You know what you want, right? If you believe in the law of attraction, you probably have a list of your intentions ready to go at the top of your head, or written down on some list somewhere.
But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, why do you want what you want?
Okay, there's the obvious. Maybe you want more money so you can pay the bills, or for greater peace of mind. Maybe you want a relationship because you don't want to be alone, and you want a companion to share life with. And maybe you want health because… actually that one's pretty obvious.
But, go beyond those simplistic reasons.
No, I'm not dismissing your reasons, or calling them invalid.
But let's explore the root of wanting.
“Why would I want to do that?” you ask.
Well, it's simple. Have you ever considered that your wanting for this or that thing, is exactly what is keeping you trapped in a life of more and more wanting?
It was the Buddha who said that to desire is to suffer.
But, don't worry. I'm not going to tell you you should give up your goals.
However, if you don't understand precisely where this wanting stems from, then even if you were ever to achieve your goal, it would not provide what you wanted.
It would actually just lead to another chase for something more.
The Endless Cycle of Wanting
You have probably already experienced this in your own life.
Can you ever identify a time when you thought something to the effect of, “Once I get X, everything will be better”?
Where X is some goal: a job, a degree, a date with your crush, a car, some new gadget….
Now, sometimes, you never got that thing, and eventually, it was okay, right?
But, let's focus on the times when you actually got that thing.
At first, it was great! You felt elation at achieving your goal, right?
How long did that elation last?
Depending on what it was, I'm guessing probably a few days, or a week or two at the most.
Then, it was back to life as normal.
Now here's the important question: did it give you what you thought it would give you?
That is, you thought it was the answer to everything. So, was it? Did it end all suffering? Did it give you all the answers?
Or did you yearn just as much after achieving that goal as you did before?
Again, I'm not saying the goal had no value. I've gotten lots of things in my life that are very useful to me.
But, we tend to have this idea that once we have our desires, we'll be complete.
And, if you honestly assess your life, has that ever been true?
I have had this countless times in my own life.
There have been many times when I wanted some course, either on self-help, some spiritual modality, or even on marketing.
And I thought this course would hold all the answers. After I finished that course, I would know everything I needed to know.
Most of time, I couldn't afford that course. And though at first I was upset, eventually I realized that I was actually perfectly okay without it.
But, sometimes I did end up getting that course.
And, inevitably, I'd be disappointed.
I'd have a thought like, “That's it? That was what all the hype was about?”
And again, I'd be just as okay after the fact.
But then that next self-help product or course would come along, and then the cycle started all over again.
It took me a long time to realize that I could trust my own inner guidance, which many times could give me more valuable information than any course I could take.
Is that to say I never got valuable information from one of these products? No, not at all. But, it wasn't the answer to life, the universe, and everything, that I thought it would be.
The pattern is the same in relationships. Though, I can't relate to this one as much, because I married my first love. 🙂
But I've seen it enough times to know how it works. You get into some new, magical relationship. It's great for a while, and then you notice their quirks and idiosyncrasies.
It has a name, too: the honeymoon stage. And once that stage is over, reality hits, hard.
It turns out they're a real person, too, with their own flaws and preferences different from yours.
So, you understand the cycle, likely from personal experience.
But, what about the law of attraction?
It promises anything we want, along with perfect happiness and joy.
But, theres a missing component that most people totally ignore. And, because they miss this component to the law of attraction, it often creates more suffering for them, and keeps them trapped in this cycle of perpetual wanting.
What's the missing component?
Before I tell you that, let me first introduce our good friend, the ego.
The Ego: The Source of All Suffering
The ego is that part of you that wants. It thinks that something is lacking, so the basic motivation of the ego is to correct that lack, and also to protect itself from all perceived threats.
Unfortunately, it can never correct that lack, and it constantly sees threats everywhere.
It's the ego that says, “Once I have X, I'll be happy.”
Because, the ego believes it's not happy yet, so, clearly it needs something more in order to be happy.
