The Law of Attraction and Catholic Christian Though [4/4]   2 comments

Introduction

 

Since coming back to Catholicism this issue has been something a nagging side issue that I have sought to resolve. On one hand I have heard it solves every problem, and on the other hand I have told it is mere pseudo-witchcraft, the truth I think lies somewhere in the middle. When I began to try and integrate my increasing Catholic faith with things I have learned before coming back into the largely Christian fold, I tried to integrate The Law of Attraction with Catholicism and what I knew about the deeper Christian Tradition through a Catholic Online Forum and the fruits of said discussion I would like share with you today. I knew that people from The Law of Attraction school of thought wanted to cite some Christian Material as justification for their philosophy, so I wanted to take the time and discuss that with the reader today as well. After the scriptural and patristic discussion I wanted to discuss where else I had seen this issue of a person’s desires being discussed in light of the Christian Tradition. Finally I am intended to offer my final educated position on the matter as well as the criteria and procedure as to when one should consider using The Law of Attraction as a Christian.

My Response to the Issue

Having now gone through the issue of The Law of Attraction I wanted to offer up to the reader my set of Criteria that I believe ought to be recognized and understood when it comes to applying The Law of Attraction and then to follow that through with the Procedure that I believe a Christian could in theory follow in order to call into existence what it is they desire through a Godly Way would address the accusation of Pseudo-Witchcraft. Having established this I will then discuss my conclusions and my personal relationship to The Law of Attraction.

I. The Criteria for Use

In light of the previous section of wherein I spoke of Ignatian Indifference I have created the following 6 Factors or 6 Criteria in order to serve as filters to our desires when they are applied in The LoA, now granted one has free will and can choose to follow this or not. However I believe that if our desires are ordinate and originating from the Good then this Criteria would show it, the factors are in the forms of Questions or Statements, I will expand on what I mean by them below, and they are as follows:

1. Is This Desire Going to serve as the Defiance of God’s Will or The Cooperation and Glorification of God’s Will?

The clearest sign that our desires are of good origin is that we want to share that desire with others and celebrate it with others in Love. Typically desires of bad origin result in secrecy and keeping things to yourself, such a pent up position however makes us suffer, only in letting go do we get more of what it is we are looking for. Now, God needs nothing, so if we were to freely and lovingly surrender what we have received ultimately from God back and over to God that it simply comes back to us but in a transfigured form, this act is an Act of Sacrifice.

For example, when I was younger I used The LoA purely for my own egoic and selfish desires to acquire knowledge, and while knowledge is good in and of itself, how I held on to knowledge was not good. Knowledge when kept to myself, puffed me up with Pride making me very elitist and exclusive in my interactions with others, but at the same time I felt like despite having all this knowledge I wasn’t going anywhere with it. It was only consequently in sharing my knowledge with others in Love that my Pride turned into Humility, because in sharing knowledge out of Love will make you more inclusive in your interactions with others, when I did that I felt like as if I was going somewhere again in my life.

2. Am I Desiring such and such a thing because I have a Distrust of God’s Providence or exactly because I Trust in God’s Providence?

If you are Distrusting in God’s Providence, then you are no better than Lucifer who thought he could do a better job at running all of Creation then the very One who Created him. At the heart of Distrusting in God one only will at the very depths of ones being feel frustration and agitation in life, a constant anxiety of needing to be in control. By the very act of Surrendering to God every part of yourself and your life in Love to God, said frustration and agitation is greatly minimized, the desire to be in control is relinquished and with that one can ironically enjoy life instead of trying to enjoy life. You know you are Trusting in God when your deepest desires come to you with ease or through the path of least resistance.

For example, when I was younger when I was still much enmeshed in my heterodoxy I used The LoA as a means to get what I thought I needed and wanted, because my “god” was not here but far off, I was alone here but because I believed I had the Divine Spark in me that enabled me to do whatever I please because whatever I thought was right, would be right since I had the divine spark in me. It’s not so much that I Distrusted in God’s Providence over Creation, it’s that I didn’t think such a God was really my god, but ultimately this would be put under the header of Acting As If I Distrusted in God’s Providence. I felt much anxiety, frustration, and agitation in my life because of that worldview I picked up, it was ironically these feelings however that leads me to the act of Surrendering to the God of Christian Catholic-Orthodoxy.

3. Can I patiently bear the time needed for such a desire to manifest or am I just being impulsive, thinking that I need it now?

