Let’s say an unsuspecting person has a life-changing experience in self-realization. That person might become a respected leader or teacher. Entire branches of religions may develop from the teachings of this one person.
As if often the case, people feel there’s some truth to the religion but ultimately, the religion fails to grasp the full, original experience. As time goes on, the religion can lead mass amounts of people even further away from the original experience which started it all.
We have a similar case with the Law of Attraction which has turned into a religious beast of marketing that preys on people’s sense of lack, unmet basic needs, and the terrible feeling of powerlessness. LOA promises you can control reality and obtain anything you want if you think positive thoughts, feel it has already occurred, and think about it constantly.
Each of these claims are obvious red flags to the seasoned observer.
Promoters of LOA such as Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret,’ Norman Vincent Peale’s ‘The Power of Positive Thinking,’ Jim Carrey, a comedian actor, channeler Esther Hicks, biologist Bruce Lipton, and others have made LOA wildly popular.
It’s said that the ‘Law of Attraction’ may have grown out of the teachings of Phineas Quimby in the 19th century as well as Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky, and Prentice Mulford’s essay “The Law of Success.” Or maybe even Jesus started it. Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
No matter who started it or who has contributed to it, LOA has permeated all of our lives from psychiatric and psychological treatment, physical healing protocols, popular business and marketing strategies, “the latest scientific study” for “matching the right frequency,” religious teachings, inspirational quotes, self-help gurus, and even so-called enlightenment teachings.
Criticizers of LOA say that the premise assumes so much personal responsibility for your reality that assaults, fatal disease, and accidents become entirely your own fault.
But the inherent problem of LOA is the very enticing belief that you can control reality as well as your mind. Of course, everybody wants to rule the world, so the marketing opportunity is nothing new. It simply found a new package with new sparkly bows and ribbons. But this belief system is based on exactly zero scientific evidence (not even quantum physics) and even less support from the laws of metaphysics or esoteric teachings of zen or conscious awareness.
You can test the ‘like attracts like’ claim yourself. You might notice that you attract all different kinds of things and people into your life at the same time. When that bad thing happened, it turned out to also be a good thing, and vice versa.
Have you ever seen anyone who has been able to attract only positive experiences without their head in the clouds? Have you ever seen anyone keep their loved ones from dying or keep natural disasters from occurring?
However, there is some truth to LOA. That truth has only been widely misunderstood and propagated by informally conducted LOA branches of indoctrinated beliefs.
What part of it is true? That can’t be extricated into any philosophy, principle, teaching, or doctrine because what we call ‘truth’ can only be known through dynamic experience according to every unique life event in every unique passing moment.
We don’t generally like that answer, because it requires that we give up perceptions of control. Yet there is no actual control button to the universe AND there’s no lack of control either. Reality functions beyond concepts of control or lack thereof, but it requires a surrender of programmed beliefs to your internal faculties and intuitive intelligence to really get that.
Trying to control the mind or direct your thoughts can only take you in the opposite direction of that necessary surrender.
In other words, when you let go of the idea that you can control reality, you can then get in touch with reality. Reality just so happens to be the best place to be, even with all of its short-lived pain and subtle pleasantries, because all prolonged suffering occurs from delusion or from trying to work AGAINST reality.
What happens if you jump off a cliff? Can you just believe you will survive? What happens if you eat junk food? Can you live a long, disease-free life by simply believing you will? What happens when you sacrifice your soul to a job in order to get that shiny fast car? We all know what happens, which is why the vast majority of people are suffering from a chronic low grade lack of enthusiasm, broken relationships, financial debt, mental illness, disorders, or physical disease. That’s a WAKE UP call to reality after living under a delusion.
Reality is the state where you are fully surrendered to, or aligned with yourself, others, and the universe. Reality is the perfect harmony of opposites and friction in which everything exists. Reality goes beyond fast cars, caviar, loads of money in the bank, all the sex you want, and miracle cures – because ALL of those things also have a downside. That’s the law of polarity. You can’t have one thing without its opposite. You can’t have happiness without sadness because one doesn’t exist without a contrast to make it what it is.
To get BEYOND happiness and its attached partner called sadness, what you really want is what Buddha called ‘the right response that happens in the right way at the right time, in the right place with the right people. You’re looking for ALIGNMENT with reality rather than all the so-called nice things in life. Harmonious alignment is the real nirvana which is always present no matter how much money, sex and romance is in your life and even if you have none at all.
You CAN create your reality with your thoughts in a sense. If you believe hard enough that the earth is flat, you can start bending reality with all kinds of mental gymnastics to support that belief. Same with becoming beautiful or healthy or famous. You can bend reality all you want in your own mind. But you are only creating an ILLUSORY reality. And that’s where all suffering occurs, especially when you find out that you may not be as healthy, beautiful, rich, and famous as you believed.
How do you reach nirvana or that genuine alignment with self, the universe, and reality? That is something I cannot answer except with a story:
One day I was doing my usual yoga poses. I intuitively knew that yoga is a ‘force’ that goes beyond the asanas (poses), but I had never experienced that force. I decided to give up trying to experience that force, because it just wasn’t happening for me. I also stopped doing yoga poses the way I was taught. Instead, I relaxed, listened to my body and tried different angles and stretches until I tapped into JUST the right position that felt good and right to MY body.
Ahhh… all of a sudden, yoga felt SO good, almost orgasmic. It felt as though the entire geometry of my mind and body had locked into place with the geometry of existence itself. I could feel the whole universe swirling within me. Everything finally made sense. I never even needed yoga or yoga poses. I only needed some life experience – ANY life experience. I could be at perfect, blissful rest, simply enjoying the present experience as long as I fully surrendered to my true self and ‘what is.’
We have all experienced this alignment whether it’s the runner’s high, the artist’s ‘zone,’ being fully emerged in a project, that rare, honest connection with another person, singing at JUST the right note, playing spontaneously on a playground…. These are all moments of enlightenment or nirvana. These are all moments of the real reality.
Maybe this is what LOA originally intended, but somehow found itself way off course, even to the point of unintended manipulative teachings.
Alignment with reality – the real bliss – doesn’t need you to believe in it as hard as you can. Reality only needs you to be AWARE of it and accepting of the facts. Reality simply is, no matter WHAT you believe. Reality needs you to let go of belief and perceptions of control, and fully surrender to your own true heart according to ‘what is.’ It might feel a little scary walking into the unknown like that, but you’ll be glad you did.