Or, I thought about calling this “Beyond the Valley of the Secret”… so much as been written about “The Secret” and the “real way” to use it that I hesitated to reference The Secret in the title, but then I thought, “What the heck? This really is about using the Law of Attraction in a more effective manner.”
So today we look at one of the big reasons why the Law of Attraction seems not to work for people when they are first introduced to it and then link it to some of the major points made in the new book “”Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard.” Along the way, I trust you will gain some insights you can use.
Just Change Your Thinking?
Of course, the Secret or the Law of Attraction is about the power of our thoughts… that what we think and believe we tend to manifest in our lives… our outward reality is a reflection of our inner consciousness. Sounds pretty simple, and the movie and book “The Secret” did tend to oversimplify it. Hence it seems, that a whole cottage industry has sprung up around trying to explain it better.
Although I believe there are several key aspects to the Law of Attraction that were not adequately addressed by the movie, we are simply going to look at one of them today….that is, the misbelief that all I have to do is to change my conscious thoughts and my outer world will immediately change as well. This is usually stated as “change your thinking, change your life.” That statement is actually true, but we really need to define the word “thinking”.
What is “Thinking”?
Philosopher Christian de Quincy in his recent book, “Consciousness from Zombies to Angels” pondered why so many wise and insightful people proclaim that “thought creates reality or experience of reality.” Ultimately he determined that when many people use the word “thought”, they are using it as a catchall for what otherwise they mean by “consciousness”.
de Quincy points out that not all consciousness is captured in our concept of “thought”, that a great deal of thought goes on “beyond the inquisitive eye of the ego.” In other words, a lot of our consciousness is unconscious. He says that other aspects of consciousness include feeling, intuition, intention and volition. Therefore, if we only change our conscious thoughts without truly changing the subconscious aspects of our consciousness, then we truly didn’t “change our thinking.” I can go around affirming all day in my conscious thoughts that I am changing some aspect of my life, but if in my gut I don’t truly believe it, I’m not going to see any outer change.
So if we truly want to “change our thinking” then we must really “change our consciousness.” According to de Quincy, the two core elements of consciousness are “knowing” (consisting of our experience and awareness) and “choice” (consisting of our intention and volition). He says, “knowing or experience guides and informs our action; choice or intention, initiates and transforms it”.
Mystic Ernest Holmes said much the same thing when he described thought as “the movement of consciousness.” He went on to define consciousness as consisting of both an objective mental awareness and a subjective consciousness, which contained the creative ability or law. Hence when he said “change your thinking” , he was telling us to redirect the total movement or consciousness, both our conscious thoughts as well as our feelings and emotions. The greater degree to which we could “feel” the power of our thoughts, the more powerful they were.
The Rider and the Elephant
Chip Heath and Dan Heath in their book “Switch” provide some great insights on how to effectuate change. Although the book doesn’t reference the Law of Attraction per se, as both really are about “change”, we can see some correlations.
Borrowing a concept created by Jonathan Haidt, in his book “The Happiness Hypothesis”, the Heaths advise us that one of the most important things we can do to implement change is to align our “Rider” and our “Elephant”. Our Rider is our rational conscious mind, our intellect. Our Elephant is our emotions and feelings.
They tell us, “perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. The Rider’s control is precarious, because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Any time the 6-ton Elephant and the Rider disagree about which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose.”
We can have our intellect and conscious mind convince ourselves that we are going to make a change, but if our emotions are truly not on board with the change, then they have a tendency to derail it. The Heaths tell us that to truly change things, we must appeal both to our Rider and our Elephant… if we only appeal to our Rider, we will have direction without motivation. They tell us that “once you break through to feeling, though, things change.”
The key point, I hope you get from this discussion is that to truly effectuate change in your life.. to effectively use The Secret or the Law of Attraction….when you hear the phrase “change your thinking”… you need to change your entire consciousness, which consist of both your conscious thoughts and your subconscious feelings and emotions…. You need to align both the head and the heart… both your Rider and your Elephant need to be going in the same direction.
And it can’t be stressed too much, once you align your thoughts and feelings you also need to act in alignment with that intention. You need to set about in the outer world, doing whatever you can that takes you in the direction of your intentions. This relates to the Heath’s third key concept of change, which they call “shape the path” which we will look at later.
Over the next few days, I intend to review some of the Heaths’ advice on how to change things especially as it relates to our bridging us to a future that works for everyone. In that review, we will also look at some techniques on how we can bring our head and heart together.
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!