiness, and success.
As mentioned previously, Phineas Quimby is thought to have greatly influenced the New Thought movement and its growing recognition and popularity. Originally a practitioner of hypnosis, Quimby soon expanded his work to more unusual forms of mental healing. He taught that illness originated in the mind, and resulted from a negative belief system. He then claimed that in changing our way of thinking, we could will away illness and thus be healed. This set the stage for New Thought Philosophy and its many subsets, particularly the Law Of Attraction. Another key thinker, sometimes deemed the ‘Father of New Thought’, is Ralph Waldo Emerson – an American Essayist that dedicated his life work to spiritual exploration and transcendentalism (the belief that the truth goes beyond what can be proven). Emerson’s prime belief was that all beings are driven by spiritual laws, and that higher reality is manifested in the human mind. Modern day advocates of New Thought Philosophy include Oprah Winfrey.
Of course there is no undeniable proof of New Thought, and therefore New Thought Philosophy is better thought of as a pseudoscience. Despite this, millions of people have used the premise of New Thought to drastically improve and transform their lives, demonstrating that life happens through us, rather than to us. Whether you believe in New Thought Philosophy, still on the fence, or completely sceptic, there is no denying that the mind is a powerful tool that can have a profound effect on how we experience our lives. But what do you think of New Thought Philosophy, and is there any truth behind it?