History of the Law of Attraction

 

According to the leading LoA authors, the law of attraction has always existed, since the thought emerged, and the concept manifests even in some religious beliefs:

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. – Buddha

Hinduism, and even Christianity, also rely in some ways on the principle of “what we think we become” and “our thoughts create our reality” – the Hindu concept of Karma states that whatever you say or do, good or bad, will eventually return to you, and the version found in Bible (Galatians 5:6) says:

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Translated to the law of attraction language, this means that if you send out positive thoughts and emotions, you will receive positiveness – and the other way around: bad actions are the result of bad intentions and bad thoughts, and they attract more of the same for you.

Early Writings

Now, these are the concepts where the law of attraction isn’t expressively mentioned, but which share some of the main points with it. The first mentions of the concept as we know it today date from the 19th century, and the man called Thomas Troward, the author who strongly influenced the New Thought Movement. He claimed that

(…) thought precedes physical form and the action of Mind plants that nucleus which, if allowed to grow undisturbed, will eventually attract to itself all the conditions necessary for its manifestation in outward visible form.

Other New Thought authors have expanded on this concept: James Allen and his wife Lilly with their series of books and articles published between 1901-1912 (most famous of which is As a Man Thinketh), then William Walker Atkinson who actually used the term “law of attraction” in the title of his book “Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World”, where he stated that “like attracts like”.

The first known usage of the term dates from 1877, in the book of esoteric mysteries written by Helena Blawatsky.

Another influential author of the New Thought movement was Wallace Wattles with his book The Science of Getting Rich, a down-to-earth, practical guide to becoming rich. He was one of the authors who put the New Thought principles into practice in his own life – his personal practice centered on creative visualization: as his daughter Florence said, “he formed a mental picture” in his head and then “worked toward the realization of this vision”.

The Law of Attraction and Personal Success

Napoleon Hill wrote the first million copy bestseller on the subject of the law of attraction, Think and Grow Rich!(1937) in which he discusses the importance of controlling your thoughts in order to achieve success. This book is today considered a classic in the self-development space.

Hill is one of the earliest producers of the personal success literature of the modern age,  who examined the power and the role that the personal beliefs play in personal success. He is one of the main influences of the famous movie “The Secret” (the movie even starts in a way that is similar to the beginning of his best selling book – he mentions a “secret” to success, although he never named the law of attraction directly).

In the middle of the 20th century, the American self-help author Uell Stanley Anderson placed the cornerstone for the present interpretations of the law of attraction with his book “Three Magic Words” (1954 – later renamed to “The Key to Power and Personal Peace”). The three magic words are “You are God”, and he explains that the thought is the only mover in all creation, that God is actually the universal subconscious mind, which creates for you exactly what you think, and that you can learn how to control your thoughts and become your own God.

Modern Times

In the later years, there have been many successful authors, many of which are featured in the 2006 movie “The Secret“. It is a documentary that explains the law of attraction, through the interviews with the professionals and authors in very different fields, from quantum physics and medicine, to psychology, metaphysics, philosophy and personal development.

Rhonda Byrne is the author of the book “The Secret”, and the producer of the movie. She discovered the law of attraction in 2004, and  then she started to research and to trace it through the centuries. That journey and what she has learnt on it are the basic for the book and the movie. Her philosophy is that believing will allow you to achieve your wishes and dreams, and apparently, it has worked well for her.

The success of the movie led to the increased media coverage – Oprah Winfrey and Larry King are just a few of the names who covered it in their shows, and Oprah has even transformed herself and her media empire from talk-show host and interviewer of tearful guests, to a spiritual icon who promotes the law of attraction and the New Age teachings.

Other LoA authors featured in the movie are: Rev. Michael BeckwithBob DoyleJack CanfieldJoe Vitale and others whose biographies and teachings you can find on our website.

And a few of the most famous authors today:

Esther and Jerry Hicks are American best selling authors. Their nine books include their bestseller Ask and It Is Givenand the series “The Law of Attraction” which are, according to Esther Hicks, “translated from a group of non-physical entities called Abraham” – that’s why their teachings are called Abraham-Hicks teachings. The essence of what Abraham teaches through Esther and Jerry Hicks is that people create their own reality through their thoughts, because the individuals are the psychical extensions of the non-physical which is an “infinite intelligence” able to create the universe.

 

Bob Proctor is the author who turned mostly to business coaching, helping employees grow and adapt to change. His reputation as a motivator was established on a seminar in the mid 70s, and, according to those who have listened his seminars, he “is able to transform the lives of everyone in his audience”. Bob Proctor is the author of several books, including his best seller You Were Born Rich.

 

The concept of the law of attraction is been taught today under other names as well – one of those is the “Universal Truth”, celebrated by the authors Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford and Marianne Williamson. They are well known teachers and authors who have recently introduced their book “The Spirit of Success”. 

Another author whose book you’ve probably read without even knowing that it has anything to do with the law of attraction and manifesting is Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist is all about finding your true desires and acting upon them. The laws of the Universe are described in an easy language, describing every step and every thought so that the reader can fully understand what’s happening. As you go along with Santiago, the main character in the book, you will come to understand this phrase that sums it all up:

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

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