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The History Of The Law Of Attraction

History Of The Law Of Attraction

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The history of the law of attraction was influenced by authors in the past. The written word was the main instrument of information until the radio, tv and eventually the internet became the teaching tools of today.

It started with some individual thinkers who began to challenge the practices of the day. People started to have local meetings, sharing ideas with like minded people. They shared information through essays and magazines and began what was known at the time as the New Thought Movement.

New Thought Movement

This movement grew in the 19th century, mostly based in the United States. It consisted of a group of people who shared beliefs in positive thinking, law of attraction, health, visualization and personal power.

They followed the principles of all people are spiritual beings and that their mental thoughts manifest their everyday experiences. This obviously sounds much like the law of attraction we know of now.

An unassuming gentleman who influenced people within the movement was Phineas Quimby.

Phineas Quimby (1802-1866)

Quimby was born into a working class New Hampshire family. His father was a blacksmith and children of that time rarely had formal education.  He was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a young boy, which had no cure at that time. Medicine given by his doctor had the side effect of rotting his teeth.

When he galloped on his horse the excitement he felt seemed to alleviate his pain for short bursts of time. This made him wonder whether the mind had the ability to fix the body.

He was a clever guy and became a watch and clock maker as well as an inventor but he was fascinated by the mind. When a mesmerist(hypnotist) came to town he was so interested that he learned the skill himself. He thought he could use it to heal people but over time dropped it as he began to believe that many ills were created by the mind and could be cured with the mind too. Using this approach he claimed to have cured himself of TB.

He believed thoughts could instigate unconscious action. He began to heal people using his quiet observations, intuition and power of thought. He believed we all have a spiritual being or inner man and sickness was  the result of diverting from that spiritual base. His ability to connect with people allowed him to identify where the sickness was coming from and help realign the thoughts of the person back to their spiritual base. This change of mindset helped to heal the body.

Quimby kept written accounts and letters from and to people that he helped. These were used by supporters to follow his science. He wasn’t published until after his death but his beliefs help found the new thought movement.

Books were an important way to pass on knowledge to people. Another author of that era that was followed for his ideas about the mind was Prentice Mulford.

Prentice Mulford

In the late 19th century, Prentice Mulford was an author of books used by the new thought movement. Your forces and how to use them was one of the influencial books of the time. Mulford believed that your thoughts could attract and influence similar thoughts from others, whether they were close by or afar. He also wrote the book Thoughts Are Things which is still followed to the present day.

Although books were important, magazines could be published more often. Prominent members of New Thought owned and published magazines to get the message across and one of them was William Walker Atkinson.

William Walker Atkinson

William Walker Atkinson took up the mantle in the early 20th century as a pioneer of the new thought movement by writing and publishing around 100 books. Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World was one of these books and he was one to treat the law of attraction as a principle of life. Having suffered a mental breakdown with the stresses of his career and finances he turned to the the new thought movement to heal himself.

He began to write articles around Mental Science which were the practices he had discovered with New thought. He edited and published magazines and eventually started his psychic club ‘Atkinson School of Mental Science’. He was a prolific writer over the last 30 years of his life.

After the World Wars people were ready to read about how to improve their lives. Most people had very little but were willing to make changes. Napoleon Hill and Norman Vincent Peale filled that void and offered hope.

history of the law of attraction

Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is one of the two  best selling books that encompass the law of attraction. It’s based on personal development and making money. He studied the habits of successful people and created a list of principles for people to follow to be successful. The first of those principles is ‘Thoughts are things.’

Everything seems to come back to our thoughts, but how often do we take notice of what we are actually thinking?

Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale, a clergyman, wrote the second of the best selling books which was The Power of Positive Thinking. A self help book, it used affirmation and visualization as techniques for improving quality of life by teaching people to be optimistic and overcoming fear and lack of confidence.

Although criticised by his peers as suggesting his techniques were like hypnosis the public loved the book and kept it in the best sellers list.

We’re now moving closer to the present day. These people not only wrote books which are available printed or in electronic form but started to make use of the internet to reach a much larger audience. Websites and video brings the story right into the home.

Louise L.Hay

Louise Hay wrote the best selling book ‘You can heal your life.’ She believed that we have the power within us to heal any ills. The book gives exercises that you can work through to improve your health and well-being through your thoughts. She uses mirror work and affirmations to help you direct your thoughts in the right way. Like Quimby, she believes we can create our own illness through our thoughts as well as heal ourselves.

Esther and Jerry Hicks

If you’re interested in the law of attraction then you’ve probably heard of Abraham Hicks, the entity who speaks through Esther to help people get into the right mindset – or the vortex- so they can manifest the life they want.

They tell us that we live in a vibrational atmosphere and we have to get to the right vibration for the things that we want to come to us. To get into the right vibration the teachings of Abraham tell us to live our life in joy to get closer to the source. Depending on what you focus your attention on is how you will create your own reality and if you use your emotions as your guide you will know you are making the right choices.

Bringing law of attraction to many via the internet and books has given the ordinary person the ability to understand the guidelines of manifestation with videos on Youtube for more personal involvement.

Rhonda Byrne

In 2006 a documentary film called the Secret was released to the public. Written by Rhonda Byrne it showed a series of interviews with some of the well known names in the law of attraction field speaking about how anyone can attract whatever they want  if they concentrated on it while keeping a positive mindset.

The film was picked up and talked about on shows with Oprah Winfrey and Larry King to name a couple and the law of attraction become known worldwide. When celebrities start following the law of attraction more people want to try it and it becomes viral.

More importantly people are much more engaged with visual media so creating a film can help to visualize what you can achieve.

It’s not the last of the films to be made on law of attraction, Thoughts Become Things is the most recent documentary type movie discussing the words thoughts become things and how the top people in the law of attraction niche interpret and teach it.

Becoming aware of what you are thinking about is important, because quite often we just let our minds amble along being influenced by what’s going on around us. Focussing our thoughts on our goals would be much more productive.

Although we don’t hear about the law of attraction until the 19th century, I’d be surprised if people haven’t harnessed the power of thought from the beginning of time. There are lots of skeptics out there who think if it can’t be scientifically proven and repeated then it can’t be true. I think it can’t have passed down through history without enough people seeing evidence to fuel their beliefs. You can read about Quimby and his patients in his printed manuscripts, still available today and make up your own mind.









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Like most people I was interested in improving my lot in life. After watching "The Secret" I was hooked on finding out more and I want to share my findings with as many people as possible. "To give is to receive" so pass it forward.

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