The first point in my blog called “The Law of Attraction … Are My Beliefs Ruining My Life?” was that the spiritual and the tangible material world are not separate. Today my blog focuses on that point and demonstrates the consequences if we perceive them as separate.
When we separate the spiritual from the material world we lose something! The material world loses a sense of soul when it is devoid of spirit. The spiritual realm loses colour and substance when it is divorced from matter. Spirit loves to dance in the material world and cannot be separated from it.
Together, the spiritual and the material create life itself. Spirit is not IN matter … it IS matter! Matter cannot exist without spirit because ultimately it is one and the same. I believe they are not actually separate. It is all about how we human beings perceive them, understand them and speak about them.
The consequences of treating the spiritual and material realms as a duality can been seen over the last two thousand years throughout the world. In the Western world religions and influential philosophical thinkers have separated mind from matter, and spirit from mind. As a culture we have also separated humanity from nature and men from women. We have been living an illusion of segregation and separation which has led to loss, grief and destruction across the planet.
We do not have to look far to see how the Western mindset of separation affects us on a very fundamental level. The very air we breathe is jeopardised by narrow thinking of how we can use our planet rather than how we can LIVE WITHIN IT. Our environment, social structures, relationships, physical and mental health and a great deal more have suffered and will continue to suffer, if we do not change our mentality of separation.
So when it comes to separating spirit from matter in the Western mind, it is no surprise how extreme this divide has become. The consequences include the number of people who are driven by profit and material gain at the expense of honouring themselves or others or the environment. The material world has become something to exploit, rather than something sacred with a memory and soul of its own. Eventually civilisation will fall because our spiritually devoid practices are simply unsustainable.
The flip side of this duality between spirit and matter is that religion becomes a separate exclusive club based on judgement, fear and guilt. I am not saying that there are not positive aspects of religion and spirituality… there is a lot of good that comes from it. I am simply saying that when the spiritual becomes separated from the world, our bodies and nature, it becomes more about the mind than the soul. Through this process of separation, religion and spirituality lost its heart and connection with life. These are some of the consequences of separating the spiritual from the material.
There is another consequence to separating spirit from the material world. The spiritual both in the East and the West has adopted the idea that to be spiritual is to renounce worldly goods and become self-sacrificial. Again, this perspective of separation between the spiritual and the world can lead to an extreme state of physical deprivation. There are spiritual benefits of detoxification, fasting, and practices to enhance altered-states-of-consciousness that help separate us from our addictions and unconscious habits. However, when these practices are driven by an egoic state of mind that thinks it is good to self sacrifice, the psychological and interpersonal effects can less than desirable. People can end up giving while harboring resentment and a sense of self loathing. This mindset is not love based and does not foster healthy boundaries and empowerment.
I wonder if we balanced the spiritual and material if we would evolve to a higher state of being? I wonder…
I wonder what would happen if we brought the spiritual and the material together? I wonder if we could align honouring ourselves and Spirit with our everyday lives IN THE MATERIAL WORLD. As I sit in my chair, facing my computer, writing a Work Cover report for a person suffering severe stress in the workplace… I wonder!
I open my heart to my writing this report. I hold compassion within my being for my client, Work Cover QLD and those involved in causing harm and stress to my client. Report writing becomes like a prayer! And yet on the outside it looks just like a Work Cover report! But it is created with love and grace.
When I creatively merge the material with the spiritual, what amazes me the most is that the mundane tasks at work become a beautiful expression of spirit!!!
Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity …
Since my first blog on the Law of Attraction, I have experienced a series of interesting events. First, I received some fantastic comments in response to my first blog on the Law of Attraction from people I admire and look up to. Second, I attended a regular network meeting, unaware that the guest speaker was presenting on guess what… Yes, the Law of Attraction! Thirdly, I was pointed in the direction of Kayley Grace who has just made a video on the result of having given up everything over the last seven years based on beliefs espoused by people advocating the Law of Attraction.
So in this blog I am attempting to make sense of the Law of Attraction in a far more grounded and reasonable way than some of the popular messages thrown around out there. I would like to give a special thanks and appreciation to all of the people who have commented on my Law of Attraction blogs, Judi Mason for her talk on the Law of Attraction in our Coolum Health Practitioner Network meeting and Kayley Grace for her inspirational videos on the Law of Attraction.
