Law of Attraction
Let’s take a look at the law of attraction from the point of view of the Kabbalists.
I tend to be very skeptical of any new fad or mode of thinking that is pushed by the media. Usually, they are harmful at worst and a useless distraction at best. But with a concept as benign as the “law of attraction” or “positive thinking”, we are left wondering what the catch is.
After all, cultivating a positive thought life can only be a good thing – right?
The good news is that getting into the habit of cultivating a positive thought life is indeed a good thing. The caveat, however, is if these positive thoughts are done with the intention of receiving, or with the intention of creating.
“He who receives is separated from the Creator” – Baal HaSulam
When a desire for something is birthed in us, there is an immediate split that takes place within the psyche. We then oscillate between two states. One is the state of desire, and the other is the state of bestowal (to fill our desire). One seeks nothing but the reception of that desire and the other sets out to fill that desire.
The key here, as with most things, is the proper balance between the two. There has to be a sort of healthy “limbo” between identifying with both states. Desire is akin to a child in need, and bestowal is akin to a father who sets out to fill the child’s desire. The child communicates what it desires, and the father sets out to use his creative energies to fill this desire.
The goal here is to build each on top of the other in equal measure. When one grows, the other should.
If a person identifies solely with the child, he becomes a slave to desire and has very little room to explore new ones. If a person identifies solely with the father, he loses his sense of wonder with the world, and more often than not, ends up in the drudgery of a very strict and confined reality with very little fun.
Let’s look at an example: Say there is a person who loves fashion and has built a very successful empire of clothing, and he is now in a position where he is creating fashionable clothing. More likely than not, at some point in his life he sought to receive fashion (via the creators of it before him).
This person was then able to take what he loved to receive, and turned it into something he was able to create. With his creative ability, he is able to now bestow fashion and happiness to others, while still enjoying it himself.
If however this person had chosen to stay stuck in the receptive child-like state, then it is likely that his desire would have morphed into a slew of vices – vanity, greed, shallowness, and so on.
On the other hand, if he had chosen only to focus on the creative adult aspects of fashion (fabrics, measurements, etc.), he would have likely gotten bored because the seeds of his desire would have been left unwatered and dry.
His child-like love for fashion would grow barren with dry adult responsibilities.
From the example above, we can see that this person was able to grow his desire and creative ability for fashion with equal measure. And when we think of something that we desire, we must be vigilant in doing the same – making sure always to stay independent of both extremes.
If a wish is likened to a seed, we must be careful not to starve it of much-needed water – but equally careful not to drown it in desire either.
The caveat of positive thinking therefore, is the willingness to use every measure of desire with the intention of creating.
– JC ❤ –