How many people have asked you, "Seen The Secret yet?" It's a documentary about the law of attraction. The message is that our thoughts, feelings and expectations shape our experience of the material plane. The film reminds us to choose thoughts consciously, as we tend to create more of whatever we focus upon — desirable or undesirable.
Consciously focusing on what we hope to create is certainly wise. Yet it may be even more vital to cultivate equilibrium. Without inner equilibrium, we can easily trip on two major stumbling blocks when using the principles of "The Secret." The first is that we may choose what we want to create based on primitive brain impulses from the Limbic and Reptilian portions of the brain (see diagram below) that are not in our true best interest. The second is that our subconscious feelings also manifest in our lives, so mood swings born of subtle neurochemical shifts create unintended results. Intense fluctuating feelings mean that one minute we see clear evidence that the Divine is in our corner, and the next moment it feels as if we are being punished for some infraction we don't remember committing.
In contrast, equilibrium encourages genuine wellbeing. Such feelings attract fulfillment and a strong faith that the universe is beneficent.
What do you really want?
Let's look first at how impulses can influence the use of the law of attraction. All mammals are programmed with powerful urges for certain things, whether or not those things are in their best interest. In the case of humans these include preference for sugary and fatty foods, short-term benefits without considering long-term consequences, impulsive procreation, changing mates, and so forth. Across our species such innate urges foster survival to sexual maturity and the passing on of as many genes as possible. It is not the job of these primitive urges to move us toward personal growth, harmonious long-term relationships, or heightened spiritual awareness.
Therefore, if we rely strictly on our cravings to decide what we will use The Secret to create, our choices tend to be skewed. For example, an addict might be tempted to use the law of attraction to manifest a lifestyle that enables him to obtain the substance or indulge in the activity to which he is addicted. The power to manifest an "adult shop" around the corner is probably not the highest use of the law of attraction. Similarly, a woman might be tempted to attract a particular lover based on sexual chemistry. She may not realize that the qualities her primitive brain is seeking in him in order to pass on more genes via her own offspring — such as his attractiveness to other women — are not the qualities that would make him a good life partner. In each case, the person employing the law of attraction would be using it self-destructively because he/she is pursuing subconscious impulses, which feel like great ideas.
The source of these primitive impulses, the reward circuitry in the brain's limbic system, is a fountain of wants and desires. Part of its function is to encourage us to engage in an ongoing search for satisfaction … without ever finding it. It keeps us striving. This perpetual questing has spread humans around the globe in ever increasing numbers. It also leaves mankind extremely susceptible to marketing and advertising that promise satisfaction — whatever they actually deliver. In short, our built-in perpetual dissatisfaction allows us to be manipulated so that we exploit the resources of the planet with little regard for balance. Frankly, the film The Secret itself encourages this reflexive consumerism.
Buddha studied this weakness in human design a long time ago, and concluded that the source of all mankind's misery is desire. Yet there is a way to counteract this built-in weakness. By cultivating inner equilibrium, we can muffle the cravings that otherwise lead us to grasp at each new sexual (or other) thrill, culinary temptation, promise of short-term relief, or impressive gizmo. With a sense of balanced wellbeing, it is easier to see which things really benefit us.
As it turns out, we may be better served by deeper, more harmonious interactions with others, time to read our inner compasses so we use our lives to best effect, a sense of connectedness and alignment with the Divine, and forgiveness and service to others. Our own actions act as magnets — attracting similar actions from others, so forgiveness and selfless service are particularly useful.
The point is that we need inner balance and freedom from our intense, primitive yearnings to bring our best goals to conscious awareness. Only then can we use the law of attraction safely and in the best interest of all.
