The Zen Of Attraction

Zen CircleIf Less Is More, Then Nothing Is Everything

I’ve been responding to the idea of attraction put out by the less than scientific Secret folks and found a really cool spin on it by the more practical Coachville community. I’ve abridged the principles and expanded the message.

Ten Principles To The Zen Of Attraction

  1. Promise Nothing
    Just do what you most enjoy doing.
    Hidden benefit: You will always over-deliver.
  2. Offer Nothing
    Just share what you have with those who express an interest in it.
    Hidden benefit: Takes the pressure off of wanting other people to see you as valuable or important.
  3. Expect Nothing
    Just enjoy what you already have. It’s plenty.
    Hidden benefit: You will realize how complete your life is already.
  4. Need Nothing
    Just build up your reserves and your needs will disappear.
    Hidden benefit: You boundaries will be extended and filled with space.
  5. Create Nothing
    Just respond well to what comes to you.
    Hidden benefit: Openness.
  6. Hype Nothing
    Just let quality sell by itself.
    Hidden benefit: Trustability.
  7. Plan Nothing
    Just take the path of least resistance.
    Hidden benefit: Achievement will become effortless.
  8. Learn Nothing
    Just let your body absorb it all on your behalf.
    Hidden benefit: You will become more receptive to what you need to know in the moment.
  9. Become No One
    Just be more of yourself.
    Hidden benefit: Authenticity.
  10. Change Nothing
    Just tell the truth and things will change by themselves.
    Hidden benefit: Acceptance.
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  1. says

    Hmmm… That definitely sounds like a great plan. I believe its also called following the Wu Wei. I know a few people who have adopted that type of attitude to life and it works for them. However, I think that the majority of people would have problems because the brain kicks in and starts making its own demands.

  2. says

    You’re right. From Wikipedia “In Zen Calligraphy, Wu Wei has been represented as a circle.”

    “…the brain kicks in and starts making its own demands”

    So true. I guess that’s the point of having a dedicated “practice,” to train the mind. Thanks for the comment.

  3. says

    Thanks for the comment, Bryan. But I’m not sure what you’re getting at because I don’t mention money anywhere. These “principles” could easily be applied to a business venture or your current profession.

    I think many people reading this will not understand the meaning of “nothing” as it relates to Zen–Unless, of course, you’ve studied some Buddhism. Shunyata, or emptiness, is the central Buddhist notion that all things are empty, impermanent, devoid of an essence, and characterized by suffering. This doesn’t mean to take the view of nihilism, rather, to see beyond the illusion through the practice of awakening; Take the red pill. :)

    It’s really tough to get the concept of Shunyata intellectually because it requires some diligent practice and probably some direct Satori experience.

    If for nothing else, let this post be a way to stretch the mind or to temporarily practice something that may seem counterintuitive.

  4. says

    Great post. I particularly like how you have expressed this in a very simple and easy-to-understand manner.

    I do have a bit of a problem with the wording for #7, since the “path of least resistance” could very easily become “the path of sin”. Sin, or selfishness if you prefer, frequently presents itself as the “path of least resistance.” Not sure what I’d suggest to replace it though. “Path of least interference” maybe?

  5. says

    Thanks Scott. I hear your point about the word “resistance” and I don’t think it has to lead to anything “negative.” Especially when you consider the various definitions:

    • the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
    • the ability not to be affected by something, esp. adversely.
    • a resistor or other circuit component that opposes the passage of an electric current.

    It makes me think of effortless or frictionless achievement. But if changing the word works for you, by all means, do it.

    I have my own resistance to the idea of “planning nothing.” I do a lot of planning and I think it’s a good idea to make plans. So I think of it as planning for nothing as if nothing is a thing. Hope that makes sense. πŸ˜‰

  6. Liz says

    I find it a bit amusing that you page has a ton of “The Secret” ads. I think their programming needs work…

  7. says

    @Liz: This page is probably hurting the click through rate because nobody’s clicking the ads. And you could argue that they don’t need advertising if they have the “law of attraction.” πŸ˜‰

    @John: I’d say, “nice rhyme,” except it’s not a rhyme if you use the same word. 8) Thanks for the comment!

  8. Anonymous says

    Excellent list.

    Please consider adjusting your ad layout, it makes your nice blog feel like spam.

  9. says

    @Anonymous: Thanks for the comment. Ads are in the sidebar and below the content. I’m sure most people would like it better if there were 0 ads, but without income, I don’t have the resources to host and write any content. Compromise.

  10. says

    Stumbled on your site.

    Every time I read the Zen stuff. I just am left with a sense that Zen solves something for a human being. It is about getting to being OK or making life work or something like that.

    Sorry centuries, I don’t buy it. Engagement with passion in life is, getting attached, fighting to create a piece while we are here, is a much better way to live.

    I am not willing to be OK in Nothingness.

  11. Bob fry says

    Hmm. Great recipe for 3rd world status: do nothing, be nothing.

