The Law of Attraction

dfp1Many within Western Paganism have heard of the Law of Attraction, especially if you have been working magic. However, I often see this oversimplified in books, stating that “if you put good energy out there, good energy will return” and vice versa. Not only is this trying to oversimplify the law of attraction, but it’s actually incorrect as well, in my opinion. I know plenty of good people who have bad things happen to them, and some bad people who have good things happen. I know,  not all people are good or bad all the time, but it’s just a thing: we live in a shared reality, where we can’t control the actions or behaviour of others  and so sometimes, no matter what energy we are putting “out there”, things will happen that will be contradictory to what we are attempting.

It’s similar to the notion that posits “we create our world, that we create our reality”. To an extent, this is certainly true, but then we have to realise that this is also a shared reality, and so will be influenced by other people. As such, there is war, racism, sexism, etc. and people, no matter how lovely, compassionate and beautiful, will fall prey to these circumstances, despite what they are trying to create in their own world/reality.

There is, however, an aspect of this which is very significant, and which is the most important to work with, in my opinion. It’s all about focus. Now, this may not be applicable to the horrendous examples in the previous paragraph, but in a less extreme circumstance, what we choose to focus on can and will determine how we work with energy, and what the resulting reality will be for us.

Say we stubbed our toe getting out of bed. Ouch. It’s pretty bad, and we’re limping around, swearing or just trying to breathe through the pain (or both). Finally we make it downstairs, and taking the orange juice carton out of the fridge, we drop it and it goes all over the floor, giving us a nice, sticky mess to deal with while we’re already late for work. Then our train gets cancelled, and we’re over an hour late, and the battery in our phone is dead so we can’t even call in. We get to work and tell everyone what a shitty day we’re having, wondering what awful thing will happen next. You get the picture.

But what if we changed our focus? Okay, all the crappy things that happened before work still happen. We get to work, but instead of telling everyone how we’re having a really, really bad day, we just get on with it, turn our focus to our work and our colleagues, and at lunch go outside and see the first daffodils of the season? In the previous example, I doubt one would even notice the daffodils, or even go outside if they were set on the theory that this day was, indeed, terrible. Things can snowball, depending on our perspective, and a lot of it has to do with our choice of reactions to things. Because we chose not to focus on the negative that happened during the day, we were able to see the positive, the beautiful, and be inspired.

Because with things like this, it is a choice in how we react. We can continue to focus on all the bad, negative things that have happened to us in our day, or we can choose to focus on the daffodils, the colleague that helped us out, the boss that understood the trains were cancelled and said it was okay, etc. Our focus in all important. And when our focus shifts, we bring into our lives and notice more that which we are focusing on. So, in this regard, the law of attraction does, indeed work.

Remember that, for the most part, it is a choice. Some bad things happen that we cannot choose to settle our focus on elsewhere – some things are just really, really bad. But we cannot allow ourselves to stay drowning in the negativity when we have the option of choice. Use the law of attraction to your benefit, and to the benefit of the world.

Toxic consumption

Leo Babuata’s recent blog post about reality came at a serendipitous moment when I was reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s “The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology“. It is often said that we create our own reality, but I think that those words are often misinterpreted. Those who are suffering from famine or abuse have not necessarily created that reality – everyone’s reality is also a combination of others’ reality. However, what Leo and Thay point out that it is what we consume that helps to create our reality.

We are a consumer culture, here in the West. Some of us are trying to bring more awareness to what we consume, whether that is in material goods, food, petrol or electricity consumption, etc. What Leo and Thay speak of however is what we are consuming with our soul, with our heart, with our brain, mainly through media but also in the form of speech, gossip, etc. Thay speaks eloquently about this matter, stating that a lot of what we visually consume from the media is toxic. We watch television shows that are violent, or that pit people against each other in dishonourable ways. We are influenced by advertising. We may speak ill or dishonestly of others, or about ourselves. When we are doing this, we are taking in a toxicity that affects our very being. We can stand up for ourselves, certainly, speaking out against injustice with honesty and awareness. It doesn’t mean we will never speak out. What it does mean is that we become engaged in our living, in our being, in a positive way that benefits the whole, not just the self.

Life is a choice, for the most part. We can choose to not take in this toxicity, or be a part of it. That is not to say that we shut ourselves off from what is happening in the world. We need to know of the suffering that is occurring in the world in order to help alleviate it. But we can say no to violence as entertainment, to disrespect someone in order to “pass the time”. Everyone knows the saying “You are what you eat”. Let’s open this out to everything else that we consume. We can choose to be a part of this world, aware of what is happening, without taking in the vast amounts of toxic images and words; it is within our power.

Be aware of the world. Know that people are suffering from a horrific tragedy in Kenya. Know that people are suffering in your own hometown. Know too that you can choose to not play violent video games, or watch gory movies, to intake that violence into your consciousness. You can fill your heart with peace and loving kindness – it is your choice. You don’t have to read that magazine with photoshopped men and women. You don’t have to comment negatively on someone’s Facebook status. You don’t have to gossip about someone, or read about it in the latest trashy mag. You choose what you put out there into the world.

When we fill ourselves with positive things instead of toxic things, we can hopefully make this world a better place. What are your thoughts?