Sunday, 5 August 2007

A World For The Taking

As many of you dear readers will know, I started my philosophical life as a Christian, then moved on to Paganism, then to Celtic Christianity, and finally at the ripe old age of thirty-six I became an Atheist. Throughout all of this, my central focus was Truth. I wanted to come to an understanding of reality and I followed that road where it led. Now it is leading me in a very bizarre and unexpected direction.

Last week while in a bookshop, my companion pointed out to me the book The Secret. I have since read some of it and watched the feature documentary. The book suggests that there is a great secret that has been passed through the ages that once known and implemented will unlock personal happiness.

From my initial browse of the book I discovered that I already knew the Secret from my Pagan days. The idea goes that there are mystical laws operating in the universe, just as there are physical laws. One of these laws is called The Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction basically states that in the universe like will attract like. I understood this in its most basic form and left it at that. The purveyors of the Secret go a step further. They suggest that whatever you think, be it positive or negative, will manifest itself in your life. It is compared to Aladdin's genie saying, "Your wish is my command".

If this was my first introduction to the Secret, I would surely call it nonsense. Consciousness cannot affect reality. Reality exists independent of consciousness. However, I think that there is something to this. I do not agree with the proponents of the Secret who explain this concept in mystical or pseudo-scientific terms. I think the answers are more psychological in nature.

In a previous blog I wrote, "Where the mind goes the body follows, so be careful what you wish for." This statement is the sort that seems to support the idea of the Law of Attraction, however that was not my intention. Thoughts affect Feelings and Feelings affect Behaviour and Behaviour determines your Reality. Since that is the case, then how does it hurt to apply the ideas expressed by the Secret?

During my mystical days, I believed that I was blessed by God, the gods, the Ancestors, take your pick. In those days, I always landed on my feet. Whatever I needed at any time came to me. I felt confident in the universe because I believed that I had this supernatural support. Then one day all of my expectations came crashing down and no matter what I did everything went wrong in my life, or so I thought. Each day became a struggle for two things, love and money and both eluded me. So I gave up on the mysticism and got to work on my life.

As a teenager, I could not get a girl to save myself. I was the friend and never the lover. When I did find love, it did not last long enough. Same holds true with money. Money was scarce and had to be protected. I never seemed to have enough and lived my life from day to day. I always had enough to exist, but never enough to live as I wanted to live. These experiences affected my perceptions of love and money. There were scarce and they were valuable. I became a miser of both. Perhaps this is why my two greatest fears are the loss of a relationship and unemployment. The question then is, if I see love and money as scarce does that then create an attitude within me that binds me to relationships and jobs that do not benefit me? Does that attitude create in me the fear of loss? Or the fear of taking the steps necessary to improve my life?

I have been watching the BBC series Casanova with David Tennant again. The character of Casanova as portrayed in the series sees love and money as being in abundance. In one scene he describes himself as a born alchemist spinning wealth from nothing. History is filled with such people who make a fortune from nothing, lose it, and then do it again. These are people extolled by the Romantics in both history and in fiction. This is the Romantic attitude – love, money, life is in abundance in the universe. Don't worry about how just take it. This is the very attitude extolled by the purveyors of the Secret.

I cannot accept the Idealistic notion that consciousness affects Reality. However, I cannot deny the evidence in the lore of the Romantic that those who know that they can-do achieve what they want from life. I cannot deny that positive thinking and self-confidence reaps rewards. Likewise, negative thoughts lead to the manifestation of our fears. I have witnessed this occurrence time and time again throughout my life. I have also experienced seemingly miraculous coincidences from which I have received exactly what I wanted.

As an example of the negative, I once had a love with whom I was very close. She was dominated by her fears of losing me and even had recurring nightmares of the loss. She became jealous and emotionally demanding, but I was flattered and I loved her very much. As I sought to comfort and accomodate her more pressure was put on me until it became an emotional strain. In the end, she manifested her fears by setting in motion a mental state within herself that did lead to the end of the relationship. Several months after the end, she confessed that she believed that I never loved her. Why? Because she could not accept the fact that I did. She did not believe herself worthy of it. We manifest our negative thoughts as surely as we manifest our positve thoughts. In this example, her nightmares became reality.

Religion provides a wonderful focal point for our consciousness. Faith in some force makes it easier to focus our thoughts and energies towards manifesting our goals. It is far more difficult to exclude any such power and focus instead on ones self and trust in our ability to create the life in which we want to exist. However, in this we have the Romantic glorification of humanity in general and the self in particular. With this perspective we grant ourselves incredible power and responsibility.