    Yeah, I know that’s not what you want to say. As an engineer, though, that’s what it sounds like. It’s a fine plan so long as others do the heavy lifting of building and maintaining a civilization, while the do-nothings enjoy it.

  12. says

    @Okan: Thanks for your opinion.

    @Bob: Let’s be perfectly clear. I never said “do nothing” or “be nothing” anywhere in the article.

    This post brings forth subtle distinctions that probably already agree with your present philosophy, just spun differently. As I said earlier, this post is a simple exercise to stretch the mind or to temporarily practice something that may seem counterintuitive. These principles aren’t dogma and don’t apply in all cases.

  13. says

    Wow, before I started to read the list, i was almost offended by the reference to The Secret folks. Than, I started to really ponder and think through the list, wow, this is cool stuff. Almost like, “Being”. Now that is Zen.

  14. David Hill says

    Give me a break. In Alabama we call that twisting up doobies everyday and hanging sheetrock or driving a dumptruck for a living until you die. If I had to work around or even near someone with an attitude as you described I would be tempted to strangle them. Realities, such as other humans and capitalism poops right in the middle of your philosophy sir.

  15. says

    There’s nothing wrong with hanging sheetrock or driving a truck, or with any kind of work, as long as you enjoy it. Which was kind of what Graham was getting at, I think.

  16. says

    @Scott: Spot on! I hope all the dump druck drivers and sheetrock hangers realize that the comments of David Hill are his own. πŸ˜‰

    @23rd_street: Umm…thanks?

  17. Cyn says


    I’m not sure I understand #4
    “Need Nothing
    Just build up your reserves and your needs will disappear.”

    Build up your reserves? All the principles seem so contradictory to me. I have been trying to understand this philosophy for a while now, but it’s so confusing. :)


  18. David Hill says

    I see intellectual snobbery is a requirement to understand nothingness. Hmmm. Says alot.

    Yes, I grew up in Alabama and was in a gifted program in High School. I was the student that was allowed to take the book home. (I’ll be here all week…try the veal.)

    I was expecting nothing when a rambled across your website and you’re correct; I’m not dissapointed.

    I have read much on various philosophies. I think you’re trivializing a deeper concept with modern day bullet blurbage. Perhaps you could wrap a little context around the underlying principle so us common simple folk can understand.

  19. says

    @Cyn: The idea is that many of us spend our lives trying (consciously or not) to get our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs met. Much of the time we treat the symptoms or get only temporary relief from them. The idea of building a reserve is to have more than you need, so you no longer waste energy trying to get your needs met. A practical example could be to always have $100 in your pocket that you never use. Or maybe something less tangible like having plenty of confidence or inner peace.

    In regards to seeming contradictory, T.S. Eliot said, “Every experience is a paradox in that it means to be absolute, and yet is relative; in that it somehow always goes beyond itself and yet never escapes itself.”

    @David Hill: What kind of snobbery was it to put down sheetrock workers and dump truck drivers? And using “poop” in your argument was very elevated discourse indeed. If you want to contribute to the conversation, you are welcome to do so. But if you want to put people down, my blog is not the place.

  20. David Hill says

    A menial job is a menial job. That’s all. It makes for a hard life. No health insurance and no future. That is my point. After all, I’ve picked up eggs in a chicken house for wages. I have a self administered license to speak.

    The average person has to struggle and deliver on promises. To not be aggressive and take risks and strain the restraints is a sure way to end up in a trailor park watching Jerry Springer reruns. To dig in and learn and achieve and create are core requirements for most humans to feel valuable to themselves. To live in poverty is not happiness, to live a marginal life is not attractive. So you say “sit back and let it come as it may”. If the world was a peaceful happy place I could perhaps see it. We are not eggplants nor do we live in monastaries. Heck, our society barely functions above the level hairless cavemen.

    I understand that you see the world from your bubble and I from mine. We obviously have evolved different views of the world. Perhaps my crassness is not comfortable for you and perhaps I am a representative of the intelligent uneducated masses. Explain to me how I can translate the 10 steps mentioned above into my reality.

    It is simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences. Aristotle

  21. Cyn says

    I was kind of thinking the same thing as stated above. It seems like this philosophy works well for wealthy people who have no real worries. I just wonder how it can bring the homeless person with 3 kids any peace when they are standing outside in the middle of a blizzard.

    I believe that our thoughts will manifest our reality, but it does take some effort. It’s so difficult to be at peace and be happy with what you already have when clearly sometimes it’s not always enough.

    Thank you for this discussion though. It helps.

  22. Kate says

    The article itself? Interesting. The discussion taking place in the comments? It actually gives me more to ponder than the article itself. Excellent!

  23. Hungry Ghost says

    Sometimes Zen seems too much like a doctrine of submission. Somewhere, some fascist enclave is clinking champagne glasses and saying, “Yes, learn nothing, achieve nothing, take the path of least resistance, you little defeatist lemmings. You are sooo satisfied, aren’t you?”

