Anyone who has been paying attention to the media and popular culture over the last few years must have noticed the unprecedented upsurge in mainstream interest and coverage of what many people are referring to as The New Spirituality. The explosive growth of yoga over the last fifteen years and its particular brand of secular, self-based spirituality seems to point to the fact that a significant number of people in America are ready for a new way of thinking.
Some of the furor began in 2004, when a low-budget documentary called What the Bleep Do We Know?, starring Marley Matlin and sharing the views of a wide range of scholars, scientists and spiritual leaders on the emerging science of quantum physics, shocked its producers, theater owners and the entertainment industry by earning tens of millions of dollars and captivating audiences worldwide, all through grassroots distribution. In order to meet increased demand for related information, bookstores have filled their shelves with volumes upon volumes by authors such as Deepak Chopra, Bob Doyle, Michael J. Losier, Rebecca Hanson and dozens of others extolling the power of the individual to attract the life he or she wants and how to do it.
Then, in 2006, another low-budget self-produced film, The Secret, infiltrated the mainstream via the Internet entirely through word of mouth. This time, the ideas that were introduced from a scientific perspective in What the Bleep were boiled down to one intriguing principle: The Law of Attraction. This is the concept that has captured the imagination of America and seems to be changing the way that we as a culture intend to lead our lives.
All of this interest and activity seems to have culminated when The Secret was featured by the ultimate American tastemaker and the one person capable of single handedly bringing virtually anything to the front and center of the American people’s attention, Oprah Winfrey. The great irony in all of this is that “The Secret” is really anything but. The concept of the Law of Attraction is something that has been taught and acknowledged by various cultures in different forms for millennia. What has allowed The Secret to become so successful is a combination of the masterful way the message is delivered and the readiness of our society to receive that message. It is often said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. All the signs seem to point to the fact that our society is ready for this teaching.
In its simplest form, the Law of Attraction dictates that like attracts like. Taking that idea further, we can draw the conclusion that our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, are the basis for our reality. Thus, the things that we focus our thoughts and attention on are the things that are going to grow and multiply in our lives. So, on one hand, if people continually focus on the lack in their lives, how much they don’t have, their envy or bitterness toward those who have more than they do, and fear of losing what they do have, then those are the aspects of their lives that will grow and multiply. Directing our thoughts toward fear and lack will, according to The Law of Attraction, beget more fear and lack. But on the other hand, if people focus their thoughts and attention on the abundance already present in their lives, the blessings they have received and continue to receive every day, then those are the things that will grow and multiply. So it follows that the one key to unlocking the power of The Law of Attraction in our lives is gratefulness. By embracing the feeling of gratefulness and applying it to every area of our lives, we arm ourselves with the power to overcome fear, lack, envy, resentment and all of the other negative emotions that heighten the wall between ourselves and the lives we dream of.
So, having grasped the concept of the Law of Attraction and the techniques involved in getting what we want, the next question that naturally follows is: Why? Why is it important to be able to attract what we want in our lives? A great many people, when they are first introduced to the idea of attraction, immediately and instinctually think of how it can be applied to money. That is the American Way – rags to riches – make as much money as you can and retire. But that isn’t what The Law of Attraction and, in fact, true wealth are about. True wealth, or abundance or prosperity, whichever word we want to use to describe it, applies to more than the numbers in our bank accounts. It applies to the fullness and satisfaction we are able to achieve in every area of our lives from our families to our friends to our careers to our purpose for being alive. It is possible for a person to possess great quantities of money, yet be very impoverished indeed, just as it is possible for a person to possess a modest bank account but enjoy great wealth. Again, it all boils down to our ability to feel gratefulness for what we currently have and for everything we have previously experienced.
There is a great misconception held by many people that money and power automatically breed corruption and greed, that wealth is incompatible with a spiritual life. While time and time again, we have seen the negative results when people choose to pursue money simply to make more money and attain power only to seek more power, it does not automatically follow that money and power are the cause of their downfall. Money and power are merely opportunities. What is absent in the lives of these individuals is another important element of The Law of Attraction: Intention and Purpose.
When we have a clear and constructive intention and purpose fueling our desire for wealth, then we are able to use those two opportunities to fulfill the intention and purpose on which our lives are based. To put it simply, the more you have, the more you have to give. And that giving can manifest itself in infinite forms from straightforward charitable donations to being able to finance a lifestyle that frees you to use your time and other resources to make the world a better place in whatever manner you choose. It can allow you to give more of yourself to your friends, family and career. However it plays out, attraction of wealth and prosperity, applied to an ambition of improving the world and the people in it is a spiritual path.
There are many different factors that can get in the way of our ability to attract wealth and create the financial reality we want in our lives. It is generally accepted that for most of us, how we handle one thing is likely to be how we handle everything. Our relationships with money are often one of the most obvious areas of our lives where this phenomenon can be observed. Low self-esteem, lack of self worth, fear, shame, poor habits and programming inherited from parents and mentors as well as a thousand other factors can all create roadblocks to our ability to attract wealth and prosperity. If our financial lives are disorganized, unfocused and lacking attention, then it is likely that our relationships, careers and sense of purpose are suffering similarly.