Law of Attraction – Back to Basics

Law of attraction is the notion that we live in an energy based universe and universe works on the basis of ‘like attracts like’ and therefore working of our inner mind or our sub-conscious (energy we project out) has a direct impact on the working of the universe (energy we receive back). So if our thoughts, feelings and general attitudes are positive, i.e. we are sending out positive vibes to the universe, we will attract more positive experiences in our life. This also works vice versa, i.e. you send out negative vibes and you attract more negative experiences.

A universe that responds to our thoughts may sound far-fetched but some of the recent scientific discoveries in quantum physics and cosmology are by far stranger. The double slit experiment in particle physics tells us that at a sub-atomic level, the act of observation makes the particles behave differently (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc – DR Quantum’s version of the experiment).  While in cosmology, Cosmologists have theorised that 95% of the universe is made up of dark energy and dark matter which by far has stranger properties that matter, which is the only thing we know a little about (http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/dark_energy/de-what_is_dark_energy.php).

Although, phenomenon like double slit experiment or dark energy does not necessarily prove the existence of a universe which is influenced by our sub-conscious mind, but it has certainly encouraged me to be more opened minded as there is a lot of things in the universe that we do not understand yet.

With an open mind if we accept that the law of attraction exists, then we must accept that we are creating our own reality. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical ‘motivational-quote’ kind of a way, but in a literal way. If our thoughts are influencing the universe (by default that means the environment around us), then we are creating the circumstances in our life with our thoughts, intentionally or not. Welcome to your own personal Matrix world!

Law of Attraction – Mind Tools

There are many leading thought experts and facilitators out there who devise new tools and techniques to harness this knowledge so that as individuals and as a society we can live a life for the better. Here are some of the techniques used:

  • Creative visualisation – This essentially focuses our minds to create picture of our ideal future and imagine living it at the present moment.
  • Living life though Gratitude – being thankful for what you have and by doing so attracting more situations and circumstances that we will have to be grateful for.
  • Affirmation statements – stating exactly what you want in life but using present tense so your inner mind knows exactly what you want
  • Mirror work – what does a mirror do? It reflects; a bit like the Law Of universe. So mirror work essentially an opportunity to work on yourself and your thoughts in front of a mirror.
  • Practicing Mindfulness – Being aware of our thoughts and feelings (without judgement) is the first step in understanding and controlling our minds. By practicing mindfulness you get to know your thought patterns and so that any negative patterns can be changed.
  • Practicing Meditation – Similar to mindfulness, practicing mediation, we are able to quieten our minds and able to observe our thoughts. Additionally in a meditative state, we are more likely to access our sub-conscious mind and therefore able to influence our thoughts at a deeper level.

Law of Attraction – Resistance is Futile

There are loads of reasons why many people feel that law of attraction tools don’t work; or law of attraction does not work entirely. The problem is that if you think law of attraction doesn’t exist, well then the chances are that all the circumstances that show up in your life will convince you that it doesn’t exist. So to a certain extent, a leap of faith is needed; hence why law of attraction is often thought of as a spiritual practice.

Another pitfall is that your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes must be aligned to what you are trying to attract in your life. For example, you are trying to attract wealth in your life, but in the back of your mind you think money is the root of all evil, so it is very likely you will not succeed, after all you don’t want evil in your life do you?! This is where psychology techniques come into play to have self-awareness; know yourself and know what feels right and what doesn’t.  When you want to attract something that you fully believe in then it will come naturally, it will not be a struggle.

The classic reason why law of attraction doesn’t work for people is fear. We as human being are driven and to some extent protected by fear; it comes to us as naturally as love does. Problem is when you are fearful that you are not going to get what you desire more than the love you feel for your desire then it is likely that the fear will win out. You will not get what your heart desires. Let go of that fear, especially in the manifesting process; believe you will get what you want and believe it with your whole heart and mind.

As a Practitioner of law of attraction for many years (some intentionally and some unintentionally!), knowing the law and applying it are two different things. I still suffer from resistance when I am trying to attract things I want in my life, but it is getting easier to work out what my resistance is. It does take time for you to work out what you really want and sometimes it feels like it takes time for the universe to deliver your want and you know what, that is okay! Time gives you that chance to reflect and really work out what you want.  Sometimes it turns out that something that you wanted for a long time is not something that you actually needed. So that’s where the saying come from; ‘be careful what you wish for’; because your wishes do come true!