My Personal Story of the Law of Attraction
When I attended the Coolum Health Practitioners Breaky last Thursday on that beautiful December morning in front of the ocean, I was reminded of my first conscious experience with the Law of Attraction. It was seven years ago when I was living in Canberra and was facing some emotionally difficult experiences. As a last ditch hope, I accessed a spiritual healer. I had experienced a series of traumas throughout my life and was carrying some heavy energy which back then was “my normal”. I simply could not move forward in my life while carrying it.
So after three months of intensive spiritual healing, I resigned from my public service job, sold my house, put my furniture in storage and said to my girls, “we are going north on a holiday that we are never coming back from.” I did not know much about the Law of Attraction back then. All I knew was I felt so light and free after the heavy burdens and darkness were removed. It was complete liberation! Everything shone brightly and life worked like magic! I was sky high, and it was not drug induced.
So I drove up the Eastern coast of Australia from Canberra with my two girls, Jessi and Tashie, over the next month. I maintained my daily meditation practice and clearing my chakras and repeating my spiritual mantra given to me from my spiritual healer. We stayed at a grungy little old pub in Bellingen and had a wonderful seafood basket that fed all three of us. I loved the character of the Bellingen Hotel but Jessi, my oldest daughter was convinced that we should stay in a luxury resort after our last stay. So we found a brochure in a café on the way to Byron Bay and she got to choose the next place we stayed. She chose the Oasis Resort.
It was an Easter weekend in Byron Bay and the Blues Festival was on. So I called from my mobile phone and the receptionist said she could give us a room for the two nights… for half price! My happy high vibe continued as we entered Byron Bay. Over the next two days we got parking spots near the beach every time. It worked beautifully! I played like a child and openly laughed with my girls for the first time I could remember. It was amazing! I couldn’t believe how easy it was.
So then we kept going north! First the Gold Coast and then the Sunshine Coast. The energy of Coolum Beach spoke to me and it only took two days before I found our cheap little rustic beach house to rent. The little house was in walking distance to the beach… perfect!
It was nine months later and it was time to move. I wanted to buy a house but I had no job and only a deposit from selling my house in Canberra. I remember the energies shifting and could feel that magical space within. One morning I looked down from the balcony and saw dozens of birds of different species all flying in a figure eight… It was freaky! So I began to look for a house.
I was drawn to Mount Coolum and I sat in front of the mountain and asked with openness and humility for a house in this area that I could afford that was adequate for me and my little family. House prices were already high in the Sunshine Coast so I wondered if it were possible. But I “put it out there” anyway, with love in my heart.
As I got into my car I looked at my Refadex and noticed a little street called Gypsy Close. I thought “wouldn’t that be cool to live in that street!” When I arrived home I noticed a real-estate brochure on my door step and low and behold… there was a three bedroom pole home in the bush that I could possibly afford in guess where? Gypsy Close, Mount Coolum!!! I had to go and see it. So I got in my car and looked at it from the outside but decided it looked a bit strange. Over the next week it played in my mind so I eventually went to see the inside. I was sold! It was great for us. My girls and I have lived in our little tree house for the next seven years but this is not where the story ends.
My “powers of manifestation” faltered when it came to men and finances. Over the time since I bought the house I have had an ex-boyfriend threaten to kill me over three months and another ex-boyfriend who exploited us until I nearly lost the house. I became very sick. I think my adrenal system finally gave up and I put on dress sizes of weight overnight. I could not function at “normal work places” without becoming intensely drained of energy and yet had a mortgage and two children to support. So I decided to take another leap of faith and set up my own business on nothing but a line of credit and stubborn streak to land on my feet. I took on the Law of Attraction philosophy and got started….
After a year or two of setting up my business, I realized that the “doing’ was as important as the “being”. I struggled for years between illusions, false beliefs, stomach ulcers, social reality and spiritual emergence… all the time getting further and further into debt. I became confused, lost all sense inner truth and self-trust, and was wide open to exploitation.
Somehow something half way sensible emerged from inside me and I moved away from the spiritual to re-ground myself in the tangible world. I stepped away from anyone who drained me or confused me and began to re-claim the long and narrow path towards sanity. I reconnected with my voice of reason and took a stand to my magical and wishful thinking that was leading me down the garden path.
