Friday, October 12, 2007

Decoding the Secret - How to Best Use the Law of Attraction to Fulfill Your Soul's Intention Part 2 of 2

This is part 2 of a two part post on the law of attraction and The Secret. The 1st part summarized the law of attraction, my first experiences with it and revealed a sickness that is sweeping the world, called Secret Fever. This part will discuss the problems with The Secret and reveal the best way to utilize the law of attraction to manifest your soul's intention for you.

What’s wrong with The Secret?
The problems with The Secret and other teachings about the law of attraction are manifold:

Do We Know What Is Best For Us?
After we discover what the law of attraction is, The Secret encourages us to go after the things that we want. One of the teachers in the DVD actually encourages us to make lists of all the things we want and to see the universe as a catalogue from which we should shop - just pick the things and experiences we want and manifest them. It is human nature to respond this way to the power of the law of attraction - I myself did when I first understood it – but I believe that this an unwise and potentially destructive approach. In fact, the law of attraction was most likely withheld from the public at different points throughout history – not for selfish and elitist reasons as The Secret implies – but to protect people from what they would do with this power of manifestation.

The most striking problem with this “Let’s create whatever we want approach” is – What makes us think that we consciously know what is best for us? At the level of our conscious minds and egos – do we have any idea what is really best for us? All we have to do is take a look back at our own lives and the recorded history of humanity to determine that we rarely know what is best for us.

If we look back at our own lives, I am certain that most of us would say that the best things that have happened to us are not the things that we have consciously chosen for our lives. I, for example, would have never consciously decided to have the life-transforming spiritual awakening that I had in 1979. On the flipside, we can all point to lovers, spouses, jobs and career paths that we were certain were right for us that in retrospect, turned out disastrously. My relationship with Thea was not a disaster, but who knows how many wonderful women I ignored while I was obsessively chasing Thea? Who has a track record of making stellar personal choices? Now, with the law of attraction at our fingertips, perhaps we’ll all just magnify this pattern of questionable choices and find ourselves collectively identifying with the age-old warning, “Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it.”

I know that this may sound negative, but in this situation I think it is crucial that we take a moment to reflect and to avoid going down unproductive paths. If we look at our collective track record of choices or just take a look at the state of the world today, I think it is clear that humanity often makes horrible decisions. When a law of nature or of the universe is discovered, it appears that it is human nature for us to go crazy with our enthusiasm and pride and rush forward without thinking of the consequences. When we learned how to split the atom, we enthusiastically stockpiled enough nuclear weapons to blow ourselves up. As we learned how to harness the power of carbon-based fuels and to build engines, we launched into an industrial revolution that has damaged the environmental balance of the planet.

Humanity always rushes forward enthusiastically without thinking of the consequences. And this type of behavior is probably continuing today. Who knows how our decisions about stem cell research, the war on terror, cloning and other issues will affect our future?

If the law of attraction is real and is now understood by millions more people than knew about it prior to The Secret, then yes we can change the world for the better with our intentions – but we must at the same time be cognizant that our track record indicates that we might inadvertently make things worse. We are a species, which has accelerated the extinction of many animals; we have enslaved one another repeatedly throughout history; we are still engaged in deadly wars; genocide is occurring as we speak; sick people are going untreated; people are starving to death or are homeless in a world of plenty. Shouldn’t we take a moment to think about what we should manifest with our intentions before we start making shopping lists of the goodies we want from the catalogue of the universe?

Sure, we should use the law of attraction, but let’s slow down and break this childlike pattern of rushing forward without forethought. A powerful law has been revealed to many, let’s give it the respect it deserves by each thinking about it how it should best be used.

The law of attraction definitely works. It is indisputable that thoughts and emotions affect outcomes. Top medical schools have begun teaching about the mind-body connection and how thoughts and emotions impact the healing process. Coaches of all kinds have witnessed over and over again how positive thinking improves performance. From our personal lives, we each have numerous examples of the law of attraction in action. Have you ever suddenly noticed a particular model of a car one day and then for the next few weeks every time you’re on the road you can’t stop seeing that same model of car over on over again? How many times have you thought of a friend and then before you know it that friend is calling you on the phone? If you pay attention, things like this happen all of the time. Your focus and how you think and feel about things impact your experiences.

However, at many points in the Secret, the law of attraction is described as the most important and most powerful law of the universe and it is said to be responsible for everything in one's life. So if you twist your ankle while walking down the street, you have attracted that into your life. If you get stung by a bee, you have attracted that into your life. This is obviously both a silly simplification and an exaggeration. The truth of the matter is we don’t know how the law of attraction works and so making sweeping statements about it is ludicrous. Maybe positive thinking effects the healing process partially because feeling better about things is simply therapeutic. Maybe when you think of a distant friend and he/she suddenly calls, it is intuition and foresight and not the law of attraction in action. Thought does impact one’s life, but to say that “the universe rearranges itself in response to one’s thoughts” as The Secret says is an unsupported overstatement.

