How The Law of Attraction Works
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview to life’s coming attractions”
– Albert Einstein
In recent times, the concept of ‘Universal Law’ has become popular amongst writers and modern experts in personal growth alike.
You may have come across it in the writings of Diana Cooper in ‘A Little Light on Spiritual the Spiritual Laws’ or Deepak Chopra’s ‘Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’.
We write about Universal Law in our book ‘How to Rise – a Complete Resilience Manual and recently experienced some resistance to our discussion regarding ‘the Law of Attraction’ in terms of its scientific value and credibility.
The concept of ‘The Law of Attraction’ enjoyed a huge boost as a strategy for manifesting ones most desired life via the publication of the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne in 2006. It was promoted as a tool that could become central to improving monetary abundance and physical and mental wellbeing by artists such as Madonna – who appeared at the time to possess both. Since then, it has been widely celebrated in social media as a method for achieving whatever one truly wants to achieve.
During our own training, within reviews of our work and on wider enquiry we have seen mixed views. Whilst some see ‘the Law of Attraction’ as pseudoscience, which is alright in theory but has little evidence to back it up, others regard it with enthusiastic interest and applaud the way that it has enhanced their lives. The debate is an interesting and contentious one and as always, we welcome the discussion.
According to ‘the Secret,’
“under the Law of Attraction, the complete order of the Universe is determined, including everything that comes into your life and everything that you experience. It does so through the magnetic power of your thoughts. Through the Law of Attraction like attracts like. What you think about, you bring about”.
In other words, if you want something, rather than focussing on your need for it of lack of it, you are wise to behave as if you already have it. We have heard this described as ‘aligning the vibration of our energy’ to the ‘energetic vibration’ of that which you seek.
In direct opposition to this assured explanation, psychologytoday.com describes the Law of attraction as ‘metaphysical pseudoscience with conclusions based on erroneous, unfounded, and often incorrect assumptions’. They also warn that the ‘Law of Attraction philosophy leads to apophenia—the misguided belief that there is meaning behind random data’.
As you can see, there is much controversy surrounding this concept with strong views on both sides.
Let us explore then, how ‘the Law of Attraction’ might work.
In our article The Father of CBT and in many subsequent publications, we outline the concept of the Cognitive Behavioural Cycle: The Father of CBT (resilientpractice.co.uk)
We explain how all human thoughts, feelings and behaviours are intrinsically linked and how the cycles are constantly unconsciously at play within our lives.
Thoughts are the stories that we tell ourselves to interpret events. They can be spoken aloud as full sentences. They are strongly influenced by our beliefs, and they seek to give meaning to what has happened. They are rarely, therefore synonymous with truth. For example, on hearing a group of colleagues talking in secret, I might think “they are criticising and laughing about me.” This thought may well be influenced by an underlying belief that I am not good enough and a fear that this ‘truth’ has been discovered by my colleagues. I may also believe that I am not worthy of friendship or that I am not likeable and so I assume that they are cementing their own friendships at my expense. There is not a shred of evidence for these thoughts. They are fuelled by my core beliefs which are rooted in the primal fear of not belonging.
The appearance of these thoughts results in changes in my body chemistry thereby creating the physical experience of emotion. We feel emotion in the body. For example a tight chest or throat, pounding head, churning stomach or prickling on the skin. In this case, I feel sadness, despair and disappointment.
The behaviour that I then unconsciously choose to remedy the situation is automatically programmed to ward off the attacker, or level the playing field to give me the advantage. For example, I might recruit allies myself and speak unkindly about those I perceive to have hurt me, or I might wound back directly by accusing the perceived perpetrators of wrongdoing or reporting them to a higher authority. This has the temporary effect of alleviating my emotional discomfort as I imagine that justice is done but, given that mine was an assumption not based on fact, there will be consequences for me later. I may alienate the entire office, gain the reputation of being a snitch or be seen as paranoid and to be avoided and certainly not trusted with sensitive information. I have manifested the very dislike that I had imagined.
In the above example I have manifested a negative outcome through negative thinking.
If I then apply the language of the philosophy of ‘the Law of Attraction’ I can say that the ‘energetic vibration’ of the new and negative situation has adjusted to match my own.
The first description uses the philosophy of CBT which is a practice that is widely accepted as evidence based science and used in western medicine, whilst the second could be seen as pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo. We are saying the same thing but using different words.
We are describing the same scenario.
Now let us look at how we might apply the philosophy of ‘the Law of Attraction’ in a positive way as suggested in ‘The Secret’:
Suppose that there is an opportunity for promotion at work and I am keen to get the job. The increase in money and status would be great for my quality of life and my sense of self-worth. In fact, I have recently had ‘car trouble’ and had to pay a large amount of money to the garage and so my perception is that I need the promotion.
My automatic thoughts might be ones of lack and need, resulting in my projecting into a scary future where I do not get the job and my garage bills leave me poverty stricken. These thoughts are likely to lead to emotions of fear and dread and also an evocation of a sense of how it will feel ‘when’ I am destitute. These are body experiences which will directly influence my behaviour. For example, I might regularly nag the boss, asking whether I have a chance at being selected for the role. This, in turn may result in my appearing to regularly express doubt about my capabilities to my boss. I may well damage my chances of promotion as a result.
If I choose to make my responses conscious and apply the philosophy of ‘the Law of Attraction’ I will behave as If I have already been promoted. This means that I will generate the emotions associated with success and authority which will directly influence my behaviour in the workplace. For example, I might automatically take more responsibility, use my initiative and speak with conviction and confidence. This in turn, will have a positive effect on the way that I am perceived by my colleagues and my boss, paving the way for a smooth transition into a role with more responsibility.
Have I aligned my vibration or have I made my cognitive behavioural cycles conscious and introduced choice – or both?
Does it even matter?
When we explain or describe anything with the use of language or words, we impose limitations upon them. When we claim to know what it is, we state also what it is not. Any description will also always be wholly coloured by the unique lens of the describer, which is created through their individual life experiences and conditioning. The recipient of the information will also interpret the information according to their own lens. We know that, if we have access to a variety of explanations for something, our method of description can be tailored to the individual recipient so that they can invest in it more easily. We often exemplify our explanations anyway by creating analogies illustrations for exactly this purpose.
In short, you are free to believe whatever explanation resonates with you.
What is important here is the result.
Can you make ‘the Law of Attraction’ work for you?
Make a list of the things that you most desire.
Choose one or more of the most pressing items from the list.
Begin this the first one that you chose.
Now sit in a quiet space and take your awareness to your breathing.
Allow it to become slow and deep and cultivate ‘stillness’.
Now bring into your mind’s eye the new situation where this item is already yours.
Involve all your senses.
Remember that emotions are body experiences.
How does it feel to have this item?
Where in your body do you feel it?
What other body sensations are present?
The heat of the sun or the feel of the waves?
A congratulatory handshake or a warm hug?
What does it look like?
Can you name it?
Can you describe it accurately?
Are there bright colours?
Is the face of someone you know present?
If so, what is their expression?
What can you hear?
What is being said to you or about you?
Is there music suggestive of dancing?
Is there any smell or taste here?
Expensive or exotic food or perfume?
The scent of the salt air and sand?
Create a vast, all encompassing, multisensory image in your mind and body and own it fully.
Now embed it.
Ensure that you can recognise and capture all the sensations so that they can be recalled at a moment’s notice.
Now make an agreement with yourself to live the feeling.
Invoke it so that you can feel it throughout your working day and at home with your loved ones.
You are that person.
You have fulfilled that desire.
The coming of it to fruition is just a formality and only a matter of time!
For more insights about Universal Law and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your
human experience see our book: