In my forthcoming book, Awakening from Anxiety, I have a section on the 6 mistakes spiritual people make that increase their anxiety – and what to do about it. Here’s an article on one of the most common ones.
Many of us have heard of the Law of Attraction. It’s a spiritual concept that has become popular since the movie, “The Secret,” in the early 2000’s, but isn’t new. It’s actually ancient wisdom that we have rediscovered in a powerful way.
The Law of Attraction is based on physics – that like attracts like. Translated into our psycho-spiritual usage, we tend to attract in life what matches our thoughts. This is where the idea of “you create your reality” comes from. According to Law of Attraction, if you picture it, think it, believe it, it tends to manifest in your life.
Oh No! All Those Scary Thoughts!
I work with a lot of clients and students who struggle with stress, worry, and anxiety. The Law of Attraction, when misunderstood, tends to send them through the roof. They become even more anxious. I call this the Law of Anxiety.
They’re worrying about worrying. They’re afraid that every single fearful thought they have when they feel overwhelmed or stressed out is going to make things worse. They scrutinize themselves, and every time they notice they’re anxious, they freak out. “Oh no – you mean that all my worried, anxious, fearful thoughts are creating my reality? I’m messing everything up! I’m creating all kinds of worrisome things. My life is screwed!” The Law of Anxiety is: if you’re anxious, you’ll tend to become more anxious about having anxiety. Have you ever done that? You’re certainly not alone!
A Reality Check
You don’t need to get stressed out about having stressed-out thoughts. Let’s take a closer look at “you create your reality.”
The word reality is actually representing two things, if we break it down. One is the lower case “r” reality – the one that you’re “creating” with Law of Attraction. Yes, when you get worried and stressed out, you’re likely to experience more tension in your body, a faster heartrate, an anxious look on your face, which might affect how others respond to you. That’s true – and you have the power to change that.
Then, there is the capital “R” Reality – the Divine Reality. The substratum of everything in existence. This is unchanging, infinite Reality. It is Divine Love, the Source of everything that is. It is our consciousness within that witnesses our thoughts, emotions, sensations, and experiences, but isn’t any of them. Reality with the capital R is the Divine itself. It is that out of which everything is created. We don’t change this Reality with our thoughts.
The truth is that you don’t really create the reality “out there” – you can’t change the weather just by wanting it to be sunny all the time (and that could have detrimental consequences to the planet!). You create your experience of reality by how you respond to it, and by how you respond to your own thoughts. When you’re fearful, you’ll see an unsafe world. When you’re calm and at ease, you’ll experience safety. You have the power to choose once you become aware of your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions.
Trust the Big Reality
Whenever you catch yourself having anxious thoughts – and then worrying about what those thoughts are creating – you can relax. Just because those thoughts came up doesn’t mean everything is going to be awful. The fact that you’re aware of them is a great sign, and gives you an opportunity to choose.
You can choose to believe in your thoughts – which are only fluctuations of energy and information, and not Reality – or you can choose to shift your focus to trusting in something bigger than you. Capital R Reality – the Divine.
Whatever you believe in – whether it is Nature or the Universe, God or Goddess, Truth or Love – you can pause and connect to that. There’s always a higher principle, something bigger than we are, that can carry us through. Nature always seems to know how to emerge from winter into spring. When we let go and allow that infinite potential to hold us for a bit, we realize that there’s a much greater force caring for you and I in this moment, and we don’t need to stress out so much about things. Most of the time, life works out.
Loving Your Worries
Of course, we know it isn’t that easy to let go of anxiety. That’s just one step. But when you become aware of those fearful thoughts, an opportunity is revealing itself to you. To create your reality anew, rather than creating things to worry about, you can stop and embrace yourself with love and compassion.
Fear and anxiety are signs that you need loving, kind, compassionate self-care, right now. You need a sense of safety and security. The best place to feel that security is right here, in this moment.
As a fearful thought arises, imagine the scared part of you within from which that thought arose. Thank that part of you for letting you know what you need. Worried about bills? Anxious about the future? Thank your scared part and give it some love. Embrace it in your imagination like you would a frightened child. It needs you to pay attention and be here with yourself.
Come right into this present moment, where you are sitting right now, and recognize that those worries are focused on a possible future moment that isn’t right here. In this moment, you’re probably OK if you are reading this blog. Look around at what is actually here, and listen to the sounds. Observe through your senses. Although everything may not be perfect, it’s probably OK. The more you can bring yourself into the safety and calm of this present moment, the less you’ll be stressed, and the more likely you’ll be effective at dealing with whatever needs to be addressed.
As you become more compassionate and present within yourself, you create a more calm, centered experience of reality, from within yourself.
Want to receive another helpful practice to calm your stress and anxiety? Take this free anxiety assessment!
And listen to my recent guest spot on this topic with Dr. Teralyn Sell’s podcast, Kick Up Your Damn Heels!