Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

4 Reasons I Don’t Believe in the Law of Attraction

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Some of my friends online and off are advocates of the Law of Attraction.  They are the sweetest of people who truly wish the best for themselves and others.  From this perspective, I think their philosophy bring wonders of positivity to our world.

There are, however, a few sticking points that keep me from abiding comfortably with the Law of Attraction.  Ways in which it might lead you astray.  Here’s what I think.

1.  It seems to encourage you to desire possessions, and positive circumstances.

Life is constantly changing.  There are periods of gain and periods of loss.  When we learn to accept this cycle gracefully, we come to see that genuine happiness comes from within, and doesn’t depend on the externals of life.

Desire, on the other hand, is like drinking salt water.  It just makes you thirst for more.  Then, if it doesn’t manifest, disappointment, discouragement, and even shame may result.

“What is born will die,
What has been gathered will be dispresed,
What has been accumulated will be exhausted,
What has been built up will collapse,
And what has been high will be brought low.”

When you understand the fluid nature of reality, you can open to the richness in each moment instead of hankering after something else.

2.  It can make sickness or failure seem like your fault, amplifying your distress.

According to Buddhist thought, and the Biblical suggestion that we reap what we sow, our current circumstances are the result of our past actions, but that doesn’t mean we can change them in a blink of an eye.  We can influence our  karma by how we act now, but each “karmic” result has its own timeframe, and won’t simply go away due to the strength or repetition of your wish.

Of course, our thoughts influence our health.  However, it’s more complex than that.  If you get cancer, you might be able to heal it, or you might die.  There’s a subtle art to knowing what can be changed, and when, instead, it’s time to let go.  Neither way is right or wrong, it’s just the unfolding of your own individual life.

3.  Attempting to satisfy our desires solidifies the sense of self, the source of trouble itself.

The self is just a handy label for a conglomeration of body parts and passing thoughts.  It’s not a single, solid, permanent entity, but more like a dream or an illusion.  The belief in a permanent self is exactly what leads us into hope and fear, attachment and aversion, and all sorts of wooly behaviors that just bring on the distress.

4.  The world is out of balance.  Our individual actions make it better or worse.

This physical world has limits.  There isn’t an endless supply of resources.  When you take more than your share it has an impact on others.  That’s the simple truth of interdependence.  All these wants and desires add up, and adversely impact the environment.

I believe the mind is powerful.  What we think, say, and do has consequences.  I appreciate how the Law of Attraction reminds us to be cognizant of the content of our mind.

But instead of always wanting more or different, true happiness is found in being content with what you have, and recognizing “life is but a dream.”

What do you think?

I’m so glad you’re here! If you liked this article, please consider subscribing for free updates by emailWith love, Sandra

 

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63 Comments

  1. Hi Sandra,
    There are certain elements of this ‘Law’ that ring true for me. However ‘The Law of Attraction’ has been hijacked and marketed beyond it’s “capabilities”, for want of a better word.

    Be good to yourself
    David

  2. Hi David,

    I’m so happy to see you. That’s a really good point about how The Law of Attraction has been hijacked and marketed beyond belief. Thanks for bringing that to the foreground. I believe that we are responsible for what we say and do and that it has consequences. So, I have some common ground with The Law of Attraction to as well as places where we diverge. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Thank you for posting this, Sandra. So many people believe in the Law of Attraction, and they just accept it as gospel truth without ever questioning it. I have long ago given up trying to tell people that it simply doesn’t work the way it is promoted.

    My main problem with it has always been the “blame the victim” mentality that you mentioned in point #2. When things don’t go the way people expect, they blame themselves (“oh, if only my energy were better, or my vibration higher, or, or, or…”), and that just makes things worse. I try to tell people that it’s not their fault, that sometimes, sh** just happens, but because spiritual teacher such-and-such sold them on the Law of Attraction, it’s like they can’t even hear it. The Law of Attraction—at least the way it is taught by the majority—leads to self-criticism and blame, and there is too much of that in the world already.

    • Hi Jay,

      I so agree with you that we don’t want to use a spiritual perspective to encourage self-criticism and self blame! Those are already diseases of growing up in modern life that we would be best to heal instead of inflame. I appreciate your perspective.

  4. Very interesting points, here. I’ve never really heard anyone challenge what seems to be a universal acceptance of the Law of Attraction. I think a lot of beliefs that once start out to be pure and good-natured sources, tend to get manipulated in the wrong hands (or just from word of mouth sometimes, like playing telephone). Point number three stuck out to me the most. Sometimes life just happens and it doesn’t always lead back to a particular thing you deserve. That’s a pretty intense and sometimes unhealthy way of thinking and I like the way you brought attention to that. Very observant!

