Law of Attraction--Brief Introduction
Those of you who have been part of the spiritual/ new age community for a while can probably skip over this post. There are much more detailed teachings about this principle with many more applicable steps for using it to manifest the things you want in your reality all over the place in this community.
This post is an introduction for people who are completely new to this concept. It is a way to introduce what it is and primary mechanisms that drive it rather than the more detailed and nuanced process of application of tools and techniques for manifesting through it.
The reason I want to make sure I go over this foundational concept of reality is that while it is the primary basis of understanding how to navigate our life experience within the spiritual community, it is largely unrecognized and unknown in circles (especially academic circles) outside of this arena.
I remember the first time I came across the idea. A friend who knew that I had some knowledge of psychology started asking me about how to apply the law of attraction to parenting and showing me articles related to the law of attraction. I was really confused and my response was something to the effect of:
“That sounds like a cool idea and I can see some psychological applications for how changing thoughts could make you feel better about life and maybe do things that would make life better for you—but I don’t know what this law is. I don’t think it’s something that actually exists. I’ve never heard or read any scholarly, peer-reviewed, scientifically accepted article that even mentions it.”
Granted there might actually be some peer-reviewed, scientifically valid articles that do talk about the law of attraction—I’m not a super intellectual, academic person keeping tabs on scientific research, but up until that point in time I had no idea that the law of attraction existed and when I first heard about it I believed it was nothing more than a superstitious idea that sounded nice but wasn’t real.
At that point in time my idea of reality was one in which science, intellectualism, and academic institutions had the most powerful voice. Any idea that was not validated through some sort of scientific process was just an idea, but ideas were not necessarily real.
It wasn’t until a couple years after that when I started learning more about spirituality and hearing this idea come up over and over again that I finally stopped blocking it out by telling myself it was a superstition and decided to look at the idea with non-judgment. What that meant was that instead of starting the assumption that the law of attraction wasn’t real, I would start with the idea that I had no idea if it was real or not and just listen to what was said about it. I would go in with an attitude of wanting to learn and understand but not committing to either side of the idea and seeing what there was to see.
When I did that, this is what I learned:
The basic premise of the law of attraction is that the exterior reality that we see around us is only a reflection of the reality that exists inside of us. Since the reality around us reflects the reality within us we can literally change our external reality by changing our internal reality. If you start to look into the law of attraction you will find all kinds of different tool, techniques, and practices to change your internal reality; but this basic principle is the foundation of the law.
Now if you are starting from a place of not necessarily accepting that the law of attraction is true this idea brings up a lot of questions which ironically could be seen as a reflection of a state of distrust, but that’s a side note that can turn into a rabbit hole really quickly.
Here is the part of that rabbit hole that is most important. If you know psychology you are probably aware that your mind has a certain amount of internal bias so that you are more likely to perceive what you already believe and expect and completely ignore (without realizing it) evidence to the contrary of what you already believe. This fairly well-established notion can be used both as evidence for and against the law of attraction. In one sense it is the law of attraction—your reality is made up of the experiences you perceive, if you naturally only perceive what you already know then your reality is literally made up of what you already know. On the other hand, for someone who believes strictly in a solid, objective, singular reality—if you believe in the law of attraction you will be unable to perceive any of the very real things that contradict that law so you will be believing in one idea at the exclusion of “real” reality and not be able to tell.
When I was exploring this idea from a curious, neutral position I came to this paradox multiple times. I looked at something that was used as an explanation for why the law of attraction was true and I sat there and puzzled over it because while I could see the way it supported the truth of that law; I simultaneously saw how it could be used to negate that law.
What do I do with this information? I thought, I can’t tell if it’s true or not true.
Of course, I also realized I couldn’t tell if anything else was true or not true either. I had trusted one perception to tell me what reality was but that perception had completely ignored all these other ideas that I was now learning—ideas that had really solid explanations and evidence but were thrown out and ignored because they didn’t fit the box of the competing perspective.
So, as I thought about it, I started to wonder, what if this is real. What if all this supernatural, superstitious, delusional “crap” wasn’t superstitious or delusional? What if it was true and I had trusted the wrong sources of authority? Why did I think that something had to be part of the scientific and academic society to be valid? (The reason I thought that has a lot to do with my childhood, but that’s not the point).
After a while of just taking in new information and sitting with it. I came to the conclusion that I didn’t know if the law of attraction was real or not. I didn’t know if I believed in it. It sounded interesting and the things people claimed they could manifest through it sounded amazing—but I was really skeptical.
If we can just create whatever we want then why does the world look like this?
Several answers came to me as soon as I thought that and I could go on for many pages about those answers and might explore them more in a separate post, but for the sake of brevity these thoughts took me deeper into the exploration of both the law of attraction and other spiritual practices and at some point I came to the realization that I would never know exactly what was objectively true because I would always only be able to understand reality from my own, extremely limited perspective. That realization terrified me but then it brought me to a point where I could let go of knowing what was “real” and focus instead on what would make life feel better to me.
