The Law of Attraction and my brand new iPad: How it manifested

According to Law of Attraction dictates, if we are to attract what we desire in life, we must to think about our desired object a lot, believe deeply that we will unquestionably receive it, and feel as excited now as we will when we receive it. In other words, we must raise our vibration to the level of the desired thing and it can’t resist us; it will naturally be drawn our way.

I’m not sure at what level a penthouse condo, S-class Mercedes, complete healing from an incurable disease or a famine-free life vibrates, so how does one match it? I also haven’t a clue how much time I must think about something before it actually materializes. On last week’s post about the Law of Attraction, a frustrated commenter mentioned that she’d been following the LOA dictates for years, and had concluded that she must be doing something wrong because she wasn’t materializing her desires.

If it doesn’t work, it means that I didn’t work it

Really. She thinks she’s the problem. Are we now blaming the victim rather than the misleading interpretation and misguided application of the Law of Attraction?

It appears to be very natural for us to give credence to the written word—particularly if it’s popular in our culture. Never mind that the words often contradict each other or they tell us to expect things that are implausible. We blindly believe in the expected outcomes, even after our lives and the lives of everyone around us fail to produce the predicted outcomes.

Cashing in on spiritual law

One thing was predictable to the producers of “The Secret” movie and other copycat media: human behavior. Humans crave control, and they would be magnetically attracted to a playbook that gives them the instructions to control their outcomes.

As for the millions who received no return on their investment, the response is typically: They must not have followed the steps correctly. They didn’t really, really believe in their heart of hearts that they could actually receive their desired outcome. Consider this: Maybe their “happy” frequency wasn’t high enough to attract that new home or complete reversal of terminal illness. Or, as someone recently told me, perhaps they simply didn’t believe that they deserved it. If we don’t believe it, it’s not going to happen.

Commercialized Law of Attraction’s Achilles’ heel

And that brings us to the Achilles heel of the commercialized version of this very spiritual law: surprises and disappointments. Not one enthusiast who has earned money espousing the virtues of LOA can prove or even claim that things always happen according to their dominant thoughts, visualizations of their desired objects or situations, beliefs in a certain outcome or emotions our beliefs about that outcome. Like everyone else, the only time they experience a deep disappointment is when they did all that and things didn’t materialize the way they envisioned.

If we follow their claims to their logical conclusion, what they’re saying is that if things never cross our minds and we don’t expect them, they will never manifest. Have these enthusiasts ever been surprised—pleasantly or unpleasantly? Of course. Will they stop trying to sell us material that insists we can do things to control every outcome? Probably not because humans predictably believe—and buy—without thinking.

Laws produce the same outcome for everyone. Otherwise it’s merely a possibility. But who’s going to pay for a book or a movie about that? Tell ’em it’s an ancient “secret.”

Bless their hearts, they found a way to commercialize karma–and in doing so, created some of their own because they know that nobody anywhere ever has gotten everything he or she wanted. If it was a law, everybody would. Laws produce the same results 100% of the time–whether they are spiritual laws or physical laws.

The Law of Surprise

The Law of Attraction denies the existence of surprises and disappointmentsI know: Maybe we should call it the “Law of Surprise.” After all, the outcome is the same for everyone: Whenever it happens, it’s unexpected. Always.

Such was the case earlier this week when I attended a seminar and entered a drawing to win an iPad. Everyone in the room wanted that iPad. I know that because when they asked prior to the drawing whether anyone had not yet registered, no one raised a hand.

The iPad wasn’t the only prize. There were three lovely mugs and several vases of flowers. I literally tried to become invisible during those drawings: I already have an enviable collection of mugs. Some are collectors items. So, no more mugs, please. And, since I was going to a meeting immediately after the seminar, I didn’t want to lug a vase full of flowers with me, either.

My eyes were still avoiding the front of the room when I heard the words “iPad” and “Pat Arnold” in the same breath. I was stunned! I’m one of those people who never wins anything really cool, and I had no expectation of breaking my streak.

But I did. Now, as my daughter squealed when I surprised her with an iPad at Christmas a couple of years ago, “My Apple Universe is complete!” And it happened while I was focused on what I didn’t want. Imagine that.

The physical realm does not control the spiritual realm

Here’s the thing: The Law of Attraction is a spiritual law. It applies exclusively to the spirit realm, just as physical laws exclusively apply to the physical realm.

Spiritual and physical laws also are not interchangeable. For example, physical law restricts physical beings and objects to one place at a time, no matter how much we desire to be in several. Spiritual law has no such restriction; invisible spirit can be everywhere at once.

Let me phrase it another way for those who believe that we are spiritual beings having a temporary physical experience: LOA applies to the invisible, immortal you: the soul that is temporarily wearing a human body costume. The law does not apply to the costume.

Your costume, which is limited both in nature, power and life span, has no ability or authority to successfully trump, direct or place demands on the spiritual realm, or manipulate spiritual laws for its benefit. But many have tried.

We may be confused, but LOA isn’t

The spiritual Law of Attraction says whatever you put out, you get back; what goes around comes around. Spiritually, it is simply another word for “karma.” Many confuse karma with punishment; but karma is merely the natural reciprocal for every action, including the good we do. That’s why LOA is also called the Law of Reciprocity.

Unlike the physical world, in the world of spirit, balance is always maintained. Scripturally, it’s been expressed as “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”—a bit graphic, but I think they wanted us to get the point. The way I express it is: “Whatever you do will be done to you.” Some might find that a bit graphic, too, depending upon what they’ve done.