  5. Hi Lindsey,

    I’m glad you found these points interesting. Is it really true that there’s such a universal acceptance of the Law of Attraction? I didn’t realize how pervasive it is, but I suppose with the book The Secret it’s spread more and more. I like your example of playing telephone. It’s so true, the pure can become easily distorted. It’s so true that if we think everything always connects back to us, it can really solidify this sense of it all being about “me.”

  6. Rhonda

    I have a severe mobility impairment. I am often questioned by others about my condition. I feel very judged sometimes. I think people really believe that I don’t want to be healed or cured. Thank for this post.

    • I’m sorry you have to content with this severe mobility impairment, Rhonda. I know what you mean. There can be a huge gap between people who are physically well and those of us who contend with chronic illness or disability. I’m sorry you’ve felt judged and glad this post gives you some sense of feeling accepted.

  7. Thelma C M Ferreira

    Excellent your article, Sandra. I completely agree with you. And I feel grateful for the opportunity to be in contact.

    Thelma

  8. jean sampson

    I have ALWAYS been bothered by the materialistic nature of this “law” and it was really clarifying to read your take on it! It is saying that if you can be “spiritual” enough, you will be over-run with every THING that you want. Of course, you can also see it as a way to focus on gratitude and the positive in life. I, like most of my friends, got all excited when The Secret first came out, but, after really thinking about it, it is WAY too simplistic and materialistic. Besides, I do not REALLY know what I will need to live my life and I would rather leave it up to God, The Universe, whatever, to supply my needs as they arise or to allow me to be creative enough to figure out how to supply my own needs (and hopefully help some others on the way). So, thanks for helping me to clarify what was bothering me about The Law of Attraction. I do think that you will discover what you are looking for if you live in gratitude and joy, but it is more of just a natural outcome than some sort of magic. And, of course, there are some mysteries in the world that we just do not understand and cannot pin down!

    • Dear Jean,

      I’m so happy this post clarified what was bothering you about The Law of Attraction. I can’t think of a better life than one lived in gratitude and joy. It’s also so true that what we think we want or need, maybe not be what’s best for us at all. I love the sense of trust your inject into the conversation. I’ve also been pondering this “mystery” element of life and appreciate hearing your thoughts about that too.

  9. Great article Sandra and as a Certified Law Of Attraction Facilitator I was of course drawn to the title of your post.
    I agree with David that the Law of attraction has been hijacked by marketeers and while The Secret that raised awareness and consciousness for many- then it too left many floundering.

    The word desire which I have used in relation to the heart in my last blog post jumped out at me- it’s about having a balance. I believe when we are living our heart’s desire we are full of love – we have learned to love and accept ourselves unconditionally. Then it is that we can really create change through love.

    We all do it in different ways and the way that feels good for you might not be the same for me. 🙂

    Your comment here I believe is the basis: I appreciate how the Law of Attraction reminds us to be cognizant of the content of our mind. as TUT says Thoughts become things. I know from first hand experience with myself, friends and clients. that what and how we think has a huge impact on our living.

    I know my LOA mentor Michael Losier presented the Law of Attraction in such a simple clear way. He defines it as ” The Science of Attracting More of What you Want and Less of What you Don’t” This for me doesn’t suggest wanting more possessions etc- It is about wanting for me a fully lived abundant life full of love. Yes there will be down days, upsets , things we can’t control as you say. That’s okay too.

    What I find challenging is when another personal development guru comes out with 7, 11 or more new laws for attracting.

    Following Michael’s 3 step system along with positive thinking and living, art, meditation plus diet, has allowed me to heal myself. I do believe that from day 1 of my kidney failure that is I hadn’t seen myself as healed I could now be on dialysis or with a kidney transplant. Did I attract this- initially I thought not, then when i had a relapse, i looked at patterns in my thinking and behaviour that let up to my NDE. and saw what need to shift. The medical profession is still nodding their heads and telling me i am one lucky girl
    This simple 3 step process I used to heal myself and what I use in my self-love coaching practice today.
    Wow that was almost a blog post, thanks for the brain exercise:)
    namaste
    Suzie

    • I’m so happy you replied and shared your perspective, Suzie! You know I love your positive energy and your blog. I see for you it’s all about love and I would never argue with that! I believe love and compassion are the biggest transformers of our life.

      I agree that the mind is powerful and how we perceive makes all the difference in the world. Plus there is tremendous healing potential in our mind, but a big part of healing is also being able to let go of the outcome. I’m so happy that you have healed such serious medical problems and are here to share your love, beauty, and art with us!

      It’s interesting to read again from a LOA pro about how the LOA has hijacked by marketeers. Thank you for your long response. It’s helped expand my thinking too and see where our approaches have common ground. Maybe you can make it into a blog post! That would be cool.

