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The Infamous and Complex Science Behind the Law of Attraction

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Table of Contents

  • History
  • Early Science and Thoughts
  • Modern Thoughts
  • Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Spiritual
  • Key Aspects
  • Conclusion

The Law of Attraction is understood to be the attractive power of the universe, seen to draw similar energies together, it manifests through your mind by drawing you to thoughts and ideas of a similar kind, to people that think like you and situations that reflect your current thoughts (Success Consciousness, Undated). The positive will attract the positive and the negative will attract the negative. The mind acts as a magnet attracting similar energies to each other.

My interest in the Law of Attraction came from trying to discover ways that I could better my own life, this was long before I had even considered completing this project. As I read further into the subject area I realised the concept wouldn't be of any use to me as all of the information seemed to hazy in my personal opinion, however, as I kept reading I found so many people who supported the concept of the Law of Attraction and it seemed as though people were following the ideas blindly accepting what other's on the internet had written so I decided to read what people had commented on various web pages and forums to find that they all claimed the Law of Attraction did in-fact work. This led me to choose a project that would allow me to try and discover if there was any factual evidence to prove the success that the Law of Attraction had, which is what compelled me to title my project 'Is There Science Behind the Law of Attraction?'.

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The law of attraction is always in effect working in your life at every moment, it is helping you create your reality and create your future with every thought both in your conscious mind and in your subconscious mind because creation never ceases (Jack Canfield, Undated). Whatever you choose to give attention to in your life you are also giving your energy to it, this means that the energy will return whether it be the more positive or the more negative feelings you have in your life. Whatever it is that you are thinking or feeling at any given time it is your request to the universe to receive more of these same feelings as your energy vibrations will attract energy back to you of the same frequencies, it is for this reason that your energy frequencies need to be in tune with what you wish to attract into your life making sure that you are continually sending out thoughts and feelings in the way of energy that resonates with who you want to be, what you want to do and what you wish to experience within your life.

This is all because the Law of Attraction works whether you are aware of it or, the main reason for the current focus on the concept is that if you’re aware that you're using the Law of Attraction, you can control what you attract into your life using it more for the positive rather than getting yourself stuff in a rut of negativity..

History

In the past decade, the Law of Attraction has been getting quite a lot of publicity than initially, the concept has been around for many centuries, not only has it simply existed it has been used by many leading to success in their lives including some of the greatest minds like Beethoven and Einstein (Byrne, 2006). One of the original references to the Law of Attraction was made by Buddha although at the time it was not referenced to as the Law of Attraction. Buddha said, 'All that we are is a result of what we have thought.' 

Early Science and Thoughts

Like attracts like is a simple universal principle based on Plato's 'like tend towards like' which encapsulates the key messages provided from the law of attraction (Greater minds, Undated). Vibrations of a similar frequency are drawn together so in order to get what you desire you must be releasing vibrations of a similar frequency to those that you want. This is a supported phenomenon for example when two water droplets are slowly travelling towards each other they will eventually get close enough together that they attract to one another and join together to form only one water droplet, this is because they are of a like vibration. However, if you have a single droplet of water and a single droplet of oil travelling towards each other no matter how close together they get they will not attract nor will they become one droplet, this is because their vibrations are too different. The problem with this scientific backing is that as it is based off of early scientific evidence it is now known that although the basis of the science is correct about like attracting to like the water nor oil are releasing off vibrations (Yung and Bhushan, 2009) There is an ancient belief among many spiritualists that you draw to your life what you put out. Through deep meditation, these ancient seekers discovered how your external circumstances reflected your internal state (Huffpost, 2011).

Modern Thoughts

In modern literature (Kap, 2019) we learned that the Law of Attraction is allegedly based on scientific principles, alluding mainly to quantum physics and psychology supporting this theory of attraction, however, throughout my time researching I am yet to find any form of solid evidence that informs of the fact being correct. Although I have found evidence of psychology being a major part of the Law of Attraction I haven't been able to find any evidence of quantum physics.

