My thoughts on “The Secret” and The Law of Attraction

If you are not familiar with “The Secret”, it’s a modern redaction of the ancient Law of Attraction. I like the way Andreas Buttler, founder of Spiritologie puts it:

“All – and by that I mean actually just that, namely all – that you perceive and experience is exactly that, which you out of yourself, through your own causal thinking create, and indeed right…now!”

So when I see the Law of Attraction, I cannot forget my studies in Theravada Buddhism.

The first problem with the Law of Attraction is it presumes there is a You. The final realization in Buddhism is annicca, or no-self.

The second problem with the law of attraction is the that your thoughts and feelings create your reality. Well, most people are not conscious of what they are thinking subconsciously. And feelings of any sort show that you have fallen down the 12-dependant links of Origination into the Like-Dislike process.

Anyway, I sought sources far wiser than I to further confirm my suspicion and they had some excellent things to say.

Luonnon 1 point

My basic understanding of “The Secret” is that if you want something enough and “ask the universe” for it, you’ll get it. Assuming that summarized reasonably well, then there are two possibilities:

  1. That is basically wrong.
  2. That is basically right, and wanting something is sufficient to more often than not get the object of desire.

The first possibility: If The Secret is basically wrong, that invalidates the practice itself. Unless wanting something is in and of itself good somehow, why do it?

The second possibility: Based on my understanding of Theravada, this scenario would still not be a positive since — as you said — it’s just a form of craving. You want something, you get it, and then what? You don’t dwell in everlasting bliss having gotten the thing, grateful and joyful for the rest of your life; you then find the next thing to want. This next one will probably, based on the hedonic treadmill, be bigger and harder to get. Even if you get exactly what you want over and over and over again, you’ll never be satisfied. There are plenty people far, far richer than we will ever be who can have virtually anything and yet still strive for more or feel that they don’t have enough.

The problem is that none of these acquired things will ever be fundamentally satisfying. Never by chasing toys, status, relationships, or anything else external can you fill the hole. A person actively doing so is just feeding that impulse for more. Even if you could somehow get something that were wholly satisfying in every way, how could you guarantee that you wouldn’t lose it somehow? Would you be able to accept such a loss? If so, then why not skip ahead and accept never having it in the first place?

Buddhism’s approach is to try to minimize the power wants have over your psyche. You can see that you want a thing, understand that it’s just a thought, and let it go. Then, rather than taking this desire as an absolute imperative, a sense of identity, or a quest, you’ll be much more inclined to see things clearly and probably be happier.

WingChunist1 point

Insofar as a “person’s” thoughts create a cause or condition for further becoming, to that extent, our thoughts do shape what we get in the future. See the first two verses of the Dhammapada as well as the entire Iddhipada Samyutta (SN 51). Wholesome desire, chanda, does play a very important role in the teaching. It propels us down the path and is part of the raft that takes us to liberation. Once we do reach liberation, then we can fully jettison even wholesome desire. But until then, it’s a useful tool when guided by the Dhamma.

In the way that I was taught meditation, two of the things I do before a sit is to remind myself why I’m sitting and then make a determination to stick with the method for the duration of the session. These thoughts do not guarantee my sit will be fruitful but it does point the mind in the right direction and raise my success rate.

Where the law of attraction gets its wrong, in my opinion, is that they believe that the desire portion of the Iddhipada is sufficient to get what they want. AN 3.92 talks about how it’s not sufficient for a monk to say “May my mind be released from fermentations through lack of clinging/sustenance today or tomorrow or the next day.” But if they train in the conditions for that by cultivating heightened virtue, mind, and wisdom, then the flowering of liberation will come on its own time.

Also, the standard views of the law of attraction tend to push people toward eternalist viewpoints. They can also lead to incredible guilt and shame. If you internalize the belief that you can manifest anything through sufficient wishing practice, then fail to bring it forth, that means there must be something wrong with you. There’s a whole course industry dedicated to “helping” people improve their manifestation abilities, but it just liberates people’s money from their wallets, in my opinion.

They could take the iddhipada concepts and use quite mundane abilities to get what they want. Say they want a boat. First, they have a desire for a boat. Then they make the intention that they want to achieve that desire. Then they put forth the effort to make the intention manifest. While they are putting forth energy, they investigate the progress and methods they are using to see if they are on the right track.

