When The Power of Positive Thinking and The Law of Attraction Don't Work
The key to reconciling the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction with the way of things is to cultivate awareness of and gratitude for the perfection of the present moment. Love yourself and your life now, and when you can't, do The Work.
Samuel Johnson once characterized a friend's decision to marry as "the triumph of hope over experience." That applies to many approaches to ending scarcity and creating wealth.
Hope is always a story of the future. When you study the law of attraction or try to use the power of positive thinking in the hope of getting what you want, you are affirming that you don't have it now. I suspect you know that and are as frustrated by it as I have been for many years.
You know that the only way you can use the law of attraction to get the results you want -- is by knowing that you have everything now. Now is the only place and time where experience can occur. You can't hope for what you already experience, and if you hope that a pleasurable experience continues; you generate worry, not attraction.
But what if your definition of wealth or success is at odds with your current situation? Welcome to cognitive dissonance, the static that is created when your way of thinking and reality are at war. The mind races to resolve cognitive dissonance, which it achieves by means of changing beliefs or denying reality, or both.
The classic illustration of how the mind resolves cognitive dissonance concerns a UFO cult that became even more entrenched in their beliefs following the failure of their leader's prophecy. When the expected destruction of the earth -- an event central to their belief system -- did not happen, cult members simply adopted a new prophecy: that the aliens had chosen to spare the planet for the sake of the faithful.
Obviously, leaving the resolution of cognitive dissonance up to an unquestioned mind is a risky move, but what can you do to resolve the dissonance between your perception of lack or inadequacy and your desire to create wealth and success?
As you have doubtless discovered, arguing with your thoughts leaves you exhausted at best and feeling slimy and inauthentic at worst. No amount of spiritual contortion will straighten your path to happiness.
USING THE WORK TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN SCARCITY AND WEALTH
Enter The Work of Byron Katie®. If you prefer to muddle your way to a successful, meaningful business, as I did for decades, skip this section. I'm living proof that a good-hearted and confused person with a chip on her shoulder can climb out of her personal slough of despond given enough experimentation.
But I think you'll agree that it's not polite to turn your back on a gift from your best friend. (Now, who or what might that be?) You can think of The Work as a way to open the gift of the present (ouch!) by gently and thoroughly untying the ribbons of your thoughts with the four questions and turn-arounds. Inside that present is the wealth and success you are seeking, and it has been my experience that they do, in fact, attract more of the same.
THE TRIUMPH OF EXPERIENCE OVER HOPE
The key to reconciling the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction with the way of things is to cultivate the experience you hope to have. Experience wealth now to attract wealth later. Experience self-acceptance now to attract self-acceptance later. (Oh, and by the way, let go of results. But that's another story.)
The primacy of experience has everything to do with the manner in which you approach and apply The Work. The Work is an experiential process of meeting your thoughts with compassionate curiosity for the love of truth. (Thank God, you don't have to be perfect at that. I'm here to tell you that my love of truth is a bit tattered sometimes. But I digress.)
To experience the results you want, go in and let the answers to the four questions rise up from inside. Resist the temptation to answer from what Katie calls the "I Know Mind." What you already know can only get you what you already have, Go in and hang out in that possibly disorienting space of not knowing what you are supposed to notice. Sit. Wait. And in spite of your conviction that you can't do this, the answers will rise.
Now the fun begins. As you become aware of an answer, savor it. Take the whole roller-coaster ride, fully experiencing all that your thoughts create, from misery to ecstasy. In the space of not knowing, it is safe to meet and explore your craziest and most problematic thoughts.
Why would you want to experience the icky stuff? You may be thinking you already spend more than enough time believing your stressful thoughts. But believing or arguing with them is entirely different from taking the ride. When you fully experience the consequences of your painful beliefs (Question 3, "How do I react when I believe that thought? What happens?"), you fully experience the power of mind.
Your worst fears -- the ones that have kept you from paradise -- reveal themselves as tickets to the amusement park of mind. Every painful thought is a ticket to freedom, but only if you question it. This is one transformation that can't be faked.
The secret to this magic trick is willingness to let go of I Know Mind. Again, this is not something you need to do perfectly. If it were, I'd be crying in my beer instead of writing this article. Just do The Work. Do it again. Do it with a facilitator (check out the free Hotline http://www.thework.com/network/hotline.cfm).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Molly Gordon, MCC, is a leading figure in business coaching, writer, workshop leader, and a frequent presenter at live and virtual events worldwide. Visit her website to reinvent the relationship between money and you, and find out what abundance gurus don't tell you about the law of attraction and building wealth. While on the site, join 12,000 readers of Molly's Authentic Promotion® ezine and receive a free 31-page guide on effective self promotion.