The Law of Attraction is not wrong. It’s just upside down.
The Law of Attraction does work–Patanjali mentioned it two thousand years ago in the Yoga Sutra, and the ACIM says thoughts can move mountains, and the Buddha said everything we are, we have thought. The Bible says “Ask and ye shall receive.”
The problem is wanting. In our dualistic minds, we have come to fervently believe that there is no getting without wanting. We have also come to intimately believe in substitute desires. We replace the desire to be complete (more accurately to stop the continual effort of resisting the completeness which we already are) with many other substitute desires, for money, for the perfect partner, for status, power, control, security and so on.
The LOA is very much a part of this insanity. Whether the LAO works or not is not important. What’s important is to look at this gnawing desire we have to want that the LOA to work, even in the face of contradiction.
The people who use the LOA or believe in it, most likely live in a western country, and belong to the approximately 10% of humanity which is disproportionately blessed. The LOA does not seem to work for 90% of humanity which struggles for bare subsistence, water, food, shelter, safety and basic rights. It does not work for victims of genocide and war. It does not work for victims of fate and the accident of geography. It does not work for starving children.Yet, some of the 10% incredibly blessed are able to say that, yes the LOA may not work for truly unfortunate, but it damned well better give me money or the perfect partner because that’s what I want.
Joe Vitale was one of the original pushers of the LOA in The Secret and today he has reversed himself. He says LOA intentions are actually limiting. LOA intentions are narcissistic and egotistical; it cannot be any other way, and they obfuscate divine inspiration.
There is truth to LOA but it’s not at all what the cluttered, dualistic mind believes it to be.
The LOA’s promise is not much different from religion’s promise of heaven in the future, or science’s promise of a high-tech utopia in the future, or the hidden colonial promise of a beautiful, mono-culture world. The LOA is possibly more unabashedly materialistic than the other promises. The important underlying theme in all promises is that they are all about the future.
If you’re using the LOA or ‘master-minding’ or visualizing or a similar spiritual practice, you are limiting yourself. You are a billionaire begging in the streets because you don’t realize you are a billionaire. Your limitations are your desires. In the cluttered mind, you hear the noise of egoic desires, and are deaf to true intuition and inspiration. What are your desires? Power—do you want money? Approval and security—do you want the perfect partner to walk into your door? Better health? You want to be more attractive? Maybe you want to save the world from itself? Whatever the desires are, can you look at emotional aspects around the desire?
If you look at your desires in awareness, you see that all desires come from the need for approval, control, security, or avoidance of the fear of separation, and, interestingly, their opposites. I find it easier to generalize and say that desires arise from the need for power or the fear of powerlessness. It’s difficult to thwart or release desires. It’s not necessary to thwart or release or rationalize. See if you can release the surrounding aspects—the emotional needs around desires. Does the desire arise from the wanting of approval, security, control, or is from avoidance of fear? More simply, does the desire stem from the wanting of power, or the fear of being powerless? Can the emotional aspects be released? The desires may vanish; if they remain they are inspiration, not egoic desires.
What do you think? Have you been using the LOA? Has it worked?
Namaste Gentle readers,
A reader asked where Joe Vitale recants. Here are two links where he talks about inspiration versus intention.
But really, does it matter what Joe Vitale says? The intellect cannot contain the Truth of reality. We are of course free to take on other people’s beliefs and words, but the only truth we can count on is direct experience, not beliefs, and certainly not beliefs we desperately want to believe. My experience is that egoic desires manifest if we put a great deal of effort and struggle behind them, because focusing on egoic intentions energizes the limiting beliefs around them. True inspiration comes from Awareness. It is far more powerful, and needs no motivation, discipline, or beliefs.
To an extent the LOA is even an obstacle to awakening for many. The problem is that these practices (the LOA, positive thinking, the call for optimism, etc) are really based on denial. Even when we can get away from the unabashed materialism of the LOA, the problem is that the LOA and similar practices are based on focusing on the positive, which can only be done by denying and suppressing what we consider the negative. The suppressed negative does not go away; indeed, negativity festers, and this is why the LOA and positive thinking do not work for most people. True transformation happens when we can completely face up to who we are, accept what is, without judging it positive or negative, and let it go.
Awaken first, and experience truth for yourself.
Update July 30:
A quotation from Gina Lake:
However, the subject of positive thinking is complicated by the fact that some positive thinking is definitely ego-based. Some positive thoughts are just more of the ego’s stories or lies and simply reflect its fantasies and desires and, therefore, only continue to keep us out of the present moment and in its unreal, made-up world, rather than free us from it. A lot of the thoughts that attempt to “manifest your reality” are of this nature. They are imagining a future the ego wants and trying to make that happen. That’s just what egos do. Egos also imagine negative futures, and those teaching manifesting are just teaching people to try to create a more positive one. These positive thoughts and imaginations may be useful if they are aligned with Essence’s intentions for your life. But if they aren’t, they just cause more suffering because you still won’t get what you want—and now you’ll blame yourself for it. The idea that we manifest our reality is leaving a lot of people feeling bad about themselves. They believe that they should be able to create the reality they (the ego) want. But—guess what—nobody consistently succeeds at that because there is something much bigger than your ego here, and it is orchestrating your life and everyone else’s for the wellbeing of the Whole, and not necessarily catering to your ego’s particular desires and preferences. Although your will is a factor in creating life and certainly in your experience of life, your will doesn’t determine what happens (although the ego would like to think so).
Some people have succeeded at manifesting something they wanted because it was Essence’s intention to give it to them anyway. They thought they created it with their will, but Essence created it or allowed it. Sometimes our negative thinking interferes with receiving the opportunities or abundance that Essence intends for us, and when that is the case, positive thinking can help remove the blocks to receiving that. However, what isn’t acknowledged by those teaching manifesting is that sometimes limitation is the experience Essence intends for us for the time being because a great deal can be learned from it. If that is the case, all the positive thinking in the world won’t bring abundance until Essence is ready to allow that. This Intelligence that we are is very wise in bringing us exactly the experience we need to evolve us, that is, to make us more wise and loving.
Another problem with positive thinking is that it may be used to deny feelings. If sadness is present, for instance, it isn’t helpful to declare “I’m happy.” Positive thoughts can be used to neutralize the negative thought that created the feeling, but if negative feelings are present, then being present to them is what is needed. Being present means allowing whatever is. If a negative feeling is there, you say okay to it and let yourself experience it (without feeding it with more negative thoughts). Just let it be there and see what you can discover about it. Being present to a feeling with compassion and acceptance will reveal the negative belief that caused it, and once you see that, that is often enough to release or dissolve the feeling. At that point, bringing in a positive thought to neutralize the negative one might be helpful. For instance, if you discover that you are feeling sad because you are believing the thought “I will never be loved,” you can counteract that with the truth (which happens to be positive): Love is abundant in the universe and in me. Love is available to me now and in every moment when I choose to recognize it and express it.
The kind of positive thoughts that are most helpful are those that reflect Essence’s viewpoint, or Truth, which is essentially that life is good, life is trustworthy, and you are divinely loved and treasured, as is all of life, and you are having exactly the experience you need for now. All is well and in good hands. Rest, allow, love, and be.