I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day called The Secret. If you haven’t watched this documentary, it discusses a natural phenomenon called the “Law of Attraction.” It essentially states that your strongest thoughts and emotions will manifest themselves. For example, if all you think about is making a hundred thousand dollars in a year, every day, and you visualize yourself living that lifestyle, and constantly imagine and expect that this will become real for you, the “universe” will grant your wish.
On the other hand, if you are always focused on what you are dissatisfied with in your life and do not express gratitude or hope, then the object of your dissatisfaction will grow. If you keep wishing that a headache will go away, for instance, or that you will become debt-free, then actually you are pushing your headache and debt to grow. The object of your thinking is negative, so the outcome is negative.
I found this to be an incredibly interesting concept. As a believer in a merciful, giving, sustaining Creator, I know that there is Someone listening when I express my deepest wishes. It wasn’t the fact that prayers get answered that was so interesting, but the mechanism. Adhering to this law guarantees you will express gratitude, hope, persistence, and confidence in prayer, all of which are key components to duaa’ (supplication). I have definitely found this to be true. I will add to this, though, that sometimes a sense of immediate fear or urgency can be just as powerful. God is merciful. Below are some examples from my own life.
When I was in kindergarten, I really, really, really wanted a yo-yo. I don’t remember why, exactly. The older kids were probably going through a yo-yo phase. At any rate, our teacher had a “lost and found” drawer, and throughout the week, if you lost something, you looked in that drawer. On Friday, though, anything in the drawer was up for grabs. Each of us (all five!) got to pick one item out of the drawer. When my turn came to pick something, I hoped and hoped that there would be a yo-yo inside. I had pretty good experiences with my expectations being met thus far, and I really believed there could be a yo-yo in the drawer. My teacher opened up the drawer. To my disappointment, I saw no yo-yo. I resigned myself to picking up a small toy hamburger and went back to my seat. As I inspected my hamburger, I found, to my great surprise, that it WAS a yo-yo!
The most recent story that comes to mind happened just this week. I have been contemplating my thoughts on store-bought chicken lately (much more on this in another post), and when my mother-in-law asked me why I hadn’t tried buying chicken from a particular establishment yet, I told her about my doubts and feelings. The very same night, my brother-in-law called her and said, “I just slaughtered a chicken. Do you guys want it?” We were both very pleased.
A much stronger example that is much closer to my heart, though, happened the day I turned 38 weeks pregnant. I wasn’t completely satisfied with my doctor, and she wanted to perform some routine (and not-so routine) procedures before, during, and after the birth that I was not comfortable with, not all of which were even recommended by ACOG (The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that OB’s like to pretend they must obey without question, but in reality don’t).
I was with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law when I received a letter by certified mail that she was terminating my services. In case you aren’t familiar with pregnancy, you are basically expected to give birth any minute after 38 weeks, so letting me go at such a late stage for ANY reason was highly unethical. She didn’t even make sure I had another doctor before she “fired” me.
I tried to have a sense of humor about it, but I was pretty scared. Most doctors will not consider taking a patient so late, especially if she did something bad enough to be fired once! This was my first child, and I hardly wanted to meet my doctor (who would almost certainly be a man; another uncomfortable possibility) when I was in labor. It was time for Dhuhr, the noon prayer, so I prayed and then offered another, smaller prayer. When I was done, I prostrated and begged for everything to turn out all right, and for the baby and myself to be safe.
I rejoined my in-laws and got on the computer. I was planning on sending my obstetrician a (somewhat passive-aggressive) letter back telling her that what she was doing was highly unethical, and that it was in her best interest to take me back for the remainder of my pregnancy. However, I really didn’t want the person overseeing my birth to not want to be there. I opened my email to send the letter to myself for later review.
Before I exited the window, an email popped up from a midwife (shout-out to littlerockdoulas.com!). I had been looking at birth centers weeks before out of curiosity, and they had told this midwife that I was interested in a natural birth. She gave me her number and told me to call her. I called her as soon as I got home, and long story short, she found me an excellent doctor that hesitantly agreed to meet with me. We were from the same home state, held very similar beliefs about birth and what is best for mom and baby, and got along gloriously.
I ended up giving birth at a much better hospital with much better policies with amazing nurses that happened to be doulas and seemed exclusively dedicated to my care, at no extra cost. I got exactly what I wanted with tons of extra support, whereas if I had gone through with my plans at the other hospital with the other doctor, I almost certainly would have had surgery. God is merciful, and he does not leave his servants in times of need.
There is one more beef I have with this documentary, though. They (the people testifying to this phenomenon) talk about these blessings as if they brought them on themselves, or that the force that bestows these blessings is something other than an intelligent creator. Believing that the “universe” just gives you stuff you ask for is like expecting a bridge to build itself. Someone has to do it. And even if it feels like you did all the work, God is the one that rewarded that work.
We also need to remember that both the positive and negative events in our life are trials from God- opportunities to please him and secure his blessings in the afterlife, and are not in themselves guarantees that God is pleased with us. Therefore, we must thank God for both the perceived good and bad in our lives, for they are both means to the same end, and the reward for responding to those events appropriately is worth any and all trouble that they may cause.
When has the Law of Attraction affected your life? Was it positive or negative?