If they really wanted to develop full-blown psychic abilities for manifestation, they should study and practice the rest of the iddhipada. But one of the sneaky things about it is that if you want to take those abilities far enough to do really crazy things then you have to get really good at jhana (SN 51.20). To get anywhere with that, you have to be practice much of the earlier parts of the teaching. By the time they got to those levels of meditative prowess, their desire for boats probably wouldn’t be there anymore.

Jhana4 1 point

 

All of it.

The Law Of Attraction states that people’s thoughts can directly change the universe, aka “magic”.

If people’s thoughts could directly change the universe there would be no need for The Four Noble Truths.

 

My reply to Sri Sraddhalu Ranade on Money: How it works and why it doesn’t ?

In the video Sri Sraddhalu Ranade on Money: How it works and why it doesn’t , we hear the following from Sri Ranade :

We are in an age where everything is valued in terms of its price instead of other things such as knowledge, heroism or skill.

My response:

  • Previous ages based on barter suffered from lack of coincidence of want. The price is there so that there can be an exchange of value without having to have a coincidence of want. If you need a loaf of bread, what good is the fact that you can solve differential equations in and of itself? Nothing! And who needs to barter with you for that? Not the grocery store owner, most likely.
  • Furthermore, there are certain cryptocurrencies such as WhyCoin that are in fact based on Proof of Knowledge.
  • And finally do not confuse money with currency. The rupee, the US Dollar, the Euro are all NOT MONEY, none of them. They are not finite and they do not have intrinsic wealth. Update: later in the video he speaks of a time when the currency had intrinsic wealth.

 

Every age has an end, we are reaching the end of the financial cycle when all is valued by money alone.

My response:

Real money is not a physical object.

The dictionary doesnt agree with you. I would save the terms “money” and “currency” for what the dictonaary says and give the metaphysical predecessor that Sri Aurobindo talks about another name. Technically everything you see is consciousness, but it is not practical to label everything consciousness.

Active consciousness is female and witness consciousness is male:

That may be true in Indian mysticism but Chinese yin-yang theory inverts this.

The right use of money is to create the largest benefit.

Yes. This is very wise. Now, the vision of this will finally be entering India after a long, hard fight. As it stands for the past millenium and longer, the people of India and most of the world has been spending money separately instead of using the power of togetherness. That is changing as we speak. Currently, when money is spent for goods and services, you just get the product. Soon, all of the following will happen with each purchase:

  • you will save money
  • your two closest friends will earn money (from the fact that you saved money. and they were not even buying anything).
  • the environment gets helped
  • educational and medical supplies are provided for the needy

ALL of that with each purchase. It has been happening for 12 years in Europe, 4 years in the USA and will be entering India in March of 2016.

A single grain bursts out into hundreds of grains.

This is in fact how this system coming to India works… 1 becomes 4. 4 becomes 16. 16 becomes 64 and so on… from a single “seed” comes many fruit which then drop seed and produce more fruit.

Money flows out and comes back

Yes! Most purchasing involves only flowing out, with no coming back… but imagine if purchasing were a cycle where you got money back with each purchase and a number of people and initiatives were helped with each purchase? And do realize: this is not really what-if because we have been doing it for 12 years.

Poverty is not spiritual or divine.

Fascinating viewpoint.

Characteristics associated with Shakti are emerging, so women will play a more important role

Hilary Clinton president? 🙂

Layers of devaluing – from paper currency,  to stocks

Interesting. Never thought about stocks that way.

 

 

 

You CAN control your thoughts. You CAN create your own world. Here’s how!

Eric Worre has a lot of excellent material, but this is his most important video:

Why? Because nothing else he says matters until you can master your thoughts. Mastery of thoughts might seem like a difficult thing, but it is not, if you use the fact that thoughts and breath are linked. The slower you breathe, the less you think.

Both Zen and Vipassana Buddhism go at this from the other way. They give you a practice designed to reduce your attachment to thoughts, this eventually gets you to calm down and eventually you breathe slower. The problem is that most people eventually come across a thought that tugs them away from it all – it might be an old argument with their mom, they realize they left the stove on, etc.

So let’s go about this the direct way, get a stop watch and GO! First start with 5 seconds for your inhale and exhale. When that’s easy, go up to 10, 15, 20, etc.

And just keep going deeper and deeper towards the source of all creation – NO-THOUGHT. Then you can create what you want!

 

wait a minute – is “I am that” a lie or love, David?

Here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8RxQxqFkl0

David says that “I am that” is love

and yet elsewhere – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfJ95vOdi-E

he says it’s a lie… aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

 

But he makes a great point – about how realization also requires devotion and how realization without devotion can lead to a bit of questioning and confusion about what you have.

