The Jungian Law of Attraction: Part I
What do you want? What are you seeking? What do you need to feel whole? What could you have to make your life worth living? How can you sustain the joy you have in your life? How do you find a way out of despair? Do you even want to find the way out? What would it take for you to want to find a way out?
When you hear about the “Law of Attraction,” several things may come to mind: a guru, a self-help guide, a “get rich quick” scheme, or a vision of life that is simply too good to be true. When we watch films like The Secret or read books such as The Power of Now or Ask and it is Given, we are likely to be left with a feeling in our gut that says: they make it sound so easy.
As if the “perfect” life were so easily grasped in your fingertips, if only you would reach for it. As if all your problems, pains, and suffering could simply vanish by the refocusing of your mind. As if the trajectory of your life could change drastically by a simple set of words spoken in front of your mirror each morning. If only I visualize the way my life could be, then it will be. It definitely sounds too good to be true.
But is it? As we explore the Law of Attraction, we will explore what it is, and what it isn’t. In addition, we will start to discover what it means from the perspective of personality types and Jungian Typology. I will posit this to you: The Law of Attraction is both as easy as it sounds and much harder.
What is the Law of Attraction?
Take a moment and examine your life. How would you describe it? What are you doing with your days? Are your days filled with what you want to do? Do you feel generally content with your life, or like something deep is missing? Are you happy with the financial, relational, familial, business, athletic, leisurely, and nutritional aspects of your life?
The theory of the Law of Attraction posits that the way your life is at this very moment in time was arrived at by what your beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and attention were focused on. In other words, where you are right now was decided to a significant degree by you in the past.
Likewise, where you will be in 1, 3, 5, or even 10 years will be decided based upon where your focus, attention, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are oriented towards the coming days, weeks, months, and years.
The Law of Attraction boils down to this: the direction where you focus your energy, and the object(s) of what your attention is spent on will determine your experience in life.
As a secondary part, the Law of Attraction also states that the nature of your energy will attract like energy. Generous energy will attract generous opportunities. The Bible even seems to hint at this phenomenon.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” — Proverbs 23:7
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:21
The theory of the Law of Attraction places us in the middle of our own lives. While it sounds like a wonderful miracle — that our lives could be what we want them to be — it has a challenging implication. We soon find ourselves burdened with the responsibility of tuning into ourselves in a way that we never have before.
If it is true that we shape our lives more than anyone or anything around us, who bears the responsibility for our circumstances more than ourselves?
The Central Paradox
“I have always been fascinated by the law of reversed effort. Sometimes I call it the ‘backwards law.’ When you try to stay on the surface of the water, you sink; but when you try to sink, you float. When you hold your breath, you lose it—which immediately calls to mind an ancient and much neglected saying, ‘Whosoever would save his soul shall lose it.’” — Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
The tighter you hold onto sand, the quicker it slips between your fingers. The harder you chase something the more it will outrun you. The more you try, the less likely you are to achieve.
This is a paradox. Rather, it is a seeming paradox, and it raises deep concerns over the validity of the Law of Attraction. How can you have what you want in life if, when you focus on getting what you want, it eludes your grasp even more?
If I am chasing a new job, relationship, or pursuing a path of self-transformation, what hope is there for me when this law of paradoxical intent — you always end up with the opposite of what you pursue — permeates in everything I do?
We will explore aspects of the Law of Attraction and answer this vital question that sits at the center of its theory.
Three Pieces for the Foundation
There have been many books written that are dedicated explicitly to explaining and exploring what the Law of Attraction is and how to use it. In this section, we are going to briefly discuss three of them to contribute to our foundation for understanding how we can take control of our lives.
As a Man Thinketh — James Allen
“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”
“A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.”
In this classic little book, Allen makes the argument that it is the content of our internal thought-life, and the regulation of that content, that shapes our life. Those who are stuck in the same miserable circumstances that they were in 20 years prior are there because the pattern of their thoughts remained unchanged.
Likewise, those who have risen to the heights of personal fulfillment, self-realization, material and spiritual wealth, are there because the pattern of their thoughts propelled them to those heights.
Consider a young man who carries on doubt from his youth catalyzed by a single thought:
I’ll never be a success.
If that same young man replaced that thought and built the belief that:
I will achieve and fulfill my purpose.
How different do you think those two versions of the same young man’s life would be?
Allen posits that our thoughts are the code that our life is written in. What we were, what we are, and what we become are all intimately tied to what thoughts, conscious or not, are flowing through our minds. For Allen, thought definitively precedes action, and action is only the pouring out of the deeper source of our internal life.
“A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.”