The Secret also exaggerates how easy it is to apply the law of attraction to make things happen in your life. True, I managed to see Thea 39 days straight as a result of doing a 5 minute exercise at night – when it works, it does seem amazingly simple. But it does not work all of the time for anyone. I imagine that the practitioners featured in The Secret didn’t want to discuss this because how can you call something a law if it doesn’t work all of the time? I actually do think that the law works all of the time, but our ability to perceive and receive the fruits of our intentions often falls short. Also, we are usually only aware of our conscious intentions and are oblivious to our soul's intentions for us. Correcting this is not easy for anyone. It is not easy to stay positive all the time, it is not always easy to recognize and/or accept what we’ve attracted into our lives. If it were easy, there would be no such thing as Secret Fever and everyone who’s heard of the law of attraction would be living in ecstasy with all of their dreams always fulfilled! But we’re not living in ecstasy - who is? Are the teachers featured in The Secret the only ones? This leads us to the next problem with The Secret.

Who are these people in The Secret? To hear them speak, one imagines that they all know how to walk on water! One guy imagines checks coming in the mail and they do! Cancer is cured! They are all rich and happy because they know The Secret! I understand that the DVD could have been edited in such a way that made each of them look like arrogant, perfect bores but please - give us a break.

The truth of the matter is that if you talked to these teachers, you would find that their lives are not perfect. For most of them, including Rhonda Byrne, The Secret is the best thing that has ever happened to them. If we interviewed them thoroughly, I’m sure we would find that they are not all happy. They haven’t all achieved their highest goals. (I know for a fact that some of them have not.) Are they all healthy? Are they all happily married?

I’m not trying to put any of them down, but collectively, they do come off as arrogant. More notably, they have done us a tremendous disservice by not discussing their ongoing struggles and challenges. This approach is the primary cause of Secret Fever. Because these teachers only discuss how simple and easy using the law of attraction is, it makes us all feel like there is something wrong with us when we realize that using the law of attraction well, just like developing any other skill, is hard work.

I think I am a pretty knowledgeable guy when it comes to spiritual matters and I would never give anyone the impression that spiritual growth and mastery is easy.

The Exaltation of The Positive
The Secret leads one to believe that it is paramount to feel good and to stay positive at all costs. I agree that staying positive is - for lack of a better word – positive. But is it truly desirable to keep one’s focus positive at all times? The hallmark of the space-time continuum that we live in is duality. So is it even possible to stay positive all of the time while on earth?

There is nothing wrong with feeling good, but trying to feel good all of the time – like trying to make yourself do anything all the time – leads to fanaticism. Buddha, the champion of the Middle Way, the path of moderation, would certainly disagree with this single-minded focus on staying positive and feeling good.

And what is so wrong about feeling bad. Speaking for myself, I have learned some of my most important lessons from my periods of sorrow and from my mistakes. The spiritual masters throughout history whom I revere, have all experienced negativity. Jesus was feeling pretty morose in the garden of Gesthemane the night before his arrest. Moses didn’t enjoy every second of his years of exile. Buddha’s seven year quest for Nirvana was not a walk in the park. The Secret’s focus on feeling good all of the time is absurd. Again the teachers in The Secret do us a disservice by fanatically emphasizing only one side of reality.

So yes, when trying to manifest something, it is helpful to stay positive and to feel good. But there is nothing wrong with feeling bad – it happens from time to time and it is okay!

The arrogance and fanatical effort to stay positive coupled with the belief that the law of attraction is responsible for everything in one’s life and the world can lead devotees of The Secret into some pretty weird places. Like looking down on people who are suffering. The subtext in The Secret is, “if bad things are happening in your life, it’s your fault. You’re stupidly focusing on bad things. Stay there if you like, but I need to focus on good things which means I’ll be leaving you behind.”

For example, the author of the Secret says that if you want to lose weight you should avoid looking at fat people. The logic behind this is that since you attract and create what you focus on, focusing on fat people will attract more fatness into your life. So you if you want to get skinny, you should surround yourself with thin people. If we employ this logic exhaustively, if you want to stay healthy, you should avoid sick people and only hang out with rich people if you want to be rich. Not only is this ridiculous it is elitist and insulting to people who happen to be overweight, ill or poor. This is like a born again Christian warning his or her children to stay away from nonbelievers - or Republicans saying that Democrats are evil. Do we really need another justification to separate ourselves from one another?

