An Instagram influencer I follow recently wrote that she had “manifested” her partner. I rolled my eyes so hard at a photo of the happy couple (who were, of course, holding hands while gazing into a sunset near Los Angeles) that I’m shocked I didn’t fall off my chair. As the (sometimes) bitter single that I am, I thought, I’ll manifest you right out of my feed, and clicked “unfollow.” The idea, however, intrigued me. Can we actually learn how to use the law of attraction to call things into our lives as easily as ordering off the menu?
I went on a journey across space and time (seriously, there’s a lot of physics involved) to discover which aspects of manifestation are fable and which are fact. Understanding the mechanics of an Ariana Grande-style “I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it” situation starts with teeny-tiny particles, according to Mandy Morris, author of Love: “It’s How I Manifest.”
“The law of attraction comes down to an intricate system of consciousness impacting particles. This is not a ‘woo woo’ factor—it’s physics!”
“The law of attraction comes down to an intricate system of consciousness impacting particles,” says Morris. “This is not a ‘woo woo’ factor—it’s physics! When someone can understand their own personal process of impacting these particles, they are then able to change how the particles react.” Grab your lunch boxes, kids, because we’re going back to your high school quantum unit.
At the risk of writing up a lab report here, I’ll be brief. In the breakthrough double slit experiment, physicists discovered that when we’re not looking at particles, they tend to act like a wave, or a vibration of energy. When we do look at them, they move the way particles “should” move. (Think of sand filtering through a small hole.) This suggests that the very act of watching atoms changes how they will behave.
“It takes a mixture of understanding in regards to psychology, science, and sprinkling in the fun of considering there is ‘magic’ in the Universe.”
How, exactly, that happens is still a major question mark to physicists, but it does indicate that the way we mingle with the world around us can change the course of events (make waves act like particles). Because so much of the why is still shrouded in mystery though, Morris says the The law of attraction also relies on other fields of study besides just physics.
“It takes a mixture of understanding in regards to psychology, science, and sprinkling in the fun of considering there is ‘magic’ in the Universe,” says Morris.
In the realm of psychology, the power of positive thinking also contributes to the law of attraction. Techniques like meditation that are used to cultivate a sunny mindset have been found to foster self-purpose, physical health, and interpersonal relationships.
While those benefits aren’t as straightforward as “be positive and thou shall receive,” podcast host and author of LORE: Harnessing Your Past to Create Your Future Jeanette Schneider says that the mere act of believing your desires will be fulfilled can be a powerful tool. “It’s really using your intention to call in the better parts of life. It’s moving your wishes into consciousness,” she tells me. “It’s almost like it’s foretold. You’ve put it out there and you’ve started to make steps towards it. It’s going to come true.”
“It’s really using your intention to call in the better parts of life. It’s moving your wishes into consciousness.”
Of course, mastering the art of the law of Attraction doesn’t give you carte blanche to sit back with a turmeric latte and watch the universe do all the work for you. As Both Moore and Schneider agree that people who have the most success are the ones who work hardest for what they want.
“A huge factor that isn’t understood about the law of attraction that makes it seem to abstract is that people give their power away to it, thinking someone out in the Universe is waving a magic wand for them,” says Moore. “The power comes from within, from learning about oneself and going through the journey of that development to see that they have been creating their reality—whether they like it or not—all along.”
Moore argues the ultimate end game of fully grasping your manifestation abilities isn’t to score your dream job, an endless supply of brand-new leggings, or all the avocados. The true reward is self-discovery. “If you use the process of understanding yourself and how you interact with the world around you, it is not just amplifying your ability to create the life you want, but it’s also deeply healing,” Moore says, citing a few examples of how she’s seen the LOA change peoples’ lives. “It can heal family issues, boost confidence to make more money or find someone’s purpose work. It’s as simple as raising someone’s emotional state on the daily and empowering them, to them completely changing their life when they realize they are capable of doing so, not by looking externally, but within.”
Now that you’re a scholar of the LOA works, here are some strategies for sliding into the universe’s DMs and asking all your wildest hopes and dreams to come to fruition.
Your step-by-step guide to learn how to use the law of attraction.
Make lists. (Like, all the lists.)