 

Who am I – facebookers want to know

Facebook started out OK. I added a few co-workers. Then a few spiritual people. Then a few hip-hop dancers. And now I have a mess. I log in and I am hit with the activity of all sorts of people – technical ones, spiritual ones, hip-hop ones. And I cant imagine that my various updates are pleasing to them. Are my hip-hop dance updates useful or palatable to my co-workers, etc?

I think I need a bunch of non-conflicting facebook profiles:

  1. The Deep Self – all my various spiritual pursuits, oh but throw in space music?
  2. Metaperl Terrence Brannon – technical Terrence Brannon. The least interesting, but the most powerful. It pays my bills. These are the people I want the least to do with in my social networking time
  3. Irmo High School and earlier Terrence Brannon – all my high school friends who I have not talked to in 20 years and who have nothing other than former spacetime overlap.
  4. Electronic Music Terrence Brannon
  5. Rock music Terrence Brannon
  6. Gentle nature Music Terrence Brannon
  7. Hip hop dance Terrence Brannon
  8. Social activitism Terrence Brannon
  9. Zenmaster Cash Terrence Brannon – to deal with all the MLM and money making schemes out there
  10. People who ignore me – you know the people who friend you and then never respond to you? The famous ones? What kinds of friends are these
  11. Family Terrence Brannon – my sister is on facebook. I talked with her more in-person in 2 days that I have on facebook in the last year. And she’s on there every day basically.

And then we can divide the deepself up into many pieces based on former versus current spiritual pursuits. Or the type of spiritual pursuit.

And this whole dilemma stems from what Sailor Bob Adamson has described – I have been called a certain name, told I was a good boy, bad boy, etc… all these various separating communications.

No one talks to me on facebook!

And then the big thing. Why am I always writing on other people’s walls and no one has anything to say to me, either directly or indirectly? Oh I take it back. I did once have a scientologist writing on my wall until he got aggravated with all the hip-hop dance videos. At which time he un-friended me.

So now we have plumetting self-esteem heaped onto personality crisis! GREAT! WONDERFUL!

How many people have reached enlightenment via facebook? I think it’s possible, once you realize all your friends are your real self. But Judith Lamb-Lion trashed it, saying: “they arent thinking about what they are doing, just chatting, chatting ,chatting” … and me? I think this time would have been better off tracking the motion of my belly.

 

“I am that” is not a lie

David Spero starts this video describing his ability to take people past identification with their body to a place of freedom.

And then he continues with a very useful statement – no witness. In god-realization there is no seer separate from what is seen. Then he says “I am that” is an obfuscation and corrects it with “that is that” … however this phrase has its problems too. There is an implicit “I” pointing at that. While “I” is explicit in the phrase from Nisargadatta Maharaj’s book, it is implicit in David’s.

It just goes to show that TRUTH cannot be spoken only experienced. While FACT can be spoken, discussed, analyzed, etc.

David continues saying “What is this I that is that? You know it is a lie.” … lie is a strong word. It implies that someon is saying something intentionally to deceive another. It may be inaccurate, but it is unfair to call it a lie.  In fact “I am that” is not such a bad thing to say, because it makes “I” and “That” equivalent and synonomous, leaving no room for anything else — no “I” separate from that.

But of course, there is a huge gap between David and me. David can induce people into awareness above the throat over the internet and/or in person. He is absolutely no joke in terms of guru ability. But having studied with him, the typical guru things come up – shock at something that the guru has done to you or someone else… when you would’ve done something different.

For instance, once I saw him absolutely torch a newcomer. The person said: “how can I do this on my own?” And David said: “I thought of writing an article called real gurus and fake students.” And continued to berate this individual. I’m guessing he sensed the person was not sincere and decided to fight fire with fire. Whatever the case, it made me uncomfortable.

And I give him props for having public metaphysical discussions with Swami G. And given the two, I’d have to say I’d opt for David because his path is ultra simple. But that takes nothing away from Swami G because she clearly has done a lot for seekers as well. And the keynote, perhaps for this whole post, is what she puts in a quote as the top of her website:

“Knowledge has to do with duality. There’s knowledge, and then there’s wisdom. If you’re still seeking knowledge and you think you’re going to learn your way there, you’re going to read all these texts and magically get it, you’re in intellect and your’e in duality. Welcome to all your fantasy world of creation.”

— Guru Swami G