This logic leads to even more sickening conclusions. According to The Secret, since the law of attraction is like a genie that responds to our thoughts and intentions, then if something has gone wrong in our lives we could have simply avoided it by changing our minds. So the people who died in 9/11 could have survived if they had been more positive and the same for the victims of Katrina and the like. And Jesus could have avoided that nasty little crucifixion if he had just focused on easier options. This type of thought is the antithesis of spiritual thinking and causes us to devalue and judge those who are suffering.

The Law of Attraction is Not the Only Law in the Universe
The law of attraction is not the only law in the universe. There are other laws, like the law of karma for instance. So maybe some of the people who died in 9/11 had decided before this life that for karmic reasons, they wanted to take part in a tragic event that demonstrated to all humanity the need for tolerance and a better approach to global politics. Who knows? But I do know that seeing everything through the lens of “the you should feel good all the time” law of attraction is ridiculous. I’m sure Jesus could have used the law of attraction to avoid the pain and suffering of his trial and crucifixion if he wanted. But clearly, there were other things more important to him. For all of us, there are numerous things such as mission and purpose that often transcend the use of the law of attraction to make our lives peachy. Perhaps it is simply not our soul’s intention for us to feel good all of the time.

The truth is that by trying to consciously manipulate the law of attraction to manifest our dreams, we are often barking up the wrong tree because so often what our conscious minds and egos tell us that we want is completely at odds with what our souls intend for us.

The Real Secret - How to Best Utilize the Law of Attraction to Manifest Your Soul’s Intention for You
As I discussed earlier, it is often human nature for us to try to impose our will and exert our control over laws of nature and the universe. I repeat, when we learned how to split the atom, we set about using this power to create lots and lots of bombs. Likewise, upon learning about the law of attraction, it is our nature to want to bend it to our will and start figuring out ways to make it deliver to us all the goodies we can imagine. Maybe by using it in this way, we will similarly manifest bombs in our lives that represent things that we thought we wanted but really didn’t.

I believe that this approach has proven, throughout history, to be phenomenally misguided and immature. Indeed, we have never stopped destroying the planet and each other because of this approach.

What do I recommend? Let me ask you this: When you became aware of the law of gravity, did you set about figuring out ways to use it to your advantage? Did you start doing affirmations and visualizations to make it work better for you? I doubt it. But it did imbue you with a subtle confidence that changed your understanding of the physical world and your relationship to it.

The law of attraction should imbue us with a life transforming confidence.

Many of us often forget on a day-to-day basis that there is more to us than meets the eye. We associate ourselves with our egos, our bodies and our conscious minds. We forget that we are not physical beings but rather we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Yes, we have souls – there are deeper parts of us than what we can see. Before this lifetime, our souls each had a plan for us, a mission, things that we wanted to experience and accomplish. Every now and then, we hear our soul’s call to greatness and it urging us to follow our path. But many of us ultimately ignore this call and turn our back on the possibility of fulfilling our soul’s intention for us. It often seem farfetched and unattainable and we settle and get sucked into mundane realities and possibilities.

But now our knowledge of the law of attraction can help us to eliminate that doubt. Now we know that there is a law of attraction that brings into our lives those things that we focus on. This is a law that makes the unattainable attainable. So, if we get to know ourselves – not just our conscious minds and our ego-based wants – if we focus on our deeper selves, our souls, then the law of attraction will help us to manifest our soul’s intention for us.

The Law of Attraction should give us the confidence that our soul's intention for us will manifest. Knowing this, instead of creating wish lists of everything that will satisfy our ego’s desire, instead of doing affirmations and staying positive around the clock – we only need to do one thing: Devote ourselves to getting to know and love ourselves at the soul level. If we do this, then the law of attraction will help us to manifest an authentic life that harmonizes with whom we really are and our soul’s intention for us.

This is how the great souls throughout history have used the law of attraction. Can you imagine Jesus micromanaging shopping lists of the things he wanted from the universe and motivating the disciples by saying, “Okay guys stay positive and focused, eliminate all negativity and there will be enough bread to feed everyone.” Did Gandhi have all the citizens of colonial India affirm every night “We will be a nation, we will be a nation” until it came true. No, such micromanaging of thoughts and emotions becomes unnecessary when you know and love who you are, why you are here and what your soul’s intention is for you. When you are focused on your mission, the law of attraction clears the road – it doesn’t need our positive thinking and willpower – just our deep understanding of who we are at the soul level. And usually, when the law of attraction doesn’t work, it’s because we are trying to manifest things that are at cross purposes with our soul’s intention for us.

