Laura Groenveld lives in Norfolk with her husband and other wildlife; reluctantly returning to London to work when necessary. She loves countryside, nature and handicrafts as well as delighting in history, language, philosophy and writing; interests that she now indulges as much as possible having escaped from a full time career.
In writing about Eric's journey Laura emphasizes the power of positive thought and visualisation in achieving our goals. As the story opens Eric is in a rut. Afraid to move out of his comfort zone he stays with the tried and tested until circumstances force him to change his outlook.
Eric suffers from the advantage and disadvantage of being a genius in an ordinary world. He struggles with deep social anxiety and a total failure to appreciate his own strengths.
His story raises the question about the extent to which pre-destination plays a part in our lives compared to our own ability to shape the future. If you visualise the future, are you making that future or merely foreseeing that which will come to pass?
Are the Teachings of Abraham compatible with Buddhism?
If the Teachings of Abraham are true, then living as a Buddhist must be a very static way of life. No cravings; a neutral acceptance of everything; a belief in the transience of experience and the consequent irrelevance of like and dislikes. In the context of the Law of Attraction the dharma path practices would seem to result in no change or attraction of anything except perhaps a quiet life.
Yet both of these philosophies teach values that resonate and can be evidenced by practical experience. Are they really in opposition?
For example, it is impossible to deny the truth of cause and effect - a central tenet of Buddhism and a reality to all of us. Nothing is isolated and what we did and how we thought in the past, affects the present. The present conditions the future. This is not so very different from the Law of Attraction where our thoughts are supposed to attract the events that we expect and are passionate about. I firmly believe that those thoughts and passions condition our attitudes and actions and this, as much as any mystical intervention gives rise to the granting of our wishes. It's no good dreaming about being a world champion ice skater if you don't get on the ice. Unless you practice it won't happen, no matter how much you dream! Cause and effect then is central to both teachings.
They both also endorse mindfulness. Abraham exorts us to be mindful of what we want in life and to build on the positive thoughts that lead us to our goals. Buddhism discourages us from distraction and dreamlike existence that has no clearly focused thought. They both agree on the avoidance of confusion. The two agree that if you drift through life with no focus, then at best you will get nowhere and at worst you will miss out on your experience along the way.
The big difference between the two is that the Law of Attraction encourages us to embrace our desires with enthusiasm, joy and passion. Buddhism by contrast advocates a calm, neutral acceptance of life and events, often using the rather negative description of 'emptiness' or 'The Void' as an inadequate translation to the English. This is due to the central idea that cravings are the cause of anguish and by ceasing to crave you also cease to suffer.
I like to think that the two can be reconciled. I have wanted to follow the dharma path over the years without being able to claim much success in achieving what I prefer to think of as neutrality, rather than emptiness. However, when faced with the option of combining mindfulness with joyful and creative enthusiasm, I find the challenge irresistible. Who wouldn't want to live in joy given the choice? There's no doubt in my mind that focus, personal drive and excitement about our purpose will produce satisfaction and positive results whether or not the universe is listening.
The Teachings of
Buddhism Without Beliefs
A contemporary guide to Awakening
A seeker after truth I believe that ideas that repeatedly surface in the waters of time are the most trustworthy things to hold onto