Posted by: Marie | October 13, 2010

(421) Reader Input : Law of Attraction

Post #421

Solicitation for Reader Input

This week, I listened to a recording of the teachings of Abraham as relayed via Esther Hicks. For those of you who are not familiar with Esther and Jerry Hicks and their work based upon the philosophy of the “Law of Attraction”, well . . . I’ll let you do your own research on who they are and what they do and how legitimate they might be.

I’m not a regular follower of Abraham and the Hicks. However, the little bit of what I have read and heard has provided some interesting food for thought. I have found value in some parts and I have found myself being skeptical of other parts. But, that is an aside . . .

The recording I heard caused me to ponder a few random, unrelated questions. I would like to pass those questions on to you and see what responses you might have.

What do you understand the term “The Law of Attraction” to mean? Is it a spiritual concept or a scientific term or a secular philosophy? Do you agree with “it” or do you think it is hog wash?

Can you embrace the idea that moving from depression to anger is an upward movement and should be celebrated?

Do your desires (met and/or unmet ones) bring you joy, shame, sadness, pleasure . . . ?? For example, if you are ashamed of what you desire, if you believe you do not deserve to have your desires met, or if you believe it is not “in the cards” for you to have your desires met, your desires could bring you angst on a regular basis. But, if you welcome and encourage your desires, your experience of them could be mostly pleasurable.

I really want to hear your thoughts!! Please send me your comments!


  1. Law of Attraction. In one of my unkinder moments I said, “It’s not a law and I don’t find it attractive.” It is another form of the self-improvement philosophy – if you believe strongly enough it will happen. (It is a secularised form of Christianity – except in the secular form the faith is in faith rather than god.) I don’t find it attractive because it can slip into blaming the victim. (If they are poor/unhappy/etc it’s their fault for attracting it to them.) I am worried that it is not falsifiable.

    The truth of it: if it encourages us to act we are more likely to get good results. In my experience we are capable of more than we believe. This is not the law of attraction but our skills and abilities.

    The truth of it: What we focus on we notice. All those cars like mine that are suddenly on the road after I’ve just bought it. If I look for opportunities or the positive I am far more likely to notice these things. Does this feel like magic if someone has been focusing on the negative? It sure does!

    Absolutely moving from depression to anger. In my experience getting angry frees someone from depression (I bet when you feel angry you don’t feel depressed – I think they are polar). After also provides us the initial energy to get to grips with something and perhaps change it. Anger is good! Badly used sometimes – but the same is true of food, water, drugs – just about anything in fact. In my experience people getting in touch with their anger can move them from contemplating suicide to engaging with life again.

    Our thoughts and judgements about our emotions and desires. So my judgements bring me feelings about my emotions. We can understand the reasons for our judgements and our desires. I think we can live a life of elated calmness – though this is quite different to wanting everything my way.

    Well, this is a long response. These are things I’ve thought about a lot and think are important.

    I hope it’s helpful.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I, too, have struggled to find strong affirmation with this law. It is rather unforgiving in laying blame on people for some things over which they have no or minimal control. But, the concept does encourage people to take responsibility for the parts over which they do have control (as long as they aren’t overwhelmed by their lack of control of the other parts).

      I remember when you first encouraged me to embrace my anger . . . and how that made a huge difference for me because my then-therapist was encouraging me to not allow much space and time for anger. Your words shifted things for me in a big way. Thank you for that . . .

      I appreciate all your wise input! Thank you for sharing!

      – Marie

  2. I could go on and on about the Law of Attraction, so I’ll try to keep it brief. I think that those who rabbit on about the philosophy have it exactly backward. You don’t attract what you are thinking about … rather, you see what you are thinking about in people and circumstances around you, and make choices aligned with your thoughts. The problem is usually that you are doing this unconsciously, so you don’t know what is driving your decision-making process. When that becomes conscious, you make conscious decisions, which are then deliberately aligned with what you want, so it “feels” like you are suddenly “attracting” something that wasn’t there before.

    A perfect example of this is your experience with therapists … you didn’t attract Edward; he was always there, but he was invisible to you because you were making decisions unconsciously, and Mark fit your unconscious pattern. Once you brought your pattern into consciousness, you chose differently — you were thinking very specifically about what you wanted, and you recognized it when you saw it.

    I see people do all kinds of insane things with the “law of attraction,” believing that if they visualize and think positive thoughts, some miracle will happen. Um, no, not so much. Miracles do indeed happen, but not by just thinking they’d be nice to have. :-)

    Regarding moving from depression to anger — I think every step forward is something to celebrate as a positive. It’s good to have the next step in mind, but I think it’s great to embrace the jouney. Depression and anger aren’t negative things in and of themselves … they are symptoms, as all pain is symptomatic and meant to give information about a place that needs healing. Sure, a joyful place is the ultimate destination, but … the journey is important, and every step is good.

