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The Law of Attraction in the Thought World
“Be careful what you wish for,” says an old adage, “because you might just get it.”
But what if this the Law which governs all the known and unknown Universe?
William Walker Atkinson claims this is the case in his 1906 classic:
Who Should Read “Thought Vibration”? And Why?
If you know what the New Thought and the Human Potential movements are about, then you probably know William Walker Atkinson, one of their earliest and foremost advocates.
About William Walker Atkinson
William Walker Atkinson was an American merchant, attorney, publisher and writer, one of the pioneers of the New Thought movement.
A prolific writer, he authored numerous books (possibly even more than a hundred), some other his own name, while others under his pseudonyms Theron Q. Dumont and Yogi Ramacharaka.
Still respected for their style and influence, some of his books (such as Thought Vibration) have remained in print continuously for more than a century.
“Thought Vibration PDF Summary”
Dubbed by William James “the religion of healthy-mindedness” in his pioneering study The Varieties of Religious Experience, New Thought was one of the very first spiritual movements developed on this side of the Atlantic, in the newly formed country of the United States.
The movement originated in the first decades of the 19th century and is thought to have been derived from the unpublished works of Phineas Quimby, a mesmerist and inventor.
By the beginning of the next century, when William Walker Atkinson became the editor of the popular New Thought magazine (December 1901), the movement was already a nationwide phenomenon. However, Atkinson became such a prominent member and advocate that today he is widely regarded as one of the creators and pioneers of the movement.
By 1901, Atkinson hadn’t published a single book, but during the next three decades (he died in 1932) he wrote and published at least one hundred.
Though quite short (no longer than 100 pages in any edition), Thought Vibration is one of the most remarkable ones he ever penned, both in terms of sheer power and creativity. In essence, it says nothing that previous books on the subject hadn’t said (or modern “Law of Attraction” books haven’t copied), but it says it in so many beautiful and forceful sentences that it does look as if this must be the book where it all started.
We even feel kind of bad that we are unable to translate Atkinson’s style into our summary—after all, that may be this book’s best trait.
As for its ideas—let’s cast a cold eye on the main ones, mostly shared in the first few chapters.
William Walker Atkinson’s Working Creed
When Atkinson became the editor of New Thought, he made himself known to the readers in a memorable article titled “Working Creed.” Its power and status are such that this article is often included as a sort of an epigraph to Thought Vibration (and many other books of Atkinson).
It starts thus:
I believe that the mind of Man contains the greatest of all forces—that Thought is one of the greatest manifestations of energy.
I believe that the man who understands the use of Thought-force can make of himself practically what he will.
I believe that not only is one’s body subject to the control of the mind, but that, also, one may change environment, ‘luck,’ circumstances, by positive thought taking the place of negative. I know that the ‘I Can and I Will’ attitude will carry one forward to Success that will seem miraculous to the man on the ‘I Can’t’ plane.
I believe that ‘thoughts are things,’ and that the Law of Attraction and the thought world will draw to one just what he desires or fears.
Atkinson goes on in this manner for another page or two, stating his belief in the Brotherhood of Man and being kind, in the Socratic notion that Evil is ignorance and to the Hinduist idea that “to the pure, all things are pure.”
“I believe that there is an Infinite Power in, and of, all things,” he concludes. “I believe that, although today we have but the faintest idea of that power, still we will steadily grow to comprehend it more fully—will get in closer touch with it. Even now we have momentary glimpses of its existence—a momentary consciousness of Oneness with the Absolute.”
“None can read the recurring, ringing ‘I believe’ of this author,” writes Franklin Barry in the 1906 “Preface” to Thought Vibration, “without feeling and sponsoring thrill of exaltation and power.”
And, indeed, he seems about right.
What Are Thought Vibrations?
Most of what Thought Vibration is about is stated in Atkinson’s working creed. However, he does know his way around with words and is able to spin this belief across many pages, speckling it with some formidable claims that are, at best, insulated from science, and, at worst, decidedly disputable and pseudo-scientific.
Atkinson is adamant that the Universe is governed by one great Law, only some of whose multiform manifestations are familiar to us. This Law is too inscrutable and ineffable to be pinned down into words, but we can get a glimpse of its inner workings through its most fascinating expressions among us.
