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Monday, October 18, 2010

Buddhism and the Law of Attraction

Gabe and I watched The Book of Eli last night. He’d already seen it, but we wanted to spend some time together since he’s leaving tomorrow.

I enjoyed the movie. It’s the last of our 3-movies from NetFlix… we’re downgrading to one movie at a time now. No biggie.

I still have a documentary on Tibet to watch.

My car’s in the shop as we speak... getting new brake pads and rotors. Also had him change the oil while he was there.

No kids this weekend… Gabe’s off to join his new team (road trip to Arizona this weekend… but I’ll watch the games online) and Monica will be doing the Can/Am tournament with her Alaska 16U team up in Toronto (she’d better text me with updates!).

I did a lot of work on the book last week. Mostly organizing so I can get on with figuring out what I still need photos of. Undecided if I want to contact anyone to include their photos in it or not. Also undecided what format I want to publish the book in… ebook, hardcopy, print on demand, etc.

Still studying many books about the Law of Attraction… also studying lectures by the Dalai Lama.

Some things run very parallel between the two ways of thinking, but one seemingly big difference is that with the Law of Attraction, you’re not supposed to feel limited. You are supposed to feel as though you deserve everything you want in life, material items included and that they are easily attained.

Whereas with Buddhism, or the teachings of the Dalai Lama, it seems to teach you more to disdain greed in any form.

They both, however, heavily discuss being thankful for what you currently have.

But it leaves one wondering… should I learn to be satisfied with whatever comes into my life without effort… or should I go ahead and work toward getting some of those material things I want?

So back to the similarities for a second. Both philosophies seem to emphasize the importance of: happiness, meditation, compassion/love for others, and being grateful/thankful for what you already have.

Segue: No, I don’t think “all religions share in the list of “similarities”. I was raised as a Methodist. Maybe it’s all about who teaches you or instructs you, but I never got a sense that unconditional love is a driving force in that religion. I mostly felt like I was being instructed to mind my P’s and Q’s. But if you think about it, I’ll bet one’s P’S and Q’s pretty much fall into place if you make unconditional love your driving force.


Anyway, although Buddha is quoted as saying, “We are what we think” and “With our thoughts we make the world”… which SEEM in line with Law of Attraction thinking, I find that Buddhist teachings are more about separating yourself from desires.

While LOA teachings say go ahead and want it all; you can have it all… Buddhist teachings seem more along the line of getting us to accept what we have and be happy for it rather than wanting more.

One thing that makes sense of the Buddhist way is that if you accept what you have now, you may be happier (ie, you’re not waiting for some future desire).

Although, the LOA teachings also emphasize being happy where you are at this moment and being happy with what you have at this moment. But they go on to add that you should also plan big and expect to get what you plan.

I’m reading “The Art of Happiness” right now, by the Dalai Lama. And even only in the very beginning of the book there are eye-opening passages.

The Dalai Lama discusses how so much of who we are and what we experience is based on our outlook… our perception of the world.

He also made a wonderful analogy when talking about the difference between western medicine’s approach to a mental problem versus traditional eastern medicine’s approach. He said that in western medicine, we tend to say that most mental problems (that aren’t physiological) are attributed to something in the subconscious… something that happened in the past.

He said when you do that it’s like saying you’ve lost something but it must be in this one room. Thereby excluding the possibility that your lost item can be anywhere else.

When reading Law of Attraction works, I feel like I’m being told I am the center of the universe. When reading Buddhist works, I feel like I’m being told something rather different.

I don’t want to sound like a spiritual snob, but at times the Law of Attraction sounds like it’s all about material gains. That’s not entirely true… there’s a lot of discussion surrounding happy relationships and health, too. It’s just that there’s so much emphasis on “things”. Shrug.

The Buddhist writings seem to take it farther… encouraging dispassion and detachment from many of the things the LOA seems to be telling us to focus on.

Is there a way to want and focus on getting material gains without being completely self-centered?

Doesn’t Buddhist teachings emphasize frugality and sparseness? “Nothing outside ourselves is a reliable source of happiness.”

Are “happiness” and “feeling good” synonymous?

Maybe I’m just looking at things wrong because I tend to focus on material wants. Maybe LOA and Buddhism aren’t as different as I’m making out.

But just because I can’t leave well enough alone… what about time? It seems that in Buddhist tradition you are instructed to “live in the moment” where as in LOA you are instructed to live in some future moment (of what you want). Like, if you’re struggling financially at the moment, you’re supposed to get that struggle out of your mind and believe and affirm that money comes easily and frequently to you. Isn’t that living in the future?

Buddhism is about cause and effect. And so is LOA.

Maybe LOA isn’t so different from Buddhism, but books like “The Secret” emphasize the attainment of material possessions, giving a rather skewed vision of the whole Law of Attraction thing. Maybe.

Maybe the author emphasized material gains because that’s what western society mainly thinks about and wants.

Well, that’s enough ego-centric babbling on this subject.

Lucked out today in that two of my work conference calls were cancelled… seeing as how I didn’t remember about the calls until four hours after they were supposed to happen.

The internet is amazing. Yes, it can be overwhelming at times, but at other times it’s so helpful.

For example, just now, as I was typing this, it was bugging me that my cursor seemed really small. I thought maybe there was a font change code somewhere on the page, but couldn’t fix it.

So I typed into Google: “why is my WORD cursor so little”.

The first link that I clicked on gave me the answer right away. Whoohoo!!!

Got one new necklace up (have others, but listing takes time). And I might have to reshoot this one anyway… the close-up photo is totally blown out… these beads are really cool in person.

Alternating Clear and Crackled Quartz Crystal

Alright… talk to you later!

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