Several months ago, I registered for an adult continuing education (ACE) class offered by Fairfax County. It was called “The Law of Attraction and You.” At the time, I was looking to experience any and all local events relating to dating, since I had just gotten a job as a writer for AOL Personals.
Several months later, I realized it was on my calendar for last week. Despite feeling absolutely terrible due to illness, I went to the class and hoped to be put into a fun, positive mood due to the subject matter of the class.
When I arrived, I realized I was the only man in the class. Usually, when the subject of how to unlock the secrets of love and attraction comes up, it’s usually guys who are interested. Guys like the idea of everything having a predictable solution, whereas girls revel in the mystic, unknowable powers of love. With girls, it’s fate. With guys, it’s formula.
So, the first sign that something was wrong was the fact that I was the only guy in the class.
The second sign happened during introductions. The teacher asked us to introduce ourselves and say why we took the class. All of the women said they had seen it featured on Oprah and/or had seen the movie The Secret. I obviously don’t watch Oprah (I have a job), but did make a note to check out The Secret – a movie I had never heard of.
When it was my turn to introduce myself, I kept it somewhat vague, since I still felt like something was a bit off. I said I was a columnist for AOL Personals, and was doing research on this topic to see how it relates to online dating. I got some blank stares.
Before she got started, the instructor closed her eyes and started waving her hands back and forth, saying she was attracting good vibes. Everyone laughed, and I thought it was a weird use of the word “attract.”
Going through her slide-show, she spoke of how using affirmations, visualizations, and vibrations to get your body “in tune” with the Universe would help you attract all sorts of positive things like money, romance, and new cars.
I realized that she wasn’t joking about her use of “attraction.” And that I had made a huge mistake.
I didn’t get up and leave at that moment. Instead, I thought this might be a fairly interesting (in an anecdotal sense) class on positive thinking – or even NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). So I stayed.
There were a few okay elements of the class, including the practice of visualizing successfully achieving a goal before actually doing it. I use that a lot in other areas of my life, including improv, sports, and approaching strangers in bars. The concept, of course, is the visualization acts as simulated experience. If you’ve already seen/experienced success, you’ll have less anxiety doing it.
Another okay aspect of the teaching was part of its concept of gratitude. The instructor talked about being “in tune” with every little thing going on and being aware of everything that goes right. Being grateful for all the positive things in your life helps in some way. However, she said you should be grateful to the Universe – whatever that means. Whereas I would say be grateful to God.
This is fundamentally what I disagreed with most about the class. It taught that if YOU focus or tune yourself properly, you will have success. And then gives lip service to thanking an impersonal Universe – for what, I have no idea, since it was YOU who were responsible for your own successes. It’s a basic humanistic worldview – where God is replaced by man.
And if I wasn’t already uncomfortable enough, the instructor handed out a quote from Esther Hicks about a cork floating in water. It basically said that who you are naturally is what you need to be (cork floating on water), and don’t let other things bring you down or keep you from being who you are (pulling your cork below the surface of the water). They also used the phrase “Let go and let God” to back this up (and I don’t want to get into how wrong that phrase is here).
Again, the reason this kind of thinking is wrong is that men and women (and I know this is controversial to non-Christians) are sinful by nature. Who we are naturally is bad. And the only way we can be “good,” is by being born again in a spiritual sense. So, if as the instructor taught, we let go and became who we are, we’d be pretty darn wicked.
And that sounds exactly like what the source of that quote had in mind. You see, Esther Hicks was a woman who “communed” with a group of spirits who called themselves Abraham. She consulted with these spirits and apparently predicted future events (including the stock market crash). If this sounds familiar to you, you may recall similar incidents in the Bible, when a fortune-telling girl was possessed by a demon (Acts 16:16-18), and when a man was possessed by a multitude of demons calling themselves Legion (Mark 5:1-20). Sounds like those Legion dudes now go by the name of Abraham.
At this point, I knew I had to get out of there. These women were taking advice from a demon-possessed woman. Instead of the class being something I was totally interested in (how to attract women), it was exactly the wrong place for me. I only had one thought going through my head for the rest of the class…
I’ve made a huge mistake.
Thankfully, the instructor suggested we take a ten-minute break before proceeding with the meditations. Yeah, right. I picked up my belongings, left the classroom and didn’t look back.
I returned home, regretful of how my evening had been wasted with this dreadful class. I took the class, thinking I’d be getting a ton of great material for the AOL Personals blog.
Instead, I got material for my personal blog.