How to achieve your desires by giving up completely

This is the final part in a four-part series about the misunderstanding and misapplication of the Law of Attraction, which is prevalent in modern popular spiritual teaching. If you haven’t read the other parts, I recommend doing so before diving into this one. In part one I discussed the Law of Growth, and why we should always consider the spiritual impact of any attempts to manifest. In the second part, I discussed the need for consciousness in the manifesting process. In part three, I debunked the idea that the Law of Attraction is intended as some magic formula for material prosperity.

In the previous article, we finished with a quote from the great New Thought writer Thomas Troward, where he advised us to aim all our efforts towards a higher degree of spiritual development, rather than towards material gain. The material side of life should not be despised, he said, because the external is a symbol of the internal – but it is a by-product and not the overall aim. Bypassing all the internal growth – the wisdom, the knowledge, the true experience of peace and security and seeking only the external symbols – is attempting to short circuit the process. At best, such efforts are likely to give you flaky results. At worst, you may become proficient at dealing with spiritual forces, but lack the framework of true spiritual knowledge and virtue which is required to apply such forces safely and profitably.

In times of greater religious fervour, this latter scenario was known as sorcery – and was widely regarded as one of the most perilous paths to tread. Indeed, Troward in his book Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning, sees the flood of Noah as being a partly symbolic and partly historic event which was caused by the psychic plane becoming saturated with an abundance of competing mental forces, each seeking personal gain and being completely divorced from the harmonising spirit of growth and virtue. Even if you scoff at this interpretation as though it were a miniature Harlem witch trial, nevertheless the selfish abuse of spiritual powers has been consistently condemned by a variety of traditions throughout history. Attempting to harness spiritual powers for personal gain without the virtue that entitles us to it has been unanimously regarded as one of the most wicked paths a soul can tread. But seeking the virtue first and then enjoying whatever benefits arise, spiritual and material – well, such is the highest path of all!

Again, the material side of life should not be despised and many of the legitimate requests we make during our journey will be material ones – and that is where the Law of Attraction comes in.

Indeed, Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

But the more we concern ourselves with asking for spiritual advances and insights instead of material things, the more rapid and profound our progress will be. As our consciousness ascends and we receive true spiritual insights, then the full possibilities of Christ’s words will open up to us – when we are wise enough to understand and apply them correctly. If we are weighed down with our own plans and desires instead of united to the will of the Universe, we will create resistance and suffering.

Unfortunately, the promises of easy money and the apparent successes of the prominent Law of Attraction gurus have distorted our view of this. They tell us that when we encounter resistance, it’s a sign that we need to work on ourselves, or visualise more – or cease visualising altogether and let go – or a hundred other bits of contradictory advice designed to put us in the precise mental sweet spot that will enable limitless prosperity to flow into our lives on cue.

These techniques may indeed have worked for the people teaching them, and they may work for some people who apply them – particularly if that person’s life purpose is to learn the lessons associated with material prosperity. Of course, the underpinning law never changes, but people’s aptitudes and level of evolution varies wildly. Some people are capable of generating sufficient enthusiasm and effort in order to prosper materially, while others who are more spiritually advanced simply cannot muster the motivation, the frame of mind, or the correct mindset in order to make these techniques work with the aim of material gain.

There is a huge element of self-selection at work here. In other words, the most prominent Law of Attraction teachers tend to be people whose life purpose is highly biased towards the material – whereas the people with a higher spiritual purpose and more profound spiritual insight tend to be locked away in monasteries, or at least far less concerned with self-promotion.  Hence on the major sites like YouTube, the deeper spiritual advice tends to be drowned out by the New Gospel of Prosperity.  Again, manifesting material things is absolutely possible and permitted – but such things must take their proper place in the Universe’s grand scheme for our soul.

Sadly we humans are a stubborn lot, and prone to take the path of least resistance – so when we’re promised an easy way out of suffering, we will not give up the idea willingly, even after experiencing a string of failures.  So how do we make the shift from self-seeking materialism to spiritual aspirations? Well, the only thing that has worked for me is total surrender. And I must emphasise the ‘total’ part, because there is no such thing as a partial surrender. One simply can’t say “Okay God, I give up on striving for what I want – I surrender to you, now please give it to me.” That is no surrender at all; such a person is clinging to their desires just as much as ever. It reminds me of the old joke about Murphy’s Law – it is recursive: you can’t wash the car to make it rain. And you can’t give up on your desires to make them happen – you truly have to accept that they may not happen in this lifetime. Such a genuine surrender may take a form like the following:

“Oh Universal Spirit, I have struggled and striven to attain my desires, and they are as far away as they have ever been. They have caused me nothing but misery, and will continue to do so if I hold fast to them. But what is this life in the light of eternity? When we see it for what it truly is, it will be but one night in a bad motel. If my desires cannot be attained in this life, then perhaps in the next. Or perhaps they are not good for me and will never come true. Therefore, I let them go and make way for something better. May whatever is best in the light of eternal truth be done. Now I seek only you.”

This kind of prayer, when made with complete sincerity, has the effect of pressing the “reset” button on our desires. We accept that whatever silly things we thought we needed to make us happy may actually be harmful to us. We let all of that go, and resolve to instead seek nothing but whatever is best for us – knowing with full trust and certainly that the Universal Spirit can and will provide us with our ultimate good in due course.

As I discussed in a previous article on surrender, when we truly surrender to the divine will, it has a tendency to surrender to us. But I cannot say this enough – the key is to make a genuine surrender with no ulterior motive. You must fully accept that your desire may not come true, as indeed it may not.

If you say every word in the prayer above and mean it, you truly are letting go of your own desires and putting yourself at the mercy of a higher power. The inevitable outcome of such a surrender is that you will either get the thing you originally desired, or you will get something you never desired, but which is even better. If you have truly, deeply given it up and detached from it, then maybe you will get that ten bedroom mansion – but you won’t even care if you don’t. And it’s more likely that such extravagant desires won’t be fulfilled, but the inner peace and joy you will feel will make up for it many times over.

Many Law of Attraction teachers teach this same principle by stating that we need to remain neutral about our desires in order to attract them. But this de-spiritualises the process and turns it into a mechanical formula, whereas the neutrality you are seeking is a deep, complete trust and hope in whatever the Universe decides to send you – without the ulterior motive of attracting anything specific. We are seeking to become something, rather than to attract something.

Distilled down, this is the essential basis of all Christian, Taoist, Buddhist and Hindu teaching – we find true peace and happiness by raising our minds and hearts to higher states of virtue and purity. Seeking material prosperity as a means of happiness is a stark departure from centuries of consistent spiritual teaching. Of course, once we are in a higher state of vibration then material prosperity is easier to come by – but it won’t have the same chokehold over us as it once did.