      • What a vigorous discussion your post has generated. I liked Elle’s comment and the point that she made about LOA for her is missing God, that divine spark inside of each one of us.
        That also has me thinking as I commune each day with my divine spark , my spirit and pray to God. Today I use gratitude and abundance along with love as my foundation.
        love Vidya’s Bribe to God-
        Yes I will put this on my calendar for a blogpost.
        namaste xx
        Namaste

    • TUT???? Seriously??

      Mr Dooley is from here in Orlando and I used to know his brother Andy well. He still believes that we only use 10% of our brain half a century after this was disproved, and that is how he counters any rational arguments against the LoA.

      As for Michael Losier, well good grief. Do your due diligence on these people and look past the hype and marketing and adulation.

      • Hi Tim,
        I well aware of your views on The Law of Attraction 🙂 I doubt that is anything I can say that would lead you to change your mind.
        Re Michael Losier as he is a personal friend and someone I have always found to act with the utmost integrity and totally without hype. I can only assume you must be thinking of somebody else.

  10. Dearest Sandra……….. WHOOO HOOO!!! Yes, yes, yes yes on all 4 counts. I LOVE this post, and love YOU for writing it. Bless you. It’s like you took the words right out of my mouth. I applaud you a 1000 times. I love what Jay Schryer wrote and your reply. The only response to our failures, our supposed “lack of”. our illness, our pain and suffering, is love. Loving ourselves, loving others, and so on. Life (or Spirituality, Healing, Awareness, etc) is NOT a contest, and more importantly it is NOT a hierarchy. Life just is. We do the best we can, keep an open mind and heart as much as possible in any given moment. And NO MATTER WHAT….we be KIND to ourselves, we do NOT judge ourselves or others. We need NOT compare, or think less of ourselves NO MATTER WHAT is going on in our lives. As Jay says, it achieves nothing.

    I love this quote from Deepak Chopra, although it address Karma more than LOA it still is applicable.

    “Is there some mystical reason why an innocent person becomes the target of evil? Of course not. People who talk about the karma of innocent victims, as if some hidden state is bringing down a reign of destruction, are speaking from ignorance. When an entire society engages in mass evil, outer chaos reflects inner turmoil. The shadow has erupted on a mass scale. When this happens innocent victims are caught in the storm; not because they have some hidden karma but because the storm is so overwhelming that it engulfs everyone.” ~ Deepak Chopra

    So I say, be gentle Earthlings; heaven knows we all need it. And things are not always as they seem. It is a VAST Universe filled with compassion and much mystery.

    Much, much love to you, dear Sandra. You are my hero. I am hugging you for your beautiful, wise soul. You make my world a much better place. All love. R

    • Robin,

      My heart just sings when I read how words about centering into love, dropping comparisons, and be kind to ourselves and others. In my mind, these are the keys to true happiness.

      This is such an incredibly important point: “And things are not always as they seem…” This is so true and it would be arrogant to think we know more than we do. I’ve been pondering this “mystery” aspect of life, recognizing I may never truly understand it all. But I do trust that love and wisdom are the way. Thank you for underlining this message.

      Much, much love to you in return, dear Robin. It’s always a blessing and a gift when you appear in this space. You make the world a beautiful place.

  11. Sandra, I like your take on the Law Of Attraction. You know, I often confuse it with manifesting. Decades ago, in college, one of our Professors convinced the class that if we concentrate, focus on someone we want to meet, we will. Not sure if that would qualify as the law of attraction. But I do know that I wish good things in my prayers and some of my prayers come true. In India, we bribe (for want of a better word) God all the time, promising to do this and that if our wishes come true. And they mostly do – but I know it is because we put in the necessary effort to make them come true. So it seems that we just need the impetus in some form to give us the push towards working to achieve something.

    What we need to do is accept reality and always strive to be our best selves. But Sandra, I do expect positive outcomes and circumstances. Then again, “positive” is a point of view and quite personal.

    Very provocative post. Thank you. I loved it!

    Hugs to you!

    • Hi Vidya,

      I love your example of prayer. The idea of “bribing” God is very cute! I also believe prayers and aspiration are powerful. They do help us focus our mind in the right directions. You are so right though that we have to put in the work too.

      Of course, I wish for positive outcomes too – healing, goodness, harmony. At the same time, this is a crucial point: what does “positive” really mean? Maybe a seemingly fatal illness will completely transform someone’s life. Thanks for raising this important point.

      Big hug coming your way!