    You could always be a Buddhist monk in, you know, Burma. Then you could sit there and do nothing… oh wait, they had to join in the protests in order to make the world a better place, huh? I suppose taking a bullet in the head wouldn’t exactly be the “path of least resistance,” would it?

  24. says

    @Cyn: I’m glad the discussion is helping. These principles are definitely not scientific principles. They are fluid and can’t be 100% true. That’s why I’m not not trying to say that “this is the way things are” or “this is the way things should be” at all. Just that this is another way of thinking about things.

    @Kate: It’s all about the conversation. Thanks for the comment!

    @Hungry Ghost: As I pointed out earlier, I never said “do nothing” anywhere in the article.

  25. Blue says

    I accidentally fell into a long period of insight where I cultivated nearly that exact life & mindset. Little by little the thoughts fell into place. It’s rather humbling (in the good way) to see those thoughts out here in internet-land. :)

    The life that those ideas built for me feels… Well it feels wonderful when it balances.
    But daaaaammmmn does it take a lot of practice to keep going.

    It’s easy enough to balance the pin on the thread when standing still. Taking it for a stroll/roll down the thread gets to be another matter entirely.

    Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes it’s impossible. But I have to say that I live for those times when it truly is ‘effortless’. It’s nothing short of amazing without being anything special at all. I will never have the words.

    I’m glad I stumbledupon your page. I found it rather validating. :)

    Good luck to you and Namaste.

  26. Brad says

    The idea is not to present yourself with “things”. It is not what you want but, rather what you need. Wanting brings misery and disappointment.

  27. says

    @Blue: Great insights. Thanks for sharing. :)

    @sd: Learn nothing doesn’t mean not to learn anything ever. You could view it a couple of ways. Learn “nothing” as if it is something. But this shift I was pointing out was to let the knowledge you need come to you rather than feeling the need to learn because you are incomplete. It’s about being receptive. Of course I value education!

    @Brad: Good point. That’s the second noble truth.

  28. says

    Interesting concepts. It’s thought provoking to be sure. I’m probably using this incorrectly but I want to call it “nihilistic” new age, however, if you’re able to attribute past experiences, then it actually means something.

  29. says

    Great synthesis of the real life. We all struggle through the life and always the things are so simple, just we do not have the eyes to see or the mind to accept what’s really important in this life. This remembers me about an old saying that the biggest battle in this life is with ourself.

  30. says

    @jonathan: Lots of people confuse the Zen notion of nothingness or emptiness with nihilism but it’s really not the same thing. I gave more detail earlier in the comments. New age? Yuck. Please don’t confuse Zen with new age. ❗

    @Daniel: Great saying! Thanks for that.

    @Justin: You’re welcome. Thanks for the comment.

  31. Robert Z says

    I have read several books on Zen, Buddhism, Taoism, and have read about philosophies combining them all. I know of the alleged danger of want and desire for material things, called the “pain body” by Ekhart Tolle in “The Power of Now,” which was a great book that reflects your Zen philosophy. However, I still cannot find a way out of my mind. I feel like I will always desire more and identify with objects and status though I know that is not really ME. I guess my question is how can I start living those guidelines while trapped in a world that is not designed for them? Work, money, responsibilities, desires, hopes, dreams, expectations, etc all flood my mind on a constant basis. How do I start to see the big picture, the ZEN? Your thoughts and ideas would be very helpful and much appreciated. Thank you very much.

  32. says

    @Robert: Not being a Zen guru, I find giving specific spiritual advice inappropriate. But I noticed that you said “find a way out of my mind” which leads me to believe you could benefit from the concept of “transcend and include” as put forth by Ken Wilber. I think it will help you to find a way to integrate your mind and not try to get “out” of your mind. Best of luck!

  33. Ryan Parks says

    There seems to be a lot of confusion here about this concept of Zen Attraction. First off, it would be helpful for everyone to consider “nothing.” I’d like to suggest “nothingness” instead. What this is meant to point to is that there is a single empty unitive infinite. Everything which one is needing or creating or expecting is really when you dig deep enough just empty “nothingness.” Which, by the way, is infinite, or “everything.” Paradoxically, we are talking about promising nothing, and promising everything. It is about not being attached to what your specifically planning, but understanding that your planning springs from nothing, and in essence is nothing. So, plan nothing means plan what you plan and know that it is nothing. Whether or not you get what you plan, or do you what you promised, you still end up with nothing (everything)

    It still doesn’t work exactly for the rational mind, but it makes sense, everything that you experience relatively will seem something, so when you orient yourself to nothingness, everything is something. Something is nice.

  34. Shane says

    I stumbled onto this page and was blown away by each principle but not because they are new and ground-breaking to me. I was shocked because this is essentially how i live my life. I’d just like to ask you: Where do I proceed from here?