So fill your day with thoughts of security, peace, love, fun, confidence, happiness, and any other spiritual influences you feel the need of. Note that I said spiritual influences – you want to feel the essence of the energy back of all your desires. So if you desire more money, for example, please don’t listen to those people who tell you to breathe in the scent of money or imagine counting out hundred dollar notes in your hands. No doubt this works for people who approach it with exactly the right mindset, but for the majority of people it will simply inflame more desire and cause more fruitless searching and book-buying when it doesn’t work as advertised. Instead, ask what you are really searching for through money. Is it security? If so, feel a deep sense of solid, grounded safety. Is it knowing that your needs will be taken care of? If so, feel a deep sense of providence and provision. Feel the truth of Christ’s words in Matthew 6:30-31:

“And if the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not concerned therefore, saying: What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?”

Begin to truly feel all these energies. But here is the crucial part: feel them for no other reason than because they feel good, and place you in a positive frame of mind.

Please take a moment to understand this correctly. We are not doing this to attract anything into our lives. We are doing this to feel like a secure, peaceful person who is taken care of by providence. By incorporating these feelings into our daily life, we are creating a new framework – a spiritual reality – that is based upon thoughts and feelings of a high vibration, instead of the limiting, low vibrational thoughts and feelings that created our previous reality. By stepping into this new framework, we open the door to new and positive influences to be attracted into our life. But anything we may attract is merely the icing on the cake – we are seeking a positive spiritual framework for its own sake, and nothing else.

If all this is confusing, please read it again and meditate upon it until it begins to make sense. At first, this may seem like an impossible tightrope walk – trying to counteract the opposing forces of non-desire and achievement while remaining upright and poised. But the truth is so much simpler – give up the tightrope act altogether. Give up the desire, accept that your life is what it is and ask the Boss to show you the way. He’s only waiting for your surrender to give you a peace and a happiness far beyond what all those silly childish desires could ever give you.

Why lottery winners so often lose all their money – the reasons no-one ever talks about

You’ve probably head the strict Law of Attraction-based explanation for bankrupt lottery winners, which is that they were in subconscious resonance with winning the lottery, but not with having money. They are stuck in a poverty mindset, so even when a gigantic wad of money lands in their lap they feel the need to subconsciously rid themselves of it to make their programming come true.

While there may be some truth in that, it doesn’t adequately explain how they got the money in the first place if they’re not in resonance with it. In fact their good fortune seems to rather contradict this theory. Nevertheless, while not denying the possibility of it contributing, a more detailed explanation is needed. Here is mine.

G.K. Chesterton once wrote that a balanced life must involve a certain amount of dissatisfaction as well as satisfaction, because without the dissatisfaction it’s impossible to appreciate the moments of satisfaction. If you quit your job, you’d better make sure you’re pursuing some deeply edifying, fulfilling purpose in your free time. If you spend every day at the beach instead, you’ll soon get bored of it. This explains why many older people voluntarily return to the workplace a year or two into their long-awaited retirement.

In short, there’s no Friday without Monday. It is possible to live a deeply enjoyable life, but it needs to be a life of purpose, not a life of endless leisure. Chesterton’s observation does not apply to people in states of advanced enlightenment, but to the average person living a purely natural human existence and relying on natural experiences for fulfillment, one cannot live forever in a state of untempered ease. Counter-intuitively, it leads to a state of ennui and a desire for greater thrills – because basing your satisfaction on purely natural, physical stimuli instead of the deeper, more fundamental desire to evolve spiritually can never satisfy us deeply or permanently.

Furthermore, most of us feel a certain sense of excitement when contemplating the future because we expect that our future will hold many exciting experiences. These experiences may be spread thinly over a long period of time, but the anticipation of exciting things to come tends to give most people a sense of optimism and hope for the future. Most of us have things we want to experience and achieve, and knowing that the happy day will eventually come reassures us that our time here isn’t wasted. Lottery winners may find that they have reached the end of their entire list within the space of six months or a year. What’s left to look forward to? Why are they no longer living in daily ecstasy like they were immediately after their win? Why have their unhappy souls – yearning for true spiritual fulfillment – reasserted their true miserable state?

This is when the spending often starts to escalate. Bigger houses and cars, more luxurious holidays and more lavish food and drink are all common ways of attempting to plug the god-shaped hole in their souls. I needn’t bother to tell you the success rate of such attempts. Suffice it to say, the desire to be reunited with our true infinite nature can only be satisfied by cultivating a deep connection with the infinite. Attempting to satisfy infinite desires with money would make a person spend an infinite amount of money, if it were available. Alas, the money eventually runs out and the desire remains unfulfilled.

While many lottery winners hold the belief that spending an infinite amount of money is the answer to all of life’s problems, many billionaire businessmen seem to think that making an infinite amount of money is the answer. Why else would they spend their entire lives in the pursuit of more money, despite having more than enough for 10 lifetimes already? With that amount of wealth, any conceivable life path is open to them – they have the means to spend their lives doing literally anything they’re physically capable of. But out of all the available options, they choose to spend their lives sitting around in boardrooms making more money. This demonstrates that we love the thought of money and the dreams that it brings much more than the reality of it. The dreams represent that ineffable something that our soul yearns for, and the more money we have, the more we get to share in that dream. But most of the time the chase is better than the catch, because money can only make us happy if it is used to cultivate our purpose. If it is used purely for self-indulgence then it has the ability to distract us from our purpose, destroy our bodies and even destroy our lives.

I like to think that winning the lottery has absolutely nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with learning these precise lessons. Perhaps at some stage in our evolution we all win the lottery, or inherit a fortune, or amass millions by starting a business. If you’re already on a spiritual path, you’ve probably already learnt that lesson. So save your money by not buying lottery tickets. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can attract a lottery win with your thoughts, and don’t fall into that trap of thinking “But I have so many wonderful ideas I could carry out with the money! I could help others and pursue my worthwhile passions. Why should others get millions just to waste it, when a more worthy recipient like I misses out?”

Worthy as you may be, people with these ideas never seem to be the people who win the lottery. Perhaps they are and we just don’t hear about them, but I suggest that people with bigger ideas are ready for the bigger lessons. Chief among these lessons is to plan the big ideas first, then trust in the infinite intelligence of the universe to bring them to fruition. Dream big and wait for the money to arrive when it’s needed – rather than chasing money with some vague pretenses of good to justify it. When we do the latter, what we’re really seeking is a life without lessons. A life where everything comes easily and without effort is a life of stagnation, not evolution. If that were the best thing for us, we would never have come here in the first place.