So What I Learnt About the Law of Attraction!
My bitter-sweet story of the Law of Attraction gave me some powerful and important learnings about the spiritual path! But before I share what I learnt, I would love you to watch this video made by Kayley Grace called “If I’m so infinite then where the fuck is my stuff?”
Wow!!! Thank you Kayley Grace!
Kayley and I are far from the only two who have been affected by false messages about the Law of Attraction. I have heard many stories of people dangerously lead astray by these sorts of beliefs.
So here are some of what I have learnt about the Law of Attraction and the spiritual path….
- The spiritual and the tangible word are not separate. We cannot embrace one without the other, without unpleasant consequences.
- Balance between spiritual practice and grounded, tangible action in the world is essential.
- Spiritual emergence without grounded reason can lead to serious mental illness with dangerous implications. Any Buddhist will tell you that and they have been practicing this stuff for over three thousand years!
- The unconscious holds beliefs that work its own kind of magic that we are not conscious of! As I discussed in my last blog, when it comes to the unconscious it is not an individual personality or self. So the unconscious attraction forces might be quite different from what we consciously want!
- We are not meant to surpass our ego. According to Eckhart Tolle the ego is the conscious human mind. We may be able to witness the mind or master it, but we cannot escape it! We have a living human mind that thinks and identifies as a “self”. This is the ego!
- If the spiritual and our emotional selves are out of alignment, it can create havoc! Our emotions are here to guide us but if we think we can override the tangible world and our emotional selves we have another thing coming! We don’t just “rise above it” when our partner leaves us, we lose our job and our parent dies. There are real emotional processes that have to be honored even when we are aware of Spirit!
- All of those people who call themselves “spiritual” are actually in the process of identifying with a concept. This in itself is an egoic state … an identity statement! In truth, we are all spiritual whether we consciously think it or not.
I will explore each of these point in greater depth in seven blogs over the next seven days, in my blog series on Psychospiritual Reflections. However, for now I want to make the simple point that it is vital to hold onto your voice of reason when embarking on a “spiritual journey:” The tangible, financial and physical world does exist and we do live in it! We are a part of it. As Kayley generously pointed out in her video… WE ARE HUMAN and WE HAVE REAL TANGIBLE HUMAN NEEDS!!! It is important to remember this when we take on and identify with beliefs associated with the Law of Attraction!
Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….
Psychospiritual Reflections 23.12.2011
In my blog “Misunderstanding the Law of Attraction” I looked at the statement “you must have attracted that into your life” and I demonstrated the harm that these types of statements can do to people who have experienced trauma or abuse. In that article, I made the distinction between the unconscious process that may be happening in the Law of Attraction, and the conscious emotional self that responds to experience. In this blog I want to look at the unconscious and how the Law of Attraction may work on that level. I also want to look at exactly who or what is “attracting” these experiences into our lives. In other words, at what point we are really able to say that we made a choice to attract in an experience, or that we are responsible for attracting that experience. The terms “choice” and “responsibility” are central to today’s discussion of the Law of Attraction.
The Mysterious Unconscious
The unconscious is a huge reservoir of information and memory that is far more expansive than an individual conscious mind. There are a lot of theories about the unconscious and what it is but in general there are a few common themes. Generally, the unconscious:
- Is a huge store of information where the conscious mind is very small in comparison. This is much like the conscious mind being the tip of an iceberg compared to the unconsciousness submerged beneath the surface.
- Exists outside the dimensions of time and space (causality and locality)
- Contains memory of past, present and future, often including past lives
- Is without boundaries of the individual person. That is it could be a tribal memory or family memory, or even a cultural or species memory
These features make the unconscious very different from the conscious mind.
The conscious mind on the other hand, consists of our conscious beliefs, values, likes and dislikes, insecurities and worries, feelings, self identity, knowledge, and personality. Basically, anything that we are consciously aware of at any one point in time, is our conscious mind. Consciousness itself is a very interesting phenomenon, however this is outside the scope of this article.
For today’s purposes, what is important is that the unconscious does not consist of the same psychological qualities that the conscious mind does. The unconscious has no identification with an individual personality. It is not an “I” or a “you”. It is not a “Self” at all.
