Spiritual Materialism, Law of Attraction, Think and Grow Rich. Problem or Nah?
It’s popular and sells like hotcakes. If it worked, we’d have thousands of lottery winners holding up one or another of the books that tout Law of Attraction as a method. At least that would be so if it worked exactly as is claimed.
(I’m linking an article that I happened across while researching Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo Astronaut who walked on the moon, had an experience of oceanic enlightenment on his way back to the earth, and spent the rest of his life devoted to promoting the idea that human consciousness was among the next great frontiers. “The uncharted territory of the human mind was the next frontier to explore, and that it contained possibilities we had hardly begun to imagine.”
No, the article itself has nothing to do with Mitchell. But finding it may have everything to do with the strange ways in which the ‘law of attraction’ seems to work. Because a few days before, I had decided to use a technique that would look like ‘law of attraction’ to many people. I personally think of it as an Art of Memory technique, and it works by creating a memory “attractor” with my visual thinking abilities, or as some would call in, in my imagination.
I am not going to detail the specifics of the technique. But the intent was straightforward enough. It was a “reminder” to do certain types of work, and that work included creating some new things here on enlightenment.com. So, when I was surfing the internet looking at interesting things, in this case Mitchell, I came across an article, and my mind (minds, I would say) “remembered” that I wanted to make something for en.com, it saw the nature of the article, and suddenly a concept for a new article based on it popped into my “arena of consciousness” nearly fully formed.
That is, my minds did exactly what they know I expected them to do, and they knew what I expected because of the Art of Memory technique, which looks exactly like a Law of Attraction technique but which does not make the claim that Law of Attraction makes, which is a claim of a “power” which brings to people that which they desire.
Yes, I know that’s a simplification, and that there are many proponents of the “Law of Attraction” ideas, and some are moresophisticatedd than others. But, I will also say that it is fair enough to make that simplification, for as the wiki offers:
Rhonda Byrne published in 2006 the film The Secret wherein she emphasized not only the fact of thinking about what each person wants to obtain, but also to infuse the thought with the maximum possible amount of emotion associated with that wish. It is the combination of thought and feeling, seeing it as already manifested that attracts the desire.
A key point of Ms. Byrne’s theory is to start with creating positive feelings by recognizing that one needs to be in a state of abundance to attract any more of the desired abundance. This is done by being grateful even for the smallest of things to vibrationally align to the attraction frequency. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_attraction_(New_Thought)
What is the difference between a technique like the one I used, which has as it’s informing principle the idea that memory can be programmed and metaprogrammed, and a quite similar technique that uses as it’s informing principle “vibrationally aligning the attraction frequency”. I am going to start by suggesting two things. Well, three actually.
The first is “requiring the metaphysical”, or as some would say it, requiring dualism. (My technique does not inherently require the metaphysical, an as yet objectively undetectable additional reality, in order for it to work, in theory, while the Law of Attraction usually is said to require that metaphysical to work.)
The second is “spirtitual materialism”, or operative magic, that is, the premise of the Law of Attraction is that it is there to get things, to make things happen or come to the person doing the attracting. It’s functionally a kind of magic similar to that which we find in the medieval grimoires, whose purposes were usually to find treasures, to gain favor with kings and princes, to be protected from various dangers, and most notoriously, to inflict harm on enemies.
And the third, which the author of the article linked below focuses on, is greed. Specifically the spiritual problem of greed, and the ubiquitious teaching in the ancient tradityions that greed is one of the things that SPECIFICALLY is antithetical to any kind of spiritual attainment, happiness, ‘salvation”, and so forth.
In fact, if you take the old ideas seriously at all, using the law of attraction just as it is suggested it be used in these modern and popular books, you are committing the types of actions that could, and probably will, block you from authentic spiritual attainment.
Let me state that a little more plainly. Let’s say that you are a Christian. In theory, if you are a Christian, doing Law of Attraction exactly as the books suggest you do it, especially oif it works for you, means you are going to Hell. Now, while I am in some senses an Esoteric Christian, I personally do not place any credence in the idea of a hell, so I am not going to tell you that you’re going to hell if you succeed at law of attraction. I don’t think you are, as my version of christianity does not include a hell to go to, or any kind of afterlife for that matter.. I am just pointing out that many of the existing versions of christianity DO hold that performing operative magic for self-gain and the accumulation of wealth and power is the type of thing which get’s one sent to the place of eternal damnation.
I think that another risk is much more likely. And that is, that this kind of operative magic will block a person from maturing as a human being, suppress the opportunity of integration into wholeness, and stop the natural evolution of individual consciousness.
Luckily, it’s probably pretty easy to reverse this block, and that is simply by coming to understand that the motivations of law of attraction make all the difference in the world. If your motivation is purely self-gain, the attraction of riches and advantages over other people, that motivation will probably (although not necessarily) block growth along certain critical axes of development. If you do law of attraction, and your motivation is NOT self-gain, or operative magic to get riches and power, arguably that kind of law of Attraction will in fact speed up and improve one’s development as a whole, mature, self-realized human person.
But that is a discussion for another time.
As the author of this article in Conscious Reporter, Matthew Butler, says:
Greed has consequences in people’s lives, because it shuts the door to real spiritual happiness and love, but it also has terrible consequences for the world. The world is being trashed because of greed, as people selfishly strive to get what they want with little regard for the consequences. And with people in such a self-centred condition the masses are easily divided and manipulated by the powers that be. Turning spirituality – which offers a way to break free of this mess – into a focus of greed and self-indulgence is truly harmful.
This of course suits the corporations in our economic system just fine, who depend on people’s perpetual despair, dissatisfaction and desires to drive them to chase happiness and fulfilment through continuous consumption. But those who want inner freedom and a genuine awakening of consciousness should not fall into this trap.