Feeling is the Secret — Neville Goddard
“Ideas are impressed on the subconscious through the medium of feeling. No idea can be impressed on the subconscious until it is felt, but once felt – be it good, bad or indifferent – it must be expressed. Feeling is the one and only medium through which ideas are conveyed to the subconscious. Therefore, the man who does not control his feeling may easily impress the subconscious with undesirable states.”
Goddard posits that it is feeling, not mere thought, that is the primary mechanism by which we attract things into our lives. For Goddard, feeling even precedes thought. It is not solely emotion, per se, but experience and the emotional embodiment of that experience that shapes our reality.
If all you see in life is the way things could go wrong, and your focus remains on all the possible ways something could fall apart, how can you expect to experience any sensation different from constant worry and dread?
What happens when you fill your body with emotions and sensations of completion and order, and a sense of calm about the things around you? Those who are constantly worried are worried because anxiety is what they fill their body with. They do not bother or even attempt to modify the contents of their emotions as they are felt. And often, their emotions are rarely felt, but repressed, leading to a heightened state of anxiety.
For Goddard, feelings and sensations are as malleable as thought. If you were to take a moment and consider what your ideal life would feel like, what the experience of it would be, and let that run through your body unrestrained, do you not feel better after a few moments?
What does it feel like to be competent, successful, and creatively fulfilled? What does it feel like to trust someone deeply and know that they will never leave us? Our lives, then, are determined also by what we feel.
“Think feelingly only of the state you desire to realize. Feeling the reality of the state sought and living and acting on that conviction is the way of all seeming miracles. All changes of expression are brought about through a change of feeling. A change of feeling is a change of destiny.”
Ask and it is Given — Esther and Jerry Hicks
“The key to bringing something into your experience that you desire is to achieve vibrational harmony with what you desire.”
What is faith?
“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1
The “certainty of things hoped for” is no different than believing and knowing that you already have it.
“Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you.” — Mark 11:24
Believe that you have received them, and they will be granted to you.
Is the process of using the Law of Attraction different from utilizing faith? To use the Law of Attraction is to know, even before it is.
For Esther and Jerry Hicks, the human creature is a beacon of energy. Beneath thought and feeling exist a level of physicality that emanates to the outside world.
Have you been around chronically negative people who, after spending as little as five minutes with them, you find yourself descending into a cynical, contemptuous state along with them?
Or have you been around people whose very presence, even the very thought of their presence, is enough to inspire feelings of joy, excitement, and belief?
Our world without mirrors our world within.
If you want something, embrace the experience of what it is to have it. Do this continually, and it will become true. This is the core premise of Ask and it is Given.
“You are a vibrational transmitter and receiver.”
Have we solved the paradox?
I believe we have.
“But how is it possible for the Law of Attraction to work if every time I chase something it falls further and further away from my grasp?”
In his book, Letting Go, David Hawkins explains this very phenomenon.
“Desire literally means ‘I do not have.’ In other words, if we say that we desire something, we are saying that it isn’t ours. When we say that it isn’t ours, we put a psychic distance between ourselves and what we want. This distance becomes the obstacle that consumes energy.”
“Wanting blocks receiving it, and results in a fear of not getting it. The energy of desire is, in essence, a denial that what we want is ours for the asking.”
In other words, when we “chase”, “desire”, or “want” something, we cement the idea that we do not have it. The energy this belief permeates is one of separation, where you remain separated emotionally, intellectually, and physically from the result of what you want.
To fall into a state of “wanting” is identical to falling into a state of “not having”. If we continue, it will become a habit, and our lives will be littered with a cycle of us separating ourselves from what we seek.
This state of “wanting” is a state of faithlessness.
The seeming paradox of “chasing and never receiving” is solved by changing how we want. We no longer daydream of “what it could be like,” but dream “what it is like.” We must start seeing our lives, feeling the emotions, thinking the thoughts, experiencing the sensations, and having faith in how we want things to be.
What would it feel like to have the partner of your dreams? What would it feel like to have the achievements you dream of? What if you achieved those accolades? What would it feel like to be intimately connected with those around you? What would it feel like, without fear, to do what you know deep down you were meant to do?
Ask yourself: what would it feel like to have what you want? Be that.
Consciousness and Cognition
There has been a debate for centuries on the problem of consciousness. Is the human being conscious or not? Are our lives determined by fate or decided by us? Or is it somewhere in between, where we decide the things that decide for us, such as habits?
For this article and the next, we are going to rest on this premise: the human creature can navigate their life consciously and is able to change the course of their fate despite the circumstances that have shaped their life.
Now, for Jungian Analytical Psychology.
You and I have cognitive functions. Whether you have Ni Hero, Ti Parent, or an Ne Inferior, your mind has been wired to perceive and process information in a specific way.
