Some of you might know that we sell several things at CafePress, a site for tee shirts and the like. I got an e‑mail from them the other day, letting me know they now have a Canadian site. More on this soon. Anyway, I did some updating, and then searched “Zen.” One tee shirt that came up had a slogan I loved:
Don’t Believe Everything You Think
Then, I received the following question from Karen, one of our readers:
I enjoy receiving your blog and articles. I would be interested to get your perspective on “Law of Attraction” philosophy that some life coaches use.
I wrote back:
Thanks for your note and question. Being a quasi-Zen-guy, I believe in Karma, which is actually a pretty neat cause-and-effect philosophy. Simply, what I put out there (how I think, to some extent, but crucially, what I DO) enters a Karmic feedback loop.
In other words, where I am right now (to paraphrase the Buddha) “…is a result of what I have thought [and done.]”)
If I do not like my reality [my present moment] the only thing I can do is change what I can change–the way I act (which includes how I respond to my habitual patterns of thought–the actual thought patterns do not change!)
Rather than thinking, “I am a failure,” and acting as a failure, a Zen approach would be “Here I am, as usual, thinking I am a failure. I will “feel” the emotion that arises, fully, and then I will act in such a way as to bring about a different experience.”
I kind of amuse myself over the Power of Attraction stuff. While there is some truth to all of it, most of the ‘biggies’ seem to use it to pile on money and possessions. This seems to work [typically they make money selling Power of Attraction stuff…] but seems to me a poor marker of deep and meaningful living. Nonetheless, we all attract exactly what we believe we will attract.
I didn’t want to get into a “Power of Attraction” (POA) bashing thing, as this seems counter productive. The irony here is that POA and Karma pretty much say the same thing. In other words, Karma is all about reaping what you sow–If you “put out” fear and insecurity, you’ll get more of it from others, and the world. If you act as Zorba the Buddha, (an OSHO idea–that one could be both fully engaged in the world, and fully spiritual) then the world is both a playground and a classroom.
Mine is bigger than yours!
The problem I see with people getting hooked on POA is that it tends to use “stuff” as a marker–get your thinking straight, and you’ll make money, attract houses and cars, and you’ll “be happy.”
As we endlessly say, having such markers is actually THE problem. As soon as I measure my “success” by the height of the pile of crap I surround myself with, I get caught in the addiction to stuff.
Karma and POA as a Mind Adventure
Zorba the Buddha owns the best of both “worlds.” He drinks deeply from the stream of the world, imbibing life fully. He also spends his days deepening his sense of self. He calls us to live fully, to love deeply, to develop Zen Mind, and to free our hearts and spirits.
Nothing good, nothing bad, but thinking made it so. Lack, deprivation, are mind states that lead nowhere but to misery.
Instead, act in keeping with your passions, desires, and with virtue, directness and a gentle spirit.
About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press