It's the part of you that is constantly seeking. It's seeking for greater experiences, greater wealth, better relationships, all in the pursuit of permanent happiness.
Unfortunately, as we've seen, outer circumstances simply cannot bring permanent happiness.
So, the ego becomes a dog chasing its own tail. It's running in circles, trying to accomplish the impossible.
Why is this happening?
Well, you have fallen prey to a very simple illusion: the illusion of separation.
You believe yourself separate from the Universe at large.
It's why we have the religions we do, because people believe God to be outside of themselves, and then because God is on the outside, now we must please this external deity.
But, that's definitely a topic for another day.
However, because of this illusion of separation, the ego, which is also called the false self, or the false “I”, looks for happiness on the outside.
It makes sense. If you believe yourself to be separate, then you separate yourself from, well, yourself.
And because of this apparent division, happiness seems to be missing. It seems to be dependent on outside circumstances.
How many times have you said something to the effect of, “I'd be happy if only …”?
That's the ego delusion.
That “if only” is the root of all your seeking.
The true Self—who you really are—says, “I am happy.”
Actually, not even this. It simply says, “I AM”. But, happiness is part and parcel of this cosmic “I AM”.
But, the ego identifies with a body, with a mind, with all sorts of different labels. And, it identifies with the thoughts and emotions that travel through awareness.
It is why it hangs on to limiting beliefs like, “I am poor.” It takes it as much more than a state of being, but actually as an identity. “I am the one who is poor.”
Or, the belief, “I am lonely.” It is not just the state of things now, but a statement of fact: “I am the one who is lonely.”
That's why it fights so hard to preserve these beliefs, though they cause so much suffering. It builds its identity around these beliefs, so any attempt to remove them is literally a threat to the ego's existence.
Introducing: The Self
I say “ego” as separate from your own identity, because you are not ego. You believe you are ego—in other words, you believe you are a separate self—but, you are not.
The Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads, have the saying: “Tat tvam asi”.
It means, “That thou art.”
Or, That—being the true Self, the Universe, the All That Is, Brahman—is equivalent, non-differentiated, with you.
You are literally, That, the All.
Not a part of That, but That, itself.
The Self does not know non-peace, or non-joy. It is absolutely one, so it is self-sufficient, dependent on nothing in order to be complete.
It is always present. Every time you've experienced happiness, it is because just for a moment, you opened up just enough that the Light of the Self was able to shine through.
Just for future reference, I capitalize most nouns associated with the Self, because of their absolute nature. The Happiness of the Self is absolute, unlike the conditional and temporary happiness of the ego.
The thing is, the Self is really what we are all searching for. We just mistaken certain outside conditions as means of the happiness we seek. But, those outside conditions can only ever be a reflection of the true Happiness of the Self.
I've given the analogy before of taking a picture of your dinner, and expecting that picture to satiate you. It simply won't happen. It's only a reflection, not the real thing.
If you want any kind of lasting happiness, then you need the real Source of Happiness.
Actually, you don't need it at all. You are it. You have simply temporarily looked away from who you really are.
Moving Beyond All Desire
I'm going to differentiate two terms: desire and preference.
Desire is what drives the ego to look for completion. And because it is looking for it, it can never find it.
The Self does not have desire, because it does not lack anything. Desire implies lack.
And we know that in the law of attraction, whatever you feel you lack, you will continue to lack in a greater and greater way. This is truly the secret behind why the ego searches endlessly for happiness: it doesn't feel it has happiness, and so it continues to not have happiness, in more and more obvious ways.
Those of you who have expressed to me that you feel trapped—that you feel the Universe is unfair, because it is just too hard—this is why.
You have listened to the ego. You have believed you lack something, and because of that, the law of attraction proves to you again and again that you do, in fact, lack it, at least apparently so.
In truth, you can never lack anything.
Look at your own desires. Notice how deep down, you believe that these desires will give you something that you don't already have, emotionally.
