The Laws of Attraction as Western Privilege


“Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything.” ~Rhonda Byrnes

Who am I to talk?

Christianity has pretty much taken every privilege there is on earth & mucked it up badly. 

Maybe that's why I get raw faster over other privileged ideologies that mosey their way around North America. I never did like The Secret, although I'm well aware of those who appreciate it very much. I am all for choosing to live in gratitude, being active in choosing our attitudes, and finding positive elements wherever possible. But I come to a full stop when we are told to become our own gods. Idolatry aside, the first thought I think is: "That's the lonelinest thing I've ever heard". Truly. 

The first Coming Home pilot project is coming up in just over a month. I can't find it in myself to repeat much of what the laws of attraction have to say to kids whose choices were taken from them. Sure writers like Byrnes have answers for that, but they seem to ask an awful lot of people in suffering.

“You will attract everything that you require. If it’s money you need you will attract it. If it’s people you need you’ll attract it. You’ve got to pay attention to what you’re attracted to, because as you hold images of what you want, you’re going to be attracted to things and they’re going to be attracted to you. But it literally moves into physical reality with and through you. And it does that by law. (Bob Proctor)"

Sojourners posted today the article Christian Suffering in a World of Suffering. It got me to thinking: "When we can dismiss yesterday's tragedy with a hashtag, maybe we need to check our privilege?" As much as I want to do the biggest eye roll ever towards Christians who believe we're being persecuted in North Amercia, I want to do the same eye roll towards people who believe we attract what we desire.

300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram didn't jointly agree to desire trauma. 

Maybe I cringe at the laws of attraction so much because it reflects a prosperity doctrine of entitlement: "God wants me to be rich. God wants me to want money." I'm sorry (well no I'm not really). I just can't do it.

I can see where many of us need to change our programming. I can see where many of us need to truly embrace gratitude & be thankful for life, love and other mysteries. I can see where many of us are out of sync with God.

But the laws of attraction fundamentally exclude oppressed people. Why is it I have the freedom to draw to myself the positive things in life, while 300 girls just want to stay alive and go home? Who gives me the privilege over someone else? What gives me the right to say those who suffer just aren't wanting it enough and/or are being taught a lesson by some weird tactic of the universe.

I can't do it.

Why won't I be using the laws of attraction or the secret in Coming Home?

Because I believe they dehumanize rather than uplift. I believe they individualize and separate us, rather than bring us together. I believe the healing they offer gives bits and pieces of tasty sugar when what's needed is soothing balm for whole persons made broken.

You're right: Christianity has screwed up a lot of life over the past 2000 years. It's also created some incredible harmony, beauty & healing. Maybe I'm being too harsh on these laws of attraction but, quite frankly, I don't see these laws as helpful, much less as laws. Nor am I able to globally apply them without condemning the suffering to death. Sure I might be mistaken, but the way I see it: positive doesn't always follow positive, and negative doesn't always follow negative. There is a harshness in the world that sees negative thrusting upwards in the midst of positive vibes; likewise there's a radical trust seeing incredible miraculous redemption in the midst of sorrow. The even greater mind blow is that there is so much nuance and variance in between the poles that it's astounding that reconciliation could happen at all! But it does… we are. One of the curious quirks of Jesus is that no ideology can capture him, yet he desires us still. Crazy guy.

"A belief is nothing more than a chronic pattern of thought, and you have the ability—if you try even a little bit—to begin a new pattern, to tell a new story, to achieve a different vibration, to change your point of attraction. The Law of Attraction is responding to your vibration, and you can easily change your vibrational point of attraction by visualizing the lifestyle you desire and holding your attention upon those images until you begin to feel relief, which will indicate that a true vibrational shift has occurred." -Abraham Hicks

Once again, the West picks and chooses what it thinks are pretty parts of ancient religions and compresses them into breakfast cereal for us. Hicks might have some insights here, but he places all our success and failures on humans. For people who have already lived through hell, we know we can't be our own saviours, our own healers, our own messiahs. We can be active in our journeys, yes. Our kinsmen-redeemers? No.

I believe (and yes: my definition is as subjective as Hicks') that belief grows from a relationship with God. Whatever your Higher Power is, belief springs from a connection with someone larger than ourselves who loves us. Creates us. Cares for us. Teaches us. 

Does that make the reality of 300 girls living in bondage any easier?


But somehow I seem to be able to find more peace in a God who walked this earth as a human, suffered as a human, and stands with the suffering (whoever they are) than a reduction of humanity to nothing but energy.

Some of you might disagree. That's okay. As I prepare to share with the girls this summer, I need to accept living in the tensions of "I don't know. Maybe!", but also have a firm foundation of faith that exceeds simple "chronic patterns of thought".

I don't know about you, but my brain isn't that powerful to create the world. If that were so, more than a few things would be a helluva lot different.

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