The Law of Attraction

This is a touchy and controversial subject. I’m not sure that I’ve formed any solid opinions about it yet, but let me tell you what I know, and share a quick story.

Some years ago, a friend cornered me at a family function, and basically held me captive for thirty minutes, telling me about The Secret. You’ve all probably heard about it/read the book/watched the video, or been similarly cornered by a follower. Well I gave it a fair shake back then, and decided it didn’t work for me. I now realize that I didn’t fully understand it, and wasn’t going about it the right way.

So a few weeks ago, I had to take a long trip and downloaded Butterflies are Free to Fly, by Stephen Davis. I won’t say much about the book except that I didn’t enjoy it. While some of the metaphors are well articulated and interesting, there is a militant tone throughout most of the book that I didn’t like. Davis seems to say that every methodology or tradition is crap and useless, unless you follow the path he did, because that’s the only thing that works. We all know this is fundamentally not true – and frankly, I was a little surprised that he would position it that way. Anyway – I’ve already said more than I wanted to about this book – but I mention it because Davis lists a bunch of modalities that I hadn’t heard of before, and so I’ve been sort of systematically checking them out.

The one most relevant to the subject of the Law of Attraction is Abraham, also known as Abraham Hicks. As far as I can tell, Abraham is the name of a collection of entities or voices, channeled by Esther Hicks, who is a medium of sorts. (I don’t know how I feel about mediums or channeling. There are some mystical things I do believe, but when asked to take a leap of faith, I usually recoil a little. I don’t think you need to specifically “believe” in anything in order to be spiritual).

Anyway – so back to Esther. It turns out that Esther and Jerry Hicks (and Abraham) are the source of the Law of Attraction, and Rhonda Byrne, who was a student of theirs for many years, essentially brought The Secret to market, and ultimately cut Esther and Jerry out of most of the proceeds. (Don’t worry, they’re not upset about it anymore).

So then I started watching some of Esther’s (Abraham’s) videos on youtube. Again – I’m not sure if I “believe” that she is actually channeling these entities, but I did take away some interesting things. The first is that like it or not, you are actively doing the attracting, even if you’re not aware of it. So start paying attention to the things you think and say to yourself over and over, and the energetic or emotional charge you have about these thoughts – that’s what the universe is hearing you say. Second, you don’t have to just “believe” it and do it – you can actually test it out for yourself. That’s what I did, and that’s the story I’m going to tell you.

The only real instruction is that you test it on things you’re emotionally neutral about – meaning don’t ask for big value laden things like money, love, health, career until you get how it all works. Start with something innocuous, just to see if the universe is listening. So I did. I sat for a few minutes in stillness asking the universe to bring me hearts. Just hearts. And I decided to be cheeky about it, and used my best Family Feud voice: “Ok Universe, let me see HEARTS!” Then I went to bed.

The next morning I was kind of aimlessly watching some TED Talks with my morning coffee, and bam! I notice that the object on the screen behind the speaker (for the entire 18 mins of the talk) is a giant white heart. Ok. Fine. But I’m not so easily convinced.

I bring myself to stillness again and say “ok Universe, I got your hearts, now I want to see green asparagus.” Then I imagined the section of my local market where the asparagus lives, and I told myself that I will go out of my way to avoid that section of the market. Later that day my husband asked me to put in a grocery order for delivery. I went online to check the weekly circular (as I always do), and completely out of the blue, five unique individual listings, in capital letters, show up boasting fresh green asparagus on sale. Green asparagus fills my computer screen! (Btw, i’ve never seen it on sale or in the circular before).

The significance of it hits me and I can’t help but laugh. The Universe has a sense of humor!  But still, I’m skeptical. Then again stillness, and this time I ask to see butterflies. (It’s cold here now and I live in a major metropolitan area; surely I won’t run into any butterflies, right?). So the next day I log in to my overdrive app (which is how I’m able to read all these books without having to declare bankruptcy), and I’m browsing through the new ebooks, and what do I see – a book with a huge butterfly on the cover! (Not the one mentioned above). I decide not to download it, and pick a different book. I start reading that book and in the very first chapter the author talks, at length, about the feeling of “butterflies in your stomach.”

Can it all be a coincidence? Can it be that I was looking for these things, and that’s why I saw them? Or could it be that the law of attraction really does work, and it is that obvious? I don’t know. I brought up this subject over lunch with a friend recently, let’s call him D, who had a pretty strong negative reaction to the entire concept. I suspect this is where a lot of the controversy lies. In short, his position was that there is so much suffering and tragedy in the world – so many bad things happening to good people – that if you subscribe to this theory, then in some sense you’re blaming the victim for attracting these bad things into his/her life. I get where he’s coming from, and I have some thoughts about that, but I’ll save them for another post. I just wanted to put it out there for you to consider.