I have spent many years figuring out who I am and why I am here and what my soul’s intention for me is. Finally, in April of 2006, I left my job in the corporate world to follow my path. I had done a lot of one on one counseling throughout the years, but I had finally realized and accepted that my calling is to share my knowledge of spiritual topics with the masses through public speaking, writing and other forms of communication and media.

Since my clear commitment to my path, my life has been a string of miracles. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been 100% positive by any stretch, but is has been filled with miracles and amazing demonstrations of the law of attraction in action.

I left my job on April 14, 2006. On April 15th, I had a day of errands and an evening engagement. On the 16th, I did my taxes. So Monday, April 17th was my first day of freedom and commitment to my new life. It was a beautiful spring day in Manhattan and I found myself walking down 42nd Street into the Coliseum Bookstore. It was about an hour before closing and I picked up a book called, The View From The Center of the Universe written by Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams, a physicist and a science writer. It is hard to explain, but I was completely transfixed by this book. From a scientific perspective these authors argued to the same conclusion that I had reached through my years of spiritual study: that humanity and our planet precisely right now are at a crucial juncture in our history and that what we do in the coming decades will have a lasting impact on the future of the species and the planet. The book also underscores that we are indeed at the center of the universe and that our present predicament and how we respond to it will impact the entire universe. In a nutshell, on the first day of my new life, I stumbled upon a book that completely resonated with my soul.
Eight days later, I was with my beautiful friend and we were passing a bookstore in another Manhattan neighborhood. My friend needed to purchase a book and so we went inside. I decided to buy the book that had transfixed me the prior week and I searched for it and picked it up. As my friend and I were walking down an aisle, a stranger stopped me and said, “Hey, my friend wrote that book you’re carrying!” We had bumped into the friend and former student of one of the authors. We chatted for awhile and I used this conversation as a legitimate opportunity to connect with the authors. I have since corresponded with them and hope that they will write a recommendation for my forthcoming book.

This is how the law of attraction works. When you are following your path, without any effort, doors simply open.

I went into a Dunkin Donuts not too long ago and was studying an astrology chart for a client in preparation for our session together. A man walked in and asked me what I was looking at – I told him and tried to brush him off as I was pressed for time and had to prepare. But the guy would not go away! After a couple of minutes of annoying questions, he launched into a mind-blowing analysis of the chart. The man was a world-class astrologer! It was as if my son, who loves basketball, had stumbled into a conversation with Michael Jordan!

One Sunday in March 2007, I was handing out flyers to promote some of my one on one counseling services. I went into a popular yoga studio, Jivamukti Yoga School, with a friend and posted my flyer. My friend told me that the founder of the studio was taking part in a yoga demonstration in another part of Manhattan later that afternoon that I should check out. So I continued putting up flyers and made my way to the location of the demonstration. The demonstration was actually part of an afternoon long celebration of India. I stayed and enjoyed the yoga demonstration and networked for a bit. Finally, I decided to leave in order to hand out more flyers elsewhere and I walked down the stairs and standing in front of me was Deepak Chopra and his wife! I had actually been telling people whom I was giving my flyers to that I wanted to be the African American Deepak Chopra, and there he was standing in front of me! Needless to say, I didn’t leave and returned to the festival and Deepak Chopra sat next to me. I talked to him about what I wanted to do and gave him a flyer!

A couple of months later, I began to wonder if I should continue to live in New York City or move somewhere else. It is a wonderful but expensive city and it might be easier for me to do the entrepreneurial thing in a cheaper city. I truly was conflicted and asked for signs from the universe. The very next day as I was heading home, I bumped into Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker on the subway. Two days later, I was walking in the West Village and a woman pushing a stroller waved at me. I had no idea whom it was but as we passed each other, I realized it was Sarah Jessica Parker again! Later on in the week, I was headed back to my sister’s house in NJ when I decided to take a detour and go to an out of the way bookstore. I arrived at the bookstore and standing in the lobby, as if they were waiting for me, were Reverend Al Sharpton and Spike Lee! Also during this same 2-week period, I attended a book signing for Russell Simmons. In the two-week period after my query about whether I should stay in New York, I saw a string of celebrities that are all quintessential New Yorkers and who all were working in fields in which I aspire to work. I think the universe answered my question pretty emphatically! I’m staying in New York for now.

I had been living with my sister in New Jersey and wanted to return to living in Manhattan. The first apartment I looked at was being rented out by two women who were moving to Los Angeles. I started to talk about my interest in spirituality and before I knew it we were deep in conversation. All of the books in their apartment related to spirituality. The conversation ended with them explaining that they were moving to LA to work on a game show but what they really wanted to do was create spiritual programming and maybe they should do a show about me! The apartment deal didn’t work out, but we will definitely stay in touch!

