What if the Law of Attraction isn't true…
This article was published on Tuesday in Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine, and it caused quite a stir…if you would like to comment with your views, enter the conversation and see what others said, read here.
I want to talk about this. Are you up for it. What if I don’t believe the law of attraction is true? What if I think the Law of attraction isn’t true? The thing is, it doesn’t always work. So how can it be called a law and/or a truth? If something is a law, it is supposed to mean that it is true all the time. Unless it isn’t. What if the law of attraction isn’t true at all times? Only sometimes? Would it still be called a Law?
This conversation is an invitation to think for yourself. I have inserted some PROBE lights that you might wish to use to search your own thoughts – and also provided a few of my own strong views on the topic. I am clearly not seeking agreement, but your own inquiry. Oh, you want to know what I want out of the dialogue? Thanks for asking. No, I am not upset but yes, I am HOT on this topic and you might find me using my hands a lot and moving around, but I promise I will try not to use the F word too much.
Here’s what I really want. I really want for us to question everything and to stop making assumptive spiritual and culturally popular choices without really testing them out first on ourselves. Then test the theories out in terms of thinking about others who are suffering. Does it hold up, or no?
As the Chief of Cosmic Cowgirls my job is not to provide answers but questions that make us THINK. We are a tribe of creative beings who are willing to do the heavy lifting of removing veils of hidden assumptive beliefs and patterns so that we each might find our own way and when we find something that works, share it with another. (And fyi, my view is inherently built into the argument and I am not taking a partial view nor will I modify my concepts to accommodate other views in this particular dialogue)
I always say, what is true for the tree frog is true for me. If the tree frog in Northern California is living in poisoned waters, was that the destiny of that specific tree frog distinct from a tree frog in the Amazon? Is it personal at all or is it collective or is it just the chaos or our human story and destiny. Is the tree frog innocent of the crime? Am I? Or are we all implicated except the animals? What do you think? I think the tree frog was caught in the crossfire of ignorant human behavior – but I don’t think it is her froggy destiny, or mine to be poisoned. It may happen, is happening, and was it destiny? Is it really my story? Or the human story? What is true here? Do you know? I think Truth with capital T is as rare as it gets and perhaps the most valuable unavailable resource on the planet.
So is law of attraction true all the time? In both the creating what you want and fearing what you don’t want concepts? Meaning – that if you really want to manifest something, you can make it happen and make your dreams come true….and if you really fear something you are causing it or calling it yourself? So if someone is afraid of getting hit by a car, or raped, or rejected again and again, if it happens, were they responsible for a part or whole of making it happen? I think this: Sometimes, but not all the time. So is it a law or is it a principle of possibility that we attract that which we are focusing on.
What about when a hurricane comes, is that a collective attraction? Would the Native Americans or the people of New Orleans or the orphans of the Sudan say that they caused, in some way the tragedy, personally or collectively? What if there is way more randomness than we think?
I actually abhor the thought our fear calls our fears to become real. And yes, I do mean abhor, though I would rarely use that word in any instance. I don’t believe the universe works like that at all. The Universe feels far more intelligent than that from a vibrational standpoint and would be able to discern a fear from a desire in terms of what to bring into my life. But then, do I think the universe is the great dispenser of gifts – anyway? Is it that personal? Or perhaps it is way less personal than we think. Is the universe and impartial judge of delivering good and bad?
I think whether one believes in God or not can make an impact on our experience of what comes to us as well. I know that in the spiritual tradition I work with, it is expected that hardship will come, and in fact the reality that it comes means that one is on the RIGHT track instead of the wrong track. It is a common thought these days that if things are lining up for you then you are being supported but if they aren’t flowing you should turn back or that you are doing something wrong. I wonder if Martin Luther King would agree that resistance signals a time to turn back. Do you? What do you think the legends of times past would think about hardship verses flow and ease? Think of people you admire greatly and ask yourself what you think their thoughts were when things went wrong in whatever revolution they happened to be heralding. We all love an easeful flow, and yes it is like that a lot, but when it isn’t, what story are you telling yourself?
I remember early in my career trying to make it as an artist, during one very dry spell, a friend said to me: Well it is obvious the universe isn’t supporting you, Shiloh. And I thought to myself – abundance as a reward for good thoughts is not always evidence of being supported by the universe – if that was so, there would be much less of a income disparity amongst our people. Do we really believe that health and wealth are always a result of one soul’s spiritual journey and thoughts – or are there other factors at play? And what about those getting rich off the despair of others as in the case of prostitution and child trafficking. Did that child call that upon themselves through thoughts/family lines/individual karma? If it isn’t true for that child is it true for me? I can create what I want, but meanwhile, they cannot? What is coming up for you? Again, my intent here is to cause you to dig deep in towards what you THINK and to know it and know how to talk about it instead of just accepting someone else’s view including my cardboard sign. What would your cardboard sign say?