    I think people tend to feel differently about what they want, based on how worthy they think they are to receive it. If you feel like crap, it seems wrong to want anything at all, and thinking about it doesn’t feel good. This, I think, is one of the biggest problems with the “law of attraction” rules, for people with serious trauma issues … the idea is that if you can’t visualize, and invest in the visualization with all your heart, you can’t have what you want. I can tell you from personal experience, that’s crap. I found the love of my life by consciously knowing exactly who I wanted, and still believing with all my heart that I would never find her and she didn’t exist. But because I knew who she was, I recognized her the minute I met her, though I couldn’t allow myself to invest in wanting the idea of her. So *neener*, Law of Attraction!

    • Hey, David –

      I so agree with everything you have written here . . .

      I remember once when I was sitting in my hair stylist’s chair with goop in my hair and I said something along the lines of how I had been attracting one type of person into my life and now I had started attracting different types of people . . . and she said, “You aren’t attracting different types of people, you are noticing and welcoming different types of people.”

      It was a lightbulb moment.

      And, I really agree with what you said about knowing what we want so, if/when it does appear, we can recognize it, even though we might believe with all our hearts it will never appear. That is where I am at with many things I currently desire. But, it is still too painful for me to allow myself to have hope.

      Well said, David! Thank you!

      – Marie

  3. I think the Law of Attraction is a potentially dangerous way to approach life. I also think that having a really good attitude will absolutely “attract” more positivity and “abundance” (as the law of attraction types like to say) into my life.

    But I think that Evan and David said it perhaps better than I could. I think we get there not by dreaming but through hard, hard work. And self belief.

    Your situation with the therapist is a great example that could be used in other areas of life. But in my humble opinion, you’ve arrived at this place with the new therapist through a ton of hard work and facing your demons, and being self aware.

    And having a damn good attitude.

    That is how things in life are accomplished. I don’t believe the shortcuts work–especially having tried shortcuts myself, throughout my entire life.

    If I want to write a novel, and publish it, I need to work my ass off. Reading, writing, practicing. It aint gonna happen by dreaming it into reality or by simply saying “I will be a famous author.”

    Now, I might be misstating some of the law of attraction theory, but my impression of it is that it’s all about manifesting things through belief and a kind of internal repetition.

    I do think that belief, particularly a strong self-belief, is a large part of any kind of success. But self belief happens through hard work, discipline, and achieving things incrementally. Everything in life appears to follow that pattern.

    Malcolm Gladwell in his writings talks about 10,000 hours of practice being the common theme amongst the masters of various fields such as concert musicians, athletes, etc. That’s 10,000 hours of diligent, focused practice. These top level athletes and musicians simply didn’t just “imagine” themselves being great. They put in the work. Period.

    The discipline and self-belief necessary to put in those kinds of hours is something that not everyone has. And you probably can’t do it without having a very strong sense that it is possible.

    In this way, the law of attraction has some degree of merit. If you don’t believe in something being possible, how could you ever put in the long hours necessary to achieve that result?

  4. Also, I just went on their website and read this: “That which you think, in any moment, attracts unto itself other thoughts that are like it. That is why whenever you are thinking about a subject that is not pleasant, more unpleasant thoughts regarding that subject are quickly drawn.”

    This is also, in my opinion, a very dangerous angle to take in terms of how I live my life. Once I start to label some thoughts as bad or negative, and I try to disown the bad and focus only on positive–I create repression.

    Now perhaps I am misinterpreting this philosophy, but it seems that there is undue emphasis on creating reality from thoughts. And thus, negative thoughts create negative reality and poor outcomes. As Evan points out, this means if we are sick or struggling that we are somehow at fault or intentionally punishing ourselves.

    I find that to the contrary, thoughts in and of themselves are insubstantial things. All kinds of silly thoughts, visions, phrases, float through my brain during the day. Beneath thinking is something else, something at the level prior to thought. This is the part of me that makes decisions and instinctively understands the world, makes sense of the world.

    It is here that I am most able to make and create changes in my life.

    I definitely am more positive and attempt to create more positivity in my life than in the past, but I also allow myself to be who and what I am right now. I don’t try to actively control my thought output. Focusing on thinking will only strengthen the hold of my intellectual processes. I find that going to a “gut,” instinctive level is generally more helpful for me…

    • Hey, Aaron –

      I so agree with you on the part about banishing the negative emotions and seeing them as “bad”. Emotions are not good or bad, they just are . . . they are biofeedback that tells us if we are heading in a healthy or unhealthy direction.

      And, I mostly agree with you about the hard work. Yes, a lot of hard work is required. But, so is a balance of rest and enjoyment and appreciation and allowing and just being. I think this is where I struggle the most right now . . . knowing when I have done “enough” and when it is time for me to rest and “just be”.

      Whew, this is tough stuff! I appreciate your input very much! Thank you!

      – Marie

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