Sex and the cultivation of inner equilibrium
Spiritual traditions often teach the cultivation of equilibrium through meditation or prayer. Most also have monastic orders, which emphasize that celibacy is critically important in this process. It is easy to understand why. Fertilization-driven sex is not only a most powerful urge, but it also sets off a subsequent, subconscious cycle of perception-shifting neurochemical changes. Without our realizing it consciously, both sexual frustration and climax powerfully influence our state of mind in ways that temporarily disrupt our sense of wellbeing and balance. Beset with intense desires or unnatural apathy, we suffer — and our reality reflects back to us that suffering, hampering our spiritual optimism and progress.
Devotional celibacy takes the knife out of aspirants' hands by mandating gender segregation, declaring lustful thoughts off-limits, and teaching practices that aid in quieting such thoughts. However, it may be even more effective to master an approach to sex that promotes equilibrium in a stable, sustainable way. Without the intense neurochemistry that accompanies climax one also quells the subconscious ripples that inevitably follow at a neurochemical level.
The chief risk of the "controlled intercourse" path is that the initial learning curve may result in so many slips back into orgasm that the couple does not experience the benefits of equilibrium and gives up before mastering the practice. If a couple masters it, however, the practice of making love without orgasm often proves more sustainable than celibacy. Its other advantage over celibacy is that it counters the aching longings of celibacy — which are feelings of lack (more on the significance of feelings of lack in a moment).
True, the couple may experience a longing for orgasm for a time, but as they continue this gentle lovemaking practice, focusing strictly on the generous healing of each other, they often find that the longing for orgasm settles down to quite manageable levels, replaced by a comforting sense of wholeness and wellbeing. Dr. J. William Lloyd described this sensation:
in successful Karezza the rest of the body of each partner glows with a wonderful vigor and conscious joy…tending to irradiate the whole being with romantic love; and always with an after-feeling of health, purity and wellbeing. We are most happy and good-humored as after a full meal.
The power of a subtle sense of lack
Why should feelings of wholeness and wellbeing be so important in shaping how our thoughts manifest? After all, can't we just visualize away any sexual hangovers using the principles of The Secret?
Alas, the law of attraction does not function solely based on our conscious thoughts. Our subconscious feelings and expectations also shape our experience. If we're feeling satisfied, whole and full of energy, then we tend to attract events that reflect our inner fullness: material abundance, time for things we need to do, and a sense that the Divine is nurturing us.
However, if we are feeling depleted or needy, our feelings tend to attract draining events, taxing demands, inadequate support from those around us … and above all material scarcity or greed. When we have a subconscious sense of lack, it feels like there isn't enough to go around, so it feels risky to share what we have with others. Selfishness is therefore a natural outcome of feeling depleted or needy.
Ever wondered where all the scarcity and selfishness come from on this planet? Obviously, no one consciously uses the law of attraction to create scarcity. Yet, if you look around, a sense of "not enough" is clearly one of the most powerful thought-forms on this planet.
Is it possible that humanity creates and reinforces subconscious feelings of lack constantly with fertilization driven sex? Certainly, the sensational feeling of high dopamine at orgasm is followed by a steep drop in dopamine (and other neurochemical changes that last for days). Low dopamine gives one a sense that some key element for happiness is missing, a malaise that colors one's perception of the world, and tends to attract accordingly. Might that be how humans contribute to a worldwide lack of material abundance, and the tendency to cheat or grab more than their share?
Because some of these shifts occur at a subconscious level, we may not be aware of these subtle changes in perception. Yet that doesn't prevent the law of attraction from operating on them.
If we are feeling jumpy with excess sexual energy, what might that state of mind attract? Distractions, short-term or unrealistic thinking, get-rich-quick schemes, and desires for addictive highs (sex or substances). These perfectly natural subconscious feelings, which are also normal phases of the orgasm cycle, play a profound role in what we create in our lives — no matter how deliberately and scientifically we employ the law of attraction at a conscious level.
Sex and the power to create
Napoleon Hill wrote a classic best seller decades ago about the same principles portrayed in The Secret. In Think and Grow Rich he emphasized the importance of careful management of sexual energy:
No man can avail himself of the forces of his creative imagination, while dissipating them. Man is the only creature on earth which violates Nature's purpose in this connection. Every other animal responds to the call of sex only in "season." Man's inclination is to declare "open season." The lives of many reflect a continued dissipation of energies, which could have been more profitably turned into better channels….