In light of what I said in Part One of this paper, I felt like as if The LoA was a “spiritualization” of consumerist culture by way of calling the Universe, “a catalog.” At the heart of Consumerist Culture is Impulse Buying, or Impulsiveness. This 3rd Criteria is important to answer because, it determines whether or not your desire is a deep-seated desire or if it is simply a superficial and fleeting want. This criteria also helps you to be aware of character development, it asks the question rather subtly: “In making this desire manifest will I become a person who embodies the Virtue of Patience or a person who embodies the Vice of Impulsiveness?” Again through answering this 3rd Criterion you will know whether or not your desire is of The Good or of a perversion or Privation of the Good.

For example, when I was younger I thought I knew what I wanted and what I needed, so I used the LoA to manifest that, turns out though that what I thought I wanted only made me more frustrated in life and what I thought I needed only made me more disappointed with my own life up to that point, but the LoA took longer to manifest those things. It was only in surrendering to the fact that my needs and wants (as I understood them) were youthful surface desires, and when I recognized that God knew what it was that I truly wanted and truly needed there I found the desires for my True Needs and True Wants showing up in my life, in using the LoA those True Needs and True Wants manifested much more quickly. In the Light of the Christian God what we long for does indeed show itself, but it might not be congruent to our surface wants.

4. Do I recognize that having such desire manifest is not an end in itself but a means to something greater?

Desires, are the beginnings of the Journey not the end of the Journey, one desire will only lead to another, we are structured like that. God is the Consummation of individual and collective desires and more than this. Therefore, if you can recognize that your desire will only bring you True and Lasting Joy in light of offering it up and over to God in Love then you will find an abundance that you yourself could not have anticipated. For Christ when He was to offer Himself up on the Cross for the sake of fallen humanity said that, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falling into the ground, die, itself remained alone. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.” (John 12:24-25) In our case, the manifested desire of something that is of great importance to us (the grain of wheat), when offered up in loving sacrifice (dying) to God can in fact amplify our happiness many times over (bring forth much fruit).

For example, when I was younger I had tunnel vision, I sought to use the LoA largely in the same way that you push a button on a vendor machine, you get what you want and using it for yourself and then you’re done only to come back when you’re ready to begin again. I found out however as I got older, that it took much longer for my desire to manifest because of such tunnel vision, it was only when I was able to tie my desire into a larger loving integral worldview of exchange between myself and others that the LoA was able to manifest my desires much quicker. To take the LoA as I applied it to acquiring knowledge over the past 6 years, I contend that I made more progress in the last 3 years than in the first 3 years of learning exactly because, I was opening myself increasingly to more people to share what I have learned.

5. The 5th Question is similar to the 4th and 3rd Question: Do I think I can live without the desire manifesting?

This particular question is all about addiction, withdrawal and detachment. Remember the feelings of Incompletion can either serve to get us hooked on getting more of what it is we feel that we lack (e.g. more money) or can help us to look beyond what it is we feel that we lack (e.g. physical things to spiritual things for better use of physical things). However if you feel like as if you can live without something, how can one passionately visualize having something they desire? Can one be withdrawn enough from something they want and still get it? I believe that they could, remember Synchronicity is all about meaningful coincidence and near-effortless Spontaneity, therefore I contend that what you are looking for will come to you if you are able to keep a part of yourself unsullied by the desire for that thing, a sort of Detached Anticipation of what it is you are looking for, it is not to say you stop doing the LoA practices but rather to recognize that what you are looking for will come at the right time.

For example, I desired to gain lean weight since I am a lightweight. When I was younger I thought that my life would be incomplete if I did not gain weight, so I worked hard at it, but never seemed to make gains for various reasons (e.g. exercise routine was disrupted, inadequate nutrition, lost motivation, etc…) eventually I just gave up, I got so attached to my desire that when it did not manifest I just gave up and my life went on. Only recently after trying to apply the LoA to this desire again but with a new framework of detachment or healthy emotional spacing between the desire and me, was I able to make a large gain that I never saw before in a comparatively short period of time (e.g. synchronicity of an uninterrupted exercise routine, adequate nutrition, held motivation, etc…).

6. What Are The Foreseeable Disadvantages of Said Desire Being Made Manifest?

The final criterion to this is a question of The Relevance Paradox, a friend of mine called it, The Genie Paradox. This main criterion asks us another more subtle question which is, can we seriously imagine the full range of consequences of getting what it is we desire? What I am stating subtly here is, be careful what you wish for you just might get it all. We need to make sure we are aware of what we are asking for as it affects everything and everyone around you, in this respect it’s also a question of Chaos Theory. It’s a call to responsibility for what you have been given; can you handle this desire responsibly, in light of what is Good? I would add here, that if you’re not sure if you can it would be better to look at this desire as a challenge to conform to the Good in your life, to find out and experience it.

