I’m going to start with an example from politics, but don’t worry: this post isn’t really about politics. It’s about magic.
Back in 2004, a lot of us Democrats convinced ourselves John Kerry had a shot at winning the presidential election. We were convinced, I guess, because we were so opposed to the policies Bush was pursuing (I’ll spare you a list). Election day came as a bitter surprise and made us feel pretty alienated and depressed.
Rebecca and I went to church the next Sunday, and the minister John said something that really stuck with me. He said exit polling showed that of people who voted Republican, 60% described themselves as strongly pro-Bush and 30% as anti-Kerry. Of those who voted Democratic, 70% called themselves strongly anti-Bush and only 40% as strongly pro-Kerry.
And John made the point that metaphysically speaking, if you’re really passionate about “George Bush,” that’s what you’re going to get. God (for lack of a better word — call it the Universe, energy, The Force, whatever) doesn’t know or care whether you’re Pro or Anti. What you think about, what you give passion and energy to, becomes what you experience.
So when I listened to the Right going on about Obama this and Obama that, and when they nominated a candidate they didn’t really like solely in the hope he could beat Obama, it wasn’t difficult to predict the outcome: Obama. I was the only person I know predicting a landslide for the President, and it’s not because I’m so smart… it’s because I know about the Law of Attraction.
John’s sermon was a few years before the release of The Secret, the DVD that went viral and taught many of us about this. A lot of people have a violent negative reaction to The Secret — a good friend of mine said “it reeks of snake oil” and after Oprah promoted it, there were tons of snarky, dismissive media stories. I suppose that’s partly a reaction to the over-the-top theatrics of the presentation: the scrolls and cheesy re-enactments and highly suspect quotes. Also it’s because The Secret makes the Law of Attraction sound like magical thinking… think about a bicycle and presto! a bicycle will appear!
That’s true, actually, except for the “presto” part. The fact is, you can “use” the Law of Attraction only in the same way you can “use” the Law of Gravity. Things in this world work a certain way, and you can go with that and make things easier for yourself, or go against it and have a much more difficult experience. And the way it works is this: strongly held emotion and thinking become consistent action, and consistent action creates results. Sometimes it is like, Presto!, and other times it takes a bit longer.
But what’s tricky is that we’re not always fully aware of what we’re consistently thinking and doing — other people see it more clearly than we do. Often they tell us pretty clearly what we’re doing, and we shrug it off. It takes wisdom, maturity, and sheer courage to just face up to the hard truth that we have created our own results. Your spouse walks out on you and your first reaction is to blame them for everything that went wrong. Harder to look at yourself and notice that you were selfish, uncommunicative, unhelpful with the chores, or just impossible to live with. Especially in a relationship, you get that highly accurate mirror — the other person is reacting up close to what you actually do every day, as opposed to your good intentions. It’s one of the most difficult things in life to look at your circumstances and really own them. I was about 27 the first time I really did that, and I still recall vividly what a bitter pill it was.
However, if you look at the habits of any really successful person, they all do one thing: they take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in their lives. They spend next to no time on self pity, victim stories, or excuses. Whatever happens, they own it. And that allows them to learn from it, and make course corrections. Success and great results aren’t random, or magic. They’re a direct result of this kind of thinking.
One big difficulty people have with this concept is that once they start to get it, they flip it around and use the word blame. “So you’re saying I’m to blame for my cancer, my getting fired, a tree falling on my house, or (fill in the blank).” They frame it up like this: “If something I don’t like comes into my experience, then I must have caused it by my bad thinking.” And then they either totally reject this idea, or accept it and feel hopeless and guilty.
But blaming yourself for the “bad” stuff in your life is a dead end. Blame is finger pointing. It’s a super subtle way of avoiding taking action, and it gets you nowhere. What we have to do is take responsibility, meaning “response + ability.” Something has happened that I don’t like. What am I going to do about it? There’s only this moment, right now; that’s all that exists. All of our power resides in the present moment — that’s where we get to look at what IS (not what was, or will be) and take action.
Thoughts become things. It’s as simple as that. The more consistent the thought, the more passion and energy we bring to it, the faster it manifests as our experience. Once you really begin to use this knowledge in a consistent way, it can change your life. Like magic.