Published Feb 12, 11 AM
By Caroline van Kimmenade
You’ve probably been (overly) exposed to the idea that everything that you pay attention to “grows.” This is true. Except when you’re staring at yourself in the mirror, hoping you’ll be taller soon, or you keep logging into your bank account, hoping money will magically appear. Which is just to say that—despite all the breezy marketing—the Law of Attraction is not as simple as it sounds.
The one huge thing that tends to be (conveniently) left out of this “attract what you focus on” principle is that conscious thought is just the tip of the iceberg. You can keep telling yourself that you’re happy when you’re not, and you can keep believing that things will magically change if you shut your eyes real tight. You can also choose to believe that your kitchen will clean itself and laundry will magically be folded and put away. Just keep saying “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” and then click your heels away, wishing for instant transformation, right? Your latest thoughts are just the latest events in your history, though, and as in every good story, there are bigger forces at work.
A lot of people are disillusioned about not being able to get the Law of Attraction to work for them.
The lack of positive results is not the worst part of Law-of-Attraction simplification, though. The worst part is how people wholeheartedly beat themselves up for not being positive enough.
The Law of Attraction often turns into the Law of Accraption: people getting terrified of what they are or aren’t thinking, and judging themselves for it. We start to experience ourselves as crap magnets, where every little unpleasant experience becomes a liability; we get terrified of how it is creating more of what we don’t want. Since there is no real way out of this crazy terror cycle, we’re left no choice but to become superficially upbeat guy-smiley people. The Happy Mask becomes a goal in itself, and all the while we drift further and further from the true source of our problems and their solutions. We can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re okay when we aren’t, thinking we don’t mind when we do, and thinking we like something when we don’t. A part of us may believe that we are cleverly “tricking” the universe into giving us what we want in this way. What we’re actually doing, though, is creating more inner friction.
Truly, the stuff that passes through our conscious minds is peanuts compared to the thoughts that are energized constantly at the back of our minds, without us realizing.
That probably sounds a little creepy. But we have a lot of inner tapes playing continuously. Fretting about the small part of it that we do notice, and trying to control that little percentage of our thoughts, is not so useful. Obsessing over conscious thoughts, and believing that those conscious thoughts will “manifest issues,” points to a great misunderstanding about our inner mechanics.
In many ways, trying to control your thoughts just leads you away from getting to know your inner mechanics better. You have a much better chance of identifying core issues when you allow yourself to notice what you are thinking (and feeling!) and ask what is underneath that.
Otherwise, you just become a mean-ass teacher who deceives herself into thinking that just because she demands that everyone pay attention, everyone actually does. Of course, what is really happening is that more ingenious ways to cop out are being devised by rebellious students. Our own thoughts and feelings are like that. They know when they aren’t wanted, they know how to hide, and they know how to pretend to be something they’re not.
I think we need to rewrite the popular Law of Attraction metaphor to make it more like fishing.
If you sit by the waterside long enough, a fish will swim by. If you have some kind of bait and fishing rod, then you’ll be able to catch the fish. That is what awareness practices are about. They help us catch those elusive big fish that are swimming below the surface of our awareness. Catching one big fish has a much bigger impact than swatting the little insects that skate over the water’s surface.
About Caroline van Kimmenade
Caroline van Kimmenade is a Happy Sensitive Person who writes about being sensitive (HSP / empath) over on TheHappySensive.com She describes deep happiness as that underlying sense of empowerment that you feel when you know that you have the inner tools to make things work in your life – even if it may take much longer than you’d prefer and you get some cuts and bruises along the way. She has several alter ego’s that tweet as IDSensitivity on twitter ( twitter.com/IDSensitivity ) and is currently busy making non-stinky Facebook posters for her page: www.facebook.com/thehappysensitive