The law of attraction has been a widely debated topic all over the world, especially after the success of The Secret. Some think it’s the holy truth, some think it’s poppycock, yet others interpret it in their own ways. So what is it? Is there any truth to it? Can you use it, or at least some of the principles behind it? Read on to find out.
What is the law of attraction?
Basically, the law of attraction states that what you think is what you get. Now, this poses some problems as there are both conscious and subconscious thoughts. For example, someone walks into a room for a job interview, wanting to make a good impression, putting a big smile on their face, but their eyes are darting everywhere and there is some fear in them.
All they are thinking about is making a good impression, but beneath that is the fear of not making a good impression. The want to make a good impression is conscious, the fear subconscious.
Whilst I found a description on Wikipedia saying that your thoughts can determine whether a letter is a bill or a cheque when you look at it before opening it, I’ve never heard anyone in real life, or any author, describe it that way.
Rather, the law of attraction means that if you constantly have good thoughts about money and prosperity, you will, in one way or another, manifest wealth. That means that you will attract the cheque, but it does not mean that whatever is inside that letter will change with your thoughts as you are holding the letter in your hand.
There are a lot of people on the planet and therefore it’s co-creation happening. According to the law of attraction, you alone are therefore not creating reality.
You could argue, with this, that if you are having positive thoughts, but that someone on the street is having stronger negative thoughts, they might still get to you. It could also mean that you did not start a war, but your country ended up in war. If you control your thoughts some still argue you will find a way out of that war.
Proof for the law
There is no real proof the law of attraction works. That’s not to say it holds no truth at all, but any so-called proof given to date is people telling anecdotes. As people tend to favor telling the things that adhered to their existing worldview, this is not reliable proof.
For example, one day I might be thinking of manifesting a seat on the train and doing so, counting it as a success. If I don’t have the same success the next day, I might blame that on my thoughts being too negative. There is no real way of knowing whether that’s true. People tend to favor finding evidence for things they believe to be true and disregard the things that prove it wrong.
It’s like listening to someone in love talking about a guy everyone knows is wrong for them. They are in denial because they want the person to be right for them – their wish to be in love is stronger than their wish to see the truth.
There have been certain experiments around meditation and prayer, such as letting people pray for certain people in a hospital and it appeared that the group that was prayed for had a higher recovery rate. Likewise, in areas where lots of people meditated the crime levels went down.
The science used to back it up
There is no scientific evidence to my knowledge that the law of attraction works, mainly because no one can measure thoughts and therefore no one knows if it really holds truth or not.
The scientific reasoning people use to back it up is explaining brain waves (and there are electric waves in the brain which can be measured) like radio waves, so if you send out a certain frequency or message, you will attract this. It’s like having a magnet inside of you, which you are controlling with your thoughts.
Whatever the predominant thoughts you are entertaining, will, after a certain amount of time, attract you to people, places, and events that bring the thoughts into fruition.
Another popular comparison is that of quantum physics. In short, a photon can appear either as a particle or as a wave, depending on how you expect it to appear. It also seems a photon can show up in two places at the same time, although that is “impossible.” People have used this as an example to show that our thoughts impact the result.
In other words: what you think is what you get. There are a lot of theories around quantum physics, but as I wasn’t a science major I’m not the right person to describe them to you. It’s more like “you lost me at hello,” but I’m in good company as most of the world’s renowned physicists get lost too.
I was at a Silicone Valley party for Christmas and those guys didn’t get it either and they are reinventing the world, using photons on the devices they build. So hey, maybe I’m not entirely stupid…
Quotes related to the law of attraction
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. ~ Matthew, 7:7
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. ~Mark, 11:24
What you seek is seeking you. ~ Rumi
As above so below. ~ Emerald Tablet
-assigned to Hermes Trismegistus who was a deity in some cultured, but also referenced as a person in some (the text often referred to as “as within, so without” when it relates to the law of attraction)
All that we are is a result of what we have thought. ~ Buddha
Nothing is unless our thinking makes it so. ~ Shakespeare
A person is what he or she thinks about all day long. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Genius is the ability to receive from the universe. ~ I Ching
How your thoughts control your reality
The reality is perception. Chances are that if you are worried what people think about you, you will interpret any glance in your direction as a negative one. If on the other hand, you believe you are a decent human being, you will interpret glances in your direction as a potential for connecting with someone whose interest you sparked.
As a result, things will play out differently for you. In the first scenario, you will likely shy away from other people, or give them an angry glare, in the second you will likely look up, smile and potentially instigate a conversation, even if it’s only to find out that the connection the other person felt was a negative one. You are curious about life around you and your own participation in it, as opposed to being frightened by it.
