Over the past few years, there has been a lot mentioned about the “law of attraction” to the point of making it a cheesy, fluffy, and often annoying concept.
The law of attraction is a funny thing; it’s been around since man developed a desire to find depth, wholeness and inner peace. It’s such a simple thing that its own simplicity is its pitfall for people who live trapped in the complex labyrinth of the mind. Eventually, we stop paying attention to it. Then after a while, someone “rediscovers” this secret to happiness and everyone gets excited about it until it’s old news and gets forgotten again.
Each recent generation has had its own popular version of the “law of attraction”: from Napoleon Hill’s post-great depression book “Think and Grow Rich,” Norman Vincent Peale’s post-WWII book “Power of Positive Thinking,” to Tony Robbins’ baby boomers book “Unleash the Giant Within,” and of course Rhonda Byrne’s social media generation book “The Secret.”
Because a lot of my writing here centers around becoming aware of the manifestations of the unconscious mind, today I’ll share with you my own understanding of the law of attraction. First, let me start off by saying that the law of attraction is really just another phrase for the art of manifestation.
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What is the Art of Manifestation?
The ancient Greeks had an interesting word “Thaumaturgy,” which is derived from the words thaumu (“miracle”) and ergon (“work”), or “miracle worker.” Thaumaturgy was the art and science of changing aspects of the external world by changing our psyches in some way.
The art of manifestation basically means manifesting your intentions, or willing your desires to draw or attract different things towards you. In general, people have two different approaches towards reality:
- Those who believe that the universe (“The external world”) is bound to do its own thing, as determined by its own internal laws, regardless of what you think about it or intend for it to do.
- Those who believe that the course of the universe is altered by one’s perceptions; by their thoughts about it and their intentions for it.
In my understanding neither of these perceptions is true. They both depend heavily on something known as the Cartesian frame of reference, or the perception that our minds are in fact distinct and separate from our bodies, and therefore the material dimension of the external universe.
In other words, if our minds are separate from external reality, then we should be able to alter reality by consciously causing changes to it.
The main problem with this approach is that we fail to address the multi-leveled nature of reality. At higher levels of consciousness (beyond our illusory concept of a separate “self”), the whole idea of manifesting becomes increasingly irrelevant.
One of the biggest names in physics, Dr. John Wheeler, tried to answer one of the biggest question of all: why does the universe even exist? In his work he found that he couldn’t escape the conclusion that for the universe to even exist, something was required to observe it. Consciousness and the universe were fundamentally interrelated. You couldn’t have one without the other.
This observation completely destroys the Cartesian perception that the mind is separate from matter and with it the notion of division of any sort becomes increasingly difficult to uphold. The greater our understanding that everything is interconnected, the more difficult the idea of “creating your reality” becomes because even our will is a manifestation of this interconnection.
In the 1980’s Benjamin Libet conducted a set of experiments (which have been repeated many times since) in which he demonstrated that the brain’s motor cortex initiates the actions well before the “I” is even made aware of them and well before they are performed. This experiment made it abundantly clear that our “willing” or desire to do something is an illusion manufactured by the mind, and it is in fact our unconscious mind that is in control.
Imagine if you had to consciously “will” every action in your daily life; every muscle, ligament and tendon, every neurochemical to mix and initiate the motion in the motor cortex, and then synchronize how everything flexed, turned, and twisted. Imagine if you had to consciously coordinate the supporting muscles, blood, digestion of the food, movement of glucose and oxygen to feed the muscle and then burn it, to generate the energy for the action … you’d be paralyzed!
This all occurs at an unconscious level beyond our control, the same unconscious that is bridged to the Spirit, the collective consciousness.
How Does the Law of Attraction Work?
The power behind the law of attraction is centered in our psychic unity. In other words, how effective the law of attraction truly is relies entirely on how much interference from the unconscious mind we experience.