All we can really say about the unconscious is that when we hypnotise people we tend to access memories that we were not consciously aware of. Many say these memories are past life memories. We also know that the unconscious processes information at night in our dreams. Some people claim to know the future through their dreams or through a deep inner knowing, which we associate with the unconscious. Eastern traditions are very familiar with understanding unconscious processes in their medicine, including the chakras and meridian systems. While we understand something about the unconscious, it is still very much a mystery.
What Choice Do I really have?
There was a funny little story I read in a psychological astrology book on freewill and fate. In this story, there was a man who whole walking in the market place spotted Death. Death tried to talk to him but he quickly fled the market, went home, packed and left town. He finally stopped at an Inn in another town late at night, believing he had escaped Death. A while later that night he heard a knock at the door. Upon opening the door there was Death, who promptly said, “Hi, I was trying to say earlier that I’ll meet you here at this Inn tonight.” [“The Astrology of Fate”, Liz Greene (1984)]
This great little story captures the quandary between freewill and fate. What is free will and what is predestined or set up by the unconscious? What choices do we really have in life? Freewill and determinism have been debated since the binning of recorded history. Plato and Aristotle approximately 2500 years ago developed their philosophies on this topic and they were not the first. So the question becomes can we unconsciously make choices or are choices by definition conscious? The other part of the question is if experiences ate attracted into my life on an unconscious level, am I responsible for them? So let’s try to make sense of these questions.
Unconscious Patterns & Conscious Awareness
In a nut shell, we can not be responsible for things that we are not aware of. You could say when we act out of a lack of awareness, or when we are caught in unconscious patterns, we are not really making choices at all. We are more like an automated robot, repeating and rehashing the same thoughts, feelings and actions. Yes, we do experience it and we feel the consequences of it. However because we are unconscious as how the events were created, we feel at a loss as to how to change it.
As I have already stated, the unconscious is far more extensive than a conscious human self. This is where the terms Choice and Responsibility have become really confused in discussions about the Law of Attraction. If the unconscious is NOT a SELF, then how can we possibly be responsible for unconscious attraction patterns? We are not “Making A Choice” when we find ourselves in the midst of a natural disaster or subjected to cruelty and abuse… BECAUSE IT IS NOT A CONSCIOUS PROCESS!!!
So while we may not be responsible for those choices because they were not choices at all, we can learn how to become responsible for making choices through conscious awareness. Bring the shadow into the light of the conscious mind and you will begin to SEE! The biggest difference between remaining unconscious of psychological patterns is that we tend to stay in a place of suffering and by default affect others in the same way. To increase conscious awareness of what is unconscious leads to self-responsibility and choice, where before there was simply unconscious reaction.
Ultimately Self-Responsibility is Freedom!
So today we have explored the differences between the conscious mind and the unconscious and I have suggested that it is the unconscious that is involved in the Law of Attraction and not the conscious mind. Therefore, while we DO have the choice (and are responsible for) healing our psychological wounds which can release the unconscious patterns, we are NOT responsible for unconscious attraction patterns that bring experiences into our lives, whether those experiences are pleasant or unpleasant.
In my next blog post on psycho-spiritual reflections, I want to take a closer look at unconscious patterns and discuss the different types of patterns including family patterns, tribal patterns and cultural patterns. I also want to show how we can these patterns and in the process increase our conscious awareness which leads to self-responsibility, choice and intention.
Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….
Psychospiritual Reflections 18.12.2011
I regularly hear the statement “I attracted this in to my life” from clients, members of the new age community and friends. Movies such as The Secret portray a simple idea that if we believe and feel a certain way then we can attract in good experiences and bad ones will go away. I have found that that unless people are trying to sell something, most who say this statement are generally well meaning and genuinely want to help. Unfortunately they often have the opposite effect. There is certainly no fingers pointed or any blame, I’m sure I’ve said this statement before too! While I believe the Law of Attraction does have validity, this particular message about the process of attraction is distorted and misunderstood. The key reason why this message is distorted is because it confuses the conscious self with an unconscious or soul process called attraction. On top of that, its underlying message says that in some way a person is at fault if they experience a negative event. This message can be incredibly unhelpful!