Psychology

One of the main aspects of the law of attraction is to show appreciation to everyone in every aspect of your life, this means not only to other human beings but to anything that happens in your life. Most of the teachings of the Law of Attraction that I have found state that you should take a set amount of time each day, either in the morning after waking or evening before going to sleep, to write down a list of everything you are appreciative and grateful of in that moment. This is meant to act as a signal for the universe informing it that you understand the positive aspects of your life and you realise that you are in a better position than a large portion of other human beings on the planet. From this information I have been able to deduce scientific backing that comes from a reliable source from Berkeley University of California, stating that there are in fact lasting benefits of gratitude however it takes a long time of showing gratitude to produce results (Wong and Brown, 2017)

Whilst learning about the Law of Attraction, a noticeable feature of all of the exercises that are suggested is the use of positive affirmations in order to manifest the life you wish to lead. Affirmations are professionally used in cases for the recovery from trauma and to aid in the treatment of depression as they are a good device for empowering the person suffering, can interrupt and challenge the self-criticising thoughts and help to improve problem solving when under stress (Creswell et al. 2013). Psychologists also support the use of affirmations with research conducted at the University of Exeter showing that people who consistently tell themselves that they can meet a goal are more likely to secure a positive outcome.

When studying the Law of Attraction I have also discovered that those who support the idea believe that everything we do, say or feel sends off vibrations into the universe either positive or negative, these vibrations will be reciprocated meaning that if you are smiling (therefore sending off positive vibrations) then people will respond to you by smiling in return (receiving positive vibrations back again). This theory is backed up by psychology due to mirror neurons in the human brain that when an action is observed the same action is repeated by another of the neurons, an example is when you witness someone laughing your mirror neurons will fire making you feel the urge to laugh.

The Law of Attraction teaches its followers that if you think positively about your life and the situations that you are in you are more likely to manifest that life. This was supported in the Yonsei Medical Journal 2007 by Korean researchers Ji Young Jung et al who found through their research that there was a strong connection between positive thinking and overall life satisfaction within the population. This research echoes the thoughts of other scholars who suggest that positive thinking exercises should be used as a way to boost manifestation potential. As the authors of the medical journal article note, 'these findings offer the promise of positive thinking as an approach for psychological interventions designed to promote life satisfaction.'

One of the reasons the law of attraction is accepted by some scientists is that an essential part of the law is to 'receive'. The teachings I have found have all stated that the only true way to correctly align your vibration to what you want is to not only visualise and use manifestations but to also play an active part in creating your success, thus meaning that you cannot simply sit passively and wait for an opportunity to arise you must actively seek out the vessel for your success.

By putting our focus onto attaining a new reality for ourselves, by believing it is possible and ignoring the doubts that we may have, we tend to take more risks, notice more opportunities, and therefore open ourselves up to new possibilities that would never have been achievable had we not focused on our new reality. Conversely, when we don’t believe that something is in the realm of possibilities for us and it is too far-fetched to desire, we tend to let opportunities pass us by unnoticed. When we believe we don’t deserve good things we automatically behave in ways that sabotage our chances at happiness, this can be altered by changing the way in which we communicate with ourselves and be more positive towards feelings about life, reversing the negative patterns in our lives and creating more positive, productive and healthy patterns. One good thing leads to another, and the direction of a life can shift from a downward spiral to an upward ascent.

Neurology

Neurologists know that visualisation help towards creating a better future, there has been research in London proving that people who visualise a better future are far more likely to bring that future into existence. Visualisation is one of the main teachings to a person who wishes to learn about the law of attraction, whereby to obtain the future that you wish to procure you must first imagine yourself with that future and live your life as though you have already achieved your goal.

There have been some recent brain imaging studies that are rapidly showing that the brain does, in fact, conform to the function of the Law of Attraction. The study that helps this idea become a reality the most is the discovery of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons were first seem in monkeys before scientists later found that humans also had a set of mirror neurons that mirror the behaviour of someone who is being observed - when observing someone doing an action, the same pattern of brain activations that allows them to do the action is mirrored in the brain of the observer so it is as though they are doing the same actions (Marshall, 2014).

The brain activations are seen in the brain within the premotor and the parietal cortex of the brain which are the regions that prepare the body for movement and attention. Therefore it seems that our brains appear to mirror the actions of the other person automatically in the same way they would if looking at us completing an action our actions cause similar action-representations in the brains of others.

