Articles

A new approach for a new age

By Kim Michaels

 

An increasing number of people are beginning to realize that today’s religious organizations are facing new challenges. For example, some of the larger churches are losing members, and it is important to investigate why this is happening. The people who leave can roughly be divided into three groups:

  • Some have become discouraged with all religion, and they don’t want to have anything to do with organized religion.
  • Some have had enough of their current church, but are willing to look for another church that promises to give them what the old church is no longer providing.
  • Some have had enough of a rigid or doctrinal approach to religion, and they look for a different approach. Some of these people are attracted to more charismatic churches or they take a non-traditional approach and look at the New Age movement.

Based on these observations, one obvious conclusion is that religion on planet Earth is in a phase of transition. What causes this transition? If you look at history, you will see that there seems to be certain cycles or intervals. Obviously, a major shift in religion took place 2,000 years ago with the birth of Christ. Is a similar shift occurring today?

Many people are aware that the planet is undergoing the transition from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius. From a purely scientific perspective, this phenomenon is caused by the fact that the Earth wobbles on its axis. After roughly 2,000 years, the polar axis will begin to point to a different constellation in the sky. Beyond this scientific fact, many spiritually interested people believe there are spiritual effects associated with the transition from one age to the next. For example, many people believe that a new age releases a different type of spiritual energies. This opens new avenues for spiritual growth, but it also closes the avenues that worked in the previous age.

If you are somewhat open to this idea, you must reason that as the earth moves into a new age, religious organizations must embrace the opportunities of that age. If they do not, they cannot continue to meet the needs of their members, who will then look for an organization that is more in tune with the times.

The problem is that to fully enter the new age, you must leave behind the culture and mind-set of the old age. For a church with a rigid and dogmatic culture, this can be an almost insurmountable challenge.

 

The fear of change

When an organization and a planet is in a phase of transition, it is necessary to acknowledge that change is the order of the day and that change must be embraced by everyone in the organization.

In this respect, it is necessary to recognize that the carnal mind will, by its very nature, resist change. Therefore, you can only change your personal life if you recognize and overcome the forces in your psychology that resist change. Likewise, an organization can only successfully embrace change if the leaders and members recognize and overcome the forces in the organization that resist change.

To successfully undergo a transition, an organization must do two things:

  • Make a clean break with the past and with the organizational resistance to change. 
  • Embrace the state of consciousness of the new phase or age into which the organization is moving.

An organization is basically a compilation of the consciousness of the individual members. Therefore, the transition of an organization must begin as a transition in the consciousness of the individual members. Only when the change on the individual level reaches a critical mass, can you expect to see visible changes in the organization itself. A change in the organizational structure must begin as a change in the organizational culture.

 

Is centralized control and leadership outdated?

In the past 2,000 years, many churches have had a centralized form of leadership based on centralized power and control. Is this governance model still relevant in the new age?

Let us go back to the story of Moses who goes to the mount and receives the Ten Commandments from God. When he comes back down, the people have made merry, and Moses destroys the tablets. Moses then goes back up the mount and comes down with a new set of tablets. Most people assume that the second set of tablets was the same as the first set, but what if that is incorrect?

For centuries, the Israelites had been in a very oppressive situation in Egypt. When they were set free from slavery, they suddenly had freedom to embrace their relationship with God. Moses went to the mount to receive a divine law that would allow the people to grow in their new freedom.

When he came down, it became apparent that the people had not adjusted well to their new sense of freedom. We see this in the Soviet Union today. People who have been oppressed for a long time, find it difficult to use their new-found freedom in a responsible manner. Therefore, Moses destroyed the first law, and when he came down the second time, he might have brought a law that was more adapted to the people’s state of consciousness.

This law was centered around the idea of punishment. It set forth a set of very direct rules, and through the law of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth,” Mosaic law promised that anyone disobeying the law would be punished.

When Jesus came, he brought forth a new and higher law. The consciousness of the people, and the planetary cycles, had now progressed to a point where God could give a higher law. The teachings of Jesus were centered around the promise of a reward. If you keep these commandments, you will be saved and go to heaven.

 

The winds of Aquarius

We are now entering the Age of Aquarius and an even higher law is needed. The challenge in the Aquarian age is that people must realize that the key to salvation is to attain a higher state of consciousness. People must rise above the carnal mind and unite with the Christ mind.

The Piscean age was a time when people needed to rise above the idea that they can only be saved by something or someone outside themselves. This is what Jesus came to demonstrate; it was his inner message.

People must realize that there is no automatic salvation, but that their salvation depends on the choices they make. It is simply not enough to be a member of a particular organization or to follow a set of outer rules. You must attain the higher consciousness, the Christ consciousness, that is the only key to entering the Kingdom of God. You must put on the wedding garment of Christ consciousness before you can enter the wedding feast.

In this age, people are not meant to obey the law because they fear punishment or because they hope for a reward. They are meant to recognize their true spiritual origin which among other things means that God has written his law in their inward parts. Therefore, people are meant to follow the Law of God because doing so has become as natural to them as breathing. They no longer fear punishment of hope for a reward; they simply act the way it is natural for spiritual beings to act.