The Law of Gravitation is one of these, and the other, the one Atkinson wants to talk about, is the related Law of Attraction in the Thought World.
Atkinson writes: “We are familiar with that wonderful manifestation of Law which draws and holds together the atoms of which matter is composed—we recognize the power of the law that attracts bodies to the earth, that holds the circling worlds in their places—but we close our eyes to the mighty law that draws to us the things we desire or fear, that makes or mars our lives.”
As far as Atkinson is concerned, Thought is a force, a manifestation of Energy, a vibration sent through time and space—and is as real and as intangible as the “vibrations manifesting light, heat, electricity, magnetism.” The only difference between these vibrations is the rate of vibration—light and heat, for example, are manifested by vibrations of “a far lower intensity of Thought.”
Before the invention of certain instruments, we couldn’t perceive (see, hear, smell, feel, taste) most of these vibrations, and yet we were able to observe a magnet attracting another magnet. Nowadays, however, we have the experiments, and we can measure the vibrations that interest us, and, moreover, predict and utilize their behaviors.
Well, it’s pretty much the same with thought vibrations. The unfortunate difference here is that the human brain is still the only instrument capable of both producing and registering thought-waves.
Atkinson does point out that he thinks humanity is on the brink of discovering “apparatus sufficiently delicate to catch and register” thought vibrations, but a century has passed since he uttered this claim, and as far as we know, such an instrument has not been discovered yet.
As for manifestations, Atkinsons says, there are many, highlighting practical experiments in telepathy as definite evidence of the existence of thought vibration and the validity of the law of attraction.
How Does the Law of Attraction Work in the Thought World?
Constantly and inevitably, our brain sends and receives thought vibrations. Moreover, unlike a magnet, it only receives the type of thoughts it sends.
In other words, if you send thought vibrations of love, you will attract the love thoughts of others; this will, in turn, stimulate you to start a journey along the path of love fulfillment, and you will start finding yourself in circumstances and surroundings in full accordance with your thought, and among people who love you back.
On the other hand, “thoughts of Anger, Hate, Envy, Malice and Jealousy will draw to us the foul brood of kindred thoughts emanating from the minds of others; circumstances in which we will be called upon to manifest these vile thoughts and will receive them in turn from others; people who will manifest inharmony.”
“Like attracts like in the Thought World,” writes Atkinson, “as ye sow so shall ye reap. Birds of a feather flock together in the Thought World—curses like chickens come home to roost, and bringing their friends with them.”
If you have problems understanding this, Atkinson advises you to start thinking of “the Marconi wireless instruments,” which is to say the radio. When Thought Vibration was published, this was something very new, but nowadays it is so old and outdated we don’t even have to tell you how radio works.
Simply put, a radio transmitter receives only those vibrations (from the thousands passing through the air) which are attuned to the same key.
Well, the same law applies to how our thoughts work: “We receive only that which corresponds to our mental attunement.” Force yourself to change your attunement, and just like a radio transmitter, you should start receiving other types of vibrations.
This is why negative people see only negative things in the world and why positive people always see the glass half full.
The Secret of the Mind
“Man has but one mind,” writes Atkinson, “but he has many mental faculties, each faculty being capable of functioning along two different lines of mental effort. There are no distinct dividing lines separating the two several functions of a faculty, but they shade into each other as do the colors of the spectrum.”
An active effort of any of these faculties of the mind is the result of “a direct impulse imparted at the time of the effort.” In other words, an active effort is the thought vibrations you send, as governed by your will.
A passive effort, on the other hand, is the result of one of these things:
• a preceding active effort of the same mind;
• an active effort of another mind (along the lines of suggestion);
• a thought vibration from the mind of another; or
• a thought impulse from an ancestor, transmitted by the laws of heredity.
The active effort is always fresh and new: it creates things; the passive effort, on the other hand, is the result of an active effort, and it does nothing but obeying orders and suggestions. It is only the active function which is capable of sending forth vibrations; the passive only receives them.
And this is the function you need to develop if you want to harness the power of your thoughts and not be the slave of someone else’s.