  35. says

    Great article Mr. English. You offer nothing yet I can sense that you are giving your everything to enrich the lives of others with your blog. Please consider me as one of the many who are interested in what you share. The Law of Attraction has placed me in your path, in this fleeting moment of time, not to add more witty and clever remarks, but to let you know that your work is very much appreciated. You are contributing to everything that is good in this world — no matter what others may say. This world is all about you… and that’s the real “Secret.” : )

  36. says

    @Ryan: Thanks for contributing bro. Good hearing from you.

    @Candy: Glad you liked it.

    @Shane: I honestly don’t feel comfortable giving advice without knowing anything about you or your goals. To cover my bases, I suggest following your body, heart, mind, and soul. :)

    @Gil: Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by.

  37. says

    Nice blog and a very thoughtful entry. I also like your responses to everyone. Many people would not take the time to do that. I don’t know what the ads are, but I am going to click a bunch to help you out. keep up the good work :-)

  38. Adam says

    Thank you for this much-needed reminder. It is entirely too easy to let the everyday pressures and stresses distract me from the elegant simplicity that life can become when one really internalizes simple truths like these. Your article came at a time when I needed just such a reminder. My thanks to you, sir.

  39. says

    Sounds like the Art of Simple Living. I like it, I “Stumbled upon” your site. I think I will link to this if your ok with that??? Thanks.

  40. says

    @onmountain: Here’s to keeping up the trend of responding to everyone. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for dropping by.

    @Adam: So glad to hear the article helped. I appreciate your comments.

    @Deborah: You’re more than welcome to link to this! Please do.

  41. eck says

    wow!!! your post is excellent and very inspiring, i used to exist everyday nearly convinced i was weird but tonight i stumbled onto your post and my worries have been eased, you see for quite a while now i have tried to lead my life by the philosophy of what i believe is karma (i maybe wrong about the name) and ive found it has been working, at first it started by seeing others hardship and wanting to help their situation. over the years of realising, by applying the principal of giving rather than taking reaps rewards back greatly. the way you put it is by far the easiest explanation ive read yet it is very interesting in particular points 1 to 10 lol :) but seriously thank you, if only more people actually felt the benefits of what your saying rather than reading without a clue what the words mean and then comment with some fly ass comments ahh well :) nice 1

  42. eck says

    oh btw when you have truly had nothing it helps to understand others hardship and by no means am i a financially wealthy fella but i’m absolutely minted when it comes to enjoying the things money cant buy…. peace dude !:)

  43. Kris says

    A very good and simple article.

    Its sad to see that somtimes people will take offence to free advice that they are not even required to read, let alone comment upon. I have fallen into the trap of commenting on websites that irritate me in the past (simply out of habbit).

    But from simply reminding myself of the saying “if you have noting nice to say, say nothing at all” I have been doing it far, far less.

    Not only does this save time for myself, but also time for the author who has to read such comments.

    For those posters who feel that the author is telling you to do nothing (lazy), or be nothing (a pauper) – I would like to point out the the article clearly starts out with:

    “If Less Is More, Then Nothing Is Everything”

    As for those who think driving a dump truck is a menial task – I wonder how menial they would think it was if no one did the job and rats, roaches’ and flies began infesting thier house?

    To me no job that needs doing is menial – and if the person doing the job enjoys it and feels they are contributing to society, then it is definilty NOT menial.

    I would rather be doing a ‘menial’ job that I enjoyed, than have a high flying career that I hated, and ended up putting me in an early grave.

    Thanks for the read, Mr English :)

  44. says

    This is auto-glorification and pseudospiritual hype. Your ego demands that you be ‘Mr. Wonderful’ and ergo you are. This is a person commanded by ego. Ditch the Neo-Guru photos and the “Idee de jour” buzzwords, go inward go on a journey, go crazy – it doesn’t matter.
    When you are someone whose photo is of a spiritual person or even just-some-guy ( as in- no wind machine ) –
    and whose advice for the spirit is either new and wise or
    shedding light on the ancient paths-
    then I will listen happily.
    For the people listening- why?…. There are truths everywhere, you do not need to lean on someone to receive them. I think you can close yourself to your own deeper wisdoms by listening to closly to people who regurgitate the “fad” concepts like the law of attraction. Yes, its an important thing. One of many. This guy didnt create it and only you will put it into your life or not.
    As for a statement for Mr Graham- youre in it for the $. Its obvious – its a crime to work out your need for $ on people seeking spiritual advice.
    Please dont confuse fake Zen for Zen.
    The difference is freedom.

  45. Matthw says

    Hi Graham,

    I am familiar with the kind of knee jerk reaction by people like David Hill in the comments here to the openness of philosophies like Zen. It is as if he really wants “it” deep down but doesn’t feel like he deserves to be happy with what he has and who he is now. Maybe he’s afraid to see that what he has is really empty… a temporary emptiness at that.

