My first exposure to metaphysical talk was in the “Law of Attraction.”
Popularized by The Secret, based on New Thought books like Think and Grow Rich, and the philosophies of magnates like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, the basic principle was that thoughts become things; we attract what we think.
Skeptically I played with the idea, and very quickly noticed that the “Positive Mental Attitude” did in fact yield positive results. I thought about things I wanted and they started happening:
I got a girlfriend.
I got multiple work promotions.
I bought a motorcycle.
On the intellectual level there was both a physical (scientific) and metaphysical (“magical”) explanation.
The physical explanation was that it was self-fulfilling prophecy, a placebo—I had certain expectations so I subconsciously took the actions that made it likely for “good” things to occur.
The metaphysical explanation as advertised by The Secret was that positive thoughts set the Universe in motion to “manifest” your reality.
The explanation didn’t actually matter as much as the results. Since it seemed that thinking about things made them happen, I did what most Law of Attraction neophytes do, which is try to make lots of things happen by thinking about them.
I wrote down desires of money, cars, women and credentials.
Nothing on my list of desires manifested.
Furthermore, I couldn’t explain why, despite all my affirmations, vision boards, and positive thoughts, I kept running into life obstacles and strife.
It wasn’t until I started studying desire and intuition that I figured out the missing piece. Something clicked when I heard the one of my teachers say,
“True desire is demonstrated by attainment.”
This means that we get what we really want; actually what our “Inner Beast” really wants. This beast, what Freud called the “libido,” Keynes called “animal spirits,” and others may call “soul” is the natural subconscous drive that exists beneath our ego.
That’s what true desire is.
It’s easy to mix up true desire with cerebral goals: “I want this” vs. “I should have this.” Anytime we see a conflict between our intention and our reality we are probably mixing up the projected expression of our ego with the true desire of our Inner Beast.
If you find that you are not manifesting what you say you want, you’re probably setting intentions from ego projections and you have a soul adamant enough to stop you.
Your Beast will get what it wants eventually, whether you get on board or not.
For instance, I didn’t understand why I ended up broke last year despite my financial competence and desire for wealth. Then after much meditation and reflection, I realized that deep inside, I had fear that if I had money again, I’d use it to create a complacent lifestyle that would divert me from my growth.
Once I addressed and recommitted to my deeper desire to remain on a path of growth, business picked right back up again. (Again, it doesn’t actually matter how you explain it. What matters is that intention does affect subconscious behavior, which in turn affects the circumstances of your life.)
The Beast within us is ignorant of concerns like financial obligation, social standing and play. All the Beast sees and cares about is creating interesting experiences in the world.
It’s not that material extravagances are bad, it’s that indulgence is boring to the Beast. The Beast wants to play not stagnate. Material wants are only interesting to the Beast as much as they can contribute to further creation. A close friend put it this way:
All your life’s “problems” are games your soul created for your ego to play with.
Whatever we experience in life, we created for ourselves on purpose. Until we accept that, we will alway feel like a victims in a meaningless world.
Admitting our role in our personal strife is extremely difficult to admit, but once we do, we regain agency and can start materializing true desires.
True desire doesn’t come from the ego.
The ego doesn’t understand desire in the same way an earthworm doesn’t understand the color green. Even if the ego decides to “do the right thing,” it’s not sustainable because willpower is not the same as the flow of nature.
“Manifesting desires” gets confused with thinking about arbitrary wants. Desire isn’t deduced consciously, it involuntarily arises from our subconscious, our “Beast,” our soul. It’s not really up to us, at least not the “us” that has a choice.
To manifest desire is to say yes to the feeling for action that comes through us, because that feeling is nature.
Intellectual understanding always has conflict because its ideas aren’t grounded in reality. When we viscerally experience truth coming through us, both the physical and metaphysical explanations collapse into a tautology:
When we act in accordance with nature, nature acts in accordance.
From there, there’s nothing to “manifest.”
Attracting what we want simply means not sabotaging what our soul is trying to do.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Shannen Kringen via Flickr.