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Practical Mind Tools: Vision Board

So what is a vision board, I hear you ask. Well, perhaps not those of you who are well versed in the law of attraction and the techniques that goes with it. Perhaps there are some of you guys out there who are experts at this and I would love to hear from you on how you create your vision boards.

For the novices, vision board is simply a board where you capture your visions for your future, aspirations and desires all in one place.  This is perhaps one of the most basic and effective way of putting law of attraction into practice. After all, we are all visual creatures and what we see is more likely to affect us than having just abstract pictures in our head.

Creating a vision board is really easy:

  1. Find a suitable board, whatever size you require. I always find the blank art canvases are great for my vision board purposes, but you can use anything from cardboard to plywood.
  2. Find suitable images to fill your board with. You can use magazine clippings, writings, quotes, print outs from the internet, whatever works for you and whatever that captures your vision. It doesn’t have to be an exact match of your vision, it can be abstract or represent you vision indirectly, but as long as you can relate to it, that is the main thing. I tend to use words and pictures in my vision boards and I often like quotes that resonate with me.
  3. Then use the visions to fill the board up and stick them on securely.
  4. Main thing is put the vision board somewhere where you will look at it regularly, perhaps on your bedroom wall.

The more you look at your vision board, the more your brain gets reminded of what you want. The more you are reminded, the more you think about it. But like any law of attraction tool, you need to frame your thoughts and feelings positively. You may subconsciously create resistance by looking at it and thinking ‘oh I am never going to achieve that!’ Instead, every time you see your vision, imagine you have achieved it and how would it feel like? Bring that feeling into the present and close your eyes and feel it for few minutes.

Nowadays there is a wealth of online tools available to create vision boards; there are even apps for vision boards. So you can go crazy and go overboard with the whole thing! So my suggestion is focus on one board at a time. If your vision changes, then change the board or change the images, after all our visions are rather fluid and that is a good thing as that how we move forward and evolve.

Experiment 1 – update.. Head vs. Heart

My first personal (open) experiment was to attract a part time charity role into my life. This was the most logical step for me to move onto, using my skills to help my passion of animal welfare. I have heard back from the specific charity I was intending attract and it was not so good news. So does that mean Law of Attraction didn’t work for me in this case? Actually it was a bit more complex than that.

I used the tools and techniques I have learned over the years to set a clear intend (via the ASK, BELIEVE and RECEIVE process) as well as visualisation techniques to imagine what it would be like to have got the role. I imagined sitting in the board room talking about animal welfare issues and interacting with other trustees of the charity.  At times, I was convinced that I receive this particular role as I can really see myself actually doing the role. But there were times when my inner voice was throwing out doubts; ‘since I have declared it so publically, what happens if it doesn’t work out?!’; ‘can I really spend the time to do this role this year?!’; ‘what about the time I spend with my daughter, will this be affected?!.

If I clearly self-analyse, then it was deeper emotional triggers such as fear and confusion, that was getting in the way of my belief of getting this role. Question is how do I get around these emotional triggers or more to the point, do I really want to get over these emotional triggers? Perhaps they are trying to tell me something; maybe my heart is really not into it, at least for the moment, until my daughter grows up a bit more.

So perhaps going back to my example about exams, do I give up or do I persist? So again the voice in my head is telling me, I must persist and when the time is right, and the role is right, it will come to me!

Psychology and Law of Attraction

 Visualisation & Law of Attraction

A true believer of Law of Attraction believes that the universe can help you to attract what you desire in your life. However, many believers still struggle to receive their desired outcome and this is often down to that fact that there are too many thoughts and emotions happening to us at a subconscious level, which is often difficult to control.  To influence this, one of the main techniques used is ‘visualisation’. Creating images in your brain of what it would be like to have achieved your goal or your desired outcome. Using your imagination to create vivid, colourful pictures and imagining what success looks like and feels like, you bring the future into the present moment. This creates more of a powerful magnet than just intending though thought processes.