  12. Great post Sandra, yes a thoughtful and provocative topic. I too have had reservations about LOA, especially the strong focus on self and abundance in a world that is being “consumed” by over consumption and materialism. And yet, I agree with the basic tenants that what we focus on expands, so it’s wise and helpful to focus on the good and what we do want in our lives. A paradox as is much of life! Brad

    • I agree Brad, that what we focus on generally will expand and am a big advocate for focusing on the good. Thanks for raising these seeming contradictions.

  13. Yes, I agree on all these points. I certainly believe in the power of positive thinking to bring about positive changes in life and health, etc. But I too have difficulty with the idea that there is more than enough abundance on the earth for everyone, if we just think about it the right way, or are enlightened enough to have the correct vibes.

    Logically, that simply isn’t true anymore, and I think we ought to be concerned with living more simply, modestly, and sustainably so there is something left over for others and for future generations. That’s my focus at the moment. I would rather reduce my wants than to expect the Universe to gratify ever greater ones because I believe I “deserve” it. I don’t deserve it any more than the millions of other suffering souls on the planet.

    • What a compassionate heart you have, Jennifer! I appreciate all the considerations you have raised as I think interdependence is showing us so clearly the planet cannot sustain this level of over-consumption. I bow to your efforts to live more simply, modestly, and sustainably.

  14. Bravo! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this post, particularly point number 2. I’ve long felt that there was something suspect about the oversimplification of the Law of Attraction as it seems to place any and all misfortune one suffers squarely at the feet of the one suffering adding insult to injury. This view completely overlooks extenuating circumstances–collective social and cultural factors one generally has little or no control over among other things. It also overlooks the fact that suffering is the means by which humans learn to be compassionate, live less superficially and refine a system of values that are deeply rooted in experiences that have informed them of what robs life of vitality and what enhances it.

    In short, there is no getting away from the fact that life is composed of both the dark and the light, and I personally don’t believe it is our job to cling to our favourite parts (which seems as sensible as a diet made up entirely of sweets) at the expense of the flip side that is as much a part of the nature of things. Both have their role to play (eat your greens). Both deserve our respect.

    Thank you Sandra!

    • There’s so much wisdom in your reply, Audrey! It delights me to no end!

      This struck me in particular: “It also overlooks the fact that suffering is the means by which humans learn to be compassionate, live less superficially and refine a system of values that are deeply rooted in experiences that have informed them of what robs life of vitality and what enhances it.” While I would never wish suffering on anyone, it’s so true that suffering has been key in the most transforming moments of my life.

      I also love your analogy to a diet composed entirely of sweets! Thanks for adding such richness to the conversation.

  15. Thank you for this post Sandra. My faith tradition is Christian and I have seen the Biblical suggestion that you “reap what you sow” used in harmful ways. I really appreciate the wisdom in your explanation that there are natural cycles of gain and loss. I had never really thought about it like that before- for everything there is a season

    • That’s sad, indeed, isn’t it, Sharon! The law of karma can be used in the same way. I like that phrase, “for everything there is a season.” Thanks for adding your thoughts.

  16. As soon as I saw your header Sandra, I had to read this, it was intriguing. And of course have join in the conversation and what a great one it is.

    From my own personal perspective there are numerous ‘law’s operating in our universe and whilst the Law of Attraction has certainly received the most attention, maybe because as David and Suzie say the entire concept has been trivialized and used as a marketing tool, we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    There are so many misconceptions that it’s not surprising that people use it to blame, or judge, be it because someone has desires for physical objects rather than spiritual desires, or they become upset with themselves because it’s not working, or they’re not doing it right. As if this were even possible.
    But mostly because the basic understanding is missing…it’s foundation.

    It makes no odds really, spirit is always for greater expression and expansion and whatever path one chooses to accomplish this needs to be okay. As Suzie says what resonates with one of us might not resonate with another. It’s all good.

    For myself the missing component in most conversations about the law of attraction is God, the spark of divine in all of us.

    Whatever our beliefs, if we’re filled with love and joy we’re radiating this into our world and it’s a better place for it.

    I just love how we all are simply speaking our current consciousness. Isn’t that great?

    • I couldn’t agree more, Elle: “Whatever our beliefs, if we’re filled with love and joy we’re radiating this into our world and it’s a better place for it.”

      Thanks for educating me about the fact that the Law of Attraction has been trivialized and misused. As I’ve said, I think the mind is powerful so there is some common ground.

      Thanks for your illuminations!

  17. OMG I couldn’t pass up on this one!

    If you want proof that the law of attraction is a scam, look at those claiming to be experts. They employ some of the most dubious marketing tactics under the sun, no names mentioned of course, but most of the people in the Secret could be included.

    Not only that, but there are LoA expert coaches who can’t attract clients or even any web traffic. Some of them even have the audacity to then try and teach it.