The scenarios I put as examples above play out entirely different depending on what thoughts you are having; your own perception of self and others. Therefore, your thoughts determine your reality. That’s not, for that matter, to say that you manifest what you are thinking. It’s more like you are actively creating your experience.
Thoughts and what we remember
Let’s say someone tells you that you are an alien from planet Mars. Chances are you would find the person ridiculous and laugh at them, or shrug your shoulders and move on.
Let’s instead say that this person told you that you were ugly. Now, what would happen? That depends on what you deem to be true and how you feel about that truth. You could perceive yourself as ugly and be ashamed of it. This could lead to you getting emotional or crying. You could also get angry to cover up your own hurt, or shame.
You could also think that you aren’t aesthetically beautiful, but beautiful in so many other ways and have such a great charisma you don’t care two cents about their opinion. If you, on the other hand, perceive yourself as beautiful, you would probably think the person to be a jerk, or simply not care. For you it could be akin to someone telling you that you are from Mars – it’s an absurd thought.
Now, none of this is the absolute truth – beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and often what attracts us are not the features, but the personality that changes the fine lines of the face. I always say this, but Joaquin Phoenix, to me, is not good looking. I rarely ever found a man as attractive as him though when he portrayed Johnny Cash. Damn, he was hot.
Likewise, I don’t find Leo DiCaprio particularly good looking, but I find him extremely attractive. How we perceive beauty is not the point, though. The point is that if someone tells you something you will react differently depending on your thoughts about it. Someone having their ego very bruised by a comment such as them being ugly might remember the comment for a year. Someone thinking the person is insane for saying it might remember it for five minutes. It’s not important to them.
If you ask a person whether lots of people thought they were beautiful, then the person who fancies themselves beautiful would probably mainly remember the people who confirmed this thought, whilst the person thinking they’re ugly would remember those who confirmed that thought.
Thoughts control who we let into our lives
Another very important thing to add to the example above is that people who accept what someone says will have no problem letting them into their life. Chances are rather high you wouldn’t want to hang out with someone claiming you were from Mars, but you might hang out with them if they confirm your thoughts about yourself.
Some women looking for a serious relationship are still happy to date men who prefer dating plenty of women at the same time, meaning they will continue to think men and love are rather difficult. Why hang around when it’s not what you are looking for? Probably because it reaffirms a belief you have about yourself and/or men and/or love.
Other women who have a low self-image end up clinging to their men for dear life and by doing so they are reinforcing the belief that they are having trouble with being loved when the men start feeling smothered and leave. They are basically provoking men to behave in ways to reaffirm their beliefs about self.
You choose your experiences based upon what you believe to be acceptable. That’s not to say you attracted them in the first place, but you opened the door for them and kept it open.
You can argue that when we let someone into our lives we instantly know (subconsciously) what they are like, or we can argue that we don’t. I believe we have some sort of an idea and I believe that is why people keep reliving the same relationship patterns.
We find what we are looking for
I was sitting in a cab in London one day when I saw a truck saying “Arri” and I immediately perked up. Arri manufactures film light equipment, amongst other things. Had I not known about Arri I wouldn’t have noticed the truck. It would have passed me by completely unnoticed.
Likewise, the other day I noticed a truck with the name of a company I had been writing about. I’d never seen a truck with that name before, not necessarily because I haven’t passed it a million times, but because I didn’t know about that company before, therefore I didn’t register seeing it.
Think back to the last time you were out driving. Do you remember passing any green cars? No? That’s because you weren’t looking for them.
If you look for something chances are usually a lot higher that you find it. Did you attract it magnetically? I don’t know, but it opens your eyes to it.
Action comes from thought
Before you set up a business, you have an idea for a business. Before you go to the bathroom, you have a thought about going to the bathroom. Before you create a sculpture you think about the sculpture. Thought and imagination create action, which creates events and things.
Whether you are aware of your thoughts or not, they are what propel you forward. Most of us don’t think about what we are thinking about half of the time. We are acting in a sort of half-trance. Try for a day to be aware of what you are truly thinking, at least any time you sense a feeling of despair, happiness, excitement, etc.
Break it down. Check what’s going on. We often don’t, as we are too busy thinking about something else. Really, stop anytime you sense something.
There are also a lot of so to speak inactivated thoughts making up your perception of reality. For example, chances are you are thinking about this article right now, but if I asked you to think about California, you would be able to tell me one or two things that spring to mind.
Those are your thoughts about California, whether you are aware they existed up until that point or not. Those thoughts, in turn, give you a positive or negative feeling about it. This would make you either curious to go there, or not.