However, this can only happen when people have a direct contact to the higher self and are well on their way to becoming one with that Christ self. That is why, in the Age of Aquarius, the most important thing to keep in mind for the individual is the saying: “Let no man take thy Crown,” meaning that nothing comes between you and your higher self.

When you understand this, it is easy to see that a spiritual organization in the Age of Aquarius must take a different approach than the spiritual organizations we have seen in the Age of Pisces and in previous ages. If an organization attempts to set itself up between the people and their higher selves, the organization will fail to serve people's spiritual needs.

In the early days of Christianity, there were two movements, namely the Gnostics and the organized church. The Gnostics believed in an individual salvation that was a matter between the individual and his or her God. The organized church believed that the key to salvation was the sacraments that were controlled by the church. In other words, the organized Christian church set itself up as the only doorway between man and God. In reality, the only doorway between man and God is the Christ consciousness.

In the Age of Aquarius, any church that attempts to set itself up as a doorway between the individual and his or her higher self will fail to attract followers. That is why the big Orthodox churches, such as the Catholic Church, are losing members at an accelerated rate.

If a church is to successfully make the transition into the Aquarian age, both leaders and members must embrace this principle, and they must be constantly on guard for anything, any aspect of the organization, that might come between the individual and his or her higher self.

The essence of the Aquarian age is that people are no longer blind followers of the laws of God, because they have now internalized the law. There is a huge difference between following a set of outer rules and truly internalizing the teachings of God. When people are in a lower state of consciousness, such as the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt, it can be necessary for God to give them a set of outer rules to follow. The same might apply to people who are new to the spiritual path. However, as soon as people rise to a higher level of consciousness, they can no longer follow a set of rigid outer rules.

 

Individual Christhood

In the Age of Aquarius, the most important thing for any spiritual organization must be to help people attain the internalization of the Christ consciousness. If an organization attempts to set up rules for everything, then the organization will simply miss the boat. Again, the religious organizations that dominated the Age of Pisces created elaborate sets of rules and doctrines. This approach will not work in the Age of Aquarius because people will demand their freedom to be under their own wine and fig tree.

The true spiritual goal of the Age of Aquarius is that people attain their individual Christhood. Jesus came to set forth an example, showing that it was possible to overcome the carnal mind and unite with the higher consciousness of the universal Christ mind. The most important words about Jesus’ mission are the words: “Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” What is meant to happen in the Age of Aquarius is that large numbers of people begin to follow the example set by Jesus.

 

A unique opportunity for churches

How can a church assist its members as they attempt to attain individual Christhood? It is essential to realize that building Christhood is an individual process between you and God. The very idea of Christhood is that you have a direct connection, through your Christ Self, to your Spiritual Self and therefore to the mind of God. It should be obvious, that the direct connection between you and your Christ self can never depend on anything outside yourself, including an organization. An organization can help you build that individual Christhood, but in the end, you will only attain your Christhood by going beyond any outer teaching and embracing your Christ Self in a personal, inner process.

Attaining Christhood is a two-fold process, and it has an inner and an outer side. You must go within and build the oneness with your Christ self, and you must go without to express that Christhood in the world. Jesus demonstrated both aspects of this process.

Therefore, the most important consideration for any spiritual organization must be: “How can we help people build their Christhood, and how can we allow them express that Christhood within the framework of the organization?” In the Aquarian age, a successful spiritual organization must never prevent people from expressing their Christhood.

 

Expressing Christhood

The question now becomes: “Are the members of a church in the process of building their Christhood (attaining a higher state of consciousness) or are they still in a state of consciousness in which they need to have a set of strict outer rules to follow?” 

If you believe that most church members are truly engaged in the process of attaining a higher state of consciousness, the church must be constantly on guard for anything that might impede this process or prevent people from expressing their Christhood within the framework of the organization.

In the Aquarian age, a church must never put anyone in a situation where they perceive a conflict between their individual spiritual growth and their involvement with the organization. If such a conflict is allowed to arise, then those who are farthest along in their Christhood will inevitably leave the organization. You can only truly build Christhood if you do not allow anything in this world to stand between you and God. So, if an organization prevents you from expressing your Christhood, you must leave it behind.

Obviously, it would be a great loss for an organization to lose those of its members who have attained the greatest degree of Christhood. Therefore, it should be a goal of any spiritual organization to look at how the organization can help people build their Christhood without restricting the expression of that Christhood. If the leaders and members of an organization would embrace this idea, an organization could enter an entirely new phase that would be fulfilling to existing members and attract numerous new members.

If this transition is not made, the membership of the organization is likely to dwindle. It should be easy to see why this can occur. In the new age, people will intuitively (even if they do not consciously recognize this) look for a church that will help them attain a higher state of consciousness. 

People subconsciously know that salvation is not an outer process, but an inner process. The key to salvation is not the blind following of rules and doctrines, but the attainment of a higher state of consciousness. 

Most religious teachings promise some form of salvation, but if the organization does not live up to that promise by helping people attain higher consciousness, then people will realize that something is missing (even if they don’t know what it is). When you realize that the greatest calling of the Age of Aquarius is to let no man come between you and God, then it follows that interfering with this process is the most severe mistake that any church can make in this age.

 

 

Copyright © 2009 by Kim Michaels

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