Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Difference Between Law of Attraction and Wishful Thinking (Part One)

A Case Study in Career Success and Suicide Starring Justin Bieber.

During a recent diner with my friend Fran Gallaher, an incredibly talented intuitive and executive coach (she specializes in helping highly-sensitive Empaths navigate the minefields of the marketplace), I found myself climbing on my philosophical pedestal and ranting to Fran about the difference between the recently popularized Law of Attraction and good old-fashioned Wishful Thinking. 

Now, those who know me will tell you it’s not big news that I found myself philosophically ranting (I spend a lot of time by myself, so tend to get carried away when I have a receptive audience), but rather that the receptive audience in this case was interested (or polite) enough to request that I write a blog post about this distinction. 

So this one’s for Fran, and also for all you other metaphysical fans who are re-inventing a brand while contemplating the spiritual laws of success and how they influence a career. 

What IS the difference between good “Law of Attraction” energy and weak wishful or “magical” thinking?

If you’re a person whose open-minded enough—or perhaps just temporarily desperate enough—to experiment with your own consciousness technology, you’ve probably noticed that there are times when you set an intention and see it come true almost immediately, and others when you find yourself waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for that desired result to manifest. 

Still waiting.  Any day now you’ll meet your dream man during your wildly successful book tour, while wearing your size 4 Prada dress.  Any. Day. Now.

There’s also some even worse times when you get a good positive vibe going about something (or so you believe) and what actually happens in the real world is pretty much its exact opposite—your dog dies, your house burns down, and the IRS sends investigators to see if it was you or your dog who’s guilty of arson.

This last thing is pretty much a summary of the last year of a good friend of mine.  She knows who she is, and if I exaggerate, I don’t do so by much.  The house did burn down.

My point is not that my friend did something wrong or wishful with her thinking, and so her house burned down as a result.  Her house burnt down because there were wildfires and her house was in the path. 

No, my point is that A) This consciousness stuff can be confusing and also that B) Sometimes shit just goes down and it's tragic and we wonder what in God's name we did to deserve our current results.  Really, Universe? Really?

(By the way, if you're a consciousness newbie--or a consciousness veteran who's gotten bitter through a bad run--please don't greet your friends' tragedies with empowering explanations about how their crappy energy attracted this dire thing.  No.  Give them your empathy and compassion and admit that what happened to them was terrible.  You and they can search for meaning at a later date).

So, with all this potential confusion, how do you tell whether you’re practicing good Law of Attraction vibes or just good old wishful thinking?

The short answer:  You don’t necessarily attract what you want.  You just attract more and more and more of What You Are.  Of course, “What You Are” can always change, and you have a lot of say in the matter.

The tricky thing about Law of Attraction is that the switch is always on.  So if you manage a couple nice interludes of Happy Thoughts for 30 seconds, interspersed with hours and hours of worry, fear, arrogance, anger, boredom, rigidity, struggle, etc., you will continue to attract people, situations, and responses that agree with your predominant and habitual way of being. 

Which doesn’t mean, by the way, that those 30 seconds of happy thoughts are a complete waste of time.  It just means that you will need to grow and expand those interludes until you have MORE authentic joy, excitement, aliveness, empathy, inspiration, confidence, etc. 

Until THOSE happier ways of responding become your predominant/habitual way of being, and you can save up your extremely worthwhile and valid anger, fear, shame, and sadness for appropriate occasions when you need them and they are the perfect emotions to have and express.  If you’ve read this blog before you know how I feel about Positive Thinking totalitarianism.

Wishful thinking is when you expect something drastic to change in the outside world without being willing to change very much internally.  It’s when you may talk a good game, try to sound positive, but your real feelings, your real actions, tell a different story—and still, you expect that somehow “everything will work out.” 

Well yes, in one sense, “everything” will, but don’t expect the “working out” to look too much different from what you’ve seen in the recent past.

Using Law of Attraction to your benefit is when you are wiling to change, when you are willing to become “good with money,” or “a good student,” or “lucky in love,” or “rich beyond reason,” and you understand that this change may take some serious attention, study, practice—whatever it takes for you to learn something new with an open mind and heart. 

And then, whatever time it takes for you to share that new version of your being with others.

As I was considering how to illustrate the difference between these two easily confused ontological approaches, I saw a story on the news (and by “news,” I mean those diabolical geniuses at E! News) that President Obama had received a petition signed by 273,000 Americans asking for the deportation of teenage pop star Justin Bieber.

Eureka! So perfect. 

Thank you to the Biebs for coming across the screen of my consciousness at the most marvelous time to demonstrate this difference.

Now.  The serious and high-minded among you may not like my mixing of serious philosophy with low pop culture such as is represented by Justin Bieber, but fortunately, Rhonda Byrne of The Secret has already paved my way in bringing metaphysics to the masses in a prepackaged form. 

Also, the great thing about metaphysics, and Law of Attraction, and Ways of the Universe in general, is that they are no respecter of taste or persons. 

The whole point is that this law, like gravity, works for or against everybody, and no one gets to opt out.  Both you, and me, and Justin Bieber must deal with the fact that we have “an energy” that attracts certain other compatible energies, and if we don’t like what’s manifesting in reality, it’s up to us to make a significant internal switch.

If you’re intrigued, or bored, or just frustrated enough by your own career’s failure to take off in post-Millennial magnificence, please tune in tomorrow for Part Two of this topic.

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