For example, I used the LoA to gain more money, the next thing you know I have more hours at work. You may say well the LoA did its job, and I agree it did do its job, perhaps a little too well because I got such an increase in hours at work that I felt too tired in the course of the day to do anything else when I got home, so other parts of my life were starting to get neglected now it’s not to say I am ungrateful for the hours but it is to say that money ought not be everything, this is an example of the Relevance Paradox. An example of Chaos Theory at work here was that, in neglecting certain other parts of my life, I began to feel both worn out and missing out on what others were doing, which consequently made me feel even more worn out.

II. Procedure For Use

It is important to recall that The LoA is not The Christian God, I went over that in the first part of this series, The LoA is at best a tool and I know of no Christian who worships a hammer calling it god. The Christian God is a Living God and seeks a Living and Conscious Surrender to Him. The LoA on the other hand is a dead and impersonal formula designed to help us become more sensitive to opportunities of manifesting our desire in our life. Therefore, we must understand that there is a difference between a Formula and Living Surrender to God. The Procedure for the Christian to Use The LoA I have designed with my own self-education of Theology, Philosophy, and Psychology and I will explain each part briefly along the way:

1) Apply the Law of Attraction (LoA) to the Desires That Survive the 6 Criteria Above

Has your desire made it through the Criteria above? If it has survived the 6 Criteria then use the LoA. However, if it has not then perhaps you need to either give up on it or refine it so that it meets the 6 Criteria above.

For example, let’s say that you just came back from a bad day at work and you really want a new job in light of that one bad day. Now you could just impulsively use The LoA to start looking or in applying the 6 Criteria above you realize that: (1) Your job gives good healthcare coverage and it would most likely be a foreseeable disadvantage if you left the job in light of one bad day, (2) You can’t patiently bear waiting to find another job the bad day at work has got you so impassioned that you want relief right now, and (3) After prayer and contemplation or applying Ignatian Discernment you discover that this job is an opportunity for spiritual growth and it would be in Defiance of God’s Will if you left it (e.g. He wants you to endure it, perhaps lack better patience and this is an opportunity to improve it). By violating even one of these Criterion’s the desire ought to be dropped or refined, so let’s see how it looks like if we were to refine this.

After regaining a sense of being centered and practicing honest detachment from all the agitation and frustration of that bad day, you sit-down and you try to reply to the contradictions between your impulsive desire and the Criteria: So you say to yourself that, you will look for another job in 3 to 6 months, if it so happens that you have a day that is either just as bad or worst as the first bad day, however in that time you promise to consciously resolve to become more patient and mindful of your own easiness to fall to frustration. In doing this, you satisfy the health insurance coverage problem, you satisfy the Patience-V-Impulsiveness problem, and you satisfy the need to become more receptive to growing in patience. This then leads to a massive change in your own life, because where once you built a life based on the weakness of your own impatience, your life can be built on the new foundation of more patience which leads to a change in desires and brings you another step closer to what you really yearn for.

2) Seek First The Kingdom of Heaven Through Prayer: Psalmody and Contemplation

Let’s assume the Desire has now made it through the 6 Criteria, what happens now? You Consciously Pray (Sign of the Cross, Our Father, and Hail Mary) as well as being present to a reading of some type of Devotional when the time comes through Cataphatic Prayer you apply The LoA. If the Desire is truly originating from the Good, then Imagining Jesus Himself Guiding you to What You Would Like comes easily (remember it is not a sin to ask for temporal things).

SIDE NOTE: In Trying To Apply the LoA, I believe this book could help tremendously, “Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting More of What You Want and Less of What You Don’t,” personally this book worked for me best.

It is important to start this process with The Sign of The Cross and Finish it with The Sign of the Cross, so that way it seals and purifies this event. It’s also serves as a sign that you are doing something of Importance, and by the standard of LoA as well as Christian Prayer Life, the recognition and affirmation of doing something you find to be important will only make the intention all the more stronger. The Our Father is said, so that we might realize, that ultimately His Will Be Done which is, Love.

3) “Cast Your Anxieties unto Christ” / Surrender

After applying the LoA in Cataphatic Prayer, you let them go. You silence your being (thoughts, emotions, movements) and simply sit in the presence of God for a time, in Apophatic Prayer taking solace in the fact that He is the Provider and Father, and that if these desires are of Him then they will come in due time. You do this every day until it manifests, much the same way that any LoA user would do Purely the LoA faithfully, you hold to this method faithfully. At the conclusion of your time, you pray (Hail Mary, Our Father, and finish with Sign of the Cross). After doing this try to stay within that Presence of God even after you are done, but even so once you realize yourself getting called back into the world, then recall those desires you made in prayer.