This type of visualisation should help to bring thoughts, feelings, words and emotions and actions in line with your outcome. In the ASK, BELIEVE, RECEIVE 3 step process, visualisation helps with the BELIEVE step, by giving a tool that tune your thoughts to think what it would be like when you have received it. By imagining you have achieved your outcome, you are removing doubt and negativity and attracting the outcome into your life.

For psychologists, visualisation is nothing new. Visualisation is used for goal setting in the corporate world, in treatment of patients in behavioural therapies, visualisation is used as a means of control in an uncontrollable situation and even in world of sports visualisation plays a big part in outcomes. Great sports personalities such as Andy Murray, Wayne Rooney and Jessica Ennis-Hill regularly performs visualisation sessions before games to achieve their goals. For example, when Jonny Wilkinson (one of England’s best rugby union players), is required to kick for goal, he uses a visualisation routine to help him put the ball between the posts: “I visualise the ball travelling along that path and imagine the sensation of how the ball is going to feel when it hits my foot for the perfect strike.”(The Telegraph, UK) Psychology and Law of Attraction are not mutually exclusive; there are a lot of synergies between Law of Attraction and Psychology, particularly in relation to Positive Psychology (see below). Positive psychology and law of attraction are like the two sides of the same coin, a coin that has been placed on table, with one side up and other side hidden. It is easier to work with Positive Psychology as it’s the known, proven side, while with Law of Attraction, is like the hidden side of the coin, you know it exists, but you just cannot see it!

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Is Law of Attraction a version of Positive Psychology?

What is Positive Psychology? A rather newish area of scientific study of Psychology, developed in the 1990’s, focused on the belief that ‘people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play’(from Positive Psychology Center, Penn). Positive psychologists are concerned with four topics: (1) positive experiences, (2) enduring psychological traits, (3) positive relationships and (4) positive institutions.

From socio-psychological point of view, focus on Positive Psychology is often beneficial, given that as humans we have something called a ‘negative bias’; a negative thought or emotion will have much more of an impact on a person’s behaviour and cognition, compared to something equally positive. This is an evolutionary trait which has helped our ancestors to survive their harsh environment by helping them to be more tuned into the dangers and pitfalls that surrounded them, rather be concerned with more positive emotions such as happiness and joy. This isn’t to say that our ancestors were very unhappy people, but more to the fact that given their fight for survival, they were less focused on pursuit of happiness.

Positive psychology topics such as self-belief, enduring psychological traits such as resilience to adversity and how you manage your relationships, also play an important part in law of attraction. You cannot have persistence pessimistic thoughts and expect the law of attraction to work in your favour. Same goes for resilience, if visualisation and other techniques don’t work, then do you give up or do you persist? While Advocators of Law of Attraction may say visualisation and positive statements enable the universe to attract a solution into your life, while psychologist may describe visualisation and positive statements as a tool for the subconscious mind to focus and look for creative ways of problem solving. But in both cases, there are greater chances of success than when there is no pre-thought out goal or outcome. We are very social creatures and human interactions and relationships play a big part in our wellbeing, happiness and to enable us to live a fulfilling life.

One thing all psychologist and law of attraction believers will agree on is that you cannot change someone without them wanting to change themselves. So how you manage your relationships is quite important as the only person who you have control over is yourself. Law of attraction encourages filling your mind with positivity and love for yourself and well as those around you. Be grateful for everything you have and be thankful for all the love and connections you have in your life. I don’t think any psychologist, positive or otherwise, would disagree with that. Loving yourself is a really important step to building great relationships with others. After all, if you cannot love yourself, how can you expect others to do so?!

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Is Law of Attraction merely a result of focus?

The ability for us to pay particular attention to the task at hand, and ignore other distractions is what we describe as focus. It is generally accepted in the field of psychology that the more focused we are, the more successful we will be at reaching our goals. So I have to ask myself, is Law of Attraction merely a focus tool? The more we think about something, the more we visualise, the more attention we bring to something, therefore we succeed at it. Out prefrontal cortex, just behind our forehead is working hard on our behalf to manage behaviour, helping us to prioritise and focus. For example, I want to succeed in my exam, so I devote more and more time on it. I visualise myself achieving it and, I actually study, ignore any other distractions. My increased focus and attention on my exams meant that I actually pass the exams. Does that mean it was Law of Attraction that worked in this case or was it purely my ability to focus?!

