Does the Law of Attraction have a Statute of Limitations?
Yes, I think it does.
The Law of Attraction, or LOA, is an ancient concept. It is part of Hermes’ Emerald Tablet. It is the concept behind Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization, and, more recently, the best-selling book and movie The Secret.
A young Jesse Jackson made a name for himself as he shared it with groups of inner city youth, getting them to chant: “If I can believe it, I can achieve it.”
It is a simple concept, and a valid one.
You must believe in yourself, and visualize your success, in order to be successful.
I learned it as simple magickal theory – “like attracts like.” Whatever energy we put out into the universe is what we will attract to ourselves. These days, sadly, we call it “manifestation” rather than “magick,” but it’s the same thing.
There is even a Fundamentalist Christian version of it, called Prosperity Gospel, where followers are taught that God wants them to have wealth and health. If they live their lives in a way that pleases God, they will receive both in great measure. Transversely, if they are not healthy or wealthy, then clearly they have displeased God.
The Law of Attraction is particularly helpful in reminding us of what not to do. Don’t say “my back is killing me,” for instance, if you are trying to attract health and vigor. Don’t say “what man will want me?” if you are really looking for a great guy. Don’t say “my job is a pain in the neck,” unless you want to endure a painful on-the-job neck injury.
If we are mindful of our words, and speak in positive ways rather than negative ones, we will most certainly increase our chances for positive results.
Our words matter. Our thoughts matter. That is the basis of the Law of Attraction, and it absolutely works. We can be responsible for, and in control of, our thoughts and words, even when we have very little other power and ability in the world.
We are always able to be powerful and proactive with our thoughts and words. So often we don’t take advantage of this, and end up feeling completely powerless.
So what are the limitations to the Law of Attraction? First, I believe that there is a Higher Power actively involved in our lives. Call it God, Goddess, Pantheon, Deity, Holy Spirit, Great Sprit, Universe, or whatever. Sometimes that Higher Power has a lesson for us – something we need to learn, experience, or do, that is different than what we would manifest for ourselves.
It’s a funny balance we need to strike – a real middle path. On one hand, God helps those who help themselves. We need to be as proactive as we can be. On the other hand, we need to bow to the fact that, in our lives, we only have as much control as Higher Power lets us have. We need to let go, and let God. So the challenge is to walk that middle path. We must be as proactive as we can, and as surrendered as we can, all at the same time.
The Law of Attraction is but one spiritual law that governs our lives, not the only one.
Sometimes, our words and our thoughts can be perfectly positive, we can live in a way that pleases God, and unfortunate things will still happen to us.
These things may happen as a lesson, as a challenge, or perhaps even as a result of past life karma. They may happen to serve a greater good that we can’t yet see.
When these things happen, we should not lose faith in ourselves, in our ability to manifest positive things, or in our Higher Power. That’s the thing about faith. It’s hardest to have when we need it the most.
Those who are sick, impoverished or bereaved may or may not be a victim of their own negativity. Often, blaming the ill for the illness is very much like blaming the woman for the rape.
Another problem with the Law of Attraction is it may encourage us to lust for things that won’t really serve us. If we attach ourselves to the idea of great wealth, rather than simply having what we need, we may find that the energy of greed conflicts with our spiritual path. That’s right; in some people it seems the Law of Attraction is an excuse for old-fashioned greed, and for attaching to the material, rather than the spiritual.
A third limitation of the Law of Attraction is another piece of Hermetic wisdom – As Above, So Below. If we do the spiritual work to achieve what we want, we also have to do the physical mundane work. If we need a job, we need to work the Law of Attraction, but we also need to work the want ads. If we need to lose weight, visualization will help us. But we also need to back away from the cheesecake. Our actions speak our intentions as well as our thoughts and words.
Many adherents of the Law of Attraction are also habitual diviners. That is, folks who will regularly and anxiously turn to tarot, runes and pendulum , not to seek advice on how to follow their best path, but to confirm that the money, jewelry, relationship etc. they want is actually on its way, as if the Universe functioned like Amazon – just order it and it will come by holy parcel service.
Divination is a wonderful and useful process. But it can’t replace common sense. If we come to divination with a head full of nonsense, a reading full of nonsense is what we may receive.
It is wise to consider the Law of Attraction, and to use it to guide our thoughts, words and deeds. But if we do this without considering that the plan of Higher Power may be different than our own, we may be sadly disappointed. The Law of Attraction can never be a replacement for hard work, personal growth and spiritual surrender, it can only be a helpful and necessary adjunct to it.