4) Receive

If you should receive what it is you desired then, offer it up to God in Thanksgiving. How do you do so? Celebrate what you have with others in Humility and Awe as well as Use it for Love of God and Neighbor. If you have not received yet, keep on persevering. If you have been at it for awhile and no synchronicity and spontaneity has occurred then I refer you back to the Commentary on (James 4:2-4), despite my own Criteria. My only warning is do not use The LoA without Christian Prayer behind you, for to repeat what I said in the Part 3 of 4, “none of this will make sense without God by your side; for the LoA will give you what you want regardless of your foundation, but it does not know what you really need, for what you need is rooted on the foundation you put yourself on.”

III. My Relationship to The Law of Attraction and Subsequent Conclusion

I confess that I do not use the LoA as often as I pray, to me this is a good thing, for one must attend to their foundation to know what they will build on. My relationship to the LoA is one of ebbing and flowing, I’ve used the LoA 2x in my life, once in my youth when it through The Secret was popularized back in 2007 with limited success and the other time was this year just before taking part in The Sacrament of Reconciliation with a larger degree of success. In light of writing this paper I will be applying the Procedure and Criteria mentioned above in my life for future LoA use, in the near future I will follow up to discuss how well the Procedure & Criteria are going for me.

I confess that I used the LoA for: (1) Trying to find Love, and I was making head way with some synchronistic and spontaneous events in my life. (2) Making more Money, and I was given more hours at work then what I normally got up to that time. (3) Improving my physical health, and I gained 10 ibs of lean muscle mass in a short period of time. (4) Improve my social life, and I found that people did want to hang out with me more often than before. (5) Find and Know God, my life thus far has been a constant prayer for this but I know that I have used the LoA to find and experience Transcendence and I was lead to Christ and His Church too. Now before I allow myself to get carried away, all these things are great, but I would recommend allowing the LoA to incrementally come into your life, the synchronicities and spontaneity may overwhelm you, if you applied it correctly: 1 Desire the first time, Then 2, Then 4, but always remember the LoA-Prayer Procedure above and this whole paper.

Remember the Virtue of Detachment lest you identify more with a creature over the one who provided it for you. The LoA ought not to become your All-In-All, to do so would be erroneous and illusory; this is why I provided the Criteria in part, to check that risk. God knows what it is we truly want and truly need at the end of the day, if it does not show immediately do not despair, perhaps you are being prepared to receive it in the way that God would like you to have it, this is for the best, I cannot stress this enough that we should, “trust in the slow work of God.”

Finally in concluding this section and paper overall I want to share with you some insight from the late Don S. Browning’s book, “Reviving Christian Humanism” concerning Christian Love over Health he says,

“Bringing to maturity loving and self-giving persons has been the primary concern of Christianity, whether or not this contributes to health and well-being… Recent work by psychologist Michael Leffel insightfully has brought together Erickson on generativity, evolutionary psychology, and neo-Thomism for very insightful contributions to virtue theory and the redirection of contemporary research in the psychology of spirituality on how to conceptualize the ends of spirituality, shifting this research from an overemphasis on the ends of self-fulfillment and health to the generative activation of the strengths of both other and self.”

It is liberating to notice that the things we possess are not just to be used for our own private use but rather can serve the purpose of Love, understood as an action rather than just mere emotion. We see here that there is a pretty good reason to believe that what goods we have received into our lives can be designed to help others realize who they are as a person imbued with certain talents. It will be up to us to find out how to use what we received to encourage a generative learning in what others have yet to see in themselves. This only would fulfill Christ message that, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” (Luke 8:16)

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2 responses to “The Law of Attraction and Catholic Christian Though [4/4]

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  1. I enjoyed your commentary on this. I’ve done a bit of reading on the Law of Attraction, and your suggestions answer my two main objections to it: that it seems to discount divine influence (in favor of very materialistic view of the power of thought), and that so many of its uses seem to be for earthly and temporal ends. I would think LoA techniques could be used as a means of channeling or accessing divine power, and always in accordance with the divine plan … which seems to be what you’re saying.

    • That is more or less what I am saying. However, the problem seems that people who practice the Law of Attraction see the LoA as some impersonal and more to the point unintelligible Godhead, almost like a math formula: “Just plug in your particulars in the variables and *poof* your desire will appear.” I will probably be writing an addendum to this a year from now just to allow for further unfolding and development. But even so right now, I contend that the Divine Power provides because it knows more about what we need, then we ourselves think we need; we may know what we want but what we need and what we want have always been differentiated, I see no reason why should start to pretend theres no difference now. Thank You for reading my posts.

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