Ancient Wisdom and the Law of Attraction
March 26, 2007
Ancient Wisdom and the Law of Attraction
March 25, 2007
Rev. Bonnie J. Berger
Today I will review what some of our faith traditions say that parallel the Law of Attraction. And since the holiday of Passover is approaching, I will examine how the Law of Attraction was at work in that story and the lessons we can all take from it. Finally, I will offer three steps for moving forward in attracting all that we desire.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Law, the Law of Attraction is the principle by which we attract into our lives that which is in vibrational alignment with our consciousness, our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes.
In other words, like attracts like. Your personal vibration is a reflection of the energy of your thoughts and words. Lower vibrations attract undesirable experiences. Higher vibrations--the highest which is Love--attract desirable experiences. There are no accidents. The Universe works on a specific set of principles that do not waiver.
Like attracts like whether WE are conscious of it—or whether we believe it. In sum, ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES.
I believe that most, if not all of our faith traditions, have the notion of the Law of Attraction somewhere in their written or oral teachings. Christianity, for example, has a number of references. I’ll just spotlight a few.
There is Hebrews 11:1—“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Here we see that the thought develops the belief. Although we can’t yet see the result—we have exercised our faith muscle toward manifestation.
Mathew 17:20-- “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing shall be impossible to you.” What is required is the desire, the belief, and the action.
And a final example from Christianity, Mark 11:24—“Therefore I say unto you, What things you desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.”
From Buddhism we have, “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world. All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.”
From the Hebrew Scriptures, Proverbs 23:7—“For as he or she thinks in his or her heart, so is he or she.” From the Kabbalah it is written, “Three are the dwellings of the sons and daughters of Man. Thought, feeling, and body. When the three become one, you will say to this mountain ‘move’ and the mountain will move.”
The Kabbalah further highlights the importance of being clear what it is we are asking for. One of the books that has helped me to understand some of the spiritual teachings in the Kabbalah is Seeing God: Ten Life Changing Lessons of the Kabbalah by Rabbi David Aaron.
The author mentions a wonderful parable about a dove that illustrates the danger of asking the Universe for something without truly being open to receiving. The story goes that originally doves had no wings. One poor dove was being constantly harassed by a lion. Every day the lion would run after the dove, and the dove would just barely escape.
One day the dove prayed to G-d: “G-d, I’m a little dove. I can’t outrun this lion every day. One of these days he’s going to catch me. I need help. Please G-d, help me.”
Sure enough, G-d answered this dove’s prayers. The dove woke up the next morning and found she had wings. “Wow! Check these things out! Terrific!” With these wings she would get away from the lion; now she was feeling really confident and safe. As soon as she saw the lion, she called out to him, “Hey, here I am! Ha, ha, I’m over here.” She stood there jauntily, figuring that she would wait until the lion got very close so she could show him what she could now do with wings. The lion charged after the dove, and when he was inches from her, the dove started running away.
But something strange happened. The dove tripped over her new wings. Instead of helping her run faster, the wings got in her way. The lion was on top of her now, and before she could pick herself up…well, it’s a sad story.
When the dove got to bird heaven, she complained to G-d, “I’m a little dove. The lion was harassing me. I prayed to you to help me, and you gave me wings. But instead of the wings helping me to run faster, they interfered with my speed.”
G-d responded: “You foolish dove. I didn’t give you those wings to run with. I gave you those wings to fly with.”
The dove was too fixated on her perspective—on how she expected things to look—and lost the ability to see that the wings could have opened her up to a completely new experience. She was just expecting to run faster. This is an integral part of the Law of Attraction—to release or surrender expectations for what we desire or wish the outcome to look like. Allow the Universe to have our highest good always in mind.
There is the story of an atheist who falls off a 2000 foot cliff. He grabs onto the one twig 1000 feet down. He looks up to Heaven and figures it is worth a shot. “Is anybody up there?” he asks. “Yes, it’s Me, G-d,” comes the response. “Thank G-d for that,” the atheist replies. “Please G-d, help me. I’ll do anything,” “Of course my son. But I have just one request to make.” “Anything G-d,” replies the atheist. “I will save you my child,” says G-d, “but you have to trust Me first. Let go of the twig and I will catch you.” The atheist looks down at the rocks 1000 feet below and looks up again. “Is there anybody else up there?”
We can know there is a G-d intellectually, but having faith in G-d’s love and grace is something else. This underscores the need to keep our vibrational energy in love—in faith—and not in fear or disbelief.
Our assumptions are the greatest obstacle to seeing reality. We are stuck in our interpretations, and we assume that our way of seeing is the only true way. Rather than seeing the allness, we only see our eachness. We shrink it down to our level and see instead only a narrow slice.
The theme of seeing a “narrow slice” of life is part of the Passover story. This year Passover starts at sundown April 2. The holiday of Passover tells the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, their wandering in the desert, and their entering the Promised Land.
We are told during the Passover meal known as the Seder, that each one of us is to regard ourselves as if we personally had gone out of Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt-mitzraim- stems from the root word for narrow or constrained. Thus to say that we must leave Egypt is to say that we must strive to break out of our narrownesses, to free ourselves and to grow.