    Also, I think he’s reading the principles far too literally. One very problematic principle for many educated and/or intelligent people is that of “learn nothing.” They take this to mean “Don’t go to school. Be lazy.” This is totally not the point! The point is to go to school because you enjoy whatever subject is being taught and not to use it merely as a step in attaining something else. It is the difference between *absorbing * what school has to offer and merely *memorizing* it so you can regurgitate it some time later. The implication being that what most people call learning is really just memorization and tends to lack deep understanding.

  46. Ann says

    Thanks for the list! I enjoyed reading the comments, especially the one from the man from Alabama who used the word “poop”. I am from a poor background with little education (kindergarten, actually – my parents tried to teach me what they could after that) so I have scrounged for change to buy my next meal while living in a hotel and working as a parking lot attendant after I left home. Those were some of the best times for my zen practice. I wish there was some way to communicate how that works.

  47. says

    @eck: Peace back atcha dude! :)

    @Drew: I’m going to call “living room” rules here. If you spoke to me in my living room like that, I’d ask you to leave. You’re plain rude. You’re outta here.

    @Matthw: You get it. Thanks for sharing.

    @Ann: I feel you. You communicate very well. I had some of the most clarity in my zen practice while working in a simple little gas station, bringing presence to my every action.

  48. Doug Rosbury says

    Graham/ How do you configure your philosophy for someone who has daily suffering from disease or malfunction of a
    physical kind ? You seem young and healthy and your philosophy seems un troubled by complications.
    Doug P.S. Also your ideas seem somewhat divorced from reality. Are you a real person ? You seem somewhat
    overly perfected. (?)

  49. Matthew says

    James: Ups and down are a given no matter what. The question is, are you happy with who you are now? Do you even know who you are? What are you striving for and what might you be missing now in exchange for some future reward?

  50. friedlinx says

    Also, isnt it true that : One who speaks does not know, one who knows does not speak. just asking

  51. says

    @Matthew: Good points. Very good.

    @friedlinx: Don’t see any hype here. Show me the exaggeration. I don’t believe the second thing you said is true. Of course, if it were true, then you would be one who doesn’t know. Therefore, what you said couldn’t be true. What a conundrum. Just saying.

  52. Emily says

    I find daily taking stock of what you have, and finding amusement, not longing, woe, or anger in what you lack helps you understand the principles a great deal.
    Life is like a game.
    A play with other actors who, like you, do not have all their lines memorized. What you practice in your head is never perfect.
    Sure the poor suffer, but so do the rich in that they are trapped in their own reality they have worked so hard to shape. Like an island, they may be favored by some unseen force, but that business is neither yours, nor anything your complaints can change.
    “The things you own end up owning you.” Also come to mind.
    Make the most of your own life by doing the things that make you happy.
    Zen is not rocket science, but it is a way of coping.
    Without blaming God, you are constructively striving for something clearer like waves of water, and better.
    That is what I think Zen is about.
    Have a nice day.

  53. says

    @Emily: That was really beautiful. Thanks for your comment!

    @nada: Those are old comments before I instituted my new comment policy. I’m not interested in fighting with you. If you want to contribute, use your real name and email and actually contribute something.

  54. says

    Im a big proponent in the law of attraction but probably only because of my buddhist background. Where the “secret” is decidedly materialistic (wish for a bike and here it comes), the law of attraction as explained by Dr. Wayne Dyer requires that when you make known your heart’s desire, you are willing to accept receipt of it even if it does not come in the form that you might have wanted it. this aspect of detachment seemed so familiar from my buddhist readings. Also, the idea of gratitude and appreciation of what you have requires living in the now. Great Post!

  55. Doug Rosbury says

    Kaleb Smith said/ “to be truly free from the bonds of ego would negate attraction —” Well, my friend, What you
    show with your statement is really, a lack of faith that
    when you dedicate your life to acting as an offspring of heavenly father that your life will actually be enhanced manyfold. This “attraction” we speak of is a matter of
    charisma produced at a lower level and is really a matter
    of competition for the attention of others. Don’t be fooled. When you dedicate your life to a higher purpose
    God will provide you all that you need. It takes courage to give up the human ways of competition for attention
    and power over the appetites of others which is what the
    philosophy of “attraction” is. You will understand this in time, however, you will have to learn to question
    your beliefs and your practices more stringently.
    Purely human beliefs are very limiting.—Doug

  56. Matthew says

    Wow, there are some really negative (and even abusive) responses that are being censored (I see them in email notifications). Though I feel a deep opposition to any kind of censorship, I can see why you might do it. Still, I’d like to see the comments go public. In a way, they reinforce the importance of the principles.

    It is one thing to simply quibble over the details on an intellectual level, but having such a strong negative reaction these principles is almost like hating kittens. Seriously, people, how can it possibly be bad to be more present in the moment and to “go with the flow” a little bit? Why do so many people have to go out of their way make these very harmless (and even helpful to many) principles into something that is going to destroy civilization as we know it?

    And to those who seem to think that these principles are totally detached from the “real world,” I can proudly state that they work very well in the real world. I have a job that I love. I am not stressed out. Life is good. Strange that some people seem to think that life MUST be a constant struggle to get ahead… to get more.

