The law of attraction and Gita wisdom
The law of attraction holds that we attract positive and negative things respectively by cultivating positive or negative thoughts. Is this law true? Why does it appeal to many people?
To understand, let’s place it in historical and philosophical context. Historically, over the last few centuries as science tapped the laws governing physical reality, everything else, including the mental world, was relegated to irrelevance. But as people recognized the self-evident truth that our thoughts affect our reality, the pendulum of attitudes toward the mental world swung to the other extreme: thoughts were accorded omnipotence, wherein they alone could reshape physical reality in any and every way. The law of attraction’s contemporary popularity reflects this swing of the pendulum.
Philosophically, Gita wisdom helps us center the pendulum. It explains that thoughts are also things; the domain of thoughts — the mental level — is an actual level of reality. We exist at three levels of reality: physical, mental and spiritual. What happens at the mental level matter — thoughts, emotions, desires, deliberations, intentions underlie happenings at the physical level.
Further, Gita wisdom explains that our actions shape our situations — that’s the basic principle of karma, though how which action shapes which situation can be incomprehensible (04.17). Given that thoughts are actions at the mental level, it’s understandable that our thoughts play a role in shaping our reality. But in such reshaping, thoughts are one factor, not the sole factor. How significant a factor our thoughts are is as elusive as discerning how significant our actions are.
By thus acknowledging that the potency of thoughts lies somewhere between impotence and omnipotence, we can all take responsibility for both our thoughts and situations.
The law of attraction is right in acknowledging that our thoughts play a key role in creating our situations; it goes wrong in assuming that our thoughts alone create those situations.
Think it over:
- Why is the law of attraction so popular?
- Where does Gita wisdom say about our thoughts?
- How is the law of attraction right? Where does it go wrong?
04.17: The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.