Perhaps it comes down to what you think of as ’cause’ – less about what you made it mean after it happened, but more, HOW it got there in the first place.
Perhaps the biggest evidence I have for the law of attraction being BS as a total law is this. I don’t believe in a law of the universe that makes people feel guilty about what they are not able to create in their lives. In short, working with hundreds of women who are in various stages of illness, breakthrough, breakdown, break up and the tyranny of thinking that everything that befalls them is their fault is the most relentless captive yet – way worse than self esteem or the critic on her own. No, this is so invasive it is almost cellular because something within us really wants to believe there is a clear obvious reason for everything and that there are not mistakes and that we are cause – as if that will make us feel better. But it doesn’t. Thinking everything happens for a reason does not make the Mother who lost her baby at birth feel better. Thinking that my high school friend who just died and had to say goodbye to her husband and son was supposed to somehow be a part of either creating that or eliminating that didn’t make her feel better and in didn’t work. There are LOTS of positive, great powerful, self expressed people dying, not from drugs and despair, but from the disease we have created on this planet – so at what point does that become personal instead of collective?Jesus says the truth will set you free.
Gloria Steinem says, yes the truth will set you free but first it is going to piss you off.And what do I say, Truths are true all the time or they aren’t a truth.
I am speaking of TRUTH with a capital T, not personal truths, as in, my truth is… So if one is going to truly explore this conversation in the way that it needs to be explored then we need to examine words like Law/law and Truth/truth to define the context of the conversation we are having.
Which brings me to the next important word: cause. Do you believe that you cause your own illness and tragedy all the time or just some of the time? It might be helpful to think of something that happened to you in the past or is happening, that you just plain wish didn’t happen – even if you were able to make it workable, you are willing to admit to yourself that you wish that didn’t happen. So, do you or don’t you believe that thing happened specifically because of you and your path? Or, might someone or something else be at cause that has nothing to do with you – or do you believe it always has something to do with you if it crosses your path? Or, does it only have something to do with you personally once it has crossed your path, as in, what you made it mean after the fact. We are good at taking hard realities and tying them with a tidy red lesson based bow to rationalize the madness in our lives. But just consider, were you or your life or your karma at ’cause’ for the occurrence or was it perhaps just crossfire or bad juju or demons or collective interference?
Perhaps I have stirred an unwelcome pot. I am known for that, I don’t mind being the one to stir because part of my assignment in life is this: I will not go to sleep on the questions love asks. That means I often talk about stuff that gets me in trouble. Look – I don’t mind law of attraction concepts, I want to manifest as much as the next person. I just don’t want people to act like it is true all the time – I want us to talk about theories that include the end of violence and war and ignorance and lack of self expression, and you know what, those are often hard to talk about with people who think everything happens for a reason. My friend’s puppy that got ran over was not for a reason. It was an accident – why do we need to have ‘no accidents’? Is it our tremendous need for control that we want to feel like we caused everything good and bad so we have an illusion about what we are capable of?
Amongst my closest circle of friends this topic of “attraction” is perpetually in motion as we explore, debunk, try on for size new possible thought forms and how they work and don’t work. Many of us don’t feel we have answers, only more questions. I do feel it is important enough of a topic for us to be discussing it in a very frank up front way as in the sharing and defending of views helps us articulate what we really do think or surrender thoughts that no longer serve. So that we might serve others. I care what I think, not just because of my own beloved brain and heart, but because I am here to serve others and knowing where I stand helps guide those I serve to take their own stands – not mine, but their own. But our collective search lights light up the room for the deep digging works we have to do.
I refuse to look at my friends with cancer as if they caused their illness. With bald head gleaming and glitter on their eyelids, they have done well in surviving and creating a story that makes it possible to not be pissed off all the time. And they are tired of hearing people out loud and under their breath, think of them as having becoming ill because of some thought/fear. What they do about their illness and the story of it, is distinct for the CAUSE of it. If we cannot talk about cause we aren’t even in the realm of truth telling in the first place. The conversation has only barely begun if we aren’t willing to discuss cause.
But do I believe in the power of intention? And of intentional creating? You bet. I also believe in magic and miracles – that isn’t what I am talking about – I am talking about the HEADSET we are using to relate to what is happening in our lives, and how it works, especially the bad stuff. In the painting at the left it reads – It it better that the heart be broken 1000 times than never open at all. The Future is unwritten. It has a glass of red wine spilled in it. On the first date with my now fiance Jonathan he spilled red wine into the painting and I varnished it in there – and gave him some red thread. We didn’t see each other for a year and on our second date he basically asked me to marry him. Was I manifesting that? At some level yes I was hoping to – but did it come because of me? I think it came because of grace, which is a distinctive quality of surrendering to the divine. Did I call on it and dream for it/him to come – yes I did, I am not speaking in ANY way against asking for and knowing what we want and calling on it with all of our might – the question is what are you thinking about the year in between the first two dates? The mind and heart want to make up reasons. I know I sure did. Where any of them true? No one knows, therefore it is not a truth. The future is unwritten. I got lucky this time, and I like to call that luck grace. But really I have no idea. And yes I often imagine it was that red wine and red thread that kept us connected in that long year in between dates.