The popular analogy of an iceberg to illustrate the psych can be applied here. An iceberg generally has 10% of its entire mass floating on the surface (similar to our conscious minds) while the other 90% of it is underwater (like our unconscious minds). If 10% of “you” wants to succeed in a romantic relationship but the other 90% of you is self-sabotaging this desire unconsciously, then you won’t go very far.
Depending on the path of your inner work journey, you will experience the law of attraction in two different ways. Those who are following a journey toward discovering authentic selves will experience manifestation reflected in the external changes that come as a result of working through core wounds, beliefs and soul loss. Their internal work will seem to be reflected in their external world which will make it seem like things are being attracted into their lives.
For others whose journeys are focused towards getting in touch with their “higher selves,” the manifestations will shape themselves as cooperation from the unconscious mind. In other words, the law of attraction will not be perceived so much as a bridging between us and “that” as an awareness of the already established connection that was always there to begin with.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what path is taken so long as we’re aware of the lessons in responsibility and accountability for our actions that are being taught.
3 Essential Principles of the Law of Attraction
To be accountable and to be responsible are the two ultimate lessons of the law of attraction. The reality is that we influence the external world just as much as the external world influences us.
It’s ironic that so many valuable spiritual concepts so frequently end up being used as ways to avoid and escape responsibility when in fact it’s the opposite they are trying to teach: that there is no magical wand that can change things, that we don’t have any super powers that can provide us with a comfortable sense of control over the external world, and that there aren’t superior beings out there protecting us from evil.
The law of attraction isn’t anything new, and as I mentioned before it’s often overlooked and forgotten because of its essential simplicity. The basis of it can be found in many holy scriptures in one way or another commonly known as the “Golden Rule”:
Hinduism: This is the sum of Dharma (Order): Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. ~ Mahabharata 5:1517
Christianity: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. ~ Matthew 7:12 (KJV)
Confucianism: Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence. ~ Mencius VII.A.4
Judaism: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. ~ Leviticus 19:18
Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would ﬁnd hurtful. ~ Udana-Varga 5:18
Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. ~ T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien
To me the Golden Rule expresses the underlying reality that everything is connected and all beings are interdependent.
Here are some of the most important principles that make the Law of Attraction such a powerful tool:
1) Whatever we focus on expands.
As human beings who are constantly tormented by thoughts in our minds and external stimulation, our conscious attention is almost like a tunnel vision.
When we focus on what’s wrong in our lives, we’ll unconsciously start finding ways to reaffirm our belief that it’s true. When we focus on what is right, we start growing in confidence and cultivating a lighter energy within.
2) What we manifest, we embody.
In order to acquire what we are manifesting, we must become what we wish to acquire. For example, if you want to receive more love in your life, you must begin by loving yourself so you can begin giving more love to others.
Becoming more loving, brings us more love. Similarly if you’re manifesting fear of a situation, then you become afraid even by the anticipation of fear.
3) What we embody, we attract.
Most of my experience with energy work comes down to a disharmonious play of energies within a person. If you are to understand the world and all phenomena as “energy” that has adopted some form in order to manifest itself, then this includes ourselves.
In the Incan tradition we perceive energies to have weight, that is, you can carry heavy negative energies (Hucha) or lighter positive energies (Sami). Only humans create heavy energies as all other living energy exists in a perfect harmony and reciprocity (Ayni) with existence because they don’t perceive themselves as separate from it.
If you are to imagine a heavy object in the center of a trampoline and then someone placing a bowling ball on one corner of the trampoline, the ball will roll towards the center where the other heavy object is. The same is true when it comes to energy and nature. Heavy negative energy attracts other heavy negative energy, while those who embody lighter energy will “flow” through life without much resistance.
This doesn’t mean being shortsighted and avoiding or rejecting “negative” aspects within us such as our Shadow Selves. What embodying lighter energy means is that first we must become aware of all our negative aspects in order to fully self-accept them to go beyond them. In the analogy above, this means grabbing the bowling ball in our hands so our weight is balanced before we decide to jump.
I hope this exploration of the Law of Attraction has been thought-provoking. What are your thoughts? Let me know below.