An image that keeps playing through my mind is Brer Rabbit dancing and singing through the briar patch. The Romantic does not fear the rough patches in life, rather he dances through them because he can. He takes the loss of love with grace and style because he knows that there is more love out there to be had. Poverty is just a hop away from riches.

Going back to the Romantic values of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love, all these are manifested through this positive attitude towards existence. Likewise those attitudes associated with being a gentleman fit the "anything is possible" worldview found in the Law of Attraction. Take gallantry for example. Gallantry is defined as courage. There is no fear when there is no perceived threat to the loss of ones values. If you believe that the universe provides values in abundance, then there is nothing to fear. Loss is nothing more than a temporary state easily transcended.

In a previous blog I used the analogy of a child's torment at the loss of his ice-cream cone where an adult sees it as an annoying accident. In this instance I will add that an adult knows that there is more ice-cream in the world and that it is available to him at will. Why can we not have the same attitude towards adult ice-cream cones? I've lost a love, then just get another. I've lost my job, then get another.

Even as I write this I feel the tension of resistance inside me. I have endured prolonged unemployment. I have suffered for months over the loss of love. If I could end those periods at will, then wouldn't I have done it? Can't I look at my history and show evidence that it's not easy to find love and money? But is it possible that that ingrained worldview actually prevented me from making it easy? As a teenager I often obsessed over some girl I fancied while ignoring the girls who probably did fancy me and who I would have enjoyed. Is it possible that I created my own prison? Of course it is.

It is like what I wrote in the blog just before this one. We choose how we perceive our history and our existence. We can choose to focus on the positives, be grateful, and revel in our existence, or we can focus on what we don't have and mourn its absence. It's your choice.

I am by no means advocating a denial of Reality. I am not suggesting that we pretend that every spilled ice-cream cone is a blessing, though sometimes it is, or that problems don't exist. I'm not trying to sell you a pair of rose-tinted glass. I am not advocating arrogance – believing yourself to be what you have not earned.

I am saying that if you do not believe in your worthiness and power to have success in love, wealth, career, or whatever, then it is impossible for you to achieve it. You will sink broken into the briar patch instead of dancing through it.

Romanticism is all about the aspiration and achievement of personal greatness and the passionate existence that brings. The first step is imagining. Where the mind goes, the body will follow. So claim that power as your own and be glorious. Whether the power of the Secret is mystical or psychological in nature is irrelevant. I believe that its tenants will produce results either way, so be careful what you wish for. We create our own heaven or hell.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Just My Luck

Just a short blog....

I have had what can best be called an unlucky week. Deeper analysis would reveal that it was not about luck so much as me being a fuckwit, however I prefer to go with the bad luck theory for obvious reasons.

Here's an example. I use the same coffee cup at work everyday and yesterday it went missing. I had a near full cup that I set down somewhere and could not find where I put it. After a prolonged search in every conceivable place, I went out to buy a new one.

During my failed search to find what I was after I found two DVD's on my to-buy list that were very cheap. One was only £2.00. I finally found a cup that I could use and bought it. The girl at the counter knew me and on her own volition gave me her staff discount. As soon as I returned to work I found my old cup in plain sight. I just wasted much needed cash pointlessly. Bad Luck – right?

Well, now I have two DVD's I wanted, someone liked me enough to give me a staff discount for no real reason, and I have a new cup (which I needed anyway). So it was actually a positive though at the time it felt like just bad luck.

My point here is that bad things happen in life. I ran into an acquaintance who asked how I have been over the past year. I said, "it has been the best of times and the worst of times". I heard that Sigmund Freud was a biologist who spent his life looking for a sex organ in an eel. He failed because the organ does not develop in that species until later in life and Freud's specimens were all too young. In that failure he engaged in self-examination which led to modern psychology. Likewise, I faced the greatest disappointment and loss in my life in December. In my failure, I turned to self-analysis and self-creation. The result has been unprecedented personal growth in my life. I take great pleasure in the person that I have become and who I am becoming.

I may choose to focus on my loss, wallow in misery, and view 2007 as the year of hell. Or I can focus on the positives and see it as one of the best years of my life, a year whose events enabled me to sort through a lifetime of personal defects, bad habits, faulty perceptions, ignorance, and general hang-ups. These matters being sorted promise me a brighter future than the past that I have left behind.

Right now I am feeling free. Feeling liberated and alive. Freed from past burdens and looking optimistically to a future free of pointless and self-destructive fear and worry. Just thought I'd share.

Yep, I am one lucky bastard.