    If you are an ‘expert’ or ‘certified’ in a law that most serious scientific people don’t even believe in, then surely you can use that mastery to attract a full client load etc.

    Or of that isn’t proof enough take a look at 6 million Jews or the 20 million Russians Stalin wiped out.

    It’s a pseudo religion that desperate people cling to when they have little hope.

    Final question, why does Esther Hicks use every cold reading and Milton Model (artfully vague language) tactic available? Can’t spirits (or whoever is being ‘channeled’) be a bit more specific? Or can she only channel The Riddler from Batman?

    And I find it interesting how many people who were full square behind The Secret are now distancing themselves from it and how many LoA advocates got into it juuuuuust before The Secret came out.

    Focus + action = results and we don’t need a law to explain that.

    And to Elle’s point, her second to last paragraph is very true and that speaks to the law of life.

    • Tim,

      That’s such a practical way to look at the question. It seems like there may be many people trying to run a scam, but I also see some very heartfelt people who really believe they have benefited and would like to benefit others as well.

      I like your formula: “Focus + action = results and we don’t need a law to explain that.” At the same time, I think attitude accounts for a lot and I’m sure that’s part of your mix when it comes to “focus.”

      Thanks for so clearly sharing your perspective.

  18. I always felt like the law of attraction can cause a certain placebo effect. They believe that they will become successful because they believe they will become successful, and their confidence goes up… their “invisible scripts” (as Ramit would call them) change. They forego self-doubt, at least somewhat, and manage to maintain a sort of deluded confidence with no real basis.

    This is a powerful thing. Becoming positive is a powerful thing…but it can encourage not only selfishness, but inaction. One of my friends for example believes that everyone has a right person for them, but he doesn’t try to meet anyone..

    • Hi Ragnar,

      I agree that being positive can be very powerful. But most important, as you point out, is our motivation. Being selfish, for example, will not bring us many rewards. Thanks for your thoughts. You have clearly considered this more deeply.

  19. Wow, Sandra, this is a post whose time had come and you are the one who could bring up these points in the most non-judgmental and open way. I don’t always read every comment after a post, but I read every single one along with your responses. What a great discussion. I have little to add to the excellent points you raised and the others brought up in the comments and responses.

    I will say that for me personally, my discomfort is with the idea that I know what I should attract, in the sense of evaluating specific things as desirable or not. Beyond the idea of being present with an open heart, I think that I am often the last person to judge whether something is good or bad, or whether I would be better off with or without it.

    Besides, if I am using my energy to attract something specific that I’ve decided I want, I might miss the subtle guidance of my inner wisdom leading me in a different and perhaps much better direction.

    Congratulations on a home run post here. Coming after your recent post on death, I would say that you are on a roll. If I decide I want to attract something specific, then I’m hoping to attract more posts like these on your blog, a wish I’m sure to be granted!

    • Thanks, Galen! This topic seems to touch a nerve, doesn’t it!

      I think you have a really interesting point here. Since, we are operating in a state of delusion – being overshadowed by ego clinging most of the time, how can we truly know what’s in our best interest? Of course, as you point out, there is this deeper inner guidance and that’s where we really need to go. The place beyond any superficial wants and needs.

      Thanks for your enthusiasm. I love the idea of being on a roll.:) Although my death post wasn’t as popular as this one. Gee, I wonder why. 🙂 We’ll see what comes next and how powerful you are in attracting the type of posts your want!!!!

  20. I had issues with LoA and they’re quite frequent actually, so I’ll share explanations that I’ve found.
    1. Actually focusing on lack is the wrong way to go about LoA, for a successful attraction of what you desire you need to appreciate what you already love in your current experience. This is hard when your experience is difficult, but all the LoA teachers I respect tell us that it’s the essential step. And in my experience, this method really improves your appreciation for “what is”.
    2. Yes it’s hard to accept we “did something wrong to deserve this” but at the same time it gives us power to change if we want to. If we’re powerful enough to attract the bad stuw, we can attract the good to. It’s about accepting responsibility for our lives.

