Perhaps I am naïve, but I have long assumed that anyone involved with new thought movements such as A Course in Miracles, Science of Mind or the Law of Attraction were socially and politically liberal. It’s true that my assumption is based on little in-depth research and instead simply from the people I know who are followers of such spiritual philosophies.
It only stands to reason, I believed, that such spiritual but not religious people would lean toward the political left. Each of these thought systems teach transformation of the self into a peaceful, loving and forgiving person as a means of making the world outside of ourselves more peaceful, loving and forgiving. Perhaps along with naiveté, I also have some personal bias, since I believe that liberal political and social policies tend to foster those qualities more directly than more conservative ones.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I received a Facebook notice of a post praising GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on a page that is dedicated to videos and discussion of Abraham. (For the uninitiated, Abraham is a universal spirit or presence that speaks through a woman named Esther Hicks. The teachings are mainly focused on how to use the Law of Attraction to manifest things and conditions we want to see in our lives. For more, check out the Abraham-Hicks website. )
The original poster praised Trump as a master at manifestation and the Law of Attraction, mainly because Trump has (allegedly) amassed great wealth and power through his ability to align his vibration to the place where these things easily manifest for him. (Never mind that he came from wealth and had that $1 million head start from daddy’s bank account.) This person was so excited to see the election of Trump as president because they believed he would manifest these great things for everyone in the US. He would be manifesting jobs, wealth and the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants all with the power of his intention. (Again, leaving out plenty of other factors that have to be in play, but never let facts get in the way of a good fantasy.)
I found this post not just discombobulating, but it rocked my whole understanding of the Law of Attraction. First, let me say that LoA (as it’s known by the insiders) itself has always been sort of suspicious to me. Yes, I do believe we can (and do) attract things, people, whatever, into our lives. I believe our mind is more powerful than we give it credit for and thoughts do become things in some way or another. That being said, part of me can’t get past the idea that if I just think happy thoughts hard enough that Rachel Maddow will drop everything in her life and come knocking on my door with roses. (Well, my wife might have a problem with that … but, I digress.)
If you read The Secret, the book about LoA that made such a splash a few years ago, you’d think that’s all it takes. Heck, the author even says she thought her way into 20/20 vision. Bottle that and optometrists and spectacle manufacturers will be searching for new jobs. For some people, LoA can do everything from bring in a million dollars to cure dandruff, bad breath and make you six inches taller.
Gimme a break.
But, I do believe that our thoughts are powerful, not just out in the world, but within our own minds. As the cliché goes, “You can’t if you think you can’t.” Of course, I know that I can’t perform brain surgery, but that’s because I haven’t dedicated my life to studying it. If I had, I probably could do it. But, no amount of vibrational lifting practices right now will make me a brain surgeon. However, we do think constantly debilitating thoughts all the time that keep us from reaching for, let alone achieving, our ultimate potential as human beings.
I believe there’s a lot to be said for practices of self-compassion that help us deal with the inner critic and our shadow selves that constantly tell us we’re not good enough, smart enough and that nobody likes us, anyway. I tell the congregation at my church every week that the only world they can truly change is the one inside themselves, and I believe it. If we can change our thoughts from shameful to empowering, we can do amazing things as human beings. That still doesn’t guarantee 20/20 vision or a romantic visit from Rachel Maddow — but it does make the world a better place for everyone.
I think that’s the biggest problem that I had with the LoA Trump fans of Facebook. Even if Trump is a master at manifestation, he’s not the kind of person who is seeking to manifest wealth and happiness for EVERYONE. No, Trump is manifesting everything he has for himself. There are many stories being told (and many that can’t be told thanks to confidentiality contracts signed by former employees and vendors) about how Trump has trampled on plenty of people along the way to his vibrational excellence.
I tried to tell this to LoA Trumpsters — that if he manifests anything it will be at the expense of all of us. They would have none of it. I was so viciously attacked by these right-wing woo-wooers that I had to leave the group and block a few members.
I was left feeling confused and a bit adrift about what to believe about the LoA. If the likes of Trump can be seen as a master of this stuff, why bother with it? It’s obviously the most selfish kind of manipulation out there. I mean, Hitler must have been one, too, since his intention was to wipe the Jews of the face of the earth and almost succeeded.
