Archive for October, 2010

26
Oct

Tima Minchina slams Oprah and Chopra

   Posted by: Britt    in On Positive Thinking

Stumbled across this fellow, Tima Minchina, espousing his thoughts in a nine minute slam-poetry rampage. It’ll be the best and the shortest nine minutes you’ve ever sat through. Enjoy!

Here’s a YouTube video called “The Powers of Ten.”

Watch it, and try to hold old to that misguided Law of Attraction” philosophy (or “Law”) that the world was created for you. We are but a spec of dust my friends. A magnificently irrelevant spec.

And the most fascinating part is that when you travel into that spec, entire new universes unfold.

Our so-called consciousness is only paper-thin. We cannot take in what is beyond us, just like we cannot take in what is within us.

It is the height of arrogance to think that everything exists solely for one rice-paper-thin sheet in the gigantic volume known as the universe.

We can’t even respectfully use our resources that measure only one kilometer high and one kilometer low in a sustainable fashion; we deplete the earth’s resources 25% faster than it can regenerate them. We shamelessly slaughter human kind in the name of religion. We watch mass murderers slaughter others in the name of themselves (and, yes, as Vancouver Eastside will readily attest, we watch). We stand by as other nations cut off women’s noses and ears for deigning to leave their captors (husband and his family). We let full grown adults enlist armies of children and stand at a polite distance in the name of politics. We invent the concept of money and then become slaves to it. We create governments to guide us, and then bow in servitude.

Image, the power of 10 only forty times, and all of this, yes, even you and me, all of this becomes insignificant.

Addendum

Just after writing this entry, a friend (yes, one who believes in the LAO) posted the following video. She finds comfort in this, so I’m not about to crash down on her house. But it irks me how much we anthropomorphize (give human characteristics to) the entire universe. It’s as though we were to pick up a spec of dust and define ourselves by the characteristics of this spec of dust. Heck, we kill a mosquito without giving it a second thought. That’s how much we value life that is not ours.

And another thing … while I’m ranting about this video … notice how the colour blue dominates? That is exactly what is wrong. The only reason why we see blue is because the sun is reflecting off of the moisture in our air. There is no blue sky that surrounds us. In fact, if you zoom out beyond the paper-thin layer of our existence (say, the power of 10 forty times), you’ll see only vast emptiness periodically interrupted by the shining of a star.  And each star will one day vanish. Leaving only emptiness in its wake. Not a rainbow. Not a blue sky. Not an English speaking God. Nothing.

(Which isn’t to say that our lives are futile. That’s not what I’m saying. Indeed, we’re lucky to have it. Let’s just put it into perspective.)



“Man who stand on hill with mouth open will wait long time for roast duck to drop in.” – Confucius

“Yes,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “but if you just think of a roast duck and taste the roast duck and hunger for the roast duck and believe in a roast duck, it will indeed drop in to your open yaw before you know it. It is a law. I have decreed it so. My circle of uneducated gurus have decreed it so too. ”

“But,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “what if I stand on the hill with my mouth open for a long time and it still doesn’t come?”

“Then,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “you are obviously not thinking the right way. Come with me my little fat man, let me show you how. But first, show you me your wallet.”

“Ah,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “but you have already emptied it.”

“This,” says the little man with the big fat wallet, “is how your talk of negativity fails to produce the duck. Surely there is a credit card in there somewhere. If you really love yourself, you will pay for your education. That is an investment with endless returns. Come, and let your wallet be one with me. And I will show you how pigs can fly.”

“Oh dear,” says the fat man with the little wallet, “I thought we were talking about ducks.”

“There you go again,” says the little man with the big fat wallet and a big fat knowing smile, “thinking too small. Thing big, big man, think big.”

8
Oct

LOA and Buddhism: Like snake oil and water

   Posted by: Britt    in General


What does Buddhism and the Law of Attraction have in common? After all, many of the LOA gurus reference the following quote:
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
– Buddha, in the Dhammapada (Shambhala Pocket Edition)
(retrieved from BellaOnline, the Voice of Women)

Now, to be clear, I’m not a Buddhist, nor am I an expert in Buddhism. But since being hooked line-and-sinker in the LOA, I’ve done a bit of digging on my own.

What’s funny is that many of these gurus reference Buddhism and spirituality, when in fact Buddhism flies in the face of what they say. Let go of all material possessions (and no, that’s not a guarantee it will bring more), desire is a poison (versus you just have to want it bad enough), and life is at its essence defined by suffering (versus sheer abundance).