In the Passover story, the Israelites leave Egypt, cross the Red Sea, and receive the Ten Commandments. Pretty exciting stuff. Maybe they should make that into a movie??! Then what happens? They end up wandering in the desert for 40 years. Why was this? Was this because Moses was ‘such a guy’ that he wouldn’t ask directions? Was it because the GPS navigation system wasn’t invented yet? Well, I’m sure those did factor in—and the main reason they wandered? G-d was waiting for a new generation to be born—for those born into slavery to die out. G-d was seeking a way to free the Israelites from their narrowness—their mitzraim.
In any group there are always those who find some reason to gripe and complain. Once they were delivered out of Egypt—some of the Israelites actually wanted to return, saying: “At least we knew where we were going to sleep every night” or “At least we knew we would be fed each day.” They took their slave or narrow viewpoint with them. They could only see their eachness—they couldn’t see the allness.
What does this narrowness look like for each of us? When have we felt trapped, unable to leave, to speak for ourselves, to make our lives better? When have we embraced the narrow perceptions and assumptions of society? When have we felt the constriction of either/or choices which are expected of us? Who is the Pharaoh in each of our lives that we are allowing to keep us enslaved?
Pharaoh came knocking on my door just about one year ago. After a routine blood test my doctor informed me that I had a higher than normal white blood count and that I should go see a hematologist. No problem thought I. When I got to the office, I saw the name “Oncology Associates” on the door. Oncology? Well, I guess they share office space, that has nothing to do with me. Inside the office are posters with pink ribbons and cancer pamphlets. Long story short, after further testing, it was determined that I had a treatable, though at this point, not curable form of leukemia. I was quite taken aback. Here I was months from ordination and head over heels in a new relationship. I was at a choice point. Would I let Pharaoh in and become enslaved to this ailment and all of the negative thinking that entails? Or would I declare my freedom and liberation and faith in the Allness?
As I was writing this sermon, I realized that the above choices can be likened to the image of a “wolf in sheeps clothing.” What does that image bring up? For me it was that my life was going along just fine—then the wolf steps out of the sheep disguise and reveals the true nature of life. I reject that. Instead—the moment of my diagnosis was more similar to a sheep in wolves clothing. At first glance, it appeared formidable and cruel. Once I restored the flow of Spirit within me, the gentle sheep appeared, and continues to peacefully graze within me.
What the ancients knew centuries ago—The Secret aka the Law of Attraction—is ours to put to use today. This moment. This breath. We are here to co-create with G-d or Spirit or whatever name we choose for All That Is.
Which reminds me of a story—a Sunday School teacher asked her 2nd graders if anyone knew another name for G-d. She was picturing answers like “Lord” and “Almighty’.
After a long moment of silence a little boy raises his hand. When called upon and asked for another name for G-d, he responded, “Howard.”
“Howard?” replied the confused teacher.
“You know,” said the boy, “Howard be thy name.”
So, I offer three steps to activate our allness and move from our narrow spaces:
1. Right Thoughts—the quality of our thoughts equals the quality of our lives. As we keep our thoughts in the highest vibration possible—the vibration of Love and that which is for our highest good—we allow the Universe to give us all we desire. G-d is waiting to say yes to us. In the parable of the dove and the lion—the dove prayed to G-d for help. And G-d did indeed come to the aid of the dove by giving it wings.
Regarding me and my diagnosis—right thoughts moved me through the fear—all is well; G-d is in control; I am surrounded by G-d’s love and grace.
2. Right Beliefs-thoughts attached with feelings become beliefs. As we believe and embrace the fact—yes the FACT that we are worthy, we are loveable, we are enough, and we are deserving, we keep the energy of love and expectancy alive and flowing freely within us. Back to the dove parable—the dove had her “narrow place” in only believing she could run. With her beliefs out of alignment with her thoughts---she unfortunately became the lion’s dinner.
Of course we don’t know the story from the lion’s perspective—but I’ll save that for another sermon! Everyone is thirsty for love, but how much love we can receive is dependent on how much we believe someone can love us—and that someone includes G-d. The more we acknowledge and believe in the power of G-d, the more we receive and see G-d in our lives.
Again—for me it was believing that I was healthy, whole, and perfect in G-d’s eyes. I believed in the ability of the “mustard seed” to move a mountain. And I believed in the Jewish notion of r’fuah shliemah—the renewal of body and the renewal of spirit.
3. Right Actions-Our actions must continue to flow through the vibration of love. As we act in a way that will produce the greatest good for all concerned in the most loving manner available, we fully move out of our narrow place—our eachness—and move easy and effortlessly into the allness. G-d or the Universe is not out to get us. We are responsible for our choices and actions. We can live in fear like the freed Israelites who wanted to return to enslavement, or we can choose to act in love and faith—and expect to fly.
In my case, I embraced the sheep in wolves clothing. I now know what it is to live with a chronic illness. I am able to bring a deeper compassion and love to my work as a hospital chaplain. And I am able to share my praise of the Holy One who makes all of this abundance possible.
Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go”, and so it is time for each of us to tell our internal Pharaoh’s to let our limitations go. Let go of the narrowness. Let go of the small thinking. Let go of the fear. Let go of the doubt. Let go of the static that keeps us from tuning into all that we desire, want, and need.
The Law of Attraction isn’t a secret. It has been an integral part of many faith traditions for centuries. We forget what we once knew. We don’t have to wander for 40 years—we can ask directions. We can do more than run when G-d gives us wings. We can fly!!
Right Thoughts. Right Beliefs. Right Actions. Right Away. Right Now.
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