The New Thought movement is a mind-healing movement that originated in the USA in the 19th century, based on religious and metaphysical concepts. It is not considered a religion (though it has formed the root of several religious organisations) but simply “ancient wisdom expressed in a new way”.
New Thought, or Law of Attraction as it is now known, as embraces the idea that God or Infinite Intelligence is omnipresent and that divinity dwells within each person. Just as the physical world has physical laws, so too does the spiritual universe have metaphysical laws that can be activated by the conscious creation of our life experience. New Thought also teaches that everything begins in the mind and what is experienced in the “outer” environment is a reflection of the “inner” environment. Illness can therefore be caused, but also healed, by the way we think.
The core principle behind Law of Attraction is that our thoughts create our reality. Thoughts give rise to emotions, and emotions are waves of energy (from the Latin “emotere” which literally means energy in motion). Quantum physics have proven this to be correct. The Double Slit experiment showed that when observed, particles act differently than when there is no observer. When observed, the electrons acted in the way that the observer expected them to act, but when not observed they changed their behaviour. Energy therefore exists in a state of potentiality. It is the observer that determines how electrons react – as waves or as particles. The Double Slit experiment demonstrated that on a quantum level, we see what we expect to see, and until we give something our attention, it has the potential to be anything. Law of Attraction therefor rightly, places a lot of emphasis on visualisation techniques, positive thinking and prayer/mediation.
The work of Florence Scovel Shinn, author of “The Game of Life And How to Play It” (1925) and “Your word is your wand” (1928) is a perfect example of how positive thoughts and affirmations can shape the world you live in. Florence very much based her writings on the teaching of Jesus and frequently refers to the Bible. Louise Hay, creator of Hay House Publishing, credits Florence Scovel Shinn as an early influence. As Florence states in “The Game of Life and How to Play It”, if you know the rules of life, you can win at the game of life. “The object of the game of life is to see clearly one’s good and to obliterate all mental pictures of evil. This must be done by impressing the subconscious mind with a realisation of good.” Crucial to having a more optimistic view of life, is speaking only positively. Florence instructs the reader in “Your Word is Your Wand” to choose an affirmation from her list of more than 100 and to “wave it over the situation which confronts you. It is your magic wand, for your word is God in action”.
It was the writings of Wallis Wattles that brought the principles of the New Thought movement into the 21st century. His book “The Science of Getting Rich” (1910), which is part of a trilogy that also includes “The Science of Being Great” and “The Science of Being Well”, was the inspiration for Rhonda Byrne’s book, and now a movie, The Secret. His most significant contribution to the New Thought movement was creative visualisation. Visualisation, or imagining, is the basis of the miracle question that is used in Solution-Focused Coaching. Imagining how it would feel and how you would act if that which you want for life, has happened, is a highly effective way of strengthening neuropathways to a positive biased.
A lot of focus has been placed on the Law of Attraction as a way to gain monetary wealth, but to me it’s a way of life and applicable to every conceivable situation. The idea that I am a spiritual being who can, with right thinking, influence my reality made me move away from religion and towards spirituality. I no longer believe that I need to use a deity like Jesus, Allah, the Buddha etc. as a go-between between God and me. I am Spirit and have a direct connection with God. Proof of this is the daily, divine inspiration and intuitive guidance that I receive which has always served me well and guided me towards making the right decisions. Being spiritual instead of religious means I can, and have to, take responsibility for my life. I can manifest (Dr Tara Swart describes manifestation as “a directed and purposeful connection between intention and action”) great things, but I also know that I can manifest unwanted things or events through, amongst other things, negative core beliefs and negative speak. I am therefore responsible for my own life. If it goes well I am grateful, I journal about the things I have manifested, and I give thanks, but when things go wrong – which it can because this world is a duality – I have the power and responsibility to turn it to good and to be resilient. Being spiritual and not religious, means I don’t believe I am being punished when things go wrong, or that I am at the mercy of a deity to improve my life.
My beliefs can be summed up by this quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values,
your values become your destiny.
*This blog post is based on the assignment I completed for Module 17 of my Integrated Resilience & Wellness Coaching studies. Citations were included in the submitted assignment.*