Tabling the differences between the Law of Attraction and Buddhism
Law of Attraction Buddhism
Thoughts are things Thoughts are not to be believed
Life is abundant First Noble Truth: Life is suffering
You can have what you want You must let go of everything to be free
Desire is what you need to manifest Desire is a poison
Nurture your emotional cravings Cravings are poison
Rhonda Byrnes “thinks” herself thin You are not your body
Focus on what you want to achieve Be with what is
Critical thinking brings doubt Critically examine all teachings
Don’t talk about your failures Accept what is
You get what you give Give without expectation

Law of Attraction is the last attempt in the quick-fix world. Like any placebo, there is a significant rate of success. But also like any placebo, it can never be definitive.

One woman has MS sees each day as a struggle; another woman has MS and sees each day as a blessing. Same affliction, same day, different outlooks. Each woman will seek out evidence that confirms her worldview. The first will continue to struggle, the second will cherish each day. Same day. No altered external world; no additional wealth manifested; no cure. Just an internal shift.

The Law of Attraction can help you achieve a brighter outlook. When LOA teaches “positive thinking” it advocates a healthy mindset. But anchoring it in “science” and calling it a “proven law” is just sheer and utter nonsense. It sets the user up for expecting an unsustainable reality.

  • Are you looking for a certain book in the used book store? Well gosh darn it why not just manifest it. What? It’s still not there? well, I guess your thinking is wrong.
  • Have you had an incident where you wish you can just go back in time and change even just one split-second action?
  • Have you ever bought a lottery ticket and spent any time (or a LOT of time) thinking about how your new life with fit with your soul?
  • What? It didn’t happen? You couldn’t manifest it? LOA is a quick-fix treatment and as such, you cannot expect a deep cure.

The Buddha surrendered everything. I’d say that that’s a bit deeper.

(Deepak Chopra in his book called “Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment,” has the holy Buddha rewinding time and undoing a man’s death in his book, but really I think that that’s sheer invention. The little I know of Buddhism says that you find calm, peace and inner serenity when you accept the storms, the disasters, the fatalities.)

Watch the inventions, the twists and the mis-representations. The blessing and the curse of the Internet is the plethora of information that available now to most of us. (They said the same thing about the Gutenberg printing press.) Be curious, critical and cautious.

7
Oct

LOA is nonsense

   Posted by: Britt    in General

Came across this brilliant post today. A fellow by the name of Joel Comm posted an article on his blog called “The Law of Attraction is Nonsense.” My kind of guy: cuts to the chase, straight up and to the point.

Check it out here.

Comm talks about some serious flaws in logic, including the “blame the victim” mentality for rape. And he discusses the absurdity of the whole scam.

Dave Lakhani commented. He’s a voice worth listening to. He understands marketing very well, and is an incredibly insightful man. His comments to Joel’s article are included here as they are worth weeding out (Joel Comm “attracted” a tonnes of responses):

Great piece Joel.

There are so many things wrong with the Law of Attraction and The Secret that it would take more than a book to explain it all. I did a call with a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a movie producer and we discussed how people are bamboozled by a movie like The Secret, if you want to check it out, the interview is at thetruthisthesecret.com

Not only have things like the Emoto water crystal studies been disproven again and again, even the good doctor himself won’t agree to recreating them under proper scientific conditions.

Ditto for prayer by the way, all the of the studies that are reported by TM and Christians turn out to be flawed, when the data is scientifically tested and validated it turns out that there is either no change or a negative change (in the case of the TM study, crime actually went up).

The biggest reason that people think the law of attraction, prayer and most other forms of belief works is a not so simple part of our brain called the reticular activating system. To simplify it, we tend to notice more of what we focus on. So until you buy the blue BMW you don’t tend to notice them everywhere, the minute you buy it you see them everywhere. We are also well conditioned to look for ways to support our beliefs. If you want to know how people really are, don’t ask them about their beliefs, look at their behaviors, people’s behaviors are their beliefs.

I offered a huge cash challenge if anyone in the Secret would agree to live in a hermetically sealed bubble and attract a drink of water, a dollar or a bite of food, they can’t do it. [brilliant! says britt]

Great that you are putting this kind of info out for your readers, you’ll help save a lot of people who are on the fence . . . and it won’t change a thing for the unconvertable, they’ll always see what they want to see and find ways that it is true for them in the face of the truth.

Dave Lakhani
Author: Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want & Subliminal Persuasion: Influence and Marketing Techniques They Don’t Want You To Know

Lakhani’s blog is also well worth a read.

Also, on Lakhini’s blog is a link to a conversation with a group of high profile marketers talking about the movie, The Secret. It’s two hours long, and well worth the listen.

Download The Secret Call With Lakhani, Hogan & Warren Here
PC: Right Click The Link And Choose “Save Target As” Mac: Hold Down Mouse Buttong and Choose “Save Target As”

The Law of Attraction is not a singular belief. Like religions and philosophies and musical tastes, we have a spectrum of flavors from which to choose. It ranges from the power of positive thinking to the belief that the universe is entirely of your own making.