In July, after moving into my new apartment, I attended a presentation about documentary filmmaking. The lights were dim and a latecomer stumbled over me as he made his way to his seat. After the presentation was over, I got up to leave and a woman came up to the guy who was sitting next to me and introduced herself to him and he responded by giving his name. The guy who had stumbled over me was my college acting teacher from over 20 years ago. After being my teacher, he went on to direct episodes of The Cosby Show and A Different World and to create a couple of documentary films. I want to make film and TV programs about spiritual topics! I think the law of attraction has helped me find a mentor.

I could go on and on. The law of attraction just works - without our willpower, without our control. It after all is a law. It will help you to manifest the life that your soul intended you to live. All you have to do is devote yourself to discovering what your soul’s intention is.

The greatest things in our lives are the things that just happen as a result of following our true path.

Conclusion – KNOW THYSELF
So there you have it. The real secret to an authentic life of happiness is to know thyself. If you do this, the law of attraction will help you manifest the life you are intended to live.

In my next posts, I will discuss tools one can use to know oneself and one's intention.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Decoding the Secret - How to Best Use the Law of Attraction to Fulfill Your Soul's Intention Part 1 of 2

The primary purpose of this entry is to provide advice on how the law of attraction should best be used to improve one’s life and the world. It is written in response to the popular book and DVD called The Secret. Unlike many critiques of The Secret, this one comes from someone who believes that the law of attraction is real. I just think that The Secret has done a poor job of explaining what the law of attraction is and an even worse job of explaining how to use it.

Since I have so much to say about this topic, I have divded this entry into 2 parts. In today's post, part 1, I will explain the law of attraction and my experiences with it and introduce you to a sickness that is sweeping the world called Secret Fever. In my next post, part 2, I will discuss the many problems with The Secret and explain how to use the law of attraction to manifest an authentic life that reflects your soul’s intention for you.

Let me begin by saying that as a spiritual counselor and teacher, I am ecstatic that the DVD and book entitled The Secret, about the law of attraction have been such a smashing success. I am glad that masses of people have been introduced to this fundamental law of the universe, which, if used properly, has the power to positively change our lives and the world. As a New Age practitioner who is moving away from one on one counseling work towards writing books, leading workshops and creating television and film content with spiritual messages, the success of The Secret is phenomenally inspirational to me. It proves my long held conviction that we live in a very special time, which is ripe with the potential for individual and global transformation. Now is the time for those like myself, who have positive messages to share, to publish, speak, create and spread our messages because as demonstrated by the success of The Secret, the public's receptivity and need for spiritual tools and knowledge is at an all time high. Yes, I have watched the DVD of The Secret dozens of times and so one can correctly deduce that I am a fan.

All that being said, I am also a critic. I am glad that The Secret exists and I am happy about the fact that it has introduced so many people to the law of attraction, however I disagree with its views on what the law of attraction is and how it can and should be used. Sometimes, in order for ideas to be accessible to mainstream audiences, they are watered down and simplified. More to the point, sometimes, powerful ideas are so potent that they are not fully understood by those who endeavor to explain them and so what the public gets is a simplified explanation that misses the point. And when this happens, when the description of a powerful life-transforming concept like the law of attraction is watered down and simplified, it amounts to a tremendous missed opportunity to truly help humanity. So yes, The Secret does have a powerful message, but nothing compared to the message it could have had if those featured in it had done a better job of explaining the law of attraction, its benefits and how it should best be utilized to improve our lives and the world.

I know, I know - if you're a fan of The Secret, these are fighting words! But please, just bear with me and I will thoroughly explain my point of view. One thing that might clue you in to the truth of my statements is awareness of the sickness that is sweeping the world and infecting many people exposed to The Secret.. Let's call it, "Secret Fever". Do you have Secret Fever?

Secret Fever
The symptoms of Secret Fever are rarely discussed, because as you know, the chief tenants of The Secret are to feel good and stay positive – thus, according to the twisted logic of The Secret, merely talking about Secret Fever will only attract more of the illness. However, even though the symptoms are rarely discussed - because again that would be "negative" - these symptoms are unmistakable. The complaints of those suffering from this fever go something like this:
"How do I keep my thoughts positive 24 hours a day?"
"How can anyone stay positive all the time?"
"Why haven't I found my perfect mate yet? I've been visualizing him/her for years?"
""I was doing so good this week but today I'm in a bad mood - so today, I probably blew my chance to manifest that Gucci bag I've had my eye on!"
"I feel so bad that I've been feeling bad"
"Why is it taking so long for things to manifest?"
"Why don't my affirmations seem to work?"
And the most common complaint goes something like this, "I've asked, I believe and I still haven't received my new BMW, my new house, my new job and my new mate! - Why not?"
Again the most insidious thing about these symptoms is that their very existence makes one feel worse - because according to The Secret - these symptoms/doubts/complaints are simply evidence that one is falling short in applying the law of attraction.

