The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car... a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little - Ben Sweetland

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Friday, April 11, 2008

The law of attraction is a lie!

As I mentioned in another article, the ‘law of attraction’ seems to have grown into something of a cult, with people wanting to identify themselves as ‘believers’ of ‘non-believers.’ Some people have taken this quite far and are defending their position, one way or the other, quite vociferously.

There has recently been quite a backlash to the ‘law of attraction,’ in the form of websites, e-books and blogs propagating an idea called the ‘lie of attraction.’ For example, people like Sam Crowley and Michael Cheney have some significant objections to the law of attraction as it is popularly presented. People are becoming very emotional about it all. An anonymous writer on one blog, for example, writes ‘The law of attraction is BS…Though the basic idea for the law of attraction is nothing new, it has been misconstrued into a materialistic pile of voodoo nonsense.’

What are we to make of all this? Is the ‘law of attraction’ a dangerous lie, as Crowley and others claim, or is it really an inherent feature of the universe that we can harness to bring wonderful results into our lives?

Napoleon Hill, in ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ wrote that ‘whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ The only limit to what you can achieve is your imagination. I firmly believe that, in the words of A Course in Miracles, ‘We are Powerful Beyond Measure.’ ‘Think and Grow Rich’ is full of examples of ‘possibility thinkers’ who were scorned and laughed at, but who had a vision and saw it come to fruition. Who could have thought that the systemic racism in the US in the 40s could have been swept away to the point that we now have a black candidate for the democratic presidential nomination? Who could have imagined the end of apartheid in South Africa? Who could have imagined the end of slavery in the British Empire? People like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and William Wilberforce – they all had a dream, they had a vision, and the results of their visions are with us now. Surely no one can deny the power of the mind.




You cannot expect to get anywhere unless you have a clear idea in your mind. All of the people mentioned above, and the may others mentioned in ‘Think and Grow Rich’ all had a clear vision of where they were going. Of the many people I have known, the most successful all knew where they were going. Not that they weren’t flexible, but they knew what they wanted and they knew they were going to get there.

Jonathan Fields writes ‘even the most dogged focus on the attainment of a goal will bring you nothing without an equal commitment to action.’ If you sit around all day visualizing and saying affirmations, you’re probably not going to get anywhere. You must act. Napoleon Hill is very clear about this. Persistence and determination are key, not letting failure get you down and keeping on going will eventually yield excellent results.

This said, your action must be the right kind of action, it must ‘flow.’ Moving water can be a powerful force – it can generate electricity, it can destroy cities, it can be exhilarating and it can be deadly. But there is no effort in water – it seeks out the path of least resistance, it moves to the lowest point, it goes around things, does not push through them. It achieves everything by making no effort. This is what Alan Watts called ‘The Watercourse Way,’ and is what Lao Tse wrote about in the Tao Te Ching, a book I always keep by my bedside. The right action should not be competitive or confrontational, there should be no force, no strain, no stress. Whenever you are putting in a lot of effort, you are doing something wrong. This way of doing things is the basis of effortless abundance. Our society values work, effort, energy, and industry. The roots of this system of values lie in Puritanism and Calvinism – we take it for granted that work and effort are needed for good results, but there is another way, a more ancient way, a better way.

‘The Secret’ is becoming a belief system. People are starting to miss what is being pointed to, and instead they are grabbing hold of the signpost and defending it to give themselves an identity. Some of the detractors are doing the same. In this way, the idea of the law of attraction is becoming very dominant. It may be interesting to examine the way it is propagating as a meme (According to Wikipedia, ‘any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.’ Richard Dawkins has been a famous proponent of the idea that religion is a meme).

‘The Secret’ has over simplified the message of ‘Think and Grow Rich.’ It is jingoistic and simplistic and superficial. It misses the subtlety which has been explored in earlier books on the way mind and action work together to produce outcomes. It has pulled in some pseudo Science, and been blatantly marketed to attract gullible and needy people looking for quick fixes and easy solutions to their problems. (Some proponents of the ‘lie of attraction’ are beginning to do the same. Just take a look at some of their materials). For this reason, I believe that real success and real happiness will continue to elude most people, and they will simply move on to the next big, hyped up idea which they hope will ‘quick-fix’ their lives. I have read forum posts where people expect to win the lottery by ‘visualizing’ the money. This is not a dangerous thing, but surely that is absurd. We have a wonderful vista before us, but most people will continue to keep their eyes closed.

In a very balanced and well-written article, Jonathan Fields offers a simple and common sense explanation of ‘the secret,’ avoiding any need to invoke quantum mechanics, harmonic resonance and other Scientific ideas. The ‘law of attraction,’ he cays, is a psychological phenomenon. If you keep thinking about something, keep dwelling on it, keep believing it, you will start to behave in slightly different ways; you will say things you might not otherwise have said, you will go to places you might not otherwise have gone, you’ll dress differently, and so on. Eventually, all these little things add up to help you achieve your goal. Essentially, he is saying that you can brainwash yourself, or be brainwashed, either in a good way or a bad way.

The reality is that life is a subtle thing, and we must resist the temptation to over simplify and generalize. If we keep our mind on something and act in accordance with this is a natural, easy and non-forceful way, the universe works out the details and things work out well, though often not as we had planned (usually better). Then we will be effortlessly abundant.

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5 comments:

Cary Darling said...

Great post, I agree with most of it, there are a few things I do take exception to.

While extra action is required of some things, initially the ONLY action required is just asking, believing, and then receiving. I have experienced abundance where there was no extra action on my part, things / people / experiences, they just came to me.

However I do also agree with what you are saying, in that positive thought, whether or not you are practicing the law of attraction, will change you, even subtlety, and will open you up to a variety of things in your life. If you think positive, sure, you'll start acting, and talking differently, and yes you will even dress differently. That alone may open you up to more opportunities than you can imagine. Where you were once a disheveled, negative ninny, you are now a positive force, who dresses for success, and that lands you your dream job.

I also agree with what you are saying in that it is becoming a belief / identity, that people are having to defend. I've been reading Eckhart Tolle's new book, and it discusses the difference between religion, and spirituality, and how the ego forces us to create identities with some of these things, and yes it is happening with The Secret.

Either way, I'm very happy where I am at in my life right now. I often tell people that if I could have found this much happiness worshiping a strawberry pop tart, or squeezing my piece of lucky dryer lint, then who cares what others think, that is exactly what I would have done.

Once again, great post, I will definitely go through your archives for more.

hkalchemy said...

Thanks for your comment, Cary. I too believe that the mind is a powerful and mysterious thing and that it can sometimes cause things to manifest seemingly out of nothing. I don't think this happens very often, for most people. There is a more 'down to earth' explanation for what is going on.

ghenessa said...

Even if you don’t believe in the secret law of attraction you get what you dominate your mind with.

Vision board

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kakaboo said...

Actually, doesn't anyone find it weird that just by not believing in the LOA itself is actually an application of the LOA itself? :)

Such a contradiction indeed..

Blessings

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