  57. says

    @Matthew: I appreciate your comment. But I have a strict set of comment rules because I don’t want my site to become a place where negative flame wars can exist. I put my blood sweat and tears into this site and I’m just not willing to let go of the reins. If you disagree, I can respect that.

    It’s like if you owned a club and random people started coming in and telling the club owner, “I hate your club” or “Your drinks suck” or “I should be allowed to drink here even though I’m not wearing a shirt or shoes.” The big difference, is if that happens, you can ask them to leave and they’re gone for good. Here, those people leave their footprint permanently.

    So I ask everyone, read the rules and abide by them. It’s my house and you’re a guest. I expect guests to behave the way I would if I was a guest at your house. It’s the golden rule.

  58. Matthew says

    BTW, I should mention that I am not rich. In fact, I make less than I probably could because I choose to work were I love to work rather than wherever will pay me most money.

  59. Doug Rosbury says

    Ones own way to reality is the only assured way and method to follow. “the way” is ones self and it consists
    of ones own searching. My path is myself. If I merely copy what others do and believe, I am giving them the power to influence my free agency. Free agency is the inheritance that is our assurance of guidance that is ours alone. Religion is a one size fits all method that does not serve individual needs. God speaks to me alone
    as the individual i am and Religion pretends that it’s one size fits all philosophy is appropriate for the individual which it logically cannot be. God, the individual spirit speaks to the individual spirit. And—
    —I am God being me, Doug. We are one. This is the
    destination for which we all seek. Oneness with God.
    I respect all beliefs. Eah must discover the destination and the truth that, in my opinion, is oneness with God. GOD IS ONE—Doug Rosbury

  60. says

    Very Nice entry! I have cultivated this non attachment for a long time. The Wu Wei is a efficient way to do everything especially managing relationships.

    Best, M

  61. says

    You have put into words many of the principals I for years have tried to live by. And as you said above “don’t assume that I live my life 100% by these principles”.

    Life is an ongoing process. There will be times when you do not live up to your ideals. Trick is to use those times of struggle as stepping stones in becoming what you want to be.

    Thank you very much for sharing your beautiful Spirit.

  62. goodfoot08 says

    An interesting article, Graham. I am a first time reader brought here by a recommendation from a StumbleUpon friend. You recast a number of things I tried to express to some well-meaning people who invited me to watch the DVD with them when it was still an internet phenomenon. I tried to explain my reservations to them by aligning myself with their desire for abundance, but argued that material abundance was a dangerous, false god. For that group, I agreed that emotional and spiritual abundance was possible, but a shiny car in a attached garage was not really possible for most people. The desire to then label someone in reduced circumstances, or ill health, is unfair and even dangerous. Ghettos are created around such thinking.
    But restating this all as being about the rejection of abundance is a really good idea. Based On the the anger and attacks you are getting here, I guess that people are not understanding what you have been patiently trying to explain about clarity and nothing when it is affiliated with Zen.
    I claim to understand little so I don’t want to enter into any arguments about what is real or not. But I find it remarkable that people are claiming this article is “giving up” or does not deal with infirmity or diminished health, or that something as trivial as a parking a car is connected to a positive attitude.

    It might be helpful for critics of what is said here to read some of the Christian mystics. They follow down the same path in the above piece.

  63. john meade says

    The confusion surrounding the definitions self, nothingness, emptiness, etc., is language-based.
    We communicate using a noun-based language
    bit we are not nouns. We are verbs.
    Everything in the universe is a verb, including the universe itself.
    There is no static unchanging ‘self’.
    Every object-seeming entity is a verb.
    We don’t often experience this, anymore than we experience the spinning earth’s surface moving us away from the sun.
    We know this is so yet we experience being on a flat unmoving surface where the sun comes up and goes down.
    Enlightenment is when we transcend our noun-base reality and experience constant ever- changing process as reality.
    And when we do, so what? The experience is of no value, in the noun sense of value. However we are thereafter content, knowing there is nothing to gain or lose. All there is is to be.

  64. says

    The essence of what i read in your list, as it relates to my own journey, is summed up in the word “enough”.

    Enough is presence, and presence is attraction.

    The moment I am not enough, I am in struggle and discontent.

    Yet, in presence, there is still plenty of room for passion and desire, clearing, improving, etc.

    It’s a paradox. It’s also worth the surrender.

    Enough. And merry new holidays.

  65. says

    @Doug Rosbury: Thanks for sharing.

    @Mark Yu: Glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by.

    @Luna: And thanks for sharing your beautiful spirit. Sincerely!

    @Brad: Thanks! The comments have definitely been a trip.

    @goodfoot08: If you have any Christian mystics to recommend, that would be great!

    @john meade: Thanks for your thoughts.

