Neoplatonism and Mysticism

The term neoplatonism refers to a school of thought that was founded by Plotinus, a Greek philosopher who lived from 204—270 C.E. During this period cultures that had not had much contact with each other were for the first time studying and responding to each other’s sacred texts and philosophies. Gnostic, Jewish, Christian, and pagan philosophers all debated and interpreted the philosophy of Plato, attempting to reconcile their own belief systems with the cosmology it presented. Neoplatonism is known for synthesizing aspects of the speculations of these various faiths into a single cosmology. In neoplatonism, the universe can be divided … Continue reading

The Mandala and the Mind

Mandalas can be found in the artistic traditions of many world religions and philosophies. The word mandala comes from the Sanskrit word for circle, and traditionally refers to the the use of the circle in the sacred art of India, but today the word is used to refer to a much more universal piece of human symbolism. The symbolism of a mandala connects the themes of unity and growth, often representing the coming together of opposites to form a whole. The Yin-Yang or symbol of the Tao, diagrams of the I Ching, the Sri Yantra, and the Bhavachakra are all … Continue reading

The Benefit of Stray Thoughts

Meditation is often touted as a way to focus the mind and get rid of mental restlessness and stray thoughts. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a stray thought. The first time I really tried to mediate several years ago, I lay down on the floor and tried to clear my mind. Laying on the floor is not a proper position for meditation, I know, but it was the one where I could be the most comfortable and not be distracted by physical pain on top of everything else. A scene from a movie came to mind … Continue reading

The Limited Law of Attraction

You have probably heard of the Law of Attraction (as presented in the movie The Secret). It’s the idea that you can concentrate on something that you want in your life–like a new car or a new relationship or a home–and you can attract the object or experience to yourself. In this view, the universe is described like a catalog and you just have to identify exactly what you want, place your order and have faith that it will come to you. You can use mental visualization and affirmations and vision boards with images of what you want. It’s all … Continue reading

Mental Science and New Religions

The principles of New Thought spirituality are based on spiritual laws or mental science. According to these laws, the power of the universe yields itself to those who know how to apply right thought and are convinced strongly enough of the expected results. Jesus himself, many metaphysical believers claim, accomplished His miracles through the application of mental science. In contrast with the mental science of New Thought spirituality, other new religious movements such as the Theosophical Society and the I AM Movement, both founded in the latter part of the nineteenth century and the first half of this century have … Continue reading