Dave Swinford, one of the IWW's long-time administrators, and I recently participated in a group discussion about The Secret, and it's application to life in general and to writing in particular.
The discussion also ranged over The Lucifer Effect (see the recent blog post), and touched on the possibility of whether choice is mandated by neuro-biological factors or is through conscious motivation of free will. Finally, some in the group proposed that The Secret is simply a restatement of, or possibility an amplification of, The Law of Attraction.
Dave and I also brought up the issue of quantum physics in the discussion -- the possibility that the absolute definition or determination of all things is improbable. I was especially intrigued with that proposition -- as it applies to free will and the act of creative writing -- because, in a search of The Secret's Web presence, I learned that Dr. Fred Alan Wolf, a quantum physicist, was involved with the movement.
Does that mean we can will quantum movements? I don't know. How could I -- or anyone else know -- given good professor Werner Heisenberg's theory -- Heisenberg, uncertainty paper, 1927?
Of course, about all I know about quantum physics is that it provides a glib excuse for not outlining my next essay.
The real question is, of course, how does the Law of Attraction in supposition or in fact apply to writing? Will use of The Secret feed our ambitions and our talents to write and to be published?
Should we act as if we will be the next J.K. Rowling or John Grisham, call Gulfstream and order a new G150?
Dave had some interesting thoughts, which are best quoted here with minimal editing.
First, I would assert that calling it a "Law" is misleading people into thinking it is some sort of magic formula. In actuality, it is a principle or universal mechanism in exactly the same way that gravity is a principle or universal mechanism. There is no evaluating intelligence that selects what to send in response to what is received. Rather, what is returned is a matching vibratory pattern that will take shape in terms of the receiver's beliefs and expectations. Like gravity, this principle works even if one is totally unaware that there is such a mechanism or principle at work, even if one's only awareness is limited to the observed consequences of this principle in action.I generally wake up happy in the morning, and curious about what the day might bring. Considering that, the Law of Attraction seems useful -- pessimism is a negative force, and I try never to sandpaper the shine from my emotional well-being by approaching the day an antagonistic attitude.
So, this principle produces an inside-out process. It begins with what one believes, which informs or shapes what one thinks and projects outward. The mechanism receives the projected thoughts as a vibratory pattern and it returns a like or similar vibratory pattern. That returned pattern is just countless probability waves that will collapse into reality only as things the receiver believes to be possible and/or desirable. If one is "blocking" something one believes he/she wants, it is only on the receiving end or in terms of limiting beliefs that one does such blocking. One can only collapse the probabilities into things one believes in.
If one lives in India as an Untouchable who believes he is unfit to receive all the good things in life, one has no ability to collapse the probability waves into anything resembling prosperity. Someone living in poverty in this country might look around and for various reasons alter his belief from impossibility to "I have a dream" and I am willing to believe that if I work at it, I can achieve that dream. I can, step by step, alter my beliefs and expectations until I have shifted into truly expecting the desired result to manifest. There are those rags-to-riches stories to prove that this is indeed possible.
Thus, an accompanying slogan to affirming is to "act as if", which many people take to mean that one should visualize and imagine the desired result. However, the key word is "act". One must take actions to convert the desire or dream into something more than a wish or imagined result. By acting on the dream or desire, one begins to manifest small results that help one to replace the limiting beliefs and expectations with a strengthening belief that "yes, this really is possible."
So, yes, one can delude themselves into believing that all they have to do is visualize and think and they will attract what they are visualizing and thinking about. They neglect to take actions that will replace old limiting beliefs with new, accepting beliefs. Also, many people forget or do not realize that this principle of attraction is totally inclusionary. It rejects nothing and always sends back matching vibratory patterns. Thus what one focuses on is what one attracts. If one focuses on what one does not want, which is something most people do without even realizing they are doing it, what will be returned is a vibratory pattern matching what one does not want. If one focuses on what one lacks, what is returned is a pattern that one's limiting beliefs will collapse into more lack.
So, in order to move from poverty to riches, one must first believe that it is possible to do so and then, one must act to shift this new possibility from a mere wish or desire into a belief and expectation.
I will put it in terms of a slogan that was rife on campuses when I was starting college in the early 60's. It was often trotted out as a reason for joining the Peace Corps. "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for life."
Let me rephrase that slogan in terms of the principle of attraction.
If you give a man a fish, you confirm his belief that he is powerless to take care of himself. If you teach him to fish, you instill the belief that he has the power to care and provide for himself.
But, as another person in the discussion noted, there's useful wisdom to be found in Samuel Goldwyn's words, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."
And writing is no different. Grisham and Rowling applied butt to chair and words to paper. Hard work, indeed.
Finally, as one of the administrators of the IWW, I felt empathy with the concluding portion of Dave's final post in the discussion.
Thus, the very best form of contribution implicit in the two ideals is to assist others to release old limiting beliefs and to instill new empowering ones. We are, in our own ways, attempting to inspire new empowering beliefs in those we share with and work with ... that is, empowering the principle of attraction.
Teach a person to believe in themselves and their abilities, and you empower them to believe in and accept that which they desire. It works. We see the results in our participant's successes.