Evil is just the shadow we cast in the infinite light of the universe: James Allen

“Evil has always been symbolized by darkness, and Good by light, and hidden within the symbol is contained the perfect interpretation, the reality; for, just as light always floods the universe, and darkness is only a mere speck or shadow cast by a small body intercepting a few rays of the illimitable light, so the Light of the Supreme Good is the positive and life-giving power which floods the universe, and evil the insignificant shadow cast by the self that intercepts and shuts off the illuminating rays which strive for entrance. When night folds the world in its black impenetrable mantle, no matter how dense the darkness, it covers but the small space of half our little planet, while the whole universe is ablaze with living light, and every soul knows that it will awake in the light in the morning. Know, then, that when the dark night of sorrow, pain, or misfortune settles down upon your soul, and you stumble along with weary and uncertain steps, that you are merely intercepting your own personal desires between yourself and the boundless light of joy and bliss, and the dark shadow that covers you is cast by none and nothing but yourself. And just as the darkness without is but a negative shadow, an unreality which comes from nowhere, goes to nowhere, and has no abiding dwelling-place, so the darkness within is equally a negative shadow passing over the evolving and Light-born soul.

‘But,’ I fancy I hear someone say, ‘why pass through the darkness of evil at all?’ Because, by ignorance, you have chosen to do so, and because, by doing so, you may understand both good and evil, and may the more appreciate the light by having passed through the darkness. As evil is the direct outcome of ignorance, so, when the lessons of evil are fully learned, ignorance passes away, and wisdom takes its place. But as a disobedient child refuses to learn its lessons at school, so it is possible to refuse to learn the lessons of experience, and thus to remain in continual darkness, and to suffer continually recurring punishments in the form of disease, disappointment, and sorrow. He, therefore, who would shake himself free of the evil which encompasses him, must be willing and ready to learn, and must be prepared to undergo that disciplinary process without which no grain of wisdom or abiding happiness and peace can be secured.

A man may shut himself up in a dark room, and deny that the light exists, but it is everywhere without, and darkness exists only in his own little room. So you may shut out the light of Truth, or you may begin to pull down the walls of prejudice, self-seeking and error which you have built around yourself, and so let in the glorious and omnipresent Light. By earnest self-examination strive to realize, and not merely hold as a theory, that evil is a passing phase, a self-created shadow; that all your pains, sorrows and misfortunes have come to you by a process of undeviating and absolutely perfect law; have come to you because you deserve and require them, and that by first enduring, and then understanding them, you may be made stronger, wiser, nobler. When you have fully entered into this realization, you will be in a position to mold your own circumstances, to transmute all evil into good and to weave, with a master hand, the fabric of your destiny.”

James Allen is one of those New Thought authors that sometimes gets dismissed for being a little too cute or a little too simple. But paragraphs like this, from chapter one of From Poverty to Power ring with truth, and a deep spiritual understanding. There is no darkness in the universe, no evil – nothing to make us suffer except ourselves, and the shadow we cast through misuse of the faculty of thought.

Sydney Banks: The dream state is more real than our waking experience

Sydney Banks was a minimally educated Scottish labourer who, in the 1970s, had a spontaneous and inexplicable spiritual awakening. He truly was an enlightened man – a master wilfully reincarnated into a lowly station, no doubt – and shortly after his experience he quit his long term labouring job and, with no plan, embarked on his life’s work of spreading the truth about the nature of reality. He founded the Three Principles philosophy and spent the remainder of his life lecturing. He repeatedly taught that enlightenment could not be communicated through words – because words are form, and enlightenment entails understanding the true spiritual reality, which exists before form came into being. It is formless. That is why in the below quote, he says that the problems of the universe can be solved “only from here” – that is, only from within.

I found his words about the dream state being more real than the waking state to be particularly striking. With only a superficial understanding of their meaning, the words may sound like a vacuous Instagram quote – but with a deeper understanding, they become powerful fuel for meditation. With a true spiritual understanding, they contain the essence of all there is to be known about the true nature of life. This is one of my favourite sections from all of Banks’ lectures. Its true meaning will reveal itself with multiple readings, and some meditation.

Read on for the enlightened words of a truly humble, generous man – a true master, Sydney Banks:

“What everybody searches for lies within their own self. It’s an identity that you’ve lost. That’s what it is – it’s an identity that you’ve lost. It’s you – you’re lost. Not you the body; not you the little mind; but the energy – the true you – the true self. That thing that lies inside is a spiritual reality that lies within. And if you can see past what you see now and look within, and find a spiritual reality then the reality that you now see changes. Because the reality that you now see is the illusion – it is a dream. It’s called life. And it’s perfect. It’s a perfect dream. And nothing in this dream can be wrong. Nothing. It only appears wrong to the mind because only from the mind are there wrongs. And it’s the same mind that has created the life that we now see. It’s the creator of its own fear; but if you look within, there’s a greater creation. There’s the very essence of life. There inside you lies the place of the space where the dream is dreamt. And all you have to do is wake up. It’s like when you’re having a nightmare – and it’s real. You feel the pain. You feel the fear. You feel the hate. You feel everything in the nightmare – and it’s true. What you see is true; it really is – it’s as true in that reality as it is now. As a matter of fact, in the dream state, you are closer to the true reality of life than you are when you’re awake focusing only from your mind. But if you’re having a nightmare and you wake up, you know the feeling – you say ‘thank God it was just a nightmare.’ And this is the same as waking up spiritually. You start to wake up. The second you see your first spiritual fact – your Christ consciousness is touched. And at that second, that is when you start to wake up. And if you ever truly wake up, you’ll wake up from the nightmare to the beautiful, absolute truth of the inner self – the oneness; the realisation that all things are one single divine thought, broken up into pieces via Christ conscious states and the illusion of mankind. We have forgotten how to wake up to see what is instead of what isn’t. Because what we see really – really – isn’t real. The true reality lies within. And if you can go within, from here – and only from here – only from here can the troubles and the problems of the universe be solved.”

Is Reconnective Healing evil?

I find it somewhat flattering that the title of this article is one of the most googled questions about Reconnective Healing. No-one asks the same questions about reiki or qigong, because neither of those modalities have RH’s reputation for instantaneous, seemingly miraculous healings. Given that the old spiritual paradigm only allowed for such healings to occur when some conscious spiritual or divine entity granted leave of the rules of nature, it’s not entirely surprising that Reconnective Healing’s incredible record of instant, profound healings has caused some people to ask – who or what on Earth is behind this?