When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, [the sex drive] maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.
For Hill, the answer is clear: a loving relationship with sexual discipline.
Sex, alone, is a mighty urge to action, but its forces are like a cyclone — they are often uncontrollable. When the emotion of love begins to mix itself with the emotion of sex, the result is calmness of purpose, poise, accuracy of judgment, and balance….
No man is happy or complete without the modifying influence of the right woman. The man who does not recognize this important truth deprives himself of the power which has done more to help men achieve success than all other forces combined.
A key question
The next time someone tells you that orgasm never sets off a withdrawal phase over the days or weeks following, remember that the shifts can be subtle and subconscious. Quietly ask yourself if events and circumstances in that person's life suggest that a sense of lack is actually manifesting.
Remember, the sense of lack or malaise can be projected in any direction. Often it is projected onto one's lover, who is perceived as needy or emotionally distant (needing 'space'). In such case it attracts dissatisfaction, irritability, apathy, defensiveness and emotional separation. In contrast, loving couples may not tend to project this subtle sense of lack onto each other. They will reap many benefits from their union. Trusted companionship manifests in events that reflect a sense of safety. Yet the downside of the passion cycle will also show up in their lives. It may show up as increasing lack of sexual contact (thus gradually decreasing their beneficial sense of wholeness), or as money woes, professional troubles, illness, chaotic/draining challenges, addictions, and so forth.
In short, a subtle, recurring sense of lack combined with the law of attraction is never a welcome influence in our lives — and yet it is present in most every adult life. Both celibacy and passion can leave us with longings. Whatever its source, a sense of lack renders our lives less joyful and balanced than they otherwise would be. Life seems a struggle.
A deep sense of equilibrium and wholeness helps us to create abundance. Anxiety or a sense that something is missing shows up as lack.
Worse yet, subtle feelings of depletion or neediness make us feel like our Creator isn't particularly loving.
If God is what people say He is, there can be no one in the universe so unhappy as He; for He unceasingly sees myriads of His creatures suffering unspeakable miseries — and besides this foresees how they are going to suffer during the remainder of their lives. Mark Twain
This suspicion that God isn’t looking after us keeps us feeling separate from our Creator, our world and each other. It is, in fact, the source of our dualistic perception. Various spiritual teachings insist that when we can overcome our dualistic perception of the world, we will transcend our limited, material-plane perception and restore ourselves to our innate multi-dimensional abilities. Deep, sustainable feelings of wholeness and wellbeing may be a critical step toward this effort.
When we feel whole, that is, when not beset by primitive cravings or recurring feelings of depletion, we tend to perceive our common interests with others more easily — perhaps because our perception is free of the protective selfishness that is so characteristic of subconscious feelings of lack.
When we feel whole, it is easier to hear the "still small voice of Spirit," and tap our inner wisdom. Anyone who has ever tried to hear Spirit while experiencing intense sexual desire for an unsuitable partner knows just how hard it can be to hear that voice while under the influence of hormonal/neurochemical extremes.
When we feel whole, we also align more easily with the wholeness of the Divine. It may even be that an experience of transcendent oneness with another is an experience so close to the awareness of our universal oneness that it can be a shortcut back to full spiritual perception.
Sexual desire represents a critical decision point, although we seldom choose consciously. We can use desire (carefully) to increase our sense of safety and wholeness. Then we welcome contact and oneness with others — including our Creator. This aligns us with the flow of loving abundance throughout creation. Or we can use sexual desire to set off a subconscious cycle of highs and lows. The lows will tend to shift our perception for the worse, setting off a sense of depletion/cravings that push us toward defensiveness and selfishness. Then it is very difficult to align with the flow of loving abundance.
The real secret is that we choose how to use this powerful force in concert with the law of attraction.