Preachers, speakers, authors and movies have been expounding upon the virtues of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction for decades now. Yet, people are still stuck in negative self-talk, pessimism and low self-esteem – as well as the negative results that go along with that.
Why is that? Do we need to hear the message one more time? Have we failed at applying it? Do we know how it works but somehow want to stay stuck in negativity? Or have we tried the Law of Attraction and it just doesn’t work? What’s going on?
I started writing about this subject last night, and the more I write, the more complicated my answers get. I realize now that this will end up being a series rather than a single post. (And here is a previous post related to the Law of Attraction.)
A quick overview on the “Law of Attraction” for those who don’t know what I’m blabbering about: The concept has evolved over time, but the basic idea has been around at least since the time of Christ. (Back then it was called “faith.”) The term “Law of Attraction” first started showing up about 100 years ago, although some authors have tried to claim ownership of it since then.
The basic idea is deceptively simple: “What you think about, you bring about.” Not only thinking about it, of course, but investing the goal with strong feelings and beliefs will hurry its coming. This works for positive outcomes, as well as for negative outcomes that we worry about and don’t want.
Variations on the theme include:
- It’s not so much what you think about as what you feel strongly about (Lynn Grabhorn)
- It’s a combination of Thought, Will, Gratitude and Action (among others). Missing one of these will result in failure (The Science of Getting Rich, by Wallace Wattles)
- Thoughts –> Beliefs –> Actions –> World’s Response –> Results (Teresa de Grosbois, Calgary speaker and author)
Sorry to cut this short, but it’s bedtime, and there’s no way I’m going to wrap this up before I fall asleep. I will continue this series tomorrow. I have drafted some ideas about how we fail at the Law of Attraction, and why. It’s not ready to post, though.
Meanwhile, I’m sure there are people out there in Internet-Land who know more than I do about the subject. Please leave your comments below. You may also post links to articles, as long as you’re not too grotesquely spammy about it. I’d love to hear from you.
(And if you can’t find the Comments box, it hides sometimes; click on “Leave a comment” or on “x# Comments” whichever shows up.)
I have so much to say on this subject. I won’t hardly scratch the surface here.
I like that you reference Grabhorn and Wattles. Instead of the usual au courant poster children for the LoA.
I think this isn’t a subject that can be handled very effectively in North America. In fact, I think this is about the worst place in the world to believe we can grapple with something as intangible and tenuous as the LAW of Attraction. Most of us are so busy noticing how amazing Jerri looks with makeup on after she’s been voted off the island we can hardly even begin to hear what our dear hearts might have wanted in the first place.
Schools indoctrinate us … let me rephrase that … schools batter out of our very consciousness any remnant shred of what we might be authentically attracted to, (whether the attraction is to a BEingness, a Doing experience or a Having thing) the question of, can we ACTUALLY attract what we think about? is so far down on the totem pole of cognizance it’s really quite buried underground. And multi-national corporations carry on the smokescreen where schools leave off … let me rephrase that … multi-national corporations are in bed with schools all together systemically indoctrinating the herd into compliant, perpetually dissatisfied, dissassociated drones who want to consume Stuff.
Sage LoA advocates of our place and time promise, “focus your energy and attention on what you want”, clear the negative beliefs, unearth the hidden heart’s desire — and you shall have it! What a crock! We’re so bloody sold on the newest I-app we wouldn’t know we actually want to be this county’s best butter churner if the paddle of the bloody churner hit us on the head!
God I could go on. To attempt to encapsulate the gist of my little rant, what I’m trying to say is that, CAN we attract what we want, (is this actually a LAW?) is so far secondary or tertiary to the muddle of anything resembling a remotest sense of what it is we might actually authentically want in the first place that the former question is rendered moot. We’re putting our attention on the wrong idea.
It’s not like other laws. We’re GOING to walk on this earth, regardless of whether we believe in the law of gravity or not. (Well, and I could cite … oh, nevermind, tangenting.) Are we GOING to attract what our energy is focussed on? Who can say?! When was the last time you had a lucid thought absolutely devoid of the salesman’s pitch of what you actually want? Oh, right, you were in your mother’s womb.
Thank you, Cindy. I love it! Your comments hit home for me. You’re right, it’s not just about HOW to make the Law of Attraction work, or whether it works, but, What do I really want in the first place, separated out from the demands of the world around me? That topic came up in my notes as I journaled about the subject. It definitely deserves more attention.
I invested about a year into a little personal development program a couple years ago. I believe you’re familiar with it too. It took me about two years! to finally realize and admit — I don’t actually agree! with a lot of what is packaged as “abundance” in that course … and particularly by the grand poobah of that course! Honestly, I’m just starting to emerge into my own authentic knowing that, I don’t want that.
This is what I mean when I say we have no bloody idea. I have a friend who is in a similar situation. In his country of origin, the kind of ‘abundance’ thinking that, quite frankly, I suspect is at the heart of all the uber popular law of attraction rhetoric of our place and time, simply wasn’t a part of the national culture. He found it odd, this North American obsession with getting stuff, having stuff, needing stuff when he first landed on our greener pastures. And then spent many years being indoctrinated into the North American way. Slowly, insidiously, invisibly, the Millionaire Mind context eroded his sense of connection to his own authentic Joy to such a point as he’d actually, legitimately forgotten it altogether. And the result? He felt like a loser here. He felt he’d failed. Those closest to him, before I met him, supported that belief, and, quite bluntly, left him in the dust to go pursue their own disconnected substitutions for Joy. And in the end, nobody’s happy, everyone’s in debt, and potentially nurturing human connections are obliterated.
I think there is a far more interesting and important question than, is the law of attraction real? Can I, like The Secret promises me, visualize myself in the seat of a Jag, make a few four year old revving engine noises, and voila, create its appearance out of the powerful will of my own strength in engaging the law of attraction? I think that question is, what is motivating me to engage it, this LoA? Have I bought into the marketer’s psychological thriller? What is the experience I am believing I will feel behind the wheel of this car, boat, Hummer? Why do I feel that experience matters? What is missing from my Now that is motivating me to chase Later?
I’ve watched the rise of the LoA phenomenon. Mostly, I don’t like where it came from. Mostly, I see a very, very few capitalizing their own greed at the hands of the very, very many who have been duped out of their own lives.
I don’t want. I’m old enough to have collected just about everything I think I need. Stuff like a really good set of knives, (which I’ve had for 20 years, and will never in my lifetime have to replace). Good mixing bowls. My 12 string Ovation. When I line it up like that, I see, at 42, I’ve already had most of what I really think is important for the better part of a decade or two.
It’s a real humbling realization though, to wake up and say, what the fuck happened to my last two years? What the fuck have I engaged in chasing for the last twenty? I’m sad for the time I’ve lost pondering my rightful share of Things to attract. Happily, there’s still time to ditch the trend-du-jour, and settle in for my share of all that is authentically rightfully mine. Which, it turns out, are things you can’t see, can’t touch, can’t commodify. Back to the drawing board of me. Not many people are pleased with me.
But some are. And they’re enough.
Here’s a dissenting opinion on the positive thinking dogma, which I found interesting:
Hey, Cindy, I love your comments. “What is missing from my Now that is motivating me to chase Later?” That nails it.
I recommend starting here: Abraham-Hicks & Law of Attraction
You can get their CD’s from them. First one’s FREE:
Ross: Thanks for the tip on the Hicks CD’s.
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