As I have discovered, the LoA is the same as everything else in this world — you can use it for evil or for good. The law itself doesn’t know the difference. Just as God’s eyes are too pure to behold unrighteousness, as the Bible states, LoA doesn’t have a moral compass. It can be used however a human sees fit.
In God’s world, and LoA, the universe is a perfect place. It’s not rainbows and unicorns, but it is a place where problems don’t exist. This is a place where greed doesn’t exist because the idea of lack doesn’t exist. In this place, evil does not exist because good doesn’t exist. This is the place of non-duality, where we can ultimately see the innocence of all human beings and have compassion on them because they are caught up in the ego’s dual mind that tells them there are such things as lack and evil and injustice. In the world of form, there certainly are, but in the realm of God, no such thing exists.
We can claim that God does evil and causes lack, but that doesn’t mean God accepts the responsibility. We are free to project whatever we feel about ourselves and the world onto God but it does not make it true. God is still not on anybody’s side, but is freely available to us all, whether or intentions are selfish or generous.
Those who use LoA selfishly reap what they sow — an earthly form of fame, success and power. Millions may suffer because of it, but they won’t notice that part. (If those people don’t want to suffer, then they’d better get their vibrational alignment up quick! It’s the manifesters fault if they got bulldozed.) In their minds, and in the minds of those who support them, they’re a master of manifestation and the ego has them convinced that the world of duality is reality and non-duality is a fairy tale told by those who just can’t hack it in the “real world.”
In fact, it is those master manifesters of form who are living in a false world. Those who defend their lives will lose it, Jesus says, and what he means is that if you make your life all about this material world, you will end up dead just like everyone else, no matter how much money, power or fame you collect while you’re alive. Instead, we are called to live our lives from a deeper place, a place of abundance and compassion not just for ourselves but for everyone. We are called to put aside the fear that keeps us wanting to manifest more and more material things that we think will bring us happiness and security, and instead embrace love that assures us that no matter what our material manifestations may look like, our true wealth lies within.
This is the realization I arrived at after some wise counseling from an LoA follower that I trust and in listening to some recent talks from A Course in Miracles guru Marianne Williamson. She clearly addressed the point that had been troubling me the most — that working just for ourselves, to manifest simply what WE want in our lives “is not the spiritual mountaintop.”
“That is the essence of ego thinking,” she said, “because it’s slyly pretending that it’s something wonderful you can manifest. Because someone can make something happen or manifest is not of itself a sign of enlightenment. Hitler did that.”
Right? That’s what I was trying to tell the Abraham-loving Trumpsters, but they would have none of it, and I suspect those who are using LoA to simply enrich their own bank accounts or collect more stuff would disagree as well. To them, the mere fact that Trump has a lot of stuff means he’s doing something right.
Wrong, says Williamson. Setting that kind of intention — to get more material stuff than everyone else — “is actually exploitation consciousness of the meanest variety because it’s saying, ‘My intention is to subconsciously do whatever is necessary to manipulate you to do what I want.’ It has nothing to do with dedication to the matrix of infinite possibility for hope and healing on the planet.”
So, if we’re really more interested in dedicating ourselves to “the matrix of infinite possibility for hope and healing on the planet,” is LoA even something we should be thinking about? Yes, Williamson says, but not in the way that it’s currently being used. Instead of saying, “Give me this,” to the universe, we set our intention to be: “Dear God, use me. Guide my thinking and guide my words. I am praying, God, that I only be an instrument of your love.”
This, Williamson says, is the kind of manifestation true ministers of God will pursue. Instead of thinking about what we can get from the world, we think about what we can give to the world. We will seek any way and every way to be the love we want to see in this world. Will we get rich along the way? We might, but when we set our intention to love wastefully and not to fear that we won’t have enough, then the material stuff doesn’t become the center of our universe. We will want less stuff and more love, more joy, more peace in our world — not just inside, but outside. If we’re doing it right, we’ll see stuff as simply another resource we can give away to people who need it more.
We can either be “host to God or hostage to the ego,” Williamson advises. We can manifest whatever we want in this world, that’s true. But, who is doing the manifesting, God or your ego? When you’re wanting more and more stuff for the sake of having stuff, your ego is powerful enough to get it. But, if you simply want to see a world, both inside yourself and in the world of form around you, become a more peaceful, joyful and loving place, then you know you’re host to God.
And, who knows, Rachel Maddow might still show up at your door.
(Marianne Williamson quotes come from her 8/31/16 talk in New York.)