Let me reassure any concerned readers that one of the main factors that attracted me to Reconnective Healing in the first place was its complete avoidance of intercessors and rituals. There are no spirits invoked or prayed to, no incantations or talismans – not even crystals or gemstones. Not only are all these things completely superfluous when performing Reconnective Healing, they are expressly forbidden to any certified practitioner. That’s right, every practitioner must sign an agreement before they are given their practitioner’s certificate agreeing that they will not perform any rituals as part of the healing process.

The reason for this is because, firstly, intercessors and rituals are unnecessary when performing Reconnective Healing. The healing is not the work of some entity – it is the work of the infinite intelligence of the universe. More to the point, the founder of Reconnective Healing Dr. Eric Pearl discovered early in the development of the modality that invocations and rituals actually decrease the effectiveness of the healing. The energy we access when we perform a healing is the infinite energy of the universe – therefore, there is nothing that can be added to it. Dr. Pearl likens it to a jug full to the brim with water – anything we add to the jug can only reduce the amount of water; it cannot make the jug more full. If the healer adds rituals and precise techniques of his own devising, he’s bringing his ego into the equation, leaving less room for the energy in the process. If he invokes intercessors, he’s bringing the collective consciousness energy surrounding that intercessor into the equation. In both cases, there is less room for the energy to do its work. All of this is to say that the invocation of any evil entities is strictly out of the question when performing Reconnective Healing work.

But another aspect of RH that sometimes concerns potential clients is anecdotal reports of flickering lights and electrical equipment malfunctioning after a client receives a healing. This does happen on rare occasions, which is understandable given that Reconnective Healing has been scientifically shown to increase levels of thermodynamic energy in the room where it is performed. It should come as no surprise that when these levels reach a certain point, electrical equipment can be affected by it. It’s also understandable that this could be frightening to the person experiencing it – but to date there have been no reports of any genuinely inexplicable supernatural phenomena occurring due to healings. We also lack any logical explanation for why an evil entity would wish to physically and spiritually heal a person and then fool around with their washing machine while it’s in the middle of the spin cycle. If frightening the client is the end goal, why would the entity choose electrical appliances as its sole method of terror? Why not apparitions or noises? And if Reconnective Healing is an insidious means of hijacking a person’s soul, why scare them off it?

In short, Reconnective Healing is not evil. The healing energy is simply there – all the practitioner does is tune into it and convey that energy to the client. If there were anything evil about the energy then we ought to be very concerned, because the energy is everywhere. The practitioner does not need to consecrate a sacred space to perform a healing – it can be done at a bus stop, in an aeroplane or down a coal mine.

Reconnective Healing truly is a quantum leap in healing, and all discoveries of such a magnitude are fated to meet with suspicions of evil. I could write pages more on this topic, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. To date there have been countless reports of healings from every affliction imaginable – arthritis, depression, ADHD, cancer, PTSD – if you name it, Reconnective Healing has probably cured it. Has there been a single report of a demonic possession, a haunting, or anything more sinister than some electrical appliances turning off? Certainly not to my knowledge. But rather than taking my word for it, why not try it for yourself and see?

In October, your first healing session is just $45 – that’s over 50% off! Smiley Take a look at our sessions and packages page for more information.

A real life example of turning the other cheek

It shouldn’t be any surprise to the spiritually inclined to learn that one of Christ’s most powerful teachings is also one of his most maligned. The great admonition to “turn the other cheek” doesn’t sit well with the self-centered, egotistical society we live in. There is also a tendency for people to interpret this admonition literally, almost as though it were boxing advice, and miss the underlying point. If I were to summarise the underlying message, it would be something like this: “When you see others acting badly, don’t let it concern you, and never be tempted to react. Rather, with all humility, let it inspire you to act better yourself.” Or if we make it a tad more practical still: “When someone acts inappropriately towards you, don’t argue with them or tell them how inappropriate they have been. Rather, humbly show them by your superior conduct.”

Acts of great virtue are inspiring to all people, regardless of religious conviction. The following example from a truly virtuous man, Fr. Willie Doyle, SJ, is a perfect demonstration of the true meaning of Christ’s words. The story comes from the lovely, inspiring and sadly long out of print book Merry in God by an anonymous author:

“I recall one memorable scene. It is a common occurrence in Clongowes for one cricket club to challenge another. The consequences for the loser are serious, since the beaten side is liable to confiscation of its bats, pads, in fact all its good gear, and to get in exchange the battered property of its rival. This is the material aspect of the result, but there is a more important element at stake, the loss or gain, namely, of prestige. In the instance to which I refer, the game was keenly contested and feeling ran high. The junior club won eventually by a narrow margin. Whereupon the beaten side declared that the victors had ‘doctored’ the score. Immediately there was uproar, and quiet was restored only when someone proposed that Fr. Doyle should be called in to arbitrate. He gave the case against the defeated eleven. This verdict so exasperated one of the boys that he called Fr. Doyle a ‘damn cheat!’ This outburst cleared the atmosphere and produced a sudden calm, as nobody
knew what would follow this amazing piece of impudence. But Fr. Doyle did nothing. Two or three days passed, and the culprit, who was prepared to take a flogging and hate his Prefect to the end of his days, began to grow sorry for his conduct when he saw that no move was being made against him. At last he apologised, offering to accept punishment, but Fr. Doyle only laughed good humouredly, and gave him biscuits and lemonade and a few pieces of sound advice. Fr. Doyle won a fast friend and a most loyal supporter, but his self-control under the circumstances needed character.”

Most of us would have argued with the boy by telling him how inappropriate he’d been – and have activated his defenses by doing so. Instead, Fr. Doyle activated his admiration by humbly failing to defend himself.

If you’ve found Christ’s words impractical or difficult to imitate, consider imitating this wonderful example instead.

How misusing the Law of Attraction creates suffering

This is part 3 of a series discussing some of the misconceptions about the Law of Attraction which have been caused by the explosion of publicity it has received in the wake of the movie The Secret.

In part one I discussed the Law of Growth, and why we should always consider the spiritual impact of any attempts to manifest. In the second part, I discussed the need for consciousness in the manifesting process.  In this third part of the present series I will discuss what I believe to be the true meaning and purpose of the Law of Attraction, as distinguished from the magic formula for material gain that it has become through modern popular teaching.

