The Law of Attraction and the Law of Karma

Posted on 26 June 2007


The “Law of Attraction” (which I understand is the “secret” of “The Secret”) apparently states that our thoughts/actions/intentions “attract” corresponding experiences into our lives. While rational Westerners might dismiss this as mere “magical” thinking, the world we experience is not simply “given” to us, either.

Our thoughts play a powerful role in constructing/mediating our experience (which is one thing that meditation practice is designed to help reveal). Change your worldview, for example, and you will experience a different world. Think and act in selfish ways and you “attract” experiences of suffering. Think and act in selfless ways and you “attract” experiences of joy. As we sow, so shall we reap. This is just the Law of Karma, of course.

But it seems that the Law of Attraction says something quite a bit different, namely, that particular intentions and thoughts will attract the object of our intention and manifest it in our lives. Now, that may or may not be true. But, in any case, the deeper Law of Karma still holds, namely, the more our intentions and actions are self-centered, the more we will suffer.

So, regardless of whether or not the Law of Attraction is true or works, if you practice it with self-centered motives, then you’ll end up suffering even if you “attract” what you wanted. If you practice it with selfless motives, on the other hand, then you’ll end up joyful no matter what. That’s the deeper secret, the more fundamental law.