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.

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.

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.

Thomas Troward on how the law of attraction works

I’m half way through an extraordinary book by the seminal New Thought philosopher Thomas Troward, called The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science.  I’m recording the entire thing as an audiobook for free download, but for the moment I’ll be content to share some snippets.  Here’s one from chapter 8, titled The Reciprocal Action of the Universal and Individual Minds.  The Universal Mind is, of course, Troward’s term for God, the Universe, the source energy, whatever you care to call it.  Troward here explains the mechanics of the creative process of the individual mind when it impresses its will upon the blank slate of the Universal Mind – i.e. the Law of Attraction:

“It is for this reason that I lay so much stress on the combination of two apparent opposites in the Universal Mind, the union of intelligence with impersonality. The intelligence not only enables it to receive the impress of our thought, but also causes it to devise exactly the right means for bringing it into accomplishment. This is only the logical result of the hypothesis that we are dealing with infinite Intelligence which is also infinite Life. Life means Power, and infinite life therefore means limitless power; and limitless power moved by limitless intelligence cannot be conceived of as ever stopping short of the accomplishment of its object; therefore, given the intention on the part of the Universal Mind, there can be no doubt as to its ultimate accomplishment. Then comes the question of intention. How do we know what the intention of the Universal Mind may be? Here comes in the element of impersonality.  It has no intention, because it is impersonal. As I have already said, the Universal mind works by a law of averages for the advancement of the race, and is in no way concerned with the particular wishes of the individual. If his wishes are in line with the forward movement of the everlasting principle, there is nowhere in Nature any power to restrict him in their fulfillment. If they are opposed to the general forward movement, then they will bring him into collision with it, and it will crush him. From the relation between them it results that the same principle which shows itself in the individual mind as Will, becomes in the universal mind a Law of Tendency; and the direction of this tendency must always be to life-givingness, because the universal mind is the undifferentiated Life-spirit of the universe. Therefore in every case the test is whether our particular intention is in this same lifeward direction: and if it is, then we may be absolutely certain that there is no intention on the part of the Universal Mind to thwart the intention of our own individual mind; we are dealing with a purely impersonal force, and it will no more oppose us by specific plans of its own than will steam or electricity. Combining then, these two aspects of the Universal Mind, its utter impersonality and its perfect intelligence, we find precisely the sort of natural force we are in want of, something which will undertake whatever we put into its hands without asking questions or bargaining for terms, and which, having undertaken our business, will bring to bear on it an intelligence to which the united knowledge of the whole human race is as nothing, and a power equal to this intelligence.

I may be using a rough and ready mode of expression, but my object is to bring home to the student the nature of the power he can employ and the method of employing it, and I may therefore state the whole position thus:—Your object is not to run the whole cosmos, but to draw particular benefits, physical, mental, moral, or financial into your own or someone else’s life. From this individual point of view the universal creative power has no mind of its own, and therefore you can make up its mind for it. When its mind is thus made up for it, it never abrogates its place as the creative power, but at once sets to work to carry out the purpose for which it has thus been concentrated; and unless this concentration is dissipated by the same agency (yourself) which first produced it, it will work on by the law of growth to complete manifestation on the outward plane.

In dealing with this great impersonal intelligence, we are dealing with the infinite, and we must fully realize infinitude as that which touches all points, and if it does, there should be no difficulty in understanding that this intelligence can draw together the means requisite for its purpose even from the ends of the world; and therefore, realizing the Law according to which the result can be produced, we must resolutely put aside all questioning as to the specific means which will be employed in any case. To question this is to sow that very seed of doubt which it is our first object to eradicate, and our intellectual endeavour should therefore be directed, not to the attempt to foretell the various secondary causes which will eventually combine to produce the desired result, laying down beforehand what particular causes should be necessary, and from what quarter they should come; but we should direct our intellectual endeavour to seeing more clearly the rationale of the general law by which trains of secondary causes are set in motion.”