Monday, February 25, 2013
PAUL McGUIRE ESCAPE FROM THE NEW AGE
ESCAPE FROM THE NEW AGE
By Paul McGuire
Paul McGuire on Maui doing research for a book on the New Age Movement.
ESCAPE FROM THE NEW AGE By Paul McGuire Download Paul’s testimony, “Escape from the New Age” on MP3 here!
My spiritual pilgrimage began at a very young age when the questions, “Who am I? What is my purpose in life?” and “What am I doing here?” haunted me and burned in my mind night and day. While other children were content to play, I was driven to ask questions about the meaning of life. Raised in New York City, I came from a liberal, educated family. Both my parents were teachers, and neither believed in God. As a young boy, I thought science could give me the answers to my questions about life.
Reading every book I could get my hands on about science and the lives of the great scientists, I often devoured ten books a week. I read about men like Albert Einstein, Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Enrico Fermi, Louis Pasteur, and John Oppenheimer. Building a huge laboratory in my bedroom, I undertook amateur experiments on cryogenics and nuclear physics. Soon, however, I realized that these brilliant men did not have the answers I was looking for. Thus, at an early age I discovered the bankruptcy of scientific materialism. After exhausting science as a means of finding the meaning of life, I next investigated the occult and Eastern religions. Biblical Christianity was not even an option for me. I had never once met a Bible-believing Christian or seen an evangelist on television, and the churches in my neighborhood were steeped in liberal theology or dead orthodoxy.
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The only religion we had at home was secular humanism – the belief that there is no God and man is the center of the universe. As a result, I was raised to believe that there was no absolute right or wrong. Around the dinner table, my parents taught me that human evil was due to ignorance and that the concept of a personal God was an archaic belief any educated person should transcend. In addition, they told me that Christians were intellectually pathetic people who were “anti-love,” “anti-joy,” and “anti-sex.” Instead of promoting anything good, Christians were responsible for the crusades and the Inquisition. One Thanksgiving evening my grandmother asked my father to pray. Instead, he launched into a thunderous tirade about how there was no reason to thank God – everything we had came from man’s hard work.
In the atheistic environment of my home, the spiritual void within me grew deeper, and I plunged headlong into the New Age philosophy and radical politics. Soon after I reached puberty, my parents divorced, ripping my world apart. My spiritual pilgrimage merged with a growing hatred of all authority and society. I was ripe to be seduced by the counterculture and the psychedelic philosophy of the ’60s which has now become the New Age Movement. Although my mother held a secular humanist worldview, she was always full of loving concern and discipline.
She spent thousands of hours reading me books and taking me to museums and libraries. Genuinely concerned about her rebellious son, my mother sent me to a psychotherapist whom she hoped would solve my problems. I told my therapist that I wanted to know why I was alive, who I was, and what purpose there was for my life. He could not help me and only provided a listening board. In the vain hope of finding answers, I began reading Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, and Carl Jung. But all the leading psychological theorists seemed to contradict each other, and I was left more confused than ever. Then the “hippie” movement with its drugs and “free love” exploded across the nation.
I remember the first time I saw Timothy Leary. Wearing a white outfit and grinning like the “Cheshire Cat” from Alice In Wonderland, he said on national television “Tune in, turn on, and drop out.” This psychedelic prophet of LSD was in distinct contrast to the people involved in organized religion. Then the Beatles recorded “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and the psychedelic invasion of drugs, Eastern religion, and promiscuous sex spread. At the age of fifteen, I was wearing long hair and boots and demonstrating with Abbie Hoffman in New York City.
I organized demonstrations and was even made an honorary member of the Black Panther Party for protesting outside a prison against the arrest of Panther leaders. Simultaneously, I deepened my activities in Eastern mysticism and was introduced to drugs by an “honor student” in my high school. I read a book by Aldous Huxley titled Heaven and Hell and the Doors of Perception, which describes Huxley’s experimentation with hashish and mescaline as a means to enter a higher state of consciousness.
This fellow student, whose father was a doctor, “turned me on” to hashish and mescaline as part of a serious scientific experiment. Together, we passed through the “doors of perception” and entered a higher realm of consciousness. Fueled by drugs like LSD and mescaline, it was the psychedelic ’60s that ushered in the current New Age Movement. Powerful mind altering drugs like LSD blasted people into the spiritual realm and forced them to acknowledge the presence of a spiritual reality.
This opened the door to the occult and the myriad practices of Eastern mysticism that gave birth to the New Age Movement. In my own life, the use of powerful psychedelic drugs like LSD intensified my plunge into the New Age philosophy and Eastern Mysticism. Thus began an electric pilgrimage into Hinduism, Buddhism, the teachings of Don Juan, yoga, mental telepathy, altered states of consciousness, hypnotherapy, astral projection, reincarnation, the occult, devil’s weed, spirit guides, and a smorgasbord of mystical experiences.
I was greatly influenced by men like Baba Ram Dass, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, and Stephen Gaskin. In fact, my major at the University of Missouri was called “Altered States of Consciousness,” a brand-new accredited field within the Department of Psychology. We studied different means of entering higher states of consciousness and engaged in exercises based on Eastern mystical teaching and experiences by men like Carlos Castaneda. It was during this time of intense New Age activity that I developed spiritual powers and “cosmic consciousness.”
My professor at the University of Missouri was a practicing mystic and taught a number of courses on mental illness. He believed, as did popular psychologists like R.D. Laing, that mental illness or madness could be a means of entering higher consciousness. In this theory, insane people are considered spiritual pilgrims caught between two realities. My professor invited gurus to teach and perform supernatural feats of levitation. Once while my professor was lecturing, I heard a distinct voice within me shout, “Surrender to the dark forces within!”
At this point in my life I noticed a growing intensity in the manifestation of strong paranormal experiences. Yet at the same time, I had a growing feeling that things were getting out of control. The more bizarre things became, however, the more I believed I was moving toward “enlightenment.” I became convinced that everything happening was due to my excess “karma” burning off. As is often the case with people involved in drugs and the occult, I experienced mixed feelings of great elation and depression. I became a kind of mystical “wildman,” hiking into the woods while on psychedelic drugs and communing with what I thought was God.
But I was like a comet crashing into the atmosphere, burning more brightly as I moved through the heavens and consuming myself in flames. One evening I broke into my psychology professor’s office and wrote him an anonymous note warning him of the dangers of “the journey.”