By now most people know about the law of attraction, based upon the popularity of the movie and book “The Secret” which discuss it in detail. Many long-time students of metaphysics were pleased to see how the movie and the book generated interest in the concept they have long studied. Yet many of us felt that the movie had two basic limitations. One it focused too much on creating material wealth over the true spiritual purpose of the law (which will discuss another time). Secondly, it glossed over certain aspects of the law that when not understood can lead to failure and disillusionment with its truth. My goal in the next few paragraphs is to simplify the law of attraction as well as to correct some of its misunderstandings. I acknowledge at the beginning that some will read this and think I, too, have oversimplified it altogether.
Let’s begin by considering that the universe is made up of energy and matter, which are interchangeable with one another and both respond to certain laws. Science shows that as far back as a few milliseconds after the Big Bang energy, matter and these laws were in existence. Science and its materialistic approach tends to limit its study to laws such as gravity that can be easily seen and measured. Other laws such as the law of attraction have nuances to them (such as involving such things as “consciousness” which are either denied or misunderstood from the materialistic standpoint..a subject we will discuss another day) that science either dismisses them out of hand or has trouble proving their truth.
Simply stated, the law of attraction says that what we tend to think about manifests in the material world. We often hear the phrase “thoughts are things.” Hence, a beginning student of the law of attraction would be led to believe that so long as they “think” something enough they will see it come about in their lives. Sometimes that happens, and validates the law. Other times, they don’t get what they think and end up thinking the law is a of bunch of bunk.
Generally speaking, there’s two reasons why people don’t get what they consciously think. The first is that we must not only think something consistently, but we must act and speak in a manner that is in alignment with what we think. We can affirm and affirm and affirm till we’re blue in the face, but if at the same time we are acting in a manner that is inconsistent with our affirmations then we will never see any manifestation. If you are thinking and affirming that a new and wonderful relationship is flowing into your life yet you stay at home and never put yourself out where you can be open to being a friend to other people, than you will never see the manifestation of relationships that may be waiting for you. There’s the old joke that you can affirm to win the lottery, but you first have to buy a ticket.
The second reason why we may not see a manifestation of our thoughts (and one that is most frequently misunderstood) is because thoughts have two parts to them. The first part is that of which we are consciously aware. This is the part of consciousness we are using each day when we’re “trying” to use the law of attraction by our affirmations. The second part of our thoughts are those that are below the level of awareness. We have developed patterns of thinking throughout our lives that have become so ingrained that we don’t often know they exist. These “thoughts” said below the level of awareness, and are the source of our beliefs, generate our habits and lead to our emotions. Simply stated, if we consciously think one thing, but subconsciously believe another then we will not see the desires of our conscious thoughts.
Let’s take an advanced metaphysics aside for a moment…author and philosopher Christian de Quincy in his recent book “Consciousness from Zombies to Angels” challenges the notion that thoughts create our reality. However he goes on to add that may be a matter of semantics. He thinks that when people use the word “thought” in this context what they are really talking about is “consciousness”. He points out that “a great deal of consciousness does on beyond the inquisitive eye of the ego.” Although I’ll get into these other aspects of consciousness that he discusses at another time, for now let’s simply consider that when we say “thoughts create our reality” what we are really saying is “consciousness creates our reality” and that consciousness contains a part that is in our awareness and a part that is subjected to our awareness. It is the combination of both aspects of our consciousness that creates our reality. Interestingly, the mystic Ernest Holmes (who frequently taught that thoughts are things) defines “thought” as “the movement of consciousness.” A closer reading of Holmes shows us that he did not intend for us to have such a limited concept of the word thought so as to mean simply conscious thought. Okay, aside over.
So let’s get back to using the law of attraction… imagine for a minute that you have three buckets of thoughts, into which you put your mental energy. These three buckets can be seen as a continuum. At one end of the continuum are those thoughts regarding that which we see is in our life but that we don’t want. Next are those thoughts related to that which is in our lives for which we have appreciation. Finally up the continuum are those thoughts that relate to that which is not currently in our lives but we wish were. Our goal in using the law of attraction is to move our thoughts up that continuum.
Frequently, we look at life and see things out there in the physical world that are less than what we desire. So what are our emotions and beliefs around these events in our lives? If our emotions and beliefs are along the lines of saying “woe is me, look at my life” or something similar (I’ll never do that, I’ve always been fat, I’ll never be rich, etc.) then we tend to direct our mental energy in using the law of attraction into receiving more of the same. However, if we look out at those events that we don’t desire, and can see them consciously and emotionally simply as a way for us to recognize that which we don’t want in life, then we give them less energy, and they tend to go away (or at least lessen). This “turning from conditions” towards higher possibilities is probably the hardest thing to do in using the law of attraction.
One of the best tools for moving our thoughts and emotions away from the apparent limitations of physical life we see in front of us is to focus upon that which is in front of us and for which we feel appreciation. The more we can shift our thoughts into that bucket, where we are appreciative for that which we have right now, the less energy we are putting in the first bucket. And, in that process, the more we are moving up the continuum. Having gratitude for the challenges in our lives, and the lessons they teach us is a great way to move from bucket one that bucket two. We’ll talk more about this at another time, but for now I just encourage you to look around at your life, from everything large and small for which you are happy, and feel appreciation for it. For example, this morning I was appreciative for my hot coffee, my warm house, my clothes, my friends, my wife, my family, my dog, and even the hand railing that I was holding onto complete as I walked up the stairs. Do you get the picture?
The process of feeling appreciative for everything in your life, makes it easier to move your thoughts to the third bucket. Here you visualize your life as it can be. You see in your mind that which may not be in physical form yet, but you know that it’s coming. You release attachment to how it might show up, and just know that it will. You combine your thoughts with your emotions. That is, you couple your “conscious” thoughts with your “subconscious or subjective” thoughts which give rise to your emotions. In a sense you have all parts of your thoughts (or consciousness) in alignment knowing that this positive future is out picturing in your life now. Then you simply allow the law of attraction to work.
I would love to hear your thoughts and questions on this.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!