The Secret of the Will
“When you feel led to yield to the calling of your lower nature,” Atkinson writes, “find a way to fix your mind on the Higher Self and draw inspiration from it.”
Here’s a technique that may help you.
When you feel vexed and cross and are tempted to burst into anger, assert the “I,” remember what you are and rise above your feeling.
When you feel fearful, remember that the Real Self fears nothing and assert courage; in much the same manner, when you feel jealousy inciting, think of your higher nature and cast it aside by laughing.
All of these feelings are unworthy of you and must be taught to keep their places. Atkinson writes:
Do not allow these things to master you—they should be your subjects, not your masters. You must get away from this plane, and the only way to do so is to cut loose from these phases of thought which have been ‘running things’ to suit themselves. You may have trouble at the start, but keep at it and you will have that satisfaction which comes only from conquering the lower parts of our nature. You have been a slave long enough—now is the time to free yourselves… But it takes work. This is not child’s play but a task for earnest men and women.
No matter what they teach you, your mind is amenable to your Will, which is “the outward manifestation of the I am” and is capable of attracting the Absolute.
It is here that the real power of man comes from: the awareness that the “I” is the sovereign of the mind and that everything bad is the result of mental misgovernment. Harness the power of your Will, and you will harness the power of your potential.
Here’s a great exercise described by Atkinson: just perform at least one disagreeable task each day during a single month.
“Anyone can do a pleasant thing cheerfully,” writes Atkinson, “but it takes Will to do the unpleasant thing cheerfully; and that is how you must do the work. It will prove a most valuable discipline to you. Try it for a month, and you will see where ‘it comes in.’”
If you are unable to do this, then Thought Vibration is not for you: you do not have nor want Will Power, and are content to stay where you are and remain a weakling.
But you are more than that, aren’t you?
Key Lessons from “Thought Vibration”
1. Thought Vibrations Are as Real as Heat or Light Vibrations
2. The Active Part of the Mind Produces, and the Passive Mind Receives
3. Like Attracts Like in the World of Thought
Thought Vibrations Are as Real as Heat or Light Vibrations
Ever since the dawn of times, a magnet was capable of attracting another magnet—but it took millennia for people to understand how.
Because they were unable to see the “vibrations” which cause the attraction.
Well, according to Atkinson, the same applies to thought vibrations as well: they do exist, and they do work, even though the only organ able to both produce and receive them is the mind.
“Like a stone thrown into the water,” Atkinson writes poetically, “thought produces ripples and waves which spread out over the great ocean of thought. There is this difference, however: the waves on the water move only on a level plane in all directions, whereas thought waves move in all directions from a common center, just as do the rays from the sun.”
The Active Part of the Mind Produces, and the Passive Mind Receives Thought Vibrations
Though we have only one mind, it can function at two different levels of mental endeavor: active and passive.
The active part of the mind is the one which produces these thought vibrations, the one powerful enough to throw a stone in the water.
The passive part of the mind, on the other hand, constantly receives other thought vibrations, some of them coming from the active part of the same mind, while others of other people or even ancestors.
Like Attracts Like in the World of Thought
It is important to know that the passive part of the mind works pretty much like a radio receiver: it doesn’t receive all the thought vibrations that are present in the air, but only the one attuned to its frequency.
Yup, you read that right: you can attune your mind to receive only certain kinds of thought vibrations.
And the best way to attune it is by producing thought vibration of the wished-for frequency.
Put plainly, if you emit love, you’ll receive love; if you emit hate, hate is what you will get in return.
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“Thought Vibration Quotes”The Universe is governed by Law - one great Law. Its manifestations are multiform, but viewed from the Ultimate there is but one Law. Click To Tweet Like a stone thrown into the water, thought produces ripples and waves which spread out over the great ocean of thought Click To Tweet Man can build up his mind and make it what he wills. In fact, we are mind-building every hour of our lives, either consciously or unconsciously. Click To Tweet Your thoughts are either faithful servants or tyrannical masters - just as you allow them to be. You have the say about it; take your choice. Click To Tweet There is no such thing as chance. Law maintains everywhere, and all that happens happens—because of