One of the most popular things I have seen appear in recent years within metaphysical communities is what people call The Law of Attraction. There is a good chance you’ve heard of it even if you don’t know what it is. It became mainstream around 2006 with the release of a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne although many others have written about it. One of the older documentations of this is How to Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill from 1937.
So what is the Law of Attraction (LOA)? How does it work? Why should I care?
The principle behind the LOA is the idea that your mind creates your reality to the Nth degree, and I don’t just mean your perceptions of how the world works. In theory, if all an individual’s limiting beliefs about themselves, how the universe worked, what was possible and impossible, etc., were removed, then they could create anything they wanted with the power of thought alone. Sounds crazy I know, but that’s because there is a limiting belief in the way.
A lot goes into the science behind LOA, so I’ll start with something most people would be familiar with; a psychological phenomena called Self-fulfilling Prophecy. In 1948, psychologist Robert K. Merton developed a theory about how our expectations will influence a situation through our actions. If I am preparing to take a test in a subject I struggle in, it’s likely my inner monologue is saying “I’ve never really done well in this class, I’d be lucky just to get a passing grade.” My belief about how likely I am to pass the test will influence my ability to take the test. I may forget things. I may not sleep well and have low energy. I may be so disheartened I don’t study. Strong believers in LOA may even suggest I would manifest a more difficult test! The first thing I want to highlight here is our belief systems directly influence our actions.
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” -Henry Ford
Here is the tricky part about belief systems. Pretty much every limiting belief we have stems from our childhood or early adolescence. When we are very young, our brains absorb information with zero filtering of the information and that information becomes the basis of our belief system. If growing up I observed my parents always worrying about money, it is very likely I will worry about money as an adult even if I have a seven figure income. These beliefs branch out to every area of our lives and our thinking. If you had a lot of problems growing up, it may seem like you got screwed over, but don’t go blaming others just yet.
The good news is we can change these belief systems.
The second part of LOA deals with neurology, particularly neuroplasticity. Our brains are composed of billions of neurons which communicate with one another by sending electrical signals. These neural pathways will either grow or shrink depending on how often it is used to send a signal. Oftentimes this process is dictated by our environment, however humans are special in that we can choose our thoughts. LOA highlights our ability to change our neural pathways by consciously choosing what we think about.
It is no small order to choose your thoughts every moment of the day. The cool thing though is that with neuroplasticity, it becomes easier. In the beginning, most of us will struggle. We may even fall back into old patterns of playing the victim or entertaining negative outcomes. It may be down right hard to look for positive things to think about. However, every time we choose the thoughts we want we are telling our brain “I like this, give me more of this”. The neural pathway for positive thinking becomes stronger. What starts as a conscious thought we chose, gradually becomes a working part of our subconscious thinking.
Now for the seemingly unrelated part of LOA and what many believe is the crux of manifestation, quantum physics! There are a few important theories that work within LOA and I will do my best for belief explanations but check out the hyperlinks if you’re confused.
The first is quantum entanglement. Entanglement theory suggests that every particle in the universe is linked to one another. If there is an influence on one particle, the same influence will affect the other particle. Also, it isn’t a one to one link, nor is it linear per se. So particle one may affect particle two which then affects particle three which changes the state of particle six, so on and so on. You’re probably wondering what starts off this chain reaction, which leads us to the next theory, the observer effect.
The observer effect states the functioning of a particle will change based on an observer. Many experiments have tested this theory, the most famous being the double-slit experiment, and essentially what they discovered is subatomic particles can switch between acting like a particle and acting like a wavelength based on the observation of consciousness. The ironic part of this is with no conscious observer, then we have no idea what is happening otherwise.
In comes Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle. This principle is a bunch of complicated mathematical equations that show we can’t predict the velocity and the position of a subatomic particle at the same time. This principle may seem unimportant compared to the other two when talking about LOA but in many ways, it connects them to each other. The particle can move anywhere, anytime, anyway, and the only time they seem to stop is when consciousness is watching them.
In LOA we are using our thoughts to observe the outcomes we want to happen which influences how these particles act. Entanglement is then causing those particles to affect others in a similar way. After prolonged exposure, we reach the conclusion which people commonly refer to as manifestation.
When you combine these ideas from psychology, neurology and quantum physics, as well as many first hand reports from highly successful people, it becomes pretty clear your thinking is having an impact. Many people feel as if they don’t have much control in their life and things just “happen” to them. One of the philosophies around LOA is recognizing that you create a lot more of the situations you encounter than you think. Arguably ALL of the situations. There is a saying, “If everyone you encounter is an asshole, then maybe you’re the asshole.”
Whether you want to believe things will appear out of thin air, or you just have to work hard enough to achieve them, it all comes back to your thinking. People who become obsessed with a sport or project and spend all their time working on it are still thinking about it all the time. It would be impossible to play basketball everyday and not think about basketball. Likewise, if you think about basketball nonstop, you’re probably gonna shoot a lot of hoops.
I am very much a pragmatist. Is it realistic for me to sit around watching TV thinking about earning a million dollars while not working? In my mind, no, and that could be a limiting belief I have. For me, I like to do both. I use my thoughts to guide my actions. This way, regardless of what is going on, I got my bases covered. I will end with one of my favorite quotes:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I hope this brief article helped with whatever rabbit hole you’re digging in right now. For more info, check out my other posts or videos and make sure to link up with me on YouTube, Instagram or Twitter!
May your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!