The Claw of Attraction

Belief in the Law of Attraction appeals to those who see the world as a morally neutral energy field. Aletheia Luna of Lonerwolf writes, “The Law of Attraction has become the face of what the famous Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa calls Spiritual Materialism. In other words, the LOA is being used as a way to spiritualize desire and attachment…” (

We may hope to have loving relationships, rewarding work, physical health, spiritual well being. We may hope not to give in to despair in moments of loneliness and uncertainty. Whether or not we may “like” the Law of Attraction, the question remains: is the application of the Law of Attraction the means by which we realize our hopes and desires?

Eighty years ago, Napoleon Hill, Andrew Carnegie’s protégé, popularized the Law of Attraction in his book, Think And Grow Rich. If you have a hope or a dream, the goal or the object of that hope or dream has been placed in your “vortex” as a “deposit” to your energetic “escrow account.” To “manifest” that hope or dream, you need to bring your “vibration” into sync with the vibration of the hope or dream that you’re seeking to manifest. Which means that you need to believe that you already have what you know you don’t have. Which, on the surface, makes no sense.

So how are we to accomplish this feat?

We can pray that we might believe what we don’t yet believe much as, in the Gospel of Mark (9:24,) the father of the boy afflicted by the evil spirit appealed to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.” Contemporary advice from guides and gurus echoes Bloody Mary’s advice to the sailors in Rogers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific: “Happy talk, keep talking happy talk; talk about the things you like to do…” Recall when we were kids and were taken to see a production of Peter Pan and it got to the part where Tinkerbell’s light began to fade. Peter called to us to help bring Tink back to life by believing in Tink and her light. And we did. And Tink’s fluttering light began to glow as Tink came back to life. And we knew that Tink’s light and life had come back because we believed. We’re older now and no longer have that simple faith in fairies and magic and miracles and a way of believing, against logic and reason, that we already have what we know we don’t have.

Yet neuroscientists have been saying that our unconscious, the power behind our conscious throne, is unable to distinguish between what’s real in a factual sense and what’s false, that the unconscious will believe what we tell it to believe. Investigators such as Amy Cuddy have documented the self-confidence enhancing effects of “power posing.” In short, in line with the power of positive thinking, we may be able to fake it ’til we make it, which is what the Law of Attraction would have us do.

What about those who diligently apply themselves to the Law of Attraction and whose hopes and dreams remain unfulfilled? Does this disappointment discredit the Law of Attraction? I wouldn’t venture to say. In any event, those who proclaim, “I know that my Redeemer liveth…” who- or whatever that redeemer may be, those who believe that the Four Noble Truths and the steps on the Eightfold Path are the closest we can come to understanding the meaning of life, those who believe in the Law of Karma, those who hold such beliefs are unlikely to find their lodestar in the Law of Attraction. And there are those who, from lack of experience or from mere distaste, imagine that the Law of Attraction is nothing but hokum that appeals to superstition.

Be that as it may, one may intellectually assent to the proposition that if we can believe that we have what we know we don’t have, we may, in the future, come into possession of it. But belief requires more than intellectual assent. Perhaps it takes the gift of faith, bestowed by an act of grace, so as to embrace the belief that belief, on its own authority, can pierce the veil of illusion and illumine a living truth.

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