  21. The phrase ” What have I done to deserve this?” often rattles through our heads and sometimes there is an answer and sometimes not. Our behaviours, thoughts and attitudes can at times be powerful in influencing our life’s journey and experience. Yes the idea of “karma” “you reap what you sow ” does have it’s place if only so we can console ourselves with some kind of natural justice! However it resonates with me that we need to have a reality check with what is withing the power to change and what we cannot.
    Whether through the notion of spiritual bigger power or indeed the “just being” of life stuff happens. When I had a cancer so many folk talked of positive attitudes and alternative ways I ended up with deep soul searching to attempt to find out “why me”. I had cancer because it is random ( though perhaps genetically linked) to not participate in having an operation would have resulted in death and no amount of positive thinking would have resolved this.
    Dealing and managing and accepting life challenges and indeed living with negative states including sadness, loss, grief and melancholy is how life should be. To “desire” change I think you are right is neither helpful. I firmly believe at times it is okay to be sad and feel unfulfilled. To sit in a melancholic state for a while in response to life events is okay. Racing to desire and solve the next “happy feeling and solution” negates the real opportunity for change through reflection on experience and knowledge.
    Thanks for you blog. I am sat here writing my own and this pause for reflection has allowed me to ponder wisely x

    • Thanks Jude, you’ve raised several good point. I think it is quite a deep reflection to consider what and when we can change and where we need to let go and accept what is. That’s going to be very different for each ones of us.

      Life is filled with moments of happiness and sadness. Being with what is, as you point out, allows us to change through reflecting on our experience and knowledge. Thanks for adding your perspective.

  22. What an enchanting congregation this has been! I really liked reading the article and discussion. I didn’t really follow this particular spiritual fad, though I remember when it first broke big. It was the main subject of an episode of Oprah.

    People LOVE imagining that they have the power to control outcomes. And because we have both hubris and imagination, we can’t leave it at some outcomes, sometimes, through persistence, planning and/or luck. We create a fantasy where we have COMPLETE control of outcomes. We get what we want, because we want it “purely” enough. Power fantasies can be very seductive.

    As you’ve indicated, the problem is that we have desires, and it’s part of our original state of mind that we must outgrow and overcome if we wish to attain wisdom. That’s a truth I value from Buddhism.

    Back in 1969 I read a cheap book on hypnotism with a title like “How You Can Get Any Girl to Go Out With You”. I’m sure my pupils expanded as I wondered to myself, “Really?”…

    • Mike,

      Of course you would have something interesting to say on this topic! I appreciate your point on how we are quite enchanted by the possibility that we might be able to control everything in life. Naturally, I agree with you fully that we need to go beyond desire to reach our full spiritual potential being a Buddhist myself. 🙂

      So how many girls did you get?

  23. Interesting post.
    I’ve worked with and studied the LOA for many years and I agree with what David S. said- “The LOA has been hijacked and marketed beyond it’s “capabilities””

    What I always teach my clients is that the LOA isn’t a trick or tool to pull out when you want stuff. It’s an energetic principle that describes the way energy relates to itself. Understanding this allows you to recognize that the energy that you are embodying matters.

    Does it mean that life will always be kittens and unicorns…hell no. But when you sink down into a deep understanding of your own energy, feelings and ability to choose where your focus your attention- you are able to better manage your experience in life.

    I have to say that I whole heartedly disagree with you concerning the idea that desire is a negative thing. In my world, desire is the signal from my higher self to move towards what I resonate with and leads to expansion and the full manifestation of who I am here to be and the unique gifts I can share.

    I will say that the in our society, desire is often aimed at things because people think that having the things will make them feel a certain way. I teach my super stars to tune into how they want to feel….and then be open to a variety of ways that feeling can show up.

    I have to say…that wanting materials things is not a bad thing. We do live in a material world and I believe we are here in these “meat suits” to experience it.

    Namaste,
    Leah

    • Leah,

      You seem to have a very grounded approach to the LOA. As I’ve said, I think there are some merits in taking responsibility for our thoughts, words, and actions for sure. Thanks for explicating further.

      Desire is an interesting question, isn’t it? It’s the Buddha that put the nix on desire not me alone! But, it’s really a question of attachment. The problems isn’t having the things themselves (within reason given the state of our planet), but our degree of attachment to them.

  24. Hi Sandra,
    I share the same POV as you do and for the same reasons. I blogged about the not so secret LOA movement in 2009 and in 2010 when so many were caught up in the movement and you commented on my posts. More recently I chimed in on Tim Bronson’s posts on the LOA movement as well.

    The publication and promotion of The Secret led to many people becoming self-styled Law of Attraction (LOA) “gurus”. They and their followers became a cult-like phenomena, focused on thinking they can use positive thinking to secure health, material wealth and financial success from the Universe. They chose to put themselves on par with the lowest common denominator of charlatans practicing spiritual and/or confidence tricks in order to obtain money or advantage via pretense or deception under the banner of religion.

    The claim is made that how the Law of Attraction works all due to the operation of quantum physics. The claim is that all molecules vibrating in your body at a certain resonance attract like things. That’s certainly no secret but it’s not quantum physics. It’s neuroplasticity.