If I know that I will never know what is objectively real or true—then what do I want to believe and how can I make my life better by allowing myself to believe those things and apply them? As I got away from looking for what was objectively true for everyone and started looking at how I could believe things in ways that made my subjective experience less painful I came back to the idea of the law of attraction.
I’m still not sure, I thought. I still do not think you can just manifest millions of dollars, but what if I just tested it. What if I let myself believe in it and practice it and saw if it made any difference or not?
I have not manifested a million dollars (yet), but this is partially where the nuances come in. From a law of attraction perspective, the reason I haven’t manifested that money could be that I still don’t believe completely in the power of manifestation to just bring something quickly into your reality (doesn’t mean it can’t happen but I haven’t worked on the resistance to that idea especially in relation to money yet) and on an even more relevant note—if I am honest money isn’t one of the primary focuses or goals in my life. What I wanted when I started practicing the law of attraction was to feel safe, to feel loved, and to feel capable of earning money in a “real” job. Since I had felt scared, sick, rejected, and unable to do things for so long these other desires were far more important to me than a million dollars. The crazy thing is that I do now feel safe, loved, and am working at a “real” job with enough money to care for myself and help my family out. I’m doing well enough to be considered “normal”, which is what I wanted and worked towards to begin with.
Now that I’ve experienced that normalcy, I’ve realized it’s not what I want any more—but it was a steppingstone towards what I want now—so I am taking steps to change that reflection. Will it work? Keep following this blog and we will see together what happens...
I’m getting off track again, but I’m purposely going to go on one more tangent for anyone who is currently using the law of attraction to manifest things into their reality. Here is something to keep in mind: there are a lot of really important elements in the law of attraction that get watered down, so I am sure I will have some future posts addressing those elements. However, the most important thing to point out for anyone who is currently utilizing this law to manifest is that the external world reflects your vibration which is mostly impacted by your emotional state. The premise of the reflection can get really confusing because it isn’t a direct reflection of thoughts, a lot of law of attraction practitioners teach you to focus your thoughts because doing so changes your emotional state— but the emotions are the driving force of our experience of reality. This is just a quick hint for later depth about how to use this law in a more practical way.
Back to the point. The point is that the law of attraction is a really powerful understanding of how the world works based on the idea of reflection. It is the idea that whatever is internal is also external—this forces us into a position of looking at ourselves and empowers us to take ownership over our own lives by focusing inward. What is inside of us, shows up around us.
Now I have no way of proving this from the perspective one, specific, objective reality that excludes the validity of subjective reality. From that standpoint it is impossible to prove. However, I have found that one of the best ways to combine science as a tool for testing reality with ideas that are not currently scientifically accepted is to test them. Test these ideas in your own life and see if they make things better for you. Do an experiment where you say for one month I’m going to believe that this law is true and I’m going to try some of these techniques and not shut down the premise without giving it a real chance—to do this you have to be super honest and knowledgeable about yourself, but it’s possible to test it from a place of honest curiosity and see what happens.
Here is another realization that I had as I was doing these experiments myself. This is related to the realization that the reason the law of attraction appears to work could be that psychological factor that makes it so that things appear the way we want them to appear through selective observation. What I realized for myself was that even if that was the case—even if my life improved because of selective observation and not because of the law of attraction—my life still improved. When you are happy and things are fulfilling and meaningful and you know that you are where you should be—does it really matter what mechanism you use to describe how you got there? Do I need to know if the law of attraction is fundamentally one hundred percent the reason that life got better for me and that there isn’t a different set of explanations?
I really don’t personally.
I am happy, I am doing things I want to do and realizing that I am capable, safe, and loved. Understanding this law has helped me a lot. From where I am now it makes a lot of sense—which future posts will discuss in more depth—so if you are new to this type of thinking I encourage you to explore this idea further and experiment on a level that feels safe and appropriate for you. You can start by asking for something small and focusing on gratitude. I started with feathers (without realizing it was part of this law).
I read about feathers being a sign that you were being watched out for by the universe or angels and I was feeling sad and scared. I didn’t know if I believed what I read but I said, “can you show me in this way that you care?” And feathers appeared over the next few weeks. When I felt more confident I asked specifically for hawk feathers which I had never seen before and striped hawk tail feather suddenly started to show up along the route where I walked my dog. For me it was an experiment in trust, could I trust the universe to care for me? It was actually a big risk to pose this question because if the answer was no it would hurt, but by asking and being willing to see whatever came next I was showing that I was in a trusting state and my request brought me more trust. So, experiments don’t have to be big things, ask for something small, focus on it, work on feelings, see what happens. You don’t know what is out there until you open up to it, ask, and see what happens.
Have a great day.
Thank you for reading.