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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.
Because money is such a tangible thing, accompanied by so many cultural taboos, we often place it in a separate category from other important elements of our lives. However, it is because of its tangibility that money and our relationship with it can provide such a powerful opportunity for positive change in both our inner and outer selves. As we know from The Law of Attraction, the energy of our thoughts attracts like energy from the tangible world. If our thoughts, even our subconscious thoughts, are constantly focused on the negative emotions and beliefs mentioned above, then we have essentially erected a barrier between ourselves and the abundance that is available to us. By sending out the negative energy of self-deprecating thoughts and beliefs, we are sending the message out into the universe that we are not capable of receiving what we want, even though it might truly be our heart’s desire. For example, if we don’t trust ourselves with money, then we send the energy out into the universe that we can’t be trusted with money and as a result, we will repel all but the money that we believe we can be trusted with. The same is true of anything we want in our lives. If we harbor beliefs, even unconscious ones, that we are unworthy of love, happiness, success or any other form of wealth, then we will automatically repel all of those things according to the degree to which we feel unworthy.
In a way, we are very fair-minded beings. We will only allow ourselves to have what we truly believe we deserve, even if we don’t realize it. This is why money can provide such a powerful opportunity for us to transform our lives. Because money is tangible and external, it can be easier for us to look at objectively. The amount of money we have access to directly and tangibly affects our lives from moment to moment. It dictates what we are able to do, when we are able to do it, where we are able to go and how we get there. The more money we have, the more freedom we have to choose and control all of these variables. The discomfort caused by lack of money can motivate us to take a certain level of action in order to attract more money.
But motivation only lasts as long as the discomfort lasts. When we get the money we want, or by some other means eliminate the source of our discomfort, then the motivation behind our decision to take action will fade. This is why having a constructive intention and purpose is so important. If you want to attract more money into your life, you have to know why you want it, what you are going to do with it and how it is going to make the world better. With that knowledge you broadcast your ability to receive to the universe. Intention and purpose give us a foundation for inspiration. And inspiration does not fade. It is not attached to our feelings of lack or discomfort. Inspiration, composed of a commitment to intention and purpose form the foundation that the truly wealthy and prosperous individuals in our society build their lives upon.
A perfect way to illustrate this concept is by addressing one of the greatest sources of stress, anxiety and worry in most Americans’ lives: Debt. Because our culture is so heavily geared toward the pursuit of material possessions, debt is rampant in our society. Often as a means of soothing negative feelings, making up for feelings of shame or inadequacy or attempting to fill a void left by a lack of love in their lives many people overextend themselves by purchasing things on credit and then find themselves faced with a burden of debt that only exacerbates the circumstances that lead to the debt in the first place. As a result, people become masters at managing debt; paying various amounts to different cards at strategic times, transferring balances, consolidating and paying off only to incur more debt.
As we know from The Law of Attraction, all of this time, thought, attention and energy focused on the debt can only result in the attraction of more debt. However, if we acknowledge our responsibility for our debt and our accountability for the circumstances that lead to it, we can then make room for gratitude to enter our consciousness. Gratitude is the key to breaking down the barriers between ourselves and what we want to attract. We can be grateful for the lessons that our experiences have taught us and for the knowledge that we possess the power to take a different action and create a different result. Letting go of our past resentments and feelings of unworthiness allows us to see everything that has come before as a blessing. Once we view our circumstances from this perspective, we free ourselves to focus on creating new wealth, increasing our income and creating a life that makes us better people. Taking our thoughts and focus away from the debt keeps us from attracting more of it and allows us to use that energy to attract wealth that can be used to eliminate the debt.
There are many active steps we can take to change the nature of our relationship with money. One of the most important is educating ourselves. A sure sign that a person has an unhealthy and unproductive relationship with money is the use of ignorance as an excuse for not dealing with or participating in their financial life. Seeking guidance from experts is a crucial component to building the knowledge and resources that are necessary for a functional relationship with money. Reading books and using the countless resources on the Internet are also important ways to build the knowledge that will fuel your inspiration.
Budgeting is another crucial component of a healthy relationship with money. While many people cringe at the thought of budgeting because they equate it with penny-pinching, it is actually an incredibly empowering practice. When we budget our money, we are creating a parameter that allows us to know the value of the money we choose to spend in relation to our income. When we know how much money we have coming in and how spending a certain amount of that money will impact the freedom our income affords us, then we can suddenly achieve an entirely new level of appreciation for the value a special pair of theater tickets, a weekend getaway or a charitable contribution have in our lives. Most importantly, budgeting automatically requires us to focus energy and thought on our finances and our financial well being.
By simply focusing on our financial health, we are automatically invoking The Law of Attraction. We instantly begin sending a new message out into the universe that our former barriers are being demolished and we are now capable and worthy of receiving new results. And as this focus on financial well being increases our confidence, knowledge and belief in our own worthiness, those qualities can’t help but seep into other areas of our lives such as our relationships with our lovers, families, colleagues and careers. As we know, how we do one thing is usually how we do everything. And when we change how we do one thing, it is likely to change how we do everything.