FG writes: “Is Conscious Conversation New Age? Why?”
To put it simply, Conscious Conversation is about as New Age as it gets.
Let me give you some background on where this is coming from.
According to founder Tanya Beardsley, a former professional ballroom dancer and Zumba instructor, she got the idea to found Conscious Conversation after spending most of her life “disciplining my outer atmosphere” (whatever that means).
“I got to a place where, inevitably, my inner atmosphere needed a lot of work,” she explains on the site. “Through both of those often rigorous, but rewarding processes I found myself passionate about combining my experience with the physical body and my learnings of the mind, heart and soul to help others find health, love, hope and healing. I live as the change I would like to see in the world and encourage others to do the same.”
Beardsley offers retreats that are full of New Age-inspired activities mixed with fitness training.
For instance, retreatants can indulge in some Mind/Body Training while having a “Shak-T” experience that is combined with dance and yoga. For those who never heard of it before, Shak-T is a name derived from the Sanskrit word “Shakti” which refers to divine feminine energy and power. This workout includes tandava which is a divine dance allegedly performed by the Hindu god Shiva and dukkah which is a Buddhist word for suffering.
The retreats also include kirtans, which is a type of call-and-response chanting that is associated with the devotional traditions of Bhakti yoga. This is provided along with music, meditation, mindfulness activities and spiritual discussions known as Satsung workshops. (She may be referring to satsang which is another Indian practice of “gathering together for the truth”, being with a guru, or simply gathering with others to discuss the truth.)
Sounds like a great retreat – for a Hindu.
She also offers book studies which take place over 6-8 weeks along with Tanya and her “Zen coach” Barry. Past offerings were the works of New Age guru Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now and A New Earth), and Shambhala, the Sacred path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa.
For those you who are unfamiliar with him, Trungpa was a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism whose background is riddled with controversy. For instance, he renounced his vows after allegations of sexual improprieties with his female students and was an alcoholic and heavy smoker until he died of a cardiac arrest in 1986 at the age of 47.
It was this troubled guru who created the modern Shambhala movement which is based on a belief that a mythical kingdom in Central Asia where people enjoyed good health and well-being could be recreated on earth through mindfulness. Trungpa claimed this idea originated in specific wisdom which was imparted from the Buddha to King Dawa Sangpo, the first king of the legendary kingdom of Shambhala.
Shambhala meditation involves mindfulness-awareness which is essentially a mind-control technique brought about by focusing on breathing. Whenever a thought comes into the head, it is banished and the focus is returned to breathing. It’s great if you like being in an altered state.
Although it claims to be non-religious, the Shambhala technique is bathed in the pantheistic philosophies of the east which are based on the belief that because God is all in all, we are all divine.
Beardsley’s current book study is The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power by Brendan Burchard. This book is just one of many that belong to a New Age category known as the Human Potential Movement – which is based on the belief that you are the master of your own destiny and whatever you can conceive, you can achieve. It is associated with a variety of self-help gurus of the current day such as Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle and Ronda Byrne.
Beardsley has also aligned herself with a Malaysian company known as Mindvalley which purports to be practicing the philosophy of the “awesome futurist” Buckminster Fuller.
Fuller was a futuristic architect who claims to have had an epiphany while contemplating suicide when a voice spoke to him and said: “From now on you need never await temporal attestation to your thought. You think the truth. You do not have the right to eliminate yourself. You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
Fuller taught that if one wants to change the world, rather than fighting the existing structure they should build a new model that makes the old one obsolete. This is what Mindvalley seeks to do.
The above is a snapshot of the non-Christian philosophies in which Tanya Beardsley and her Conscious Conversations are embedded and is why I am not recommending any of these practices for Christians.