I’m starting to wonder if the law of attraction is all just a load of bullshit. Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t always felt this way. When the best-selling self-help book, ‘The Secret’ came out, I thought it was awesome. Finally, I had answers to why I kept ‘attracting’ the same shit situations in my life and now I had the tools and knowledge to turn my life around! I just had to focus my rebellious mind and think thoughts of wealth, ease and abundance… it almost seemed too easy at first.
So, there I sat in my shitty job at the time as a call centre team leader and, secretly using the colour printer, I went about plastering my work cubicle walls with affirmations and quotes from the book. ‘You are what you think’, ‘think it and it will be yours’… you get the point. I even printed the fake ‘one million dollars’ cheque from the ‘bank of the universe’ and focused on that wide-eyed, naïve and desperate.
However, generally, I’ve had a very up and down relationship with the law of attraction or ‘LoA’ as the folks who peddle motivation porn on Twitter say. You see the concept scared me. I felt as though the universe could read my mind and, whether I liked it or not, it would deliver manifestations of my private thoughts into my daily life. Like an arrogant genie who pops out of a bottle and immediately demands three wishes without any time for thought or reflection, I started to panic about what I was manifesting.
Changing your mindset and thinking positive thoughts sounds so easy yet, for someone like myself who often suffers from anxiety and regularly and involuntarily indulges in catastrophic thinking, I find it very hard to just ‘think positive’ especially when shit pisses me off or goes wrong… we’re all human right?
So, then I would panic. If thoughts of wealth and abundance attract such abundance then of course self-defeating, negative and worrisome thoughts (accompanied by my mental movies of ‘the worst-case scenario’ featuring yours truly), would also attract more negative bullshit into my life. This was not good.
Essentially, the LoA suggests that we need control over our thoughts. This notion causes anxiety especially given that most people suffer from compulsive thinking. The type of thinking that often branches off on spontaneous pathways so complex that we end up deep in the dark neural jungle trying to backtrack and wondering “how did we get here?”.
The feeling is like trying desperately to lose weight but being forced a diet of nothing but Big Macs every day again and again. You know it’s not healthy for you, yet you have no other options. It’s futile in a real Sisyphean sense. How on earth was I ever going to live the good life, if I couldn’t sustain my positive thoughts long enough to send my positive cosmic telegram out the universe?
But now, well, I’ve come to the point where I don’t think much of the old LoA and I think I’m probably better for it. You see, I’ve come to realise, at least in my view, that life is less about circumstance and good or bad events and more about perception.
Our perception, that is the way we see, perceive and interpret life, is something deep and personal. No one else but you can see the world through your eyes. No one can interpret life through the cluttered filter of your mind that views the whole world through a lens of past experiences, emotions and beliefs. For all we know, what I see as green, you see as blue. We both have the same label for it, but our perception may vary greatly.
What I think is happening is that we’re not ‘attracting’ events and circumstances into our life. That’s not why, at times, we find ourselves in the same fucked situations again and again. It’s not the universe perpetually serving us toxic Big Macs, it’s our minds engaging in ‘filtering’.
Filtering is when, due to past experiences and prejudices (mainly negative ones), we unconsciously filter how we see the world, and we begin to see only the bad elements in a situation. When this happens, we may find ourselves sharply focusing on the negative elements and ignoring all other relevant information about a situation. When this happens, our mind quickly responds to elements of an event that confirm our internal insecurities and fears and filters out any information that doesn’t support our negative view. If our mindset was positive and we were feeling good about life, we would probably see the exact same situation as positive rather than negative and we wouldn’t filter out any information as we wouldn’t be looking to confirm and support our own distorted thinking.
The problem is that when we continue to experience what we deem as negative events, it pollutes our perception and we start filtering and focusing on negatives. This leads us to believe that we
are attracting the same bad situations but, perhaps, in reality, it’s nothing to do with the situations, instead, it’s a negative bias that’s crept into our perception. So, it’s nothing to do with attraction but instead, it’s negative experience distorting our interpretation of life leading us to feel as though we’re experiencing the same circumstances even though we’re not.
So, what happens is that it’s not the LoA manifesting in our lives ensuring that ‘like attracts like’, it’s simply that when we experience negative events, our perception becomes tainted and biased. We then continue to perceive all events (good or bad) as negative and, as some fans of ‘The Secret’ may believe, this is them attracting the same negative circumstances into their lives. But, in fact it has nothing to do with the circumstance and all to do with our temperamental and subjective perception that swings like an emotional pendulum depending on how we’re feeling and what we’re thinking.
Sure, it may all begin with a genuinely negative event but, it’s not so much that life continues to serve up negative events but rather it’s that our perception becomes slanted. We begin to feel like we’re on a never-ending merry-go-round of negative bullshit in our lives, even though our circumstance may just as well be deemed as a positive one if we had our perception calibrated and we were able to be objective.
I wrote, just the other week, about how I feel like I’m currently stuck in a rut. Stuck in ‘purgatory paradise’ as I called it as I’m unsure about where life is taking us next. Due to this, I’m currently experiencing feelings of frustration and stagnation. I feel as though I’m in limbo and often think ‘what the fuck am I doing with my life’.
However, if my perception was objective and not on a negative tilt, I might see this same situation as positive. If I could reset my outlook and take past-experience out of the equation, I could just as equally see this stage of my life as a welcomed break to relax, regenerate and an exciting time to make new decisions about our next stage in life.
So, it’s not that I continue to think that everything’s fucked and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life that has now lead me to a circumstance where again, I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s just that my perception is currently dialled down to the ‘doomsday lens’ which, when used to view life, sucks the colour from the world, the inspiration from the universe, and devours my soul, leaving behind nothing but scraps of self-doubt.
I’m now not sure which problem is more difficult. Is it The Secret’s methodology of changing your thinking to only send out ‘positive thoughts? Or, is it changing your perception to stop filtering and look at your life circumstance objectively?
Either way, I do feel that I’m a little bit closer to cracking the code. I feel more practical, more tactical and perhaps, no longer a victim of the vicious ‘like attracts like’ cycle. That concept suddenly seems a very unfair universal law that punishes people for being negative in their thoughts more than it rewards people for sending out vibrations of wealth and abundance. The only people that I’m sure that have gained the abundance that ‘The Secret’ talks about are any authors of such self-help books. In a society so lost and so tormented as the disease of over thinking spreads, everyone’s looking for easy answers.
But, next time you find yourself angry, frustrated and thinking “why the fuck again?…” try and look at your circumstance objectively and make sure it’s not a simple case of filtering going on. It may just be true that, in fact, the universe isn’t out to pull you down after all… wouldn’t that be nice?