Ya gotta love those Kevin Trudeau infomercials. The guy’s a regular pitbull when he’s trying to market his latest “no-fail” product. A while back, he was aggressively promoting his “Natural Cure.” These days, he’s hawking “the Law of Attraction” in a new and improved form that can be yours in a 10 CD package for a mere $297. He calls his latest course “Your Wish Is Your Command.”
Not long ago, Rhonda Byrne was selling essentially the same product through her book and video called The Secret. Before that, Joseph Murray was touting the “newly discovered” Law of Attraction in books such as The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. And before that, Ernest Holmes was proclaiming the wonders of “the Law” in his “landmark” book The Science of Mind.
What has this got to do with Christianity?
The Law of Attraction, as recent writers have labelled it, is not a new idea. It’s an ancient idea. It’s an idea that serves as the foundation for a lot of ancient religious writings that are loosely lumped together by scholars under the heading of “Wisdom Literature.” Wisdom teachings purport to teach people how to recognize the inviolable laws of creation that, if properly observed, can lead to wealth, prosperity, good health, family status, and happiness.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, three books are generally considered to represent the Wisdom tradition: Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Elements of Wisdom teachings are also sprinkled here and there throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, as in Genesis 2-3. Some of the Psalms have overtones of Wisdom.
Not to be outdone, the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament states in unambiguous terms that if you follow the laws and the prophets in righteousness, “all things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33). In his wrap-up to the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew has Jesus say, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11).
There you have it in a nutshell. All you have to do is ask in the right way, and God will give it to you. Not only does God want to give it to you, but God has to give it to you, because the contract law says so. The contract law between God and God’s people is binding on God. So if you righteously obey all the divine contract provisions (as they are stated by your religion’s prophets), well, naturally, God is required to hold up his end of the bargain, and give you everything you ask for — wealth, health, and happiness.
There’s a special kind of law that governs all Creation, you see. As several religious traditions will tell you, including Western Christian orthodoxy, these laws are both highly secret and highly powerful. If you can uncover the hidden secrets of these laws, you can tap into their unlimited power. In this spiritual understanding (which, I’d like to emphasize, is not limited to any one religion) God’s divine creativity is considered to be a tap. It’s hard to find this sacred tap, and it’s even harder to figure out how to turn it on. But once you have the secret knowledge (gnosis) of how to turn on the tap, you can get whatever you want.
Mystics of all religious traditions frequently fall into the narcissistic mire of believing that (1) there is such a tap and (2) they alone know how to find and control said tap. These same mystics are usually delighted to share the information with their disciples for a price. Sometimes, as with people such as Kevin Trudeau, the price is mere money. More often, the mystic seeks to gather for him/herself a treasure considered even more valuable to a narcissist than wealth. That treasure is status.
A dysfunctional mystic can live quite comfortably as an ascetic, disdaining wealth, comfort, and personal possessions, as long as he or she receives a steady diet of status to feed an ongoing psychological state of status anxiety — an addiction to status, as opposed to an addiction to psychotropic substances. The addiction to status operates in a person’s central nervous system like any other addiction. There are constant cravings. Getting a “hit” of status causes the brain to release dopamine in the same way that getting a “hit” of cocaine causes the brain to release dopamine.
The only way for an ascetic mystic to get an ongoing supply of status is to indulge in spiritual practices that “affirm” to the mystic that he or she is higher on the ladder of spiritual ascent than you are.
To be higher on the ladder is to have more status. It’s as simple as that. It’s as scary as that.
To be “in the know” about the “Law of Attraction” is to have more status. This ancient spiritual practice attracts psychologically dysfunctional people who are already addicted to the dopamine high of status. That’s why it feels so good to them when they try to follow these “righteous” teachings — they’re getting a hit of dopamine each time they tell themselves they’re cleverly invoking the “contract laws” of the universe (i.e. invoking the Covenant).
Be careful what you wish for — you might get it, and it probably won’t be what you thought it would be.
That’s because God the Mother and God the Father never give you what you ask for. They only give you what you need.
And you need an addiction to status like you need a hole in the head.