So the next time someone mentions “vacation” you will either think of California or not. Likewise, you will either feel curious and happy when you hear the word California, or you won’t. Basically, all your emotions and actions come from the underlying thoughts/impressions you have.
Another example would be Mother’s Day. If you have a mother, you will, depending on your thoughts about your mother and yourself in relation to your mother, gift giving in general, and the importance of celebrations and days like Mother’s Day, give her a gift or not. The sum total of your thoughts around it will determine your actions.
Belief changes action
If you believe there is always a way, you usually find a way, because you refuse to give up. If on the other hand, you believe something to be very difficult, chances are you will be focusing on the difficulty. Focus creates reality.
Health and the law of attraction
Some people argue health is entirely due to the law of attraction – if you are happy your thoughts lead you to live a healthy lifestyle, where you look after your body to keep it well. Likewise, your thoughts don’t create illness as they are good. If you take it one step further and really believe totally in the law of attraction, then the magnet inside of you will also keep you clear of accidents.
Whether this is true or not is impossible to ascertain. There are, however, many links between illness and thought. Ever had a stomach ache or upset because you were worried or stressed? Ever felt butterflies because you were happy? Had temporary high blood pressure because you were angry? Felt like fainting because you were scared? It’s all thoughts, creating emotions and bodily reactions to those emotions/thoughts.
Earlier in the year, I suffered RSI (repetitive strain injury) in my hands. I couldn’t type anymore. All doctors argue this is due to overuse of the hands. I was despairing as I tried one treatment after another and it didn’t help. The only thing that gave temporary relief was hard massage and using needles, not acupuncture, but rather using them to hit the sore points to stimulate blood flow.
It was so painful I was less and less scared of childbirth after each treatment. It was torture. I’ve never been through anything like it, but to me, it was worth it as I thought I was being cured. However, the help didn’t last.
Finally, I came across Healing Back Pain – the Mind-Body Solution by Dr. John Sarno, a doctor who used to work at NYU. He had found that people undergoing psychological stress often had that stress appear in the body, as the mind is too scared thinking about what it is thinking about, and therefore chooses to distract itself by causing pain (or if you like you could say it is the physical manifestation of a thought, though Sarno argues it is specifically a way to take attention away from emotional stress).
As a result, the brain sends signals to veins, which makes them shrink, causing oxygen deprivation and thereby pain as muscles need oxygen (which is why the needles helped me a bit – they brought blood to my muscles). He has treated thousands of patients by simply making them aware of what is happening and having them deal with the underlying stress. I am one of them.
Sarno’s other books talk about other doctors finding similar results in other fields of medicine, as well as fascinating “trends” in disease/pain. Some time ago there was a spike in stomach ulcers, which many said was the direct result of stress. Once there was a cure for stomach ulcers, a lot fewer people were diagnosed with them. Instead, there was a spike in back pain and RSI. Interesting.
I’m really loving but receive no love in return
Some people have criticized the law of attraction because of this topic. They think they should receive love, because they give it, yet they get none. Chances are they either have a poor self-image, or they have bad thoughts about relationships, which is why they hang around with people who give no love in return. Moreover, chances are they start despising these people, even if they are visibly giving their all to them.
For example, if you are shy because you fear others, then what’s your idea about others? The very people you are seeking acceptance and love from are the people you fear, as they would potentially judge you so harshly that you would feel bad about yourself. So what are you really thinking about people?
This is not to say you don’t have a lot of love in your heart – of course, you do, but to receive the love you have to give it openly and also recognize if a relationship, whether friendship or otherwise, is worth pursuing. If you want love, share yours and hang out with the people who give love in return.
You can love everyone unconditionally, but relationships are not unconditional. You will end up feeling very bad about yourself and others if you hang about people who give you nothing in return.
It’s, as you can see, difficult, if not impossible to determine whether the law of attraction works or not until the day we can measure the actual vibration of all things and distinguish each vibration as relating to different things.
Whether you choose to believe in the law of attraction or not, thoughts do contribute a lot to how you perceive reality as well as what you create. It serves you well to become aware of your thoughts and consciously focus on what it is you want to achieve, as well as checking to see if what you are thinking is an actual reflection of reality or just your own perception.
Start paying attention to your emotions throughout the day and see what it will reveal to you. Every time you feel something, slow down and acknowledge it. Don’t try to change it, or cover it up. Simply hang with it until it dissipates. Believe me, it’s a lot more effective than trying to change it or putting something on top of it. Let it go, let it be a wind blowing through you rather than wrestling it.
If you want to find out more about the law of attraction, I highly recommend you to check out this amazing book about how miraculous the power of positive thinking can be. I swear by it, so why don’t you check it out yourself?