There are two parts to attraction that I have either experienced or believe to be true. One is the unconscious or “soul” process that is unfolding and manifesting in our conscious lives, and the other is an emotional process. How we understand them and what we do with them is an essential part of whether the concept of attraction is helpful or not. This article will focus on the emotional process in the attraction process while next time I will focus on the unconscious process.
Emotion & Attraction
In The Secret emotion was explained as the “attracting force” that either brought pleasant or unpleasant experiences into your life. They also said a lot about beliefs in the attraction process, however there was a special point that it is actually emotion that ultimately attracts or repels. They spoke about “getting into the feeling space of what you want to attract”. I agree that emotion is an attracting force and that belief is a directing force. It is a bit like yin and yang! However, there is a lot more to emotional processes than simply “making yourself feel right” so that you can attract in a mansion, a gorgeous partner and a million dollars. We need to understand what emotions are really about if we are going to learn how to work with them.
Emotions are our guidance mechanism system. So rather than us trying to control them, we must learn to listen and work with them. Emotions tell us that something is in or out of alignment either in our environment or within ourselves. Even unpleasant emotions are important and ultimately helpful because they are alerting us to what is destructive. It is like pain alerts us to physical damage, unpleasant emotions alert us to emotional and interpersonal damage. So when we speak about shifting emotions, it is a false and even harmful expectation to think anyone can just change their mind and emotions and attract in abundance. It simply does not work that way!
We do have an influence in what we feel and think. However to free ourselves from embedded emotional patterns takes a great deal more than simply changing our minds. To work through emotional patterns and distress, we need to acknowledge the wounding and learn how to integrate what we have learnt through those experiences. Making life-enhancing meanings out of adverse experience is essential. Ultimately we aim to grow through these hard experiences and release the emotional attachments, however this process can take years in therapy. There are energetic and intuitive healing practices that can help speed up that process, however it still takes time because we are in the physical world.
The Harm this Message Causes
In my work as a psychologist, I have found that this message is particularly harmful when it comes to people who have experienced trauma, and especially for prolonged complex trauma. When someone is traumatised there is a common set of reactions that most people experience. This includes high anxiety, hyper-arousal, distressing thoughts and dreams related to the trauma, flashbacks and panic attacks. After someone experiences a trauma they often try to avoid anything that reminds them of the trauma because it is so distressing. They also can experience a shutdown of emotions, anger outbursts and are easily startled. Trauma is a real psychological response to events that elicit high fear or terror, feeling out of control and witnessing or experiencing serious injury or death. The effects of trauma do not simply go away on their own. They need psychological intervention to process these memories and release the emotional distress associated with them.
Due to the level of distress people experience in trauma serious difficulties arise when people believe it is their fault that they experienced these traumatic events. This is even more pertinent if the type of trauma is type II (complex trauma) as it has the added extra dimension of impaired attachment in important relationships. In a nut shell, this message slows down or even prevents the person from healing from the trauma symptoms. Complex trauma involves being seriously injured sexually, emotionally and/or physically by another person who they are attached to such as a partner or a parent. So in situations where a person has experienced abuse, being told that they somehow “attracted that experience to them” again puts the fault and blame in their court. This is not too different from the attitude that someone was raped because they were wearing a short skirt or were walking where they shouldn’t. These sorts of statements only re-abuse the abused and are incredibly harmful.
Judith Herman’s work with complex trauma signifies the importance of recognizing the wrong doing of the perpetrator in healing from abuse and human inflicted trauma. Generally perpetrators of abuse blame the abused for their own actions and people who have experienced abuse often carry that guilt and shame. So to give someone the message, no matter how subtle and well-meaning, that they attracted the abuse into their lives only serves to exacerbate the emotional distress and the effects of trauma. On the emotional level, there is nothing worse you could imply than they caused the abuse they suffered.
Where to Now?
In the next article I will take a closer look at what is meant by the Law of Attraction at an unconscious or soul level, and I will show why the unconscious process involved in attraction is not the conscious self or the person. As mortal conscious human beings, we do not attract bad things because we are not healed enough or good enough. I will also explain how appropriate healing and therapy can eventually lead to a better experience of life which may influence the experiences our unconscious mind attracts, however this is not the same as holding a person consciously responsible for events outside their control.
Have your say on the Law of Attraction and contribute to the greater consciousnesses of humanity ….