The world of personal growth is overflowing with advice related to “The Law of Attraction.” At the root of this phenomenon is an empowering principle, that what we are doing on the “inside,” in our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs has a big impact on our life experiences. However, the way this insight has “materialized” has led to several misconceptions that cause people to become frustrated with the whole idea. In this article, we’ll explore three of these misconceptions, their potential pitfalls, and a way to understand this insight in a new and empowering way.
For those unfamiliar with The Law of Attraction, it is usually stated as some version of the idea that “like vibrations tend to attract each other.” This is often espoused as a Law of Nature, like the Law of Gravity, and it is interpreted to apply to how we can manifest what we want in life. For example, if we want to be, do, or have “such and such” we match our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs with that and it will appear in our lives. Let’s look at three myths related to that process.
There are many issues with that simple view of causality, but mostly, it is just oversimplified. It assumes that cause and effect is a linear process with only a few variables that are completely in your control. For example, that the results in your life are caused by your thoughts alone, or by your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and intentions, or some such small set of variables that you can master.
What this simplified, linear view of cause and effect doesn’t take into account is the infinite wealth of variables involved in “what actually happens.” You can begin with what is going on inside you, with what is determining your “present energetic vibration.” You are a tremendously complex web of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, memories, and physical processes, most of which go on beneath your conscious awareness. These combine with an infinite set of variables in the world around you, including everything that is going on with everyone else, all other beings, and the whole universe. This infinitely complex set of variables combine to create what actually happens.
Not only are you not in control of most of these variables, you are not even in the least bit aware of most of them. Fortunately, you don’t need to control all of this to have great life experiences. More on that in a moment.
A simple version of this strategy says that, if you focus on something in the right way, you can be, do, or have it. Most often proponents of this idea encourage you to focus on the “end result that you desire.” Visualize and feel the things you want and the events you want to happen and they will appear in your life.
In the sense that “mental rehearsal” is helpful, I would say “This could be a good technique.” When you imagine and feel yourself being, doing, or having something, it primes your neural circuits so that you are more likely to experience that in your life. In fact, you experience it in that moment in your imagination. We use this type of mental rehearsal all the time and it has proven effective. For example, it has been shown that imagining shooting free throws can make you a better free throw shooter in basketball. Many studies have documented the “mental rehearsal effect.”
However, imagining processes and experiences is different from creating physical realities. In my experience, those who get hooked on imagining physical realities like new cars, houses, and jobs, often end up obsessing about what they think they want, getting real attached to a specific idea about it, and missing out on amazing opportunities that are right before their eyes. This strategy puts you in a mindset of seeking what you desire “outside yourself” in things, events, and other people. This may distract you from where the real power lies—inside you, in your inner state.
Myth #3: When something bad happens to you, you caused it by your negative thinking, negative self-talk, negative feelings, or negative language. Therefore, be sure to never entertain anything negative.
This myth can lead you to be quite paranoid about your inner state and wary of any negative event that crosses your inner landscape. This paranoia certainly does not raise your vibration so that you align with what you truly desire. In fact, it takes you in the other direction. Paranoia will not improve your inner state. Therefore, obsession with trying to “be perfect” at following the Law of Attraction, is, again, a poor strategy.
The same complex causality idea applies here, too. Causality is much more complex than a few negative thoughts creating illness or bad circumstances. If there is truth in the idea of The Law of Attraction it is a truth about how your whole being interacts with the whole field around you. And, as we said above, this is a highly complex process that greatly exceeds our capacity for awareness and control.
From my perspective, it is most helpful to remind us that “what we do on the inside shapes our experience.” Yes, our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs influence what happens, they have an effect on others and circumstances. This should not be overlooked. Yet, even more importantly, our inner state determines how we experience whatever happens—how it feels to us.
This statement describes, not so much the creation of specific results, but our power to have better experiences. You have a tremendous power to improve the quality of the experiences you have by what you do on the inside—by the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions that you give energy to. Yes, this all influences what happens in life inside and around you, but not in a linear cause and effect way—not so you can definitively say “this thought” caused “that” to happen.
However, you can shift your relationship to whatever happens by the way that you approach it. Not only is this much more in your control, but it is a much more effective strategy for health, happiness, and success. You can learn to relate to life in a peaceful, positive, loving way—no matter what happens. And, there are many great ways to cultivate your inner state.
For example, if you adopt an attitude of being present, paying attention to and accepting what is happening, noticing and being grateful for the opportunities of the moment, and coming from a place of love in your heart, you’re going to have much better experiences. As a result of that, much better things do tend to happen in your life as well—even though you might not be in total control of exactly what those look like. And this is good too, because I believe there is a much Greater Power than my own little mind watching over this whole process. In my experience, Life is full of grace. At least, that’s where I’m choosing to come from.
Are you ready to quiet your mind, relax deeply, and manifest what you truly desire? Discover how to take your practice to the next level. For the best meditation techniques, information, and tips, be sure to visit us here.
Kevin Schoeninger graduated from Villanova University in 1986 with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. He is certified as a Life Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, Qigong Meditation Instructor, and Personal Fitness Trainer.
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