From the Balcony of Life, there’s a bigger picture and broader context than is visible to those on stage. From here, it appears that our karma is not always balanced while we are playing a certain role and wearing a particular body costume. That is why so many of us tend to think that life is unfair. But our actions don’t stick like glue to the body costume that we’ll eventually slip out of. It sticks to us—as immortal souls.

That is the Law, and we should think about that before doing something to someone that we would not want done to us. Because it will.

Who’s directing the show?

Manifesting my shiny new iPad was the perfect punctuation for last week’s post about humans’ egoic belief that we control everything, including spiritual laws. I view my unexpected gift as a hat-tip and a wink from the Universe. (Thanks so much for the encouragement to continue speaking the truth from the Balcony of Life!)

How does LOA explain my unexpected windfall? It can’t, because what happens in life is more than the physical eye can see and the physical brain can comprehend—or control. I was simply lucky that day. That’s always a possibility.


How to live a disappointment-free life: Part 2

As we concluded in Part 1, it is absolutely impossible to disappoint someone who wasn’t expecting anything. Yet, we’re encouraged to have specific goals and expectations. Of course, there’s no guarantee that our expectations will be fulfilled. But we’re told to expect our desires to manifest anyway.

Am I saying that we should live life on Planet Earth without expectations? No. I am saying that when you understand who you are and where you are—and trust that Divine wisdom is greater than your own—disappointments will no longer be part of your earthly experience.

When you understand who you are and where you are, and trust that Divine wisdom is greater than your own, disappointments will disappear.

Is that so?

In “A New Earth,” Eckhart Tolle tells a fascinating story about a popular Japanese spiritual master who was accused of having a sexual relationship with his next-door neighbor’s pregnant teenage daughter. When confronted by the angry parents, the master merely responded, “Is that so?”

As word spread about the pregnancy, he instantly became a pariah in the town. No one would speak to him or seek his spiritual counsel. When the baby was born, the mother’s parents thrust the child at the master.

The Zen master had lovingly cared for the baby for about a year when the young mother confessed: The baby’s father was not the Zen master; it was her boyfriend, the young man who worked in the butcher shop.

How do you think the master responded when the contrite neighbors came to his home to ask for their grandchild? He responded as he did to the false accusation: “Is that so?”

Most of us could not imagine ourselves reacting that way. How in the world could he?

When I don't mind what happens, I am in alignment with what happens.

Clearly, the Zen master had viewed the girl’s false accusation and his year of parenting her child from the Balcony of Life: It merely another human drama, and he chose not to emotionally invest in it. Instead, he trusted that everything was happening as it should, no matter how goofy it looked on the surface, and he aligned with it.

Going with the flow…

In other words, he went with the flow. He trusted that everything was in Divine Order, and was intended to serve him rather than hurt him. That’s impossible to do when we view ourselves as mortal flesh and bone.

We have been taught to think of ourselves as bodies, under the watchful eye of a God who lives in the far reaches of outer space. When hurtful things happen, and God doesn’t intervene, it reinforces our isolation and vulnerability.

It’s our belief in this capricious, vindictive Outer Space God and our investment in specific outcomes that create our heartbreak, disappointment, and situational depression. We wrap ourselves snugly in the cloak of a victim, carefully fastening every painful button and tightening the disappointment belt around our waists. We are so focused on our pain that we miss the opportunities that we created for ourselves. Doors that shut are merely alerting us that we’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Disappointing people and situations are your puppets

How can a soul experience or practice compassion, generosity, service or even forgiveness and unconditional love unless it writes scenes and characters into its life script that prompt these actions?

From the Balcony of Life, I can see that situations and people who disappoint are working for me; they’re not doing anything to me—even though it doesn’t appear that way to my body costume, Pat Arnold. Situations that didn’t turn out the way Pat wanted are turning out the way I scripted them.

Imagine a place that’s akin to Central Casting in Hollywood: Karma-Creator Central. They warehouse thoughtless individuals who do things to others that they would not want done to them. For them, it’s sport, and they think they’re winning the game. Poor dears.

As souls, we cast these clueless karma-creators in our dramas. We direct them to help us align our bodies and souls, trust the wisdom of the Omnipresent God, and embrace everything that happens as a divinely designed growth opportunity.

Bad actors who disappoint us are merely our puppets. They thought they were being self-serving. In reality, they were serving us, while delaying their own soul’s inner peace. We should appreciate their sacrifice to fulfill our desire to align with the Divine Within.

As Tolle said of the Zen master: “He’s nobody’s victim. His is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.”

Looking through your immortal eyes

Think about the last thing that happened that you perceived as a disappointment. On sheets of paper or pages on your computer, write:

“When I see this scene from the human side of me, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”

Now, pretend that you’re not on the stage in the middle of the drama. See yourself as an immortal soul sitting in the balcony of Earth’s stage, looking at a drama that you wrote, cast and directed as an opportunity to learn or grow in some specific way. On a separate sheet or page, write:

“When I, as an immortal soul temporarily wearing a human body, see this scene, it looks like this… and I feel like this…”

Why did I create this? How does it serve me?Explore the powerful question we discussed in Part 1: Why did I create this? How does it serve me?

  • Are my feelings about that scene the same when I’m on stage as when I’m in the balcony?
  • Am I still angry or hurt?
  • Am I still emotionally invested or detached?
  • What was the growth opportunity that I, as soul, created for myself?
  • If there were any bad actors, did they perform well as my puppets?