What’s now known as ‘the secret’ or ‘the law of attraction’ is a way of dealing with life that I’ve been familiar with for years now. That’s because we get all sorts of spiritual people within the Theosophical Society and among some of them this ‘secret’ has been practice for decades at least.
The Law of Attraction simply states that what happens to each of us has been ‘attracted’ to us by our actions, thoughts and feelings. In that context I’ve known people who ‘attracted’ a space to park their car near to where they needed to be. I’ve heard of people who were so confident in their attraction powers that they did not call a cab to the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden but just took the first one to arrive. This would leave the person who had actually called for one to call for another (and having to wait an extra half hour at least).
I’ve tried this approach. I would visualize myself a cab waiting at the station as I arrived. I found the practice tiring and trivial. After all – there are busses there and who am I to ask for that cab? I can wait a half hour…
For real theosophists the law of attraction, when it works, works within the boundaries of the law of karma. The law of karma is actually pretty identical to the secret, except that it works across centuries and lives. That is: what I developed in previous lives has its effects even now. Positively for instance: the talents I have in this life are the results of ultimately work in this direction in previous lives. The genetics are just the way this works out: I was born to parents who were in the position to give me the genes necessary to express those talents. I’ve written about the law of karma before, so I’m not going to go into too much detail.
The law of Attraction is based on a much simpler idea: in order to achieve anything in life (whether it’s happiness, a husband, wealth or a parking spot) you have to really want it. You have to make sure you believe you deserve it. You have to do everything to show the universe you are serious about this. One example: in order to get yourself a life partner you have to make sure you have room in your life and your home for that partner. So the advice is to go to the trouble of keeping his side of the bed empty. Have room in your bathroom for his toothpaste etc.
This is actually good psychological advice. There are several issues though. First off: most people really don’t know just what they want all that well. Secondly: do you really want your own desires to rule your life?
Perhaps most importantly: do you really want to take responsibility for the disasters in your life? What if your partner comes down with cancer. Do you really want to blame him for that? Do you really want to blame yourself for deciding to get involved with someone who was going to have cancer? More practical and healthy is just to buckle up, deal with the cancer and the pain of all that and just do the best you can. Blaming people for their sorrows isn’t going to help either them or yourself be better people.
On the plus side: the law of attraction makes it very clear that in order to receive you have to give. Example from the Oprah show: someone was in a lot of debt and determined to get out of it. She started giving to charity more and lo and behold, a new job came along and everything turned out swell.
Similarly: the law says that one has to be grateful for what one has before one can get more. This is a bit weird though: gratitude as a tool for getting more than you have? Yet that’s the kind of affirmations people are making.
Still – I have no problem with people donating more to well chosen charities or being more grateful for what they’ve got. After all – the secret is mostly believed in by people in the US and even though there’s an economic crisis going on: people in the US often have more stuff and food than they actually use. So some gratitude is in order.
I think that’s enough ranting for today.