So. What is fate or destiny? Are we just meaning makers trying to make ourselves feel better about the way things are? Do you think there is real sanity to it all, or is it madness and chaos?
Bad things are happening to good people and good things to bad people all the time. Is there justice in it at all? Do we know? HOW is this all happening anyway? With our earth and peril and our children being trafficked and our dolphins seeking refuge in livable waters we must truly be willing to have conversations that make us move to the edge of our seats. In wonder and awe we should contemplate together, the nature of the universe and the way to bring healing to our world. Might I suggest we do that over a cup of tea, minus any collective or self imposed guilt sandwiches. There are no guilt sandwiches or shame pies served at the Red Thread Cafe. Only cups of steaming inquiry and a fair amount of organic chocolate so the muses don’t abandon us at midnight. As conversations of this nature will often take us late into the night. And, they should. Because if we hope to cause a revolution, and we do, I hope you do too, then we need to speak the unspeakables, be willing to be uncomfortable in our own circles and risk dancing the edge alone as needed.
Now, I know I have barely touched the surface of this very immense topic and I am not meaning for it to be a total view and several of my best friends who read this will be sure to tell me, NO, that isn’t exactly how the law of attractions works according to the best sources on the topic etc… SO that said I am not intending a comprehensive overview. I am opening a dialogue with some points of inquiry. I don’t claim to have the whole story, just working here with the surface popular views of the topic so we can get to the roots.
Here is a quote from Abraham, a very popular source of information about the Law of Attraction.
“You are meant to succeed, and failure should feel bad to you. Life is supposed to go well for you—and when it does not, there is something wrong. But what is wrong is not something that is outside of you over which you have no control. What is wrong is within you—and you do have control. And taking control is not difficult to do once you understand the basis of who-you-are and the basics of the Law of Attraction”
Now, I take exception with part of it. If life doesn’t go well for you, something is wrong. Then our whole day may be filled with a feeling of unworthiness since so many things go wrong all the time. Something going wrong is part of what is normal in a world where the conditions are not pristine – when we are subject to being in the presence of malice and greed right next door. And dare I say, taking control really isn’t that easy – since we are not in control of the air we breath, how can we be in control of how everything goes for us?
Or this one really gets me:
You get the essence of what you think about—whether you want it or not—because Law of Attraction is unerringly consistent—therefore, you are never only telling the story of “how it is now.” You are also telling the future experience that you are creating right now.
I don’t know of anything that is unerring and I don’t believe in a Creator or a Universe that will bring me what I don’t want because I am afraid of getting it. That is not my experience at all – if so, abused children would be creating their own abuse. How could that be so?
So my dear one, if you have hung in there with me this long and you are still at the cafe, come join me for the conversation. Perhaps I am just handing out my famous hot pink permission slips that say –
You are ok right where you are and no you are not responsible for all of your suffering dear one.
And that say: Yes you are right that it can be hard manifesting on the physical plane when you feel sick all the time, let’s just start with one thing, and no, it isn’t your fault. and one that says: You are worthy of all love and goodness, and no it doesn’t always come on time. That is the time to tug on the red thread and reach out, you are not alone.
And this: Mistakes do happen. What we do with them is up to us. And the key is to forgive ourselves and move forward, not make everything mean something when perhaps we just got caught in someone else’s web.
Feeling responsible and at cause for every bad thing that happens to us does not often induce healing. Acknowledging that bad things do sometimes happen to good people through no fault of our own, and then seeking forgiveness for ourselves and others where we are able can create healing after long spells of feeling un-whole and unholy.
This letter is signed from the farthest back seat of the cafe. If you are coming, good, there are a lot more of us than you might think that are interested in having this conversation. I have on my raspberry beret, my Che tee shirt, and my journal and a whole bunch of sharpies. I’ll buy. What’ll you have?
Will I regret hitting post today and sharing this with you. Probably, but I will do it anyway. I desire to be a part of eradicating the guilt that plagues our people who often feel unable to create the lives they want. Not all of us are created equal in the department of what we are able to manifest – and the last thing I want is for the struggling person to also feel unworthy about what they are not able to attract.
In closing I only have a few words of healing for the bad things that happen – forgiveness, acceptance and where acceptance is not possible, resistance.
Chief Laughing Cloud