I think the answer is bit more complex than saying it was the Law of Attraction or it was purely my focus and hard work. You cannot expect law of attraction to work, if you decided you will leave it up to the universe and not study! Your thoughts may be asking to pass the exams, but your conscious actions (which cannot happen without thought process), is doing the opposite. This is a bit like the story of the poor Italian man who prayed and prayed to win the lottery, but didn’t buy a lottery ticket (see ‘Science and Law of Attraction’ below).

Focus and hard work also has a role to play, but there is also something else at play.  For example, some people seem to  breeze through life, whether its exams, career, wealth, family etc., it comes quite naturally to them, while others, it doesn’t matter how hard they seem to study, focus on  career, try to attain wealth, its hard work. They do achieve their goals, but it really is an uphill battle. Think of all the high achievers you have come across. Not just those achieve successes in the work place or in a business, but those who really seem to succeed in life and seem genuinely happy. They may not have everything, but they are happy with what they have and they have an air of confidence about them. You often find that these individuals do not go after their goals; their goals follow them, like attracting circumstances and success. What do these individuals do that is different from the ‘battlers’?! Lot of it does come down to attitude, self-belief and clarity on what they actually want. It’s almost like the battlers expect a battle and it becomes a battle, often their goals changing part way though. While, the high achievers have a different attitude to life than most others and tend to view the bigger picture and a clear vision of what can be achieved and what they expect of themselves and others. At this point, sceptics would argue that of course it’s not focus alone, but also having the right attitude and have a clear goal is the key to success, not some unexplained universal force.

Coincidences vs. Purposeful attraction

One of the hard facts to ignore in the arguments for Law of Attraction is all the reported achievements and successes that focus, attitude and clear goal setting alone cannot explain. For example, people like Eddie Coronado (Manifest your Millions) and Cynthia Stafford (California Mega Millions), who claimed to have won millions on the lottery by using law of attraction. Although lottery winners are far and few in between, there are also other instances where people claim to attract the right person at the right time, attracting sequence of events, chance meeting that lead to successes, other words, increased coincidences which lead to a particular desired outcome.

I have personally also experienced this, coming across the right information or direction at the right time when I was intensely thinking about something. Great example for me is that, I always wanted to write; I have always written diaries which always help to clarify my thoughts, but I always wanted to publish something, hopefully something meaningful. And I have been thinking intensely about this recently. Then a random chance meeting with someone led me to start this blog. The conversation I had was just a 5 minute conversation, with a passing remark about blogs, but it gave me my ‘light-bulb’ moment. I may have started a blog further down the track by my own accord, but that meeting and that conversation gave me a feeling of ‘right’ action at the ‘right’ time. Other examples in my life include meeting people who I haven’t met in a while, but I would have thought about them not so long ago.  For me, it is harder for me to say these are mere coincidence and focus. Attitude, self-belief and goal setting certainly don’t explain it!

“Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny” Deepak Chopra

Science and Law of Attraction

So what is the Law of Attraction?

In the simplest of terms, Law of Attraction states that it is your thoughts that attract the experiences in your life. “Like attracts like” therefore if you predominately think positive thoughts, you attract positive experiences in your life and if you predominately think negative thoughts, you attract negative experiences in your life. Fundamentally, this is based on an energy interaction with the universe or (yet to be defined) universal force.

The 3 basic steps for Law of attraction are:

ASK – ask the universe what you want. State your intention or your want. Be clear of what you want and phase it positively and think it positively. Rather than stating ‘I don’t want to be broke’; state ‘I want to have money’.

BELIEVE – Believe as you have received it. Tune your thoughts to think what it would be like when you have received it. Imagine it, feel it – how would you feel if you have receive it?

RECEIVE – you will receive it. If you intend, visualise, and feel correctly, you should be able to see the results in your life.

