The latest report from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows that Americans are getting more “spiritual”, believe more in yoga as a spiritual practice and in reincarnation.
Charles Blow wrote an interesting column about this (click here to read it) in the NY Times. He writes:
For the first time in 47 years of polling, the number of Americans who said that they have had a religious or mystical experience, which the question defined as a “moment of sudden religious insight or awakening,” was greater than those who said that they had not.
And what’s even more interesting for us who are trying to share our Krishna consciousness, self-realization through the process of yoga and Vedic philosophy, is that an increasing number of Americans believe in reincarnation, including those who identify themselves as Protestants and Catholics.
A full 20% of Protestants believe in reincarnation. For Catholics the percentage is even higher: 28%.
Furthermore, about the same percentages [20%, 28%] said they believe in astrology, yoga as a spiritual practice and the idea that there is “spiritual energy” pulsing from things like “mountains, trees or crystals.”
Interestingly more Americans are also “experiencing” contact with the dead or with ghosts. Charles Blow writes:
Since 1996, the percentage of Americans who said that they have been in the presence of a ghost has doubled from 9 percent to 18 percent, and the percentage who said that they were in touch with someone who was dead has increased by about a third, rising from 18 percent to 29 percent.
It’s only been a few decades (starting in the late sixties) since America has been seriously exposed to yoga and eastern mysticism. The enormous increase in acceptance of these spiritual practices and ideas in such a short time indicates that by mid-century these ideas could become quite mainstream. It’s important to note, however, that people are not interested in changing their religion, but are comfortable accepting ideas and practices of other traditions into their spiritual life. Thus, it’s likely that the more we can present Krishna conscious ideas and practices in a non-sectarian, non-ethnic way, the more acceptance it will gain.