Mindfulness vs. Law Of Attraction

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I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m a big fan of the Abraham-Hicks “Law of Attraction” stuff.

I know, I know! But before you dismiss me out of hand, let me explain. The truth is, it requires careful listening to understand what this theory is really all about.

The surface premise is that we can have anything we want in life if we think positively and align ourselves with it vibrationally. The instructions are to imagine the feeling of what you want as if it already exists, to make yourself feel good regardless of your circumstances, and to not get hung up on when (or if) your desire ever arrives. When you do that, you become a “vibrational match” and your desire manifests, at (of course) the perfect time.

The brilliant underlying assumption here is that what we really want is to feel good and be happy, and that we have the capacity for this regardless of our outside conditions. If we’re already happy, then getting the things we want doesn’t matter so much. Not only that, but tuning into the positive rather than the negative can make it seem like more good things are manifesting, so…do you get it? It’s like a money-back guarantee!

But while it might appear to be a slick, bait-and-switch kind of sell, the truth is that it taps into the heart of spiritual practice. You see, the way we become this vibrational match is by cultivating positive thoughts and practicing gratitude for the things we already have. If that sounds familiar, it should — cultivating our thoughts is one of the fundamental elements of mindfulness, and practicing gratitude is roundly acknowledged as a spiritual cornerstone.

There are, however, some important differences between LOA and mindfulness. First, mindfulness and meditation don’t use attainment as a hook. While we are more likely to “get” things that we want when we align with them, in mindfulness it’s not our expectation or our goal. Rather, we seek stability, clarity and awareness, and how we relate to our experiences becomes our primary focus.

Also, mindfulness doesn’t sugar-coat it. While feeling good and cultivating positive thoughts is important, mindfulness practice is right there with us when we find ourselves feeling lost, confused, uncomfortable and in pain. We might pull ourselves into the light for a while, but we can easily slip back into darkness, especially the more persistent our patterns and the less supportive our environment is of change. LOA reminds us to be grateful and to think of what’s good, and this is essential; but mindfulness sits right beside us letting us know that even if we’re not there yet, we can still find some spaciousness to ease our pain while remembering the truth that things will change because everything does. And while slogging through the muck of psychological baggage can be painful, it may indicate that we are on the right track just as much as feeling good or manifesting desires can. It’s important to realize this in order to avoid adopting a “blame the victim” mentality when we’re struggling or when circumstances aren’t how we’d like them to be.

Finally, there can be a gravitas to mindfulness that arises when applying the principles to our larger social and political issues. At its best, LOA is similar to Gandhi’s advice to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” particularly when we combine it with compassion. However, when what we desire is social justice and political and economic change, we need ways to acknowledge and deal with the depths of the hurt and rage that we inevitably feel when confronting existing reality. Mindfulness goes that distance with us.

Law Of Attraction is an inspiring and fulfilling metaphysical philosophy that can help us find freedom and flow in life, and I think it’s a great complement to mindfulness. I think of it as the cheerleader that can give us wings and lift us up, while mindfulness is the coach who’s played the game and knows how to keep pace with us on the ground.

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