Although this sounds simple and straightforward enough, unfortunately, we human beings are not so simple. When we have more than 50,000 thoughts a day, many often at a sub-conscious level, therefore controlling your thoughts becomes rather complicated. It becomes even more complicated with our feeling and emotions are involved. So in many instances you may know what you want and you may even actively ‘ask’ the universe, but your predominant thought is that it won’t happen to you. So in a ‘like attract like’ universe, it won’t happen to you! As this is the energy or vibrational frequency you are sending out.

What the logic behind Law of Attraction?

Many people believe Law of Attraction (LoA) is one of the natural laws in the universe such as Newton’s Law of Gravity or Gauss’s Law of Electricity and Magnetism. Our thoughts, our consciousness are intricately linked to the universe and our vibrations of thoughts or frequency (just like the frequency of a radio transmitter) will attract those experiences in our life. Many sceptics will argue against this as there is no way (at least in the current level of scientific advances) to prove that our consciousness can affect the working of the universe.

The Science-y bit!

There are two areas of study that can be interpreted to indirectly support the existence of Law of Attraction (rather than prove it out right!):

  1. Components of the Universe

Until about thirty years ago, astronomers thought that the universe was composed almost entirely of “baryonic matter”, ordinary atoms, which are made from varying numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons.  But in recent decades there had been various studies which suggest that there is something in the universe that we cannot see, termed “Dark Energy” making up over 73% of the universe and “dark matter” making up 23%, while baryonic matter only makes up 4%.  I must say that I don’t fully understand all the theories put forward by the cosmologists and theoretical physicists to state that this somehow supports a universe that can react to our thoughts, but what this does suggest to me is that there are a lot of things out in the cosmos that we do not yet understand, laws that are yet to be discovered. So perhaps, there is room for a universe that can react to the vibrations of our thoughts!

2.   Quantum Physics

Second set of support comes from quantum physics which looks at the world from a sub-atomic level and looks at behaviour of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. In simple terms, quantum physics seems to indicate that Matter (particles such as atoms which essentially we are made up of!) have ‘wavelike behaviour’. In other words, we are made of vibrational energy at the sub-atomic level. This theory, for many advocators of Law of Attraction, is the ultimate supportive argument for Law of Attraction. We are bodies of energy living in a universe filled with energy. So why can’t our vibrations of thoughts affect the workings of the universe?!

We are very far off from neither scientifically proving Law of Attraction can or cannot work, it boils down to more of a philosophical question, “just because something cannot be proven, does that mean it doesn’t exist?”. If science can’t explain something, then there are 3 possibilities: (a) it has not been discovered yet, (b) it is not yet understood or will always elude us, or (c) it doesn’t actually exist!

I like to view the Law of Attraction in a slightly different way. I know from my days as undergraduate, studying Neuroscience is that, what we DON’T know about the working of the human brain outweighs considerably more than what we DO know. Classic example is the “placebo effect”. We know a sugar pill can work as well as a test drug, as long as the subject is convinced of the benefits of the placebo, but science cannot explain why for sure. So for me, more of an appropriate question to ponder is (from Harry Potter – when Professor Dumbledore speaks to Harry in the afterlife):

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

My experiment – 1

My first experiment to test out the Law of Attraction is hopefully something tangible to measure. I have been feeling rather aimless at work. As I work in the Banking industry (even excluding all the scandals of the recent times), I cannot see my purpose, I cannot see where I add value when create my elaborate spreadsheets and have my lengthy meetings. Who am I helping?! Yes, myself to an extent, I get paid and I am helping my management achieve their targets, but I often struggle to see the bigger picture. Don’t get me wrong, there is part of the job that I do enjoy, the sense of achievement when I get something done, the intellectual challenge, the human interaction etc.

So rather than doing something drastic as changing careers or job, I want to be able to use my current skill set to contribute to something bigger. More and more as I am tuned to my thoughts and wants, the more and more opportunities present to me. I have come across an unpaid trustee work using my current financial skill set, for an animal charity, requiring about 10-15 days of time in a year. For me this should be very manageable with my current work commitments and gives me the purpose that I crave for as animals welfare is one of my passions.

So for my first experiment, I intend to attract this role into my life and I intend to succeed at working in this role, while maintaining my good work / life balance.

To end this blog with, I want to use a quote from one of my favourite books, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, “There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

So on that note, I better get on with the application! Happy experimenting!