Nor is it a singular course. Many (to most) of its teachers focus on wealth acquisition and accumulation, ranging from understanding your money blueprint (T. Harv Eker, Garrett Gunderson) to buying real estate (Robert Allen) to managing investment portfolios (Robert Kiyosaki). Others focus on personal growth (Byron Katie) and spiritual development (Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch).

The following table is an approximate overview of the personal responsibility assumption made to varying degrees in the Law of Attraction courses currently raging throughout North America and beyond.

I’ve tried not to pass judgment, as I am convinced that you can learn from just about anyone. While I would not personally take courses from some of the educational forums listed below, I would never go so far as to say they have nothing to offer. Each “teacher” in your life presents you with tools. What you do with them, how you apply them (if you choose to), and what you derive from them, is entirely up to you.

It is included here so that you can see the range. However, it is not definitive. What will make it definitive is your experience (direct or in-direct) with it.

Educational forum promoting…
partial personal responsibility substantial personal responsibility total personal responsibility
Philosophy You have some control over the outcomes of your life. You can shape the outcome of events that impact your life. You have created every aspect of your life.
Degree of action required Significant. Significant. Your thoughts are key, but only if you have the emotional desire to persist through and survive your trials and your failures. Insignificant. Your thoughts shape everything. That which follows is all a result of your ability to think the right thoughts.
Forums Books, counselling and therapy sessions, community workshops, one-on-one. Seminars, classes, leading to larger group. Large Group Awareness Training (LGATs).
Examples Positive-thought proponents, authors, counselors, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People

Events happen to you; how you respond to those events will have a significant ability to shape your future.

Jack Canfield’s formula E+R = O encapsulates it (Events + Response = Outcome).

Napoleon Hill advocated that you can receive what you conceive if you have an intense burning desire driving your action.

Landmark Education. Their philosophy is that personal responsibility begins and ends with one’s willingness to be central cause of all results in one’s life. Being both the cause and the effect is the ideal way to to live.

T. Harv Eker’s T > F >A > R formula encapsulates it (Thoughts lead to Feelings lead to Action lead to Results). It’s all you.

Extreme examples Your negative thoughts contributed toward your current situation. If you are down, it’s because you don’t believe you are worth better. Pat Robertson, an evangelical Christian suggests that the recent Haiti earthquake was brought about by the Haitians themselves in a deal they made with the devil to free them from the French.
Further research Irrelevant to the success of the relationship. Encouraged. The greater your exposure, the greater your chances at success. Not encouraged. The knowledge you will receive here is definitive. Stay away from the negative influence of fear-mongering newspapers and magazines.
Costs might fall into this range $20/book

Free consultation then typically $30-$50-$100/session depending on the type

Free intro nights

$100-1000/classes

$50-$500+/session

Free intro nights

$500-$30,000+/seminars

Seminars are frequently hosted by a high-profile success story, and run behind the scenes by volunteers.

Types Positive thinking

Therapy

Counseling

Community classes

Community classes

Seminars

Seminars

Several of the Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) programs

Techniques Comfort zone is challenged

Guided learning

Journaling

Peer-led group study

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Call-and-response technique

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Deprivation (contact, food/beverage, bathrooms, etc.)

Group chants or call-and-response technique

Deviation from the group can lead to personal humiliation

Independent thinking is discouraged (you are here, after all, because you are a failure and you want to learn from the successful expert so shut up and learn)

Spirituality Not typically present unless specifically seeking religious or spiritual guidance Implicit or explicit religious overtones Implicit or explicit religious overtones
Qualifications/ Status Academic achievement Track record success Cult-like status of the guru

Group conversations discouraged

Challenging the teachings discouraged (you can be physically removed from the session)

The Interpretation of Failure Failure means you haven’t yet been able to turn it around and look at it from a different perspective. Failure means you are one step closer to success. Success is built on a succession of failures. Failure means you are personally being punished. You haven’t “played” at 120%. You are personally weak. Typically, more classes will help you achieve a better rate of success.
The Interpretation of Success You can live in your current circumstances and be a happier human being. You can persist through the rough times knowing that the plan and the journey will get you there. You will be rich.

The Law of Attraction, wrapped in its mantra of self-improvement in the names of God and Wealth, makes for a lucrative industry. In 2006, the research firm Marketdata estimated the “self-improvement” business in the U.S. generated more than $9 billion in sales—including infomercials, mail-order catalogs, holistic institutes, books, audio cassettes, motivation-speaker seminars, the personal coaching market, weight-loss and stress-management programs.[1] It’s also an unregulated field, which means it’s buyer beware.


[1] PRWeb (September 21, 2006). “Self-Improvement Market in U.S. Worth $9.6 Billion.” Press release. http://www.prwebdirect. com/releases/2006/9/prweb440011.php. Retrieved 2008-12-18. “Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher, has released a new 321-page market study entitled: The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services.”

The is an excerpt from my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman (Chapter 8).

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