In many spiritual circles there are overlapping interests between Awakening and the Law of Attraction, but are they compatible practices? After all, one typically uses the Law of Attraction to try get what she wants, while a path of Awakening typically includes letting go of all cravings and attachments. Can a person possibly do both at the same time?
With a sigh of relief, the short answer is “Yes!” However, the fine print on this brochure is nothing to sneeze at! In order to incorporate both you have to understand the essential truth that each path is pointing to.
“Someone who has Awakened is no longer capable of believing in their own personhood.”
So let’s start with Awakening – What does it mean to undergo spiritual Awakening? Fundamentally, it means that you have seen through the illusion of the ego, and therefore where your sense of a personal self – your sense of “I” – once sat, now there is only emptiness. Some people have deeper Awakenings than others, and over time some will embody that Awakening and live from Awake consciousness more fully, but in all cases someone who has Awakened is no longer capable of believing in their own personhood. Life goes on much as it always did, but there is no one left to be identified with that life anymore.
What does this have to do with cravings and attachment? To begin, the ego’s existence is made possible by the illusion of separateness – the sense we have of being essentially separate from each other and from the divine Source of creation. Therefore, because the ego is so completely cut off from Source, it is impossible for the ego to exist in anything but utter lack. From here it is easy to see how lack begets need, and in turn how need begets attachment. In other words, we get attached to things because we think we need them, and we think we need them because we are in lack, and we are in lack because we are identified with an ego that is cut off from the one and only infinite Source of everything. Et voila! From this basic formula the entire stage is set for all of our many human dramas.
“Each of us is the divine love that created the entire universe.”
As for the Law of Attraction, the essential truth behind it is very similar to that of Awakening, which is that we are all aspects of the same Source. There is no separation between us and the Divine – indeed, each of us is the divine love that created the entire universe. It is only the illusion of separation that makes it so difficult to see this on a daily basis. But regardless of what we know consciously, as aspects of the One we are all creating this universe, each in our own tiny corner of it. And because we are all the One, whatever we create is synchronized perfectly with what every other aspect that the One is creating.
So the “Law of Attraction” could more accurately be called the “Law of One Creator.” We do not “attract” certain things to us, we create from the depths of our being, and the universe finds a way to make sure that what each of us is creating aligns with what everyone around us is creating.
“Each of us is expressing our inner consciousness at all times, and what we express is what we create.”
And how exactly do we do this “creating” thing? Through expression. Each of us is expressing our inner consciousness at all times, and what we express is what we create. Some of us express through artistic creations, some through technological innovations, some by bringing order to chaos, and others by bringing chaos to order! If you have a deep-seated wound, it will express itself by re-creating the circumstances of that wound over and over again, until it has finally resolved itself. If you have a certain talent or gift, it might pressure you to let it out and play! If you express love, you will find yourself surrounded by loving people; if you express hatred, only the hateful will enjoy spending time with you.
So now that we understand the essential truths behind Awakening and the Law of Attraction, it becomes easier to see how the two might intersect. Whatever the nature of your inner consciousness, it will express itself and thereby create certain outcomes. A consciousness that is deeply identified with the ego will express and create the very same lack that defines the ego, so when we create from our egos, we tend to have unsatisfactory outcomes and an endless cycle of drama. If instead we create from our truest essence of love and interconnectedness, the universe meets us there and we tend to have fulfilling outcomes and peaceful, loving relations.
This is why teaching someone the Law of Attraction can be very dangerous, because a mind that is deeply identified with the ego will see the teaching as a way to get what it wants, or to have control, or to be special in some way. But of course none of this is true. You can think all the positive thoughts you want, but if beneath those thoughts is an ego-consciousness that desperately needs to fill an inner void, positive thinking will only have a fleeting impact, and eventually the lack that defines the ego will find itself back into your life.
“You cannot live a truly abundant life as long as you are creating from a place of lack, and that is all that the ego is capable of doing.”
Which brings us back to the basic question that this article is attempting to answer: How can a path of Awakening and the practices of the Law of Attraction be combined into a single practice? I see two ways in which this can work. The first is to use the patterns that emerge in your life as a way of tracking your own consciousness. For example, if you keep winding up in the same sort of abusive relationship, it is probably because you are identified with some past drama that is expressing itself and seeking resolution. Look at the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes you held as you got to know each of your abusive partners, and that will tell you what you have to let go of in order to stop re-creating that same relationship all the time.
The second way that we can combine these paths is to recognize that anything we create from ego is going to “attract” more and more lack, so instead of pointlessly going down that road we can set an intention to create from love and generosity. Rather than using the Law of Attraction to try to get the world to satisfy our needs and to banish our sense of scarcity, we can work on those issues internally, and then express – and receive! – the overflowing sense of abundance that comes from piercing the illusion of separateness and lack.
The ego is a tricky thing, and it will always find a way to distort the truth to get what it wants. There is nothing wrong with that, but obviously this is a failed strategy. You cannot live a truly abundant life as long as you are creating from a place of lack, and that is all that the ego is capable of doing. Therefore, anyone who is seeking an abundant life via the Law of Attraction must, at some point, also work on dissolving the ego and embrace a path of Awakening.
So the final answer to the question of, “Can a person follow the paths of Awakening and the Law of Attraction at the same time?” is “Yes. And in truth, there is no other option!”
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