Let me begin by stating that although I find certain core tenets of Buddhism hard to swallow, I cannot find one word to argue against the Buddha’s core teaching that desire results in suffering. Contentment equals having everything we want; while its opposite – desire – always implies that something is missing. The same principle is stated in verse 20 of the Tao Te Ching, where Lao Tzu teaches non-striving as the way to contentment. Similar teachings are repeated elsewhere in the Tao.

Therefore, the whole Law of Attraction premise would seem to be flawed from the very outset. It’s based on an egoistic concept of happiness that says “you are unhappy because you do not have what you want. Let me show you the way to get what you want.” If the process happens to succeed, the ego will simply ask for more – because attaining some material success will not change our mindset and the energetic pattern created by our mindset. The moment you create a specific worldly goal, you are energetically saying “I am here, but I wish I were there.” The implication of the energetic message is: “I need to be there to be happy. Here is not good enough. Being here is the cause of my unhappiness.”  I am loathe to even say it, because it’s one of those oft-repeated yet rarely appreciated truths that sounds like little more than a slogan on a motivational poster, but here it is, in all its apparent triteness: happiness comes from within.

Unfortunately, we all empathise with Ashleigh Brilliant’s famous quote about money (sometimes falsely attributed to Spike Milligan): “All I want is a chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” We think we can be the single exception to the rule. Others aren’t happy because they’re using their money foolishly, we say. I would use it wisely, or for purposeful pursuits. Or we pin medals on our chest by saying we’d use it to do good in the world. Despite all our fantasies, no-one has ever found lasting happiness through money per se. When Sylvester Stallone was asked by an Australian TV show whether money and fame had brought him happiness, he answered:

“Well, you can afford a better grade of psychiatrist – that’s about it. No, I mean money certainly gives you a chance to be independent, but it doesn’t buy happiness at all. No it doesn’t.”

His reference to independence may set off another train of thought within us – “that’s all I really want – independence. I want to be free from my mind-numbing 9-5 job, or free to move away from my irritating housemate. If I had a source of easy income, I’d be free to dedicate more time to work on myself and develop my spirituality.”  Again, it is one of those ideas that seems so true in our imagination, but is immediately disproven when it is tried. Removing ourselves from noxious influences can help, but if we do not remove the real source of the influences then we will simply attract more.  Furthermore, if we are unhappy working a 9-5 job, we will be unhappy without one. There are some advantages, for sure – but there are disadvantages in equal measure. I can assure you from personal experience that if you quit your 9-5 job before you’ve developed your true spiritual understanding and calling, your life will not improve one bit. You may be free from certain irritations like early starts and team meetings, but other difficulties like loneliness, isolation, lack of direction and frustration with your spiritual state will arise to take their place.

Your ego may argue with this and remind you how great your last overseas holiday was. What if you could live that way all the time? It may remind you how great it was for the first week after you quit your job – and how peaceful it made you feel when the pressure was released. It may remind you of the first few months of being in love. If we could only grab hold of those fleeting pleasures and make them last, it says! Of course, we can’t – a change in circumstance only ever makes a temporary change in our happiness.

You simply cannot find that magical place called ‘ease’ and attempt to use it as a base camp from which to live the rest of your life and develop yourself spiritually. Not only is it energetically impossible, but it is not what we’re here to do. Reaching a state of ease through material security and nothing else would put us a state of stagnation. We came here to evolve, and to ultimately manifest the Uncreated Formless in created form. That doesn’t mean our lives are fated to be hard, but if our dominant thought pattern and its resulting energetic signal is one of discontent, the result can never be different – although we artificially change the circumstances around us.

I stated just before that no-one has ever found happiness through money per se. However, some rare individuals have found meaning after having money, and this meaning has led to their happiness. A still smaller number have found spiritual peace after having money. But these people are the rare exception – the vast majority of people who pursue money first, either fail to attain it or get ensnared by it.  I mention this only because if I don’t, someone will pull out the rare example of a person who made millions on the stock market, then gave it all up to become a yogi hermit.  Please don’t assume that the very rare exceptions disprove the whole premise.  The only course of action that will infallibly lead to true peace and happiness is the one Jesus gives to us in Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all other things shall be yours without the asking.”

I said that artificially changing the circumstances will not make a discontented person happy, and the opposite is true too – a change of circumstances will not make a truly contented person unhappy. There have been truly enlightened souls who have retained their happiness in prison, because happiness comes from within. We need not look for examples of this – we know it to be true, because many people on the highest spiritual paths voluntarily choose to “imprison” themselves in monasteries or even hermitages.  The outward circumstances simply do not matter, and have no correlation to our happiness or unhappiness. So let us begin any analysis of the Law of Attraction with the assumption that its true purpose is not for us to attract wealth and status into our lives in order to create our dream lives and attain happiness.

In fact, I don’t even agree with the term “Law of Attraction” – it implies that we are striving to pull something we do not have into our reality. But the law simply does not work when we strive to attain something. It only works when we are something. It is much easier to understand if it is referred to as the Law of Resonance. What we are will grow and increase, because our energy is resonating with it. What we are not will never come to us. Standing at point A and attempting to attract things from point B will never work – you are resonating with point A, and what you resonate with is what creates your reality.

All of us will pass through a phase of evolution where our goals and our achievements are based primarily on worldly gain – whether it be attainment of power, wealth, fame or all three. Such people do not need to strive to attain anything – by virtue of their present state of evolution, they are already are the kind of people that will succeed in worldly affairs. They are already being successful people. They are already at point B from the moment they’re born, if you like. They do not need to fight deeply against themselves to muster up the motivation to achieve worldly things. By the very fact that they are at point B, they are resonating with worldly achievement, and thus worldly achievement flows naturally to them.

The great mistake that modern Law of Attraction teaching makes is to try and teach people at different stages of evolution how to get to point B. Thus, the young soul which has not evolved beyond money discovers something about the spiritual workings of the universe, buys his first Ferrari, then jumps on YouTube and attempts to teach everyone else how easy it is for them to do the same. But the audience may be at point C or point D already. Attempting to take them back to point B is just going to contravene the Law of Growth and create resistant energy. We’ve all felt the disappointment, the struggle for control of our thoughts and feelings – the painful struggle that ensues when we try to change ourselves into something we’re not. The Law of Attraction teacher will tell you that you’re getting there, and you just need to persist, or try harder, or buy their book to create the right mindset where abundance and success can flourish. But your soul will tell you you’ve been there already. Now is the time for something greater. A bitter truth for our ego, which seems to steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the truth that external circumstances cannot make us permanently happy.