    The Secret and the Law of Attraction acolytes and gurus offer no evidence of any kind to support their claims: no scientific discussion, no experimentation, just cherry-picked anecdotes that amount to the worst kind of pseudo-scientific nonsense such as trying to use quantum physics to support unrelated concepts. The law of attraction is unrelated to quantum physics. The law of attraction is a motivational tool based on neuoplasticity of the brain and that’s all it is. There’s nothing new or secretive about it. In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept of neuralplasticity has been around for far longer than Western science has recognized it – the term for it is le-su-rung-wa.

    It’s no secret that you can use your brain, change your thoughts and face reality head on. It’s not secret that you can develop a positive outlook and live your life honorably. Learning how to accept what is, how make changes where you can, and how use all opportunities to become a better person — a healthier, happier and more compassionate person is what coming of age and growing up is all about.

    Anyone who professes the so-called “laws of attraction” will cure you of what ails you and make you rich ie. anyone who gains any income from using it to promise easy fixes to serious problems such as health and wealth issues is a scammer. Of that I have no doubt.

    • Hi timethief,

      Yes, this certainly isn’t a new topic by any means. I was called to write about it due to a recent interaction with someone of the LOA philosophy who told me that it’s OK to want material things because they come from God. That got me thinking on this track.

      I’m a big fan of neuroplasticity and I’m so glad you brought that out in this conversation. It’s not magic – it takes time, practice, and dedication but we can, at least most of us, change our brains and the distressing patterns that don’t bring benefit to our lives or others. Thanks for adding that thread here.

  25. Hm, you raise some interesting questions. I do believe the law of attraction is at work at all times, however you need to be careful how you teach it. I have heard some very good teachers out there, because I was also put off by some of the most mainstream circulated ideas of just having more and more.

    To me, the law of attraction teaches that we have the power to create and change our circumstances, so rather than blaming failure on ourselves, it can empower us to get out of the victim state of mind. After all, we are all very powerful beings and we can do much to change circumstances.

    The true power of the law of attraction I feel comes when we accept that what we have right now is a miracle, just being alive, and everything around us. Our goal is not to possess more and more things, because that brings dissatisfaction in the long term. Our goal as human beings is always to achieve happiness, though people can believe they need possessions in order to do so, it isn’t true. We can learn to be happy now, and when we do a new world opens up to us where rather than going after material things, the abundance of the universe is a available to us. The stars are ours to explore.

    When we do things from this state of being, then receiving abundance is something that enhances us and everyone around us. The universe doesn’t give by taking from another, however we have learned to take from others out of fear. For true abundance, fear can’t be a driving force behind our actions.

    • Hi Arthur,

      I like a lot of what you’ve said. It’s clarified for me where I separate from the law of attraction. You see, I believe we have the power to change our attitude and our perception, whether we can change our circumstances is another story. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t. If we are locked in a prison like many great leaders have been such as Gandhi or Aung San Suu Kyi, we may not necessarily be able to change that circumstance, but we can change our perception of that experience, albeit that would be a particularly difficult one.

      Thanks so much for your thoughts. They have really clarified my personal view further. I do resonate with much you say as it does strip away being so attached to desires. Be well!

  26. Hi Sandra…I must confess that I have been reading and re-reading….this post and trying to understand and think and think….do I fall in the first sort of people, whom you called the sweetest? But I am quite content and believe some of the points discussed here…I am no longer attracted to material things, I know true happiness comes from within but I can’t agree with abandoning all desires…some externals are essential for little day to day joys of life. They reinforce the feeling of living for a purpose.

    When we give up self interest, we become more like Buddha, so such thoughts only seem attractive in the book of philosophy. The idea is too lofty to touch humans…that’s why, probably it is taking me so long to digest it!

    I am so glad to learn that in this modern, commercial world, there are such thinkers who bother to care about the environment and link it with our wants in such a philosophical manner. My mind is still hazy about the category I fall into!
    Thanks, Sandra for giving us a food for thought in a beautifully crafted piece of literature.

    • I think you are definitely both sweet and wise, Balroop! May we all find the contentment you speak of and the wisdom to know it doesn’t come from material things.

      I would say we don’t need to give up things entirely, just be careful about our attachment to them. I think it would be wonderful to be like a buddha, they come in many different sizes, shapes, and form and really it would be far beyond our conceptual mind. But, yes I fully understand those little desires – like ice cream – that are part of this human plane.

      You’re welcome and thanks for your kind words.

  27. I believe the LOA is real Sandra. It simplify amplifies what we choose to think and feel. Come from a pure intent and all will align.