If you think about the excitement that you feel when seeing certain actions completed - this could be watching a high-speed car chase or a gymnast performing amazing tricks. Your brain will set up a stimulation as though you are actually doing these exhilarating things as your brain mirrors the actions of those that you are watching.

While this field of study is still developing, a more established set of findings goes on to further support the Law of Attraction. Earlier research using brain imaging has shown that fear activates an almond-shaped collection of nerve cells in the brain - this is called the amygdala. When a person is shown fearful faces the nerves are activated as if those people were experiencing the fear themselves.

Something more intriguing is that ways were used to change the experiment so that people are entirely unaware that they are seeing those fearful faces however when their brains were looked at during that period the nerves still activate, when people who were blind completed the experiment it came to the same outcome even though they were not seeing the faces, just being exposed to them. The fear of others will register in our brains as fear as well with another person's lit up amygdala lighting up our own. We attract the fear to ourselves because we are connected to other people and their brains instantly which is why when a person is anxious they can make other people anxious, just as fearful people can make other people afraid.

This is where the Law of Attraction connects because similar principles apply to happiness and expected reward, when our brains will light up those centres that correspond with these emotional states in other people. While at first astounding, it starts to seem believable when we think of how often we have a 'gut feeling' of fear when someone else is afraid, or a 'gut feeling' of well-being when someone's smile is authentic. This 'gut feeling' is also a 'brain feeling' as we set up brain responses in the brains of others with our own emotions. That is, aside from our brains mirroring the actions of others, they can also mirror emotions.

Some research that was carried out on optimism shows that optimists enjoy better health, greater happiness, and more success in life deriving from their proactive behaviours. The traits of optimists are that they focus their thoughts on their successes and mentally minimize their failures, these traits are main features of carrying out the Law of Attraction which is why some scientists believe that the Law of Attraction is supported by this evidence. The optimists in the studies don't receive the positive benefits from their attitudes alone it is also the behaviour that the attitudes inspire that help to create a real change in their life.

One line of evidence that supports the Law of Attraction relates to the book Ask and It Is Given (Hicks, 2004). The brain regions involved in the thought of intention are highly connected to those regions involved in action. As a result of this, the brain regions involving intention are fired up and then they will start to fire up your action centres. Your intention needs to be strong enough for an action to occur. When your attention is placed upon a certain feeling such as pain, it can worsen that feeling. By inference, when we place our attention away from that pain, the pain is decreased - or that is how it feels. Therefore, it is not so much that we are attracting what energies or feelings that we put out, but that we rather make it possible to feel and do things when we intend to do them. Thus, contagious actions, contagious feelings, intention-action connections and attention-action connections all support the Law of Attraction. Underlying all of these ideas is the notion of connection - which we are connected both within and without. What we think and feel affects how we will act to ourselves and others as well as how others will act towards us. The depth of our feelings and actions is a critical variable in attracting what we want to our lives.

Spiritual

A large quantity of people believe that the Law of Attraction works by aligning God or the Universe with our wishes (Very Well Mind, 2019). We are all seen as being made up of energy, and our energy operates at different frequencies, we are able to change our frequency of energy with positive thoughts, especially those such as gratitude for things that we already have. By using grateful, positive thoughts and feelings and by focusing in on our dreams rather than our frustrations or annoyances, this allows us to change the frequency of our energy and bring more positive things into our lives. What we attract depends solely on where and how we focus our attention however, we must act as though we believe it is already ours so that it will soon become ours.

Key Aspects

There are some key aspects that I have learnt about the Law of Attraction since starting this study (Mind Valley, 2019):

  • Be grateful
  • Dream Board
  • Visualise
  • Affirmations
  • Meditate
  • Goal Setting

Conclusion

Personally, I do not believe that the Law of Attraction is based on scientific evidence, I believe that the connections that can be shown are that of pure chance rather than factual correlation especially when it comes to the early science theory using the story of the water and oil. However, overall, looking at it from an unbiased opinion, I believe that there is evidence showing that the Law of Attraction can, in fact, be based on scientific evidence. I understand that some aspects of the theory are definitely more based off of pseudoscience rather than actually given evidence and why the idea of universal vibrations determining your future can be seen as a hazy connection to any science however I believe that there is a genuine backing behind many of these theories in particular the psychological side. 

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