- You desire money because you believe you lack abundance.
- You desire a relationship because you believe you lack love.
- You desire that next program or course because you believe you lack all the answers.
- You desire people to behave a certain way because you believe that your happiness is dependent on them.
- You desire the world to be a certain way because you believe your safety is dependent on these circumstances.
Desire, equivalent to want, is synonymous with lack.
If you desire it, you can't have it, because you believe you lack it.
Please read that again:
If you desire it, you can't have it, because you believe you lack it.
So, let's move beyond desire.
I know that's scary. In the law of attraction community, we talk about desire all the time. We are told we can have anything we want.
In a sense, that's true. But only if you have that missing component in place, which I'll discuss below.
But, as long as you want it, you can't have it, because it is your ego that believes it needs this thing in order to be complete.
So, let's move beyond desires. For a moment, let's just ponder the possibility that everything is perfect already.
Keep in mind, if you don't feel this now, this is exactly the reason you aren't getting the things you want.
Only when you know to the core of your being that this, right here, right now, is perfect as-is, can you hope to actually change it.
The Missing Component to the Law of Attraction
I hinted at it above, but I will clarify it much more here.
The missing component is this: are you manifesting from ego, or from the Self?
And here's how you know: would it be okay if you didn't get your manifestation?
Actually, not only okay, but would you love life no matter what?
If so, that's the Self,.
But if not, then it's your ego manifesting. And, the ego can only ever manifest lack.
It is when you manifest from the Self, out of preference, not desire, that the Universe responds instantly to your intention.
It is only when you will be complete either way, that the Universe will listen to your preference.
And so this is why I say to move beyond desire.
Move beyond the desire of the ego, because desire will only bring you more lack.
Be, instead, the Self that you are, complete already in “I AM” awareness.
Be in love with life, as it is NOW, needing nothing to be different than it is.
Then, when you have a preference, it will be done.
It reminds me of the first chapter of Genesis, when it says that God is creating the earth.
God says, “Let there be light.” And just like that, there is light.
He does not say, “I really want there to be light,” or, “I desire light.” Otherwise, no light would be forthcoming.
No, it was a declaration. It was also a preference. God would be complete no matter if there was light or not, but, it was chosen, and so it was.
This is how you should create.
- If there is doubt, then it is from ego.
- If there is want, then that is ego.
- If there is impatience, then that is ego.
Creation is a simple decision. “I choose to create $1,000 more per month. Not because I am incomplete without it, but simply because I choose it.”
Or, “I choose the perfect relationship for me. Not because I need it to be happy, but simply because I choose it.”
This is true creation, from the Self, and not from the ego.
Now, if you aren't sure if your goal is a desire or a preference, then work on manifesting it anyway. Release the resistance to it so much that you either realize it was solely an ego desire, or you become certain it is something you choose to create.
Because, even if you release all the resistance and end up dropping it, you have that much less resistance keeping you tied to the ego. Releasing resistance can never be superfluous.
The point to take away from all this is that yes, the law of attraction is true, of course. And yes, you can have your goals.
But simply evaluate why you want what you want. If you aren't completely okay with things as they are, then release resistance until you are.
It is what Abraham points to when they say, “Be satisfied with what is, and eager for more.” However, in my opinion, it is not emphasized nearly enough, because still most people totally ignore the first part.
I'll be talking about these topics—enlightenment, the Self, etc—much more frequently in the future. This was a nice transition post to set the tone, so you know what I'm getting at.
Most people think that the law of attraction is completely at odds with enlightenment. But it's not. The law of attraction is simply one of the foundational laws of the Universe.
Discovering your true Self is the real end-goal here. The more you do that, the better you'll be at the law of attraction, because the less you'll believe in lack. They go perfectly hand-in-hand.
How About You?
Now it's your turn. I know this post was pretty deep today. But, I'd love to know your thoughts. Are you able to differentiate wants from preferences in your own goals? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.