    @Stephanie: You’re as beautiful as ever! πŸ˜‰

    @david: We’ll keep it up if you keep dropping by! πŸ˜€

  66. Marc says

    It’s always nice to see people getting involved in intelligent conversation and discussing important and thought provoking concepts, new or old. I have to admit that I am a fan of such lifestyles but my efforts to follow them would seem to fall flat to others.

    As I see it, applying any altruistic or possessionless ideals to a modern life is always going to be challenging; One shouldn’t expect to be able to follow them completely, instead to achieve a balance in life that affords compromise between the inspiring “lifestyle” concepts put forward (here and elsewhere) and the simple necessity in modern times to deviate from the “pure” paths we might seek to follow.


  67. Vonkastell says

    This list goes against the list itself. All 10 points of your list are negatively represented in that you posted this list.

    By posting this list, you promise, offer and teach. You expect others to learn what you created which is being hyped by others. You plan to teach others how to become no one, which is paradoxical because that would change them.

    Can you really teach the philosophy of Mu, of nothingness? Isn’t giving Mu a name and a sound creating something? This is an idea that can only be discovered on its own to be pure, by teaching it, it is corrupted for the teacher and student alike.

  68. says

    In the great dance of consciousness, we humans are prone to musing out loud. Intentions for such span a vast spectrum.

    Though a blog certainly isn’t a vacuum, perhaps it is relevant to ask Graham’s intention for posting in the first place.

    I do agree, Vonkastell, your final insight has been my own ultimate truth, as well…yet we are in a constantly exposed to stimulus for this very understanding, such as my observing your response to Graham’s post, and your thoughts regarding it.

  69. Vonkastell says


    I’m glad you answered my reply, I was somewhat worried my post would be ill received since I think it’s the most negative in the whole chain. I agree that the original intent of this post is important, I wouldn’t mind knowing it. Perhaps it may even lead people to understand at a more visceral level what it really means. Living this philosophy is about escaping the wheel of fate and it takes more effort to accomplish then anyone knows. Even Buddha left evidence of his existence.


  70. Doug Rosbury says

    A philosophy of how to live cannot be transferred from one person to another, because each person has his or her own karma to repay.
    To me, my philosophy is my task to perform in order that I may
    at last achieve liberation from the need to reincarnate and to take residence on a higher plane of existence. How can you transfer that to another person without creating an imposition on another persons life plan? I believe we are given the task of being ourselves, in other words being our own distinct way of life
    with our own self determined philosophy. By its nature then, it would be impossible to teach a way of life,since each person is charged with thinking for himself. Religion, therefore, creates
    a false situation, an imposition on the principle of self determination. The true way which is a persons self determined way
    therefore,cannot be taught.—Doug Rosbury

  71. says

    @Vonkastell: My intention was simply wanting to share what I thought was a cool spin on the idea of attraction. That’s straight from the post.

    “All 10 points of your list are negatively represented in that you posted this list.” I disagree. Especially if you notice the wordplay in “learn nothing” or “offer nothing.” It doesn’t have to mean do not learn anything or do not offer anything. So to me, there’s paradox represented in the list, which always excites me.

    @Doug: “A philosophy of how to live cannot be transferred from one person to another…” I don’t agree with this entirely. Of course, if I did agree, then I would be proving you wrong since your philosophy would have been transferred to me. πŸ˜‰

    I’m wary of absolutes unless they include the possibility of being wrong at times. I operate under the philosophy that nobody can be 100% right or 100% wrong 100% of the time. πŸ˜‰

  72. Vonkastell says


    On all your points, we are in agreement. One a philosophy is codified and transmitted it becomes open to interpretation and change, it can never be the same from person to person. All religions concerned with Karma are especially difficult because there is no real good and evil, but rather cause and effect.


    I agree that it is a “cool spin” on Attraction. You are correct, there is a paradox in your post, but the problem is in the post itself. Your play on words doesn’t change the implications of the message.

    The list itself goes against each of the 10 principles by being written out and published. Just as you said about yourself, I am no Zen master, but I know irony when I see it.

  73. says

    @Vonkastell: I guess I’m just not sure what you mean. I still don’t think that writing these out goes against anything really. And I don’t mean the wordplay to be ironic. Nothing is something.

  74. Vonkastell says

    I’m sure I’m not explaining it clearly, but I’ll try. The irony isn’t in any wording you chose, it’s in the act of writing itself.

    The write is to create, the list above says create nothing. In Zen Buddhism, with the ultimate goal is to escape the wheel of fate and one of the ways believed to do that is to minimize your impact on the world, be it good or bad. Just being, going with the flow and not making any waves.

    By putting a list online, and people finding it, waves are created. For example, I had no idea who you were before I saw this post. Now I know who you are and you now exist to me. This means you’ve made an impact. This conversation we’re having is getting me to think, and hopefully others. Which means more waves.

    Similar examples can be made from all 10 of the principles listed. The irony is creating something about a philosophy that shouldn’t have any writings about it. Anyone who leaves evidence of their existence during their life, cannot have succeeded in practicing the philosophy of Mu.

    Nothing is only something because we have a word for it.

