The law of attraction tells us that our thoughts create our reality and that if we change our thoughts we can change our lives. It says that through controlling what we believe we can draw into our life everything we have ever wanted – the partner of our dreams, the lottery win, the new job, the good health, the perfect house, the shiny new car, even an empty parking space.
In other words, if we just believe enough then the seeking, the envy, the unfulfilled desire, the bitterness, the inconvenience, the sense of lack, the need will finally be over.
And if we can’t believe enough, if we still find ourselves unhappy with our life or anxious about our job or scared about not having enough money, then it looks like this is somehow our fault.
So not only are we living a life that is very far from our dreams, it is somehow our fault for not believing strongly enough in ourself or in the possibility of that self having the object.
So all a bit shit really.
But there is a way to have everything, to realise everything we could ever want. And that is to get very real with what is going on:
Let’s start with the fact that perception creates reality.
So far so good for the law of attraction. Reality is always a creation of perception from moment to moment. There is nothing objective or fixed or independent about anything out there. What is perceived is always a function of the perceiver, never the object of perception.
So if this is true then why can’t we just change the perception, change the thoughts to be happy all the time? Why can’t we just believe whatever we want to believe in and have it instantly?
Because we have forgotten something vital.
We have forgotten (and this might sound insane) that the self who wants to change this perception, who wants to have different thoughts and beliefs is also… wait for it… a creation of perception.
The idea of self is not the perceiver. It is the perceived.
Without belief (and it is only ever belief) saying ‘this is who I am’, what is there?
Nothing. There is nothing there.
The idea of a fixed real me that wants something is made of the same thought and belief, the same perception-created transience, as the apparent desired object.
An idea of self appears in the same way and at the same time that an idea of money or being in a hurry or needing a new job appear. They do not exist independently.
The identity, the idea of self is a belief.
A belief does not have beliefs. The self, therefore, cannot have beliefs.
A belief cannot change beliefs. The self, therefore, cannot change beliefs.
A belief cannot possess anything. The self therefore cannot have any object.
So what creates the reality then? Who is the perceiver? Where are these beliefs? What creates and changes them?
The answer has to be consciousness. Because that is ultimately, all there is. There is no objective self or objective world. Beliefs are a function of understanding in the moment, of the extent to which the only reality of consciousness is veiled or revealed.
In reality, there is nothing to change and no one there to change it.
But belief, so convincingly, hides this. It creates an illusory separation. It says this is me and this is them. A duality of self and other, good and bad, right and wrong. It creates an apparent reality that looks absolutely unquestionably real. But the self in this apparent reality is nothing but perception. It can never be secured or fixed because it is made of thought.
And the law of attraction, along with every therapy, practice, teaching, writing, coaching that tries to secure the self, compounds this confusion.
So what does this mean?
It means a completely new perspective on who we are and on what we want.
We begin to understand that the idea of self, other, circumstances, good, bad, desired, not desired appears, changes and disappears within the awareness that we really are.
The concepts have to lose their fixed meaning. Judgement has to cease. The resistance to any experience becomes unnecessary. The desire for anything other than what is right now disappears. There is only openness, presence.
That presence in which all experience arises and dissolves, in which there is nothing to chase or resist is pure peace. Experience arises in peace, is received in peace, dissolves in peace.
The self that had been seeking this peace in the partner, the job, the income, the self that only ever existed in that search, is now safe to disappear. With the disappearance of that blinkered, distorted, fearful lens, the whole world opens up.
The understanding of reality is such that nothing is missed, everything is available. Love, beauty, joy look out and see themselves everywhere.
Consciousness wakes up to itself. It sees itself in form but now that form has lost its previous apparent limits, separation and meaning.
The infinitely creative life force, free of the veils of confusion and misunderstanding, is simply the infinitely creative life force. Endlessly creating, regenerating, expressing what is already there. Transforming from form to form with lightness, ease and inevitability.
The real law of attraction is that attraction is not possible.
There is nothing to attract and nothing to be attracted.
Everything that has ever been sought is here right now.
[Illustration by artist and illustrator Siri Stiklestad Opli]