So the purpose of this post is to help heal the thousands who are suffering from Secret Fever. And since I truly am a fan of The Secret – it is a flawed introduction to the law of attraction, but it is inspiring nonetheless - I intend to add to it by providing a deeper understanding of the law of attraction and how it should best be employed for the betterment of all.

But first, to make sure we are all on the same page, let's summarize the law of attraction and how the Secret and other materials on the topic teach it should be used to help you manifest the things you want in your life.

Defining the Law of Attraction
To paraphrase The Secret, the law of attraction states that you attract into your life whatever you focus on. Everything that is coming into your life you are attracting into your life with your thoughts, your emotions and the images you hold in your mind. If you focus on positive things, you will attract positive things into your life. If you focus on negative things, you will attract negative things into your life. So if you focus on prosperity, happiness and health, you will become rich, happy and healthy. If you focus on poverty, sickness and despair – you will be poor, ill and sad. And since this is a law of the universe, like gravity and other natural laws, it is working all the time - 24 hours a day. And this law doesn’t discriminate between subconscious and conscious thoughts. So if you are consciously thinking about being happy for 1 hour a day and then spend the other 23 hours consciously and unconsciously thinking about and being sad, the law of attraction will bring into your life more sadness since that is what you’re primarily focusing on.

The law of attraction is not a new discovery and it certainly is not a secret! As a law of the universe, it’s been around for a long time - perhaps since the beginning of time - and it has been discussed and talked about for thousands of years.
Just about every religious leader has spoken about it in one way or another. For example:
Jesus: "Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek; and you shall find" Matthew 7:7
Buddha: "All that we are is the result of what we have thought."
Authors throughout history have also talked about the law of attraction in different ways. Just from the 20th century alone, I can probably name a dozen or so successful books that are about the law of attraction or that at least feature it in one of their chapters:
Books by Napoleon Hill like his classic, Think and Grow Rich.
Books by Norman Vincent Peale like, The Power of Positive Thinking.
Books by Og Mandino like, The Greatest Salesman in the World.
Books by Catherine Ponder, Joseph Murphy, Wallace Wattles and dozens of other authors all teach the law of attraction.
More recently, Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer have written books (e.g. The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Chopra - The Power of Intention by Dyer) that cover roughly the same terrain covered by the Secret. And in my opinion the best books written on the topic lately, are the numerous ones written by Jerry and Esther Hicks that feature the teachings of Abraham. The latest title in their library is The Astonishing Power of Emotions.

Recently, there have been some advances in the way the law of attraction is taught. Many of the older books on the subject focus on the need to control one's thoughts - the need to think positively. This leads to 2 huge challenges in utilizing the law of attraction. First, it’s pretty hard if not impossible to control one’s thoughts – there are so many of them and they never stop. Second - exactly what is a good thought? Is "I’m not going to get sick ever again" a good thought? Well no, not really, because with that thought you are focusing on sickness instead of focusing on what you really want, which is health. So in response to these challenges related to controlling one's thoughts, the recent literature has put more emphasis on one’s emotions. Now we learn that though thought is magnetic and creative, the feeling attached to one’s thoughts is just as important in the manifestation process. So, if you’re thinking, "I want to be rich", it helps to also feel how happy you will feel if you are rich. The more you maintain the feeling state connected to the positive outcome you want to create, the more quickly that outcome will manifest. And it is so much easier to monitor and control one’s emotions than it is to control’s one’s thoughts. So the teachings suggest that when one is trying to utilize the law of attracting to manifest one's desires, one should stay positive and immersed in the positive emotions associated with the desire one is trying to manifest.

Other components associated with using the law of attraction are to feel gratitude for the positive things in one's life. Staying in a state of gratitude magnetizes you to receive more bounty from the universe. Visualizing the outcomes that you want to create is another powerful tool in the manifestation process. And the final component, which the Secret actually doesn't do a good job of explaining, is to take action. If your goal is to write a bestselling book, you can think and feel positively and visualize the outcome all day and night, but your goal will never manifest, of course, until you take action and actually write the book.

So that is a brief summary of the law of attraction and how it is described and taught in The Secret and other materials.

A Mind-blowing Revelation
Now on the one hand, the law of attraction is not very revolutionary – it is just common sense. Of course you attract into your life what you focus on! Can you accomplish any goal without first thinking about it and focusing on it? You will never be a doctor if you don’t first think about it. You will never win a gold medal if you don’t at some point set the intention in your mind to win a gold medal. You will never buy a BMW until at some point you focus on buying a BMW. Indeed, every object that we encounter in our daily lives was at first a thought in someone’s mind. Thought is truly an amazing creative force. We draw into our lives what we think about and focus on. In this world of action in which we live, the refreshing beauty of the law of attraction is that for once it puts our attention on the importance of our thoughts and emotions in the creative process. The law of attraction reminds us that thought is just as important as action and that intention is everything. Everything originates with thought and intention.