  75. Peter says

    Buddha said, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

    Find the answer within yourself, not from Graham English, the Dali Lama, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, or any person (particularly me).

  76. says

    Vonkastell, thanks for clarifying. You see, to me, create nothing doesn’t mean don’t create anything. And the idea that comes next, of just responding well to what comes to you fits perfectly with the motivation of this post. I was responding. So I wasn’t creating for the sake of creating, not that that’s bad, but I was responding to the idea of attraction and the conversation around it. So I actually followed that principle. Not that it’s supreme law or anything.

    Also, the ultimate goal of Zen Buddhism isn’t to minimize your impact on the world. Nor is to “escape” samsara.

    Waves are part of the physical world. They are not to be escaped or to be rid of. But they can be transcended and included. And I definitely don’t believe that philosophies shouldn’t have any writings about them. How else does one learn about Mu or Zen or whatever? We take up the practice through the teachings and learn through direct experience. To understand Mu is to understand that both yes and no are both right and wrong.

    Again, I’m no Zen master. But Zen is deeply rooted in the practice of wisdom, even when that wisdom says to let go of conceptual thinking.

  77. says

    Hi Graham,

    Cheers for sharing your 10 principles of the Zen of attraction! Really some good principles… use whatever works for you and enjoy life!

  78. says

    Interesting post, and a refreshing alternative take on the (now overused) ideas peddled in “The Secret”.

    I am starting to really believe more in the concept that you draw certain people into your life based on what’s going on inside you; for a long time I thought it was all just completely random.

  79. says

    Doug, I wholeheartedly disagree. The law of attraction is not a law. There is no scientific basis for such a law. The law of attraction is a reductionist principle, collapsing everything to the interior of the individual. There’s no external or collective factors in the purported law of attraction. It collapses everything to the level of mind. Everything is determined by my thinking. Obviously this isn’t completely true.

    One could call attraction a way of living I suppose. But a law? It just isn’t true.

  80. Doug Rosbury says

    In terms of ones inner attitude and place in evolution,one attracts those of like persuasion. you wont necessarily know them unless you pay attention, however, the law of attraction is a law and always works.
    If you happen to wonder why there are people in your life whom you don’t like, perhaps you should take a look at yourself. The reverse is also true.—Doug Rosbury

    you wont always know

  81. Doug Rosbury says

    Mr. English: In denying the validity of my belief, regarding “The law of attraction”,
    You violate the principle of diplomacy and blatantly deny me my right to my belief.
    Not only that, but you turn around and in a foolish statement you say” Thelaw of attraction
    Is not a law” (!!!) (???) You can’t have it both ways. Of course attraction is a law if it always works. It is just like any other spiritual law that always works reliably such as the law of karma. How can you call attraction a law and then turn around and say that it isn,t a law? Karma and attractio work together to bring to you the situations required to aid you
    in repaying your debt. In fact, I would suggest that karma and attraction are two aspects of the same law. Alaw but not a law??? I beg your pardon. Methinks that Ego played an important part in causing you to come up with that silly bit of logic.— Doug Rosbury

  82. says

    Doug, be careful please and read the rules. We can debate ideas here. A belief is different than a law. You may have your beliefs and I may disagree with them. Prove to me that the law of attraction always works and I’ll believe you. Until that day, I won’t put attraction into the same category as gravity. And I didn’t call the “law of attraction” a law. I said it isn’t a law.

    You probably wish that I didn’t “deny the validity of your belief.” So I’m bringing evidence to the table that just wishing something to be true does not make it so.

    So we can debate this if you wish. But please be careful and don’t make it personal because I have nothing against you.

  83. Doug Rosbury says

    Mr. English: I want to know how you can say ” the (LAW)
    of attraction and then expect me to have respect for you when you then say: “It isnt a law”. Please explain that part.In my opinion, when you violate logic like that, you cast doubt upon your own credibility. And please do not set yourself up to restrict my expression. I frankly do not consider you to be my superior. As Buddah has said: “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it,unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. And to that, I say, AMEN. When the truth is at stake, I say rules imposed by one person or many persons be damned.— Doug Rosbury

  84. says

    I’m referring to the “law of attraction” as it is commonly known. In the original blog post, I don’t refer to it as a law. You don’t have to respect me unless you want to comment on my blog. It’s not public property. It is my personal site. I created rules to help express my vision for this blog. And to protect my time from needing to defend myself from people who show disrespect.

    So again, we can debate the ideas, not whether or not I am credible, foolish, or egotistical. Please respect my wishes and read the rules.

  85. Jean says

    I use number 1 every time I give a massage. By the end people expectations are met, without giving a promise that the massage will help.

  86. Vonkastell says

    The codified philosophy becomes religion and open for interpretation. Once interpreted, it becomes the subject of debate. And nothing is more heated and less productive then religious debate. But I love it, because this is what is important. Distilled Humanity.

    It’s like watching a blog-form-microcosm of religious evolution.