Some will argue that feeling resistance over our attempts to attract money is purely a sign that we need to clear our past traumas and money blocks. Perhaps that is so – but what does the clearing process entail, anyway? Does it entail years of releasing trapped emotions and energetic saboteur patterns? Years of tapping on meridian points to clear old traumas? Years of positive affirmations, and clearing of the negative patterns that sabotage those affirmations? It’s possible to go through all of this healing and more, and come out a great deal the worse for it, because you’re taking on the vibration of someone who is broken and needs fixing.  On the other hand, if everything goes right, the soul is then free to easily attract their millions and discover for themselves how much it will not bring them happiness. Success at last! But it wasn’t quite as easy or as fulfilling as YouTube made it out to be, was it?  Thus, a soul which may have been destined for higher things gets sucked back into the money trap. Instead of clearing its energetic baggage by raising its consciousness through spiritual practices, it gets to a certain stage of spiritual power through artificial means, and doesn’t know the true use for the power.

Even Neville Goddard – historically one of the great Law of Attraction teachers – eventually moved on to a deeper spiritual phase of his career. This chapter of his life has been all but forgotten, since his Law of Attraction lectures and books hold far more mass appeal – but Goddard eventually declared that the Law of Attraction was merely one phase in the process of spiritual development. A spiritual bait and switch, if you like – to turn our minds heavenward and then bring us to something greater, which he called “the promise.”

So what is the true use for the power of spiritual attraction? Let me answer it by quoting a far greater mind than my own. Genevieve Behrand, student of the great New Thought writer Thomas Troward, imagines a conversation between herself and Troward, in her book Attaining Your Desires. She asks him the following question:

“Then one’s efforts should be wholly directed to the attainment of a higher degree of intelligence, rather than to the acquiring of material things?”

Note that intelligence was the word Troward used to indicate a soul’s level of evolution. He answers:

“Such a purpose is the very highest, and aspirations along this line would surely externalise corresponding things. Under no circumstances should you allow yourself to form the habit of idle dreaming. The material side of life should not be despised, for it is the outside of a corresponding inside, and has its place. The thing to guard against is the acquiring of material possessions as your ultimate aim. However, when certain external facts appear in the circle of your life, you should work with them diligently and with common sense. Remember that things are symbols, and that the thing symbolised is more important than the symbol itself. ‘God will provide the food, but He will not cook the dinner.’

Pupil: My part then is to cook the dinner, so to speak; to use the intelligence with which I have been endowed, by making it a power to attract, from out the universe, ideas that will provide for me in any direction that I may choose to go, according to law?

Sage: Yes, if you choose to go with life’s continual, harmonious movement, you will find that the more you use the law of harmony through progressive thinking, the more intimately acquainted you will become with the law of reciprocity. This law corresponds to the same principles which govern physical science; that is, ‘nature obeys you precisely in the same degree as you obey nature.’ This knowledge always leads to liberty.

Pupil: How does nature obey me?

Sage: Nature’s first and greatest law is harmony. You see the results of harmonious law in the beautiful world around you. If you obey nature’s suggestion, and follow the law you will be the recipient of all the benefits contained in this law of harmony that nature has to offer, such as health, strength, contentment, etc., for all of her laws bring freedom and harmony. You will find nature responding along the same lines, to the extent that your thoughts and acts are in accordance with her perfect laws.”

To distil it all down – the true purpose of the Law of Attraction is to bring ourselves into perfect resonance with life itself. To make our every thought, word and deed resonate with life and love.  When we attain this, we experience a deep, lasting happiness and peace that a change in material circumstances can never take away from us. We experience health, love and happiness. We desire nothing, yet seem to have everything; and necessary favours are granted almost before we ask for them. In short, we attain heaven on earth.  Says Sydney Banks: “The Kingdom of Heaven is a state of consciousness.”  Says Christ: “For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21.

I will conclude this series in part four with some final thoughts on how to put this all together through non-striving and surrender.

What is spiritual bypassing? Does it really exist?

Spiritual bypassing is a term used by people who advocate shadow work, to describe the act of attempting to paper over our gaping emotional wounds by means of a pretty, vague sense of outward spirituality. It certainly does exist, but sometimes the term gets used inappropriately, as I’ll explain in a moment.

If you’ve been around enough spiritual people, you’ve probably met some good examples of true spiritual bypassing. These are the people who post inspiring quotes on their Pinterest and Facebook pages, make frequent reference to the wisdom of the universe, carry crystals with them and perhaps read the occasional spiritual book recommended by Oprah, but never make any serious attempts to grow. They never set aside dedicated time for spiritual practices, never pursue any one spiritual practice with any tenacity, and never undertake any serious self-examination.

In short, they’ve adopted spirituality as a facade – an identity, and nothing more – and they expect their lives to improve simply by giving emotional assent to some vague higher power. This is true spiritual bypassing, or as I prefer to call it – fake spirituality.

Unfortunately, as it is a term primarily used by shadow work advocates, sometimes the definition gets broadened to include everyone who does not believe it is necessary or helpful to probe around in the past in order to find answers in the present. People who believe that negative thoughts, feelings and patterns can be changed and released without excessive analysis or acknowledgement of them.

Shadow work advocates claim that all emotions have a meaning and purpose, and if we don’t understand the purpose then we’ve missed the lesson. Even if we clear the emotion or change the thought, if the original cause of the thought or feeling remains then it will simply reassert itself in a different form. And the longer it’s repressed, the more malignant it becomes, they claim.

Study the teachings of Christ, Buddha and Lao-Tzu and you will find that all of these sages belong to the former school of thought. Nowhere in any of the Christian, Buddhist or Taoist philosophies is probing into the past recommended as a legitimate form of self-analysis. Nowhere in the Hindu-Yogic tradition is this recommended, either. In fact I’m not aware of any traditional school of spirituality that recommends this. Thoughts and feelings are just energy – but because they create our reality, sometimes we mistake them for reality itself. The true nature of our existence is absolute perfection, but because we were given the creative faculty of free will, it is possible for us to misuse that free will and create problems and suffering for ourselves.

If we truly dedicate ourselves to a particular spiritual path with devotion, persistence and realistic expectations, in time our consciousness will ascend to a state where negative energetic residue like traumas and trapped emotions begin to clear from the body automatically. The only thing that caused this negative emotional baggage in the first place was the misuse of our thought, not some complicated emotional damage that requires analysis and drawn-out healing. Even traumas are ultimately caused by our conscious misapprehension of a particular experience as being a threat to our safety. As our consciousness ascends, these thought systems begin to rewire themselves and become more healthy, also. Hence, a higher level of consciousness is a remedy for both the effects and the causes of our emotional baggage.