On the other hand, the law of attraction is a mind-blowing revelation. If we truly create our reality with our thoughts and emotions, then in order to live the lives of our dreams, all we have to do is control our thoughts and emotions. This concept is intoxicating because it puts our wildest dreams within our reach! So I guess it is understandable that The Secret and most of the other teachings respond to this insight, by encouraging one to go wild! Make lists of all the things that you want and go for it! Ask, believe and receive yourself into wealth, success and happiness! And often - it works! (It certainly has worked for Rhonda Byrne, the creator of The Secret!) And we all have stories that we can tell that demonstrate the law of attraction in action.

Let me tell you a couple of mine.

My First Experience with the Law of Attraction
My name is Kevin G. Blackwell and I am a spiritual renaissance man - I do a lot of different things. I am an intuitive counselor, an astrologer, a past life regression therapist, I do aura analysis, I communicate with angels, spirit guides and can help you connect with distant and deceased loved ones. These are just some of the things I do. And for most of the past 28 years, I’ve used these abilities to counsel people in one-on-one sessions and to help my clients learn more about themselves and the universe.

I was admitted to Columbia University when I was 15 years old as an engineering student. At the time, I was really into science and math and had never thought much about new age ideas or spiritual wisdom aside from reading a couple of astrology books. But in the spring semester of my freshman year, something amazing happened to me. Over a period of a couple of days, I had a full-blown psychic awakening. I started hearing voices, feeling energy in my hands, having premonitions and dreams etc. It was an overwhelming experience for which I had no frame of reference. If I had been a member of a tribal culture, this probably wouldn’t have been a big deal for me to understand - the resident shaman, medicine man or witch doctor would have just come to my door and explained to me that I was to be his/her new apprentice. But here in the west, they thought I was crazy. As a result of this awakening, my life had irrevocably changed and I had to figure out what had happened to me and why. In order to process what was going on with me, I started studying all religions, philosophies, psychology, metaphysics etc. I’ve been studying ever since - that’s 28 years

This is the story that I usually tell at the beginning of my one-on-one counseling sessions to give my clients an idea of my background. But what I often forget to mention is that on the very day my psychic awakening began, I had started reading a book by Joseph Murphy entitled, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind - a book that is all about the law of attraction. So at the precise time that my life was spinning out of control with inexplicable visions and events, I was dazzled by the idea that I could control my life and create a perfect future with my thoughts. And in the midst of the uncertainty and chaos in my life, the thought of being able to control my destiny was exactly what the doctor ordered.

I began to do the exercises prescribed in the book. Every night before I went to sleep, I would program my mind with what I wanted to happen the next day. I would visualize what I wanted to occur, feel the emotions that I would feel if it happened and then I would fall asleep and forget about the exercise.

I entered college pretty young and most of my classmates were 2 years older than me and I was lonely. During freshman orientation, I had fallen in love at first sight with a girl I’ll call Thea. She was age 18 at the time and I was 16 and to my dismay, she was not interested in me at all. But I didn't care - I was in love. So every night, as I did the exercises listed in the book, I would imagine myself seeing Thea the next day.

This was 28 years ago and I have forgotten the final tally, but by the time it was over, I had seen Thea around 39 days straight! And I'm not talking about seeing her in class everyday (we had no classes together) or stalking her - I am talking about randomly seeing her every single day until I grew tired of doing the exercise. When I was going to the library, she would be coming out. If I went to a museum in Brooklyn, she would be there. If I would wake up from a dead sleep at 2AM and go out to grab a bite to eat in preparation for a night of studying, Thea would be walking home to her dorm. It was spooky! I am certain that if I had taken a bus to Cleveland and swam across Lake Erie to Detroit and took a left onto Smith Street, that Thea would have been there! This was my first introduction to the law of attraction. It worked!