If you have seen one of Chase’s earliest and most important lectures, on the Cognitive Spectra, you know that the human being has eight different pathways of awareness, as represented by the eight cognitive functions: Extraverted Intuition (Ne), Introverted Intuition (Ni), Extraverted Sensing (Se), Introverted Sensing (Si), and Extraverted Thinking (Te), Introverted Thinking (Ti), Extraverted Feeling (Fe), and Introverted Feeling (Fi).
Like a computer program or operating system, these cognitive functions literally operate as transmitters (introverted functions) and receivers (extraverted functions). You may have a hyper-awareness of others’ paths or possibilities to create something new (Ne) or are deeply attuned with logical processing (Ti). But you are not just the sum of your cognition.
The fact that we can observe our own cognition, observe our Si recalling of the past or awareness of our duty, or observe one’s own Fi values and convictions, points to something beyond mere computation.
In Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he discusses the concept of “Watching the thinker.” The word “thinker” here, most associated with Ti or Te, can easily be replaced with the action of the other cognitive functions. Ti thinks, Ne anticipates, Ni dreams, Fi feels, etc, etc. The labels don’t really matter and are often interchangeable, but the main point remains: if there is something beyond “the thinker” there is something beyond your cognition.
Your cognition is how and a little of what you perceive and process. If we can access an awareness that is beyond this “how”, then we can shape the “how” and step into the seat of controlling our lives at a deeper level and to a more profound degree.
“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not ‘the thinker.’ The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence.” — Eckart Tolle, Practicing the Power of Now
“What if I don’t want to use the Law of Attraction?”
Do we get to choose not to follow the law of gravity just because we don’t feel like it? Whether you want to or not, whether you’re aware of it or not, you are always using the Law of Attraction. You are always emitting (and receiving) energy. What the Law of Attraction states is that you can direct, over time, what kind of energy is being emitted.
If we move through life unconsciously, we’d only emit whatever energy represented the sum of what has happened to us. At that point, our genetics and experiences would dictate the outcome of our lives. But that is the special thing about humans: we have the opportunity to be more than the fate of our unconscious selves. We have the opportunity to wake up and shape our lives in unison with our experience.
And it is right here, at this exact juncture, that Jungian Analytical Psychology becomes the catalyst we’re looking for.
Is it that easy?
As we come to the close of Part I, it’s time to fully answer the question we started with: is the Law of Attraction easy to use? How we answer this question is vital to the success of how we use the Law of Attraction because it will determine our expectations when we use it.
If the Law of Attraction is so easy to use that it can override years of toxic habitual thought patterns in a matter of moments, we will expect it will work instantly. But if it takes time to override habits and replace them with new ones, we can expect gradual changes. This latter option is more likely.
If humans are conscious beings, then we do have the power to change our lives. But because our habits run most of our lives, and our habits take some time to form, the Law of Attraction works as a journey. Life is rarely profoundly changed by one moment in time when you decide to think and feel differently. But we all must start with that first moment and bear out the fruit thereafter.
We also might consider being grateful that the Law of Attraction doesn’t “work” instantly. I doubt the world would exist today if it did.
But is it easy? Is it easy to use the Law of Attraction? Some of this is a matter of opinion, and some can be revealed in differences of personality type. Types that embrace new beliefs easily will have an easier initial time with the Law of Attraction than others. But those same types may get burned out and lose faith faster than the rest.
But the part of this answer that is not a matter of opinion is that the human being is driven toward consistency, reliability, and security. We like to predict things in our environment. You can expect some kickback from your thought patterns and habits as you consciously change them. You are effectively unearthing the soil, replacing old roots with new ones.
This quote from Virginia Satir comes to mind: “People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.” If we are stuck in the certainty of misery, lack, and fragmentation, we might be surprised how unwilling we are to change when faced with the opportunity to live in contentment, abundance, and wholeness.
The reality is that change is painful. And this is the aspect of the Law of Attraction that proves the undoing for many. Transformation is always open to you, but the path to transformation can only be found through change.
And here we are required to use faith once more. When accessing the Law of Attraction, one must have faith in themselves. There may be security in the belief that your life is already written in stone, but there is more freedom in the belief that you have a real say over your life. If you want freedom, you must learn to believe that your faith not only will, but is producing results.
One last paradox?
But there is another layer here that muddies the use of the Law of Attraction. If the maxim, “Physician, heal thyself!”, is open to all, we must conclude firstly that the power for transformation and healing is within us and, secondly, that many do not want to be healed.
Many of us are more accustomed, and therefore more desirous of maintaining unsatisfying lives than reaching for something more. Security can be intoxicating.
We must look at ourselves nakedly and ask: Do I want a life that brings my being into fullness? If the answer is “no” and you know the answer is “no,” you are still better off had you not asked the question to begin with. Why? Because now you can ask the second question.
“Do I want to want to?” And this is your starting point. The next installment will take us deeper into the how.