The Law of Attraction (abundance) is a concept put forth by the so called "New Thought" movement. It's definitely an interesting concept, but also very worthy of skepticism. Here's my understanding of it.
To the New Thought Movement "visualizing" something and "imagining" it are two separate things. So, when people are starving they may visualize food but they don't get fed. The act of "imagining" must incorporate the entirety of the senses and emotions. So for example, when one visualizes an apple they can see the apple. But they also have to feel it, taste it, smell it, hear the sound of it when one is biting it and feel the emotions that eating the apple would bring. If this is done fully, then one would attract an apple to them. This is what their definition of "imagining" is. Whether or not there is anything mystical, magical or inherently universal is of course debatable.
I do find the origins of the ideas (as I understand them) to be quite interesting. My knowledge of it comes mostly from the writings of Neville Goddard. Goddard believes that this is one of the main mystical teachings of the Bible. He believes that the Bible tells us that God is inside of us and that is what distinguishes humans from animals. So God is inside humans but not other animals. What is it that animals don't have? According to Goddard, it's imagination. So if God is imagination, and God is the creator then the power of God is in the Imagination. So humans can manifest things in their lives through that power, but in order to manifest it, you must first create if completely in the imagination. He states at another point that that is one of the main things human beings are here to do, to remember that we are God and that God dwells within us.
Emotion is considered one of the major reasons why "true imagining" is difficult. When trying to imagine something one wants one typically feels the opposite of the emotion they would have when they receive that thing. So if a man really wants to find an amazing beautiful partner, he may be able to imagine that person but the emotion he feels is loneliness for not yet being with them. And since emotion is so powerful it may result in the opposite. In other words in order to attract something you desire you have to imagine in such a powerful way that the imagining fulfills your desire to the point that you know longer have that desire. Only at that point will it manifest.
Goddard also quotes William Blake literally, his main Blake quote that is used very often is:
"..all that you behold, tho'it appears without, it is within. In your imagination of which this world of mortality is but a shadow"
...ok, so that's my understanding of it. Now for criticisms.
1. It has an inherent Christian mythology around it (at least Neville's version), which makes it hard to swallow if you're not Christian.
2. There's no way to prove it works one way or another. If you didn't achieve the desired result, well you must have done it wrong.
3. How does one know if you are doing it wrong, or maybe someone else wants the opposite and their imagination is more developed?
4. The idea that what happens in your life is completely your creation from imagining. So, if I walk down the street late at night and am robbed and murdered, I somehow created that. Don't put the murderer in prison, I chose to be murdered.
5. Ever since "The Secret" , it has turned into big big business. Lots of scoundrels are making lots of money off of it. It has become a very good way of making money off of rich people's insecurities (some of these "spiritual workshops" literally cost $10,000 to attend)
skh wrote:I think it is working rather well for the authors of the respective books.
-Not for all of them, just do a search on "James Arthur Ray" and sweatlodge. You'll see what I'm saying. That guy is slimy. But then again he's just one slimy guy and doesn't represent the entirety of the people that believe in it.