Schneider says her own beginnings with the law of attraction date back to childhood, and revolve around lists—writing them, putting items into action, and checking them off. This isn’t your typical to-do list though. The author recommends jotting down everything you want in your heart of hearts—small things (“I want to join a running club”) and big things (“I want my artwork to appear in a gallery… or the Louvre”).
To make enumerating your goals as effective as possible, research suggests that you should break down each big picture goal into bite-sized pieces. (Let’s call them mini-goals!) David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, tells The Guardian that you should get as microscopic as possible. If you want to make like Cheryl Strayed and hike the Pacific Crest Trail, for example, you’ll want to write down all the smaller hikes you plan to take as part of training for a whopping 2,650-mile trek.
Verbalize exactly what you want to achieve to the biggest cheerleaders in your life.
You probably already know that telling your BFF about your plans to train for a marathon automatically raises the stakes of your ambition, right? Well, Schneider tells me that working your objectives into conversation with people you love and trust will (a) kick your brain into gear for making them a reality; and (b) Give your friends the opportunity to help you. Maybe someone from your book club happens to know an avid racer who can offer a few pointers. Heck, maybe that same someone ran college track with Shalane Flanagan and still squeezes in a fun run every once in a while.
No offense to the cashier at Trader Joe’s, but he doesn’t need to know about your new idea for an app.
However, Schneider warns that the keywords are “people you love and trust.” No offense to the cashier at Trader Joe’s, but he doesn’t need to know about your new idea for an app. Things get a tad mystical, but both experts say you want to make sure you’re only sharing your precious ideas for your future with those who are equally stoked to see you accomplish your dreams.
Sit down and visualize exactly what you want.
Many of the world’s greatest athletes visualize success right before the jump in the pool, head to the finish line, or take on the beam (e.g., Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh).
Exercise psychologist Guang Yue of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio studied both people who went to the gym and people who opted for imagining their exercise regimens, reports Psychology Today. “He found that a 30 percent muscle increase in the group who went to the gym,” explains AJ Adams, MAPP. “However, the group of participants who conducted mental exercises of the weight training increased muscle strength by almost half as much (13.5 percent). This average remained for three months following the mental training.” No, imagining flexing your brain into a bench press isn’t the equivalent of lifting an IRL load, but it’s half way there. (I mean, just imagine if you visualized a warm up before getting into your real workout. You’d potentially manifest a stronger you.)
Schedule time to worry just like you’d schedule time to work out or meditate.
Unfortunately, the law of attraction is a double-edged sword. You can call the good in as easily as you call in the bad. “We are constantly manifesting. People want to learn how to manifest, not realizing they just need to learn how to stop manifesting what they don’t want or how they manifest currently,” says Moore. So taking time to free yourself of both small and catastrophic-level worries will help you ensure you’re not clogging you channel to the universe with what you don’t want.
A key skill in problem-solving your way through your mind’s worst-case-scenario narratives is creating time to work through—and let go of—your worries. “Rather than ruminating (which involves dwelling on the problem), you’ll be more likely to look for a solution when you know there’s a clear time limit to how much time you can spend thinking about an issue,” psychotherapist Amy Morin tells Inc. Just as you’d plot out time to do things like catch up with friends or practice some TLC with an evening of face-masking, consider carving out time to give space to your woes. That way, they won’t sneak up on your while you’re asking the powers that be for, say, your dream job.
Get quiet and ask for your deepest desires to come true.
The easiest way to attract what you desire is to simply sit down and ask for it. “I absolutely get very quiet with myself and get clear on the things that I want,” says Schneider. However, as with meditation, consistency is key. The master of manifestation says that you should lump the practice together with something routine, like brushing your teeth, hitting up your go-to boutique workout class, or making your bed.
If you practice yoga seven times a week, you’re going to nail a handstand sometime in the near future. In theory, the same strategy works with the law of attraction.
One of the hallmarks of any habit is making it an every-damn-day routine. If you practice yoga seven times a week, you’re going to nail a handstand sometime in the near future. In theory, the same strategy works with the law of attraction; if the universe sees you observing the double slit each day, it might respond to your attention.
When communicating your wishlist it’s important to remember that the experience should be as high-touch or as low-touch as you want it to be. In short, employ the methods that help you out and leave the rest.
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