In addition to following a dedicated spiritual practice, it is also possible to use energetic techniques like EFT, The Emotion Code, The Body Code, The Sedona Method and so on in order to compel the body to clear trapped energetic residue. As we let go of these lower energies, we assist ourselves into a higher state of consciousness, and as our consciousness ascends, more of the lower energies automatically clear – so the process is reciprocal. Shadows simply cannot exist when exposed to the light.

The great enlightened lecturer, Sydney Banks, founder of the Three Principles philosophy – the “sage of the common people” as I like to think of him – described it thus:

“When illusionary sadness comes from memories, you don’t try and figure them out – please don’t try and do that. You’ll get yourself in trouble. All you have to do is simplicity again – is realise that it’s thought. The second you realise it’s thought, it’s gone. You’re back to the now, you’re back to happiness. So don’t get caught up in a lot of details.”

Of course, Banks is here referring to a deep spiritual understanding of the roles of mind, consciousness and thought – not the superficial intellectual understanding that most of us have of these matters. Only a deep spiritual knowing, of the kind that Banks himself possessed, has the power to instantly liberate us from all problems. The attainment of this deep knowing has been the object of all significant spiritual teaching throughout the centuries. Cultivate a true, enlightened understanding of the way things really are, and all your problems will vanish as shadows exposed to the light. The idea that we ought to examine the shadows instead of simply turning on the light is a by-product of 20th century psychotherapy, which has no spiritual precedent.

Proponents of shadow work sometimes like to claim that following the orthodox spiritual path of seeking enlightenment is attempting to find a shortcut to freedom. We’re ever searching for that elusive magic thought that will open up our spiritual understanding and collapse all our problems in an instant. That’s too simple, they claim, and the only path to freedom is to put in the effort and do the dirty work down at the coalface of our subconscious; understanding what made us the way we are and healing each individual hurt. On the question of impatience, I’ve often found the opposite to be true, though – that is, if someone is deeply hurting now, it can be very tempting to attack the problem directly by trying to understand and heal the causes – whereas searching for a comprehensive liberation from all suffering is often too vague, distant and elusive for the impatient. But note, of course, that the process of earnestly seeking enlightenment almost always leads to a measurable increase in a person’s consciousness and a corresponding decrease in suffering – so even if we never reach the enlightenment threshold, our search is certainly not wasted effort.

Many people who have experienced Reconnective Healing will tell you that their lives changed for the better overnight, due to the massive jump in consciousness caused by the healing. Things that previously bothered them no longer did, and they viewed life with an entirely different perspective. For many of them, the changes are permanent or at least long-lasting. For a few, however, things return to their usual negative state within a few days or weeks after the healing. This is not because the healing energy is in any way deficient – it’s because, unfortunately, they allowed their pesky thoughts to get in the way again. We’ve been told for such a long time that we’re broken, and the only way to return to wholeness is through an arduous process of self-examination and repair. The more deeply this lie has permeated our consciousness, the harder it is to accept that healing could be so simple. Consciously or unconsciously, such people will tell themselves “this is too good to be true…It can’t last!”

Our true nature is one of complete perfection and harmony, and Reconnective Healing – being the unfiltered source energy of the universe – simply allows us to get back to that state. But if we tell ourselves it’s too good to be true – that we need to struggle through the murky depths of our childhood and our programming in order to liberate ourselves permanently – then our thoughts will come true, since they are our creative faculty.

Understanding the programming may actually provide some relief from it for certain individuals – so by all means, if shadow work helps you then it may be a legitimate part of your spiritual journey. It is not something I can ever proactively recommend, but it is not up to me to direct your spiritual path for you. But please realise that identifying with your programming is not the road to enlightenment, and people who choose to walk the higher path of dissociating with their programming and embracing the higher truths of our eternal, perfect existence are not “spiritually bypassing” by doing so.

The Law of Attraction and the absolute necessity of consciousness

This is a continuation of last week’s blog post, One crucial question to ask before using the Law of Attraction, where I argued that many people fail when attempting to use the Law of Attraction because they ask for things that are opposed to their own spiritual evolution. This, I argue, is contrary to the universal Law of Growth, and thus their efforts will be frustrated by the universe. If you have not yet read it, I recommend you begin with that article rather than jumping straight into this part.

Some will object to me subjecting the Law of Attraction to the Law of Growth by saying that this is a return to the old paradigm where our prayers are only answered if approved by the erratic will of some capricious god. However, this concept is vastly different for a number of reasons – the first being that we do not need to grope in the dark to understand the motivations of the Universal Mind; it will only frustrate our desires if they are opposed to our spiritual evolution. Furthermore, the old paradigm turned us into helpless pawns with no recourse against the final judgement of the Great One – whereas we now know that our power is absolutely limitless once we have attained a sufficient level of consciousness.

So the basic New Thought assumption that thoughts and beliefs are the only true limitations is correct, when understood correctly. Christ was not lying when he told us “All things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer believing, you shall receive.” (Matt. 21:22). But note that he said this just after he had performed an incredible miracle by cursing the fig tree and having it immediately wither away. In verse 21, just before the famous verse above quoted, he says: “If you have faith and stagger not, not only this of the fig tree shall you do, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Take up and cast thyself into the sea, it shall be done.”  This gives us some idea of the level of consciousness required to manifest a lottery win or a free Lamborghini. If you can’t imagine yourself throwing mountains into the sea with your mind, then perhaps it is best to give up all other ideas that are presently beyond your reach and focus on the smaller things.

So how come your favourite Law of Attraction teacher drives a Bugatti Veyron? If, as I implied in part one, he hasn’t yet evolved beyond money, then how did he have the consciousness to manifest that?  Firstly, we can’t make assumptions about other people’s level of evolution. I stated earlier that I could not think of any spiritual lessons that could be learnt by lottery wins or luxury cars other than knowing the hollowness of riches and their inability to give us true happiness. I also stated that there may be other lessons that do not immediately come to mind – so we cannot assume that any particular person is still in need of the first lesson. But it is certain that such people do exist – so how do they have the consciousness to manifest expensive luxury items? It’s simple: because it is broken up into smaller chunks, no tremendous level of consciousness is required, because nothing truly improbable has happened at any step of the way.  Motivation for worldly gain lends itself to belief, action follows belief, and results follow action.  In other words, their achievements are primarily the natural consequences of their own actions, rather than the result of some inexplicable coincidences miraculously orchestrated by the universe.

For example, firstly the person believes they can succeed at business school, so they do. Once they’ve graduated with honours, the next obvious assumption is that they will soon be making a six-figure income. This is easy for an already successful person to believe, so it soon comes true. Once the money is coming in, that luxury car really doesn’t look so improbable after all.

