The “Law of Attraction”

Certainly there’s truth to the “law of attraction.”

But the problem is that most people use the so-called “law of attraction” superficially and in a quick-fix sort of way.

It’s a given that changing one’s thinking is crucial in changing the quality of one’s life. How we think impacts our attitude, and most (if not all) of life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it, how we perceive it, and what our attitude is. So there’s certainly much to be said about trying to cleanse the doors of perception, learning to look at things more optimistically, trying to regard more and more of what happens to us as a lesson and an opportunity to grow — in short, learning to treat everything as grist for the mill — and not being such a kill-joy or grumpy-dump or debbie-downer or negative-nancy and going through life painting everything black. So, yes, there’s much to be said about changing our attitude and the way we habitually look out at the world.

Having acknolwedged that, the law of attraction isn’t just about happy thoughts, which is what so many people and so many pop-psych / new age books want to reduce it to. It’s not just about changing our style of thinking; it’s clearly about changing our level of thinking. As Einstein put it, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Happy thoughts thought at the same level of thinking as the other thoughts that created our problems won’t do much to tangibly change things for the better (or attract better quality experiences and opportunities to us). We’re just putting lipstick on a pig, as the saying goes. Our thinkin’ is still stinkin’.

The law of attraction is about attracting the things that would come to us (or that we would want to come to us) if we shifted or upped our level of thinking, increased our clarity, and got wiser.

The law of attraction is also about learning to act and live more courageously. Playing it safe too often and too neurotically and giving into fear too frequently just makes us more afraid and skittish (attracts more fear). Similarly, going for comfort and convenience and leisure too often and opting for too much escapist fare and numbing / anesthetizing ourselves too frequently ends up making us softer and weaker (i.e. just like sitting on the couch too much and eating too many munchies will render us out of shape physically, so too will psychologically going for comfort and escape too often render us emotionally and intellectually weak).

On the other hand, exercising our courage by wisely expanding our comfort zone and judiciously and lovingly (tough lovingly) challenging our own tolerances and preferences and limitations — not giving into smallness and or fear, but instead acting in ways that are both courageous and wise — is what allows us to build genuine emotional and psychological muscle and open ourselves to a larger world of possibilities and experiences and greater happinesses and levels of joy.

The law of attraction definitely needs to be looked at in that way if it is to be more legitimately understood.

It also has to be understood in terms of depth or soul. Water seeks its own level. We can travel no further with another than we have learned to travel on our own (as I think Jung said). For relationships to really work, they require that we learn to stand on our own as best and as much as we can emotionally, intellectually, psychologically. In other words, that we become as whole as we can and that as best as we can we learn to complete and develop ourselves. In relationships, we tend to seek out partners who are essentially at the same level of differentiation (or wholeness or maturity) as we are–who have travel no further down life’s road than we have–or we are willing to–psychologically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. If we haven’t differentiated ourselves too much, if we haven’t developed our courage and wisdom and capacity to be patient and delay gratification, then others will eventually find us to be too needy, too dependent, too high maintenance, too anxious, too high-strung, too irrational and erratic, too parasitic, too emotionally immature.

So one of the keys to genuinely understanding “the law of attraction” is as a clarion call to increase our own level of depth, wholeness, integration, maturity, wisdom, discernment, self-development, and amount of core self (differentiation) we have, etcetera.

The deeper and more profound we are, then theoretically the more we will draw people of a similar depth and maturity to us (if many of these people actually exist!) Because that’s one of the down sides of differentiating oneself–the air becomes rarified up their–you can much better relate to others (because you’ve traveled further down many of life’s essential roads than they have), but others cannot relate as well and as readily to you because they haven’t yet traveled enough and aren’t psychologically and emotionally yet equipped to. As Thoreau put it: “It is not that we love to be alone, but that we love to soar, and when we do soar, the company grows thinner & thinner till there is none at all. It is either a homily on the plains, a sermon on the mount, or a much more private ecstasy still higher up. We are not less to aim at the summits, though the multitude does not ascend them.”


About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Differentiation, Einstein, Jung, Law of Attraction, Thoreau. Bookmark the permalink.

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