    Ryan

  28. Hi Sandra, a home run post indeed! While I would say generally I believe that our thoughts create our reality and manifests what we want ( essentially the law of attraction) I think your post is spot on. Even if we believe in the law of attraction as some of us here do, the question becomes what does that end up doing? And your points speak not only about the consequences of the improper use of LOA but of desire in general. And you’re absolutely right. IF LOA is simply used for manifesting money and things, we are constantly wanting things and expecting positive circumstances, which can lead to a lot of sadness and misery.

    For me, I read this as not 4 reasons I don’t believe the LOA but more like 4 serious problems with the LOA mindset 🙂 Never thought about that before so it is thought-provoking and any post I get to hear Tim rant about his hatred of LOA is always entertaining. I believe he secretly uses these laws in his life haha or he might be just working hard and setting goals (and having a good time doing it) Although I think it’s the former rather than the latter. haha

    • Hi Vishnu,

      I agree that our thoughts create our reality in that everything depends upon how we perceive. One person can perceive a “negative” situation as entirely deflating, while another person may see the same situation as a learning opportunity. Whether our thoughts manifest what we want is not so clear to me, but I do think our thoughts shape our experience of the world. And whether what we “want” is really so important aside from good stuff like love, harmony, and peace.

      Of course, Tim is a secret practitioner of the Secret. 🙂

  29. Well, this was an interesting post to stumble onto! Glad I did, and glad I got to see a very cool discussion.

    It’s funny, because a few years ago I positioned myself as a “Law of Attraction coach.” Felt a bit awkward, considering I was already a certified counselor with a masters degree. That’s not a boast, but more about the pull of going to where you think the marketplace WANTS you to be.

    And it looks like that’s what happened with LOA, which in many ways parallels that of organized religion. Spirit and natural law gives way to rituals and marketing.

    The truth of the matter is you DO call out to what you want. And it IS a collaboration between your thoughts/emotions and an energy that wants you to expand. And it IS a matter of getting out of your own way, noticing what’s in front of you and working your butt off to get it.

    Outstanding post! Thank you, Sandra. I just signed up to your list.

    Larry

    • Hi Larry,

      You’ve had an interesting progression of experience. I’ve heard this idea to that it’s a call and response universe. Well, it seems like there are so many paths to take to help us discover more about ourselves and the universe. I’ve seen this work at times, but I don’t have a final conclusion about it. I’m at a point in my life where there’s not so much that I want. Thanks for you thoughts and kind words.

  30. Thought-provoking post, Sandra — It strikes me how nicely this one meshes with you previous one about preparing for death. What comes to mind in your descriptions of life is that it’s like gravity. Nothing sinister, just a force that continually exerts its miraculous way on everything we do and are. There can be no “ups” without coming back down again to earth.

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      Yes, I firmly believe in having our feet firmly planted on the earth though mind itself is not necessarily a material possession! This is an interesting analogy of gravity, but I actually believe we have personal responsibility and power to enact so I’m not sure how those two would fit together.

  31. The Law Of Attraction has two main flaws.

    First is exaggeration, second is directing poeple to the wrong path.

    It is true, that our attitude affects reality. This is true in three levels.
    a) It affects our actions and in the aftermath, effects of our actions/deeds.
    b) It affects our health and body, because the psyche and body are interconnected.
    c) It affects outside reality (that’s the slightest effect).

    So if you’re positive and directed strongly in some direction or some goal, there is a lot more probability that you achieve it in reality. You will notice opportunities, you will take actions, you will achieve your goal. But there is nothing “magical” in it. No divine energy or something.

    Your body is just a set of organs and cells. It reacts to your thoughts almost instanty in so many ways that it obvious that positive attitude influence your health (in positive way).

    Thera are some reasons to believe that to some extent, thought can change outside reality. For example christianity says that if you believe what you pray for, it will happen.

    Exaggeration consists in a promise that EVERYTHING you want – will be. You just must have a burning desire. That’s simply not true. LOA says that everything you experience is an effect of your thoughts. But… Titanic and all the people there… It is not true too.

    The wrong path is this. If you want (desire) something, then in the same moment of time (if time exist 🙂 ), you unconciously claim that you DO NOT HAVE what you want. Because there is a space between you and that thing/state you want. If you had it, you needn’t want it at all.

    So in order to desire something you have to claim and admit, that you don’t have it. But wait, why you really want it at all?! Yep. Because it will make you happy (or more happy). So… in the moment you start want something (thing/experience/state) you put yourself in a position of unhappiness. And tension. There is no other way.

    And it is stupid. It is based on a conviction that in order to be happy you must achive something (a goal) from outside, so you must work on it. But wait? When you are most productive, most effective? Yeah, when you are relaxed and happy 🙂 So LOA affects in some way two things: your state of happiness and your ability to work effectively.

    So be positive. Smile and love ppl. But do not put your hopes and expectations for happiness in them.

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