Nothing miraculous has taken place, but rather a simple series of causes and effects. There were mental forces and spiritual laws at work all throughout the journey, for sure – but nothing truly improbable happened at any step of the way. In fact, while they claim they manifested a Lamborghini, the majority of the world would see it as simply buying a Lamborghini. Try and get the same people to manifest a lottery win, and see what happens. They simply will not have the consciousness to produce anything so improbable.

Most Law of Attraction teachers are aware of the need for high consciousness, and correctly point to it as being the missing link that causes many attempted manifestations to fail. The trouble is, they then claim to be able to remedy it in the course of a five minute YouTube video. One teacher claims all you need to do is a morning ritual of yoga and meditation, then immediately following you’ll be in such a state of high-vibration that everything you visualise will come true. This may be true for a small monetary windfall or some other trifle, but it will not give the life-changing results such teachers tend to promise.  Another YouTube guru claims that all she has to do to raise her vibration is indulge in a weekly champagne and bubble bath ritual with some of her favourite magazines.

However, the reality doesn’t lend itself to YouTube click bait. Raising your consciousness to the point where you can successfully manifest big, improbable things is the result of much hard work and dedication. Instinctively I want to say that it’s the work of a lifetime, however it does not have to be the long, gruelling process that phrase implies. But there are no shortcuts.

And yes, the person in such an advanced state of consciousness could simply turn on the Lamborghini tap and attract as many of them as he wished – because he would be above the temptations of vanity that souls in lower levels of consciousness are prey to. In other words, he would not be transgressing the Law of Growth by doing so. But a person in such an enlightened state would instinctively see a Lamborghini as a useless distraction, and would almost never want such a thing – unless there were a very specific, unique purpose for it. So now we see that there truly are no limitations other than our level of consciousness – but as we ascend up the scale, our thoughts and desires become so intimately connected with the Universal Mind that whatever vain fancies we now suppose would give us happiness, would cease to entice us at all.

In part 3 I will discuss the higher spiritual uses for the Law of Attraction, and how misuse of the law creates suffering.

One crucial question to ask before using the Law of Attraction

One of the misconceptions caused by the movie The Secret, and many of the other big-time Law of Attraction gurus is the idea that anyone can learn to make it rain money on cue, or make Lamborghinis mysteriously appear in their driveway overnight.

 If you’ve heard of the concept then you’ve probably already tried it, in which case you’ll be fully aware that it doesn’t work as described. The usual course of action from this point forward is that the frustrated would-be Lamborghini owner buys a hundred books or overpriced online courses in order to find the crucial missing piece, and when they still can’t find it they end up in the front row of an Abraham-Hicks seminar, eager to put their hand up and ask the great guru why they keep failing.

If there were ever a single crucial missing piece, it could be this question – but you’ll never hear about it from the big-time Law of Attraction teachers, because it doesn’t sit well with their business model. So here it is – if you want to get results, you should always ask yourself this before embarking on any attempted manifestation:

“How does this benefit me spiritually?”

If you’ve been trying to manifest a Lamborghini, you’re going to struggle to answer this one. There is only one circumstance I can think of where owning a Lamborghini would benefit someone spiritually – and that is the case of a soul in the earlier stages of its earthly journey, which has not yet evolved beyond money. In such cases, owning such an extravagance may actually provide a necessary, if bitter lesson that money and worldly goods simply cannot provide us with true happiness and fulfilment. There may well be other reasons too, but let’s get real – such extravagances are spiritually useless for the majority of us.

For souls in the latter stages of their earthly journey – that is, those souls genuinely yearning for truth, wisdom and peace, rather than simply mucking around with spiritual powers in order to advance one’s worldly status – owning a Lamborghini would prove to be nothing but egoistic vanity. For such souls, any such attempts at manifestation are ill fated because they conflict with one of the most important laws of the Universal Spirit. In fact, more than anything else it is the law of the Universal Spirit: the Law of Growth.

The Universal Spirit, the universe, or God, is truly life in itself. Because it is infinite, it has no specific will of its own, since willing one thing would necessarily mean that it does not will the opposite thing, thus imposing limitations on the infinite. But the golden rule of its eternal existence is that it is life in itself; therefore by its very nature it tends towards giving this life, through creation and then through evolution of all created things. When we manifest, we must manifest in accordance with the laws of the universe – including this law of growth, or we are going against the flow of nature.  This is not my own original teaching; in fact it was taught by Thomas Troward, who is regarded by many people as the father of the New Thought movement.  See this previous post to read more of his views on this.

Even though Troward seems to imply it, I will not say definitively that it is impossible to manifest anything spiritually damaging to ourselves, because the moment I did so, someone would point out numerous examples that appeared to contradict this. So let’s simply say that the purpose of manifestation, indeed the purpose of everything, is that we evolve and fulfil our destiny of becoming more and more like our creator. If we’re working against the one true purpose, we are working against the flow of nature – which is rather like attempting to row upstream.

To put it another way – the Law of Growth is continually, ceaselessly nudging us on towards our destiny of higher evolution. Despite this, our free will deems us capable of making mistakes that will temporarily set us back on our evolutionary journey. We can frustrate the Law of Growth and obtain undesirable results just the same as we can frustrate the Law of Attraction. Both laws are forever working just the same, but the outcome of them varies wildly depending on our thoughts and actions. So when we specifically call upon the spiritual laws to obtain a positive outcome, me must work with those laws, not against them if we hope to obtain the desired results. Thus, anything you hope to manifest through visualisation and the specific, positive action of spiritual forces must not be opposed to your highest spiritual good, or you will struggle to obtain it.  If you really want that car and you can muster up the motivation, you can whip yourself up into a frenzy of action, working 80 hour weeks and saving every cent – but you will be rubbing against the grain at every step. Do not expect circumstances to mysteriously align in your favour, as the opposite will be true.

But note that this situation rarely occurs, as people with a higher spiritual path are not generally inspired or motivated to put in such extraordinary efforts towards worldly gains. They may attempt to visualise riches, and when they fail they will either get the message and stumble onward towards their higher destiny, or they will get stuck at the promises of easy money and continue with their ill-fated attempts at spiritual manifestation.

All of this may appear to contradict one of the basic tenets of New Thought, which is that our ability to manifest is truly unlimited, and all such limitations are self-imposed.  This tenet is true in the absolute sense, but not necessarily true in the individual case.  I will address this issue in part 2 of the article, where I will discuss the need for consciousness in the manifestation process.