History of New Thought

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History of the New Thought Movement

The history of the New Thought movement developed in the US during the 19th century. New Thought is a practical spirituality that promotes the fullness of living, through constructive thinking and affirmations.

According to a website dedicated to The Secret, “Divine Science, Unity Church, and Religious Science are organizations that developed from the New Thought movement. Each teaches that Infinite Intelligence or God is the sole reality. Adherents believe that sickness is the result of the failure to realize this truth. In this line of thinking, healing is accomplished by the affirmation of oneness with the Infinite Intelligence or God.

Contemporary writers and teachers include Louise Hay, Michael Beckwith, Wayne W. Dyer and Abraham-Hicks.
According to the Law of Attraction, a person’s thoughts dictates the reality of their lives, whether or not they’re aware of it. If a person really wants something and truly believes it’s possible, they will attract it into their lives.” [end quote]

What’s the difference between New Age and New Thought?

According to an answer by Jeff Saub in Yahoo Answers, the history of “New Thought stems from the late 19th-early 20th century, New Age from the late 50s, but became most popular in the 70s. Both were spiritual movements and both placed a lot of emphasis on meditation…

New Thought had its roots in the spiritual movement of the late 19th century… “Spiritual healing” which was popular with a lot of the Christian sects of the time, and made huge by Mary Baker Eddy, whose Christian Science is still huge today. The early 20th century brought an interest in applying scientific methods to spirituality…

New Age seems to have gotten its start with the late 50s intellectual fascination with Asian philosophy, particularly Zen, Buddhism and Taoism…By the 70s, some of it had melded into psychotherapy and pop-culture.” [end quote]

New Thought Philosophy

I had been reading New Age and New Thought authors and history books since back in the ’80s but didn’t really know that was what it was called. I like to use the term ‘philosophy’ rather than religion because, I believe it is more about intellectually pursuing ‘the truth’ about nature, causes & principles of ‘reality’ rather than it is about believing in a specific deity or doctrine.

This philosophy fits nicely in this category for me. I’m not told what I can or cannot say, do, or believe in, or whom I can associate with, or what other spiritual practices I can implement.

From these teachings, I’ve learned that my life is the result of my beliefs, and if I don’t like the results, to change my beliefs…. (Easier said than done, but not impossible.)

According to Wikipedia, “New Thought is also largely a movement of the printed word. The 1890s and the first decades of the 20th century saw many books published on the topics of self-help, financial success,  and will-training books. Early authors of the movement such as Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, Perry Joseph Green, Frank Channing Haddock, and Thomas Troward were extremely popular.”

According to a Chicago Tribune article from 2000 entitled, A Generation in Search of The Soul, baby boomers are seeking more of an individualized and personal spiritual experience rather than traditional religious dogma.  As the writer, Connie Lauerman says, ”Religious and spiritual beliefs have traditionally been the province of institutions but these days such matters are regarded as highly personal. The result is that spiritual experience is replacing religious doctrine as many people mix elements from diverse traditions to form fluid spiritual practices geared to their individual needs.”


See Early New Thought Writers

See Modern New Thought Writers

New Thought Books I Recommend

Please click on any link to read my review

  • Getting in the Gap by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Manifest Your Destiny by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Real Magic by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Your Sacred Self by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • Wisdom of the Ages by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  •  Sermon on the Mount by Emmet Fox
  •  The Master Key System by Charles Francis Haanel
  •  You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
  •   Getting Into the Vortex by Esther Hicks
  •  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  •  The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes
  •  Self Treatments: including The Radiant I AM by Emma Curtis Hopkins
  •  The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
  •  The Edinburgh Lectures by Thomas Troward
  •  The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles


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