In 1985, while attending graduate film school at Columbia, I decided to take time off and travel to Europe to complete a script, visit a woman in Switzerland and continue my quest for enlightenment. After a couple of months - and after being robbed in Greece - I was penniless and ready to return home to New York. Prior to traveling to Europe, I had given up my room at Columbia. In fact, I had withdrawn from Columbia’s film program and I had no job and no place to stay when I returned to New York. On the flight home over the Atlantic, I was at a loss about what I should do. Would I be homeless – how would I survive? I decided to use the law of attraction to manifest a solution to my problem. As I focused on what I wanted to happen, it flashed into my mind that there were only 2 people in the world who would be willing to help and I started focusing on them and visualizing myself meeting them. I landed at Newark Airport and took a bus into Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. As I was headed to a pay phone to call these 2 people, in this city of millions, one of the 2 people I had been visualizing was standing directly in front of me! And not only did she help me - she put me up in a beautiful apartment for weeks for free! It turned out that she was living at home with her Mom and house sitting a nearby apartment, which belonged to a friend of hers who was out of town. So she let me stay in the empty apartment for free. Yes, the law of attraction works - sometimes instantly!

I could tell you many, many more stories about times in which I consciously set intentions and achieved the precise outcome that I intended to manifest. From minor manifestations like parking spaces to major manifestations like thousands of dollars to pay rent or to provide something for my kids. (I’m a divorced father of two.)

Catching the Fever
When I first realized that the law of attraction worked, it was hard for me to contain my enthusiasm. "If I can see Thea, this girl that doesn’t even like me, whenever I want, if I can attract people to me at the precise moment that I need them, then why can’t I have anything and everything I want? I just need to ask, believe and receive – just think of what I want, stay positive and focused, believe that I will get it and it happens." And so I did what The Secret and most teachings recommend that you do - I set about trying to manifest all of my heart's desires.

I bet you assume that I'm a billionaire now, living in the mansions of my dreams, driving fancy cars and in the ideal marriage or at least living the life of my dreams whatever that means to me. Well - surprise - this is not the case. In fact, for as many times as my conscious intention to manifest a desire has worked, there have been many more times that it has not worked.

The Secret leads you to believe that if the manifestation process is not working, the reason is that you must not believe enough or somehow you are doing something wrong. And of course if you think that you are at fault when your dreams don't manifest, with so much at stake, you try even harder to get it right by turning yourself into a fanatic who tries to relentlessly stay positively focused on your goals. Once this happens, you find yourself a victim of Secret Fever – engaged in a frustrating and often outlandish struggle to always stay positive and to control your thoughts and emotions all of the time until you force the universe into giving you what you want.

What’s wrong with The Secret?
The problems with The Secret and other teachings about the law of attraction are manifold. In my next post, I will detail these problems and explain how I believe the law of attraction should best be used to improve our lives and the world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Media Messiah - Who I am and What I do


Kevin G. Blackwell, The Media Messiah, is a man on a mission to deliver uplifting and transformative spiritual messages to the world. An African American spiritual leader schooled in the traditions of past spiritual masters, Blackwell is focused on helping humanity fulfill its promise by teaching spiritual principles and facilitating societal changes that will enable us to take a quantum leap forward in consciousness in the coming generations. With his combination of spiritual insight, media savvy, intelligence and business experience, Blackwell is poised to become an important spiritual teacher and leader of the new millennium. He intends to communicate positive ideas to the world through books, workshops, seminars & public appearances, television & radio programming, films, music, the Internet and through his one on one counseling work with clients from all walks of life.

Blackwell is a New Age practitioner with over 25 years of experience in variety of areas. He has worked as an intuitive and spiritual counselor who utilizes a variety of traditional and nontraditional therapeutic techniques in conjunction with tested coaching methods to help people connect to their deeper selves and to live more fulfilling lives. He is an inspirational and motivational teacher who gives lectures, workshops, seminars and classes covering the full range of New Age thought from alternative healing to Zen. He is an expert astrologer and tarot card reader. He interprets dreams and can communicate with angels, spirit guides and distant and deceased loved ones. He has trained with the renowned past life regression therapy guru, Dr. Brian Weiss, and can provide insight regarding past lives and is mastering the art of using hypnotism to regress clients to past life memories. He is clairvoyant and clairaudient and is capable of analyzing auras and helping clients to develop their own psychic gifts.

In 1979, as a 16 years old freshman in college, Blackwell experienced a “spiritual awakening”. Within a period of one week, he began having prophetic visions, hearing voices, seeing auras and developing healing abilities. In order to understand what was happening to him and why, he began to study various religions, philosophies, metaphysics and New Age thought. His study has continued to this day. One major component of his study has been ongoing conversations with spiritual teachers of the past. As a result of his special connections with spiritual masters throughout history, Blackwell has a unique understanding of spiritual leadership, of the history, destiny and potential of humanity and of what is required to help society as a whole evolve to a happier and healthier state.

In additional to his spiritual insight and psychic gifts, Blackwell is traditionally well educated. He started college at the age of 15 at Columbia University and received his BA in Religion from Hunter College of the City University of New York. He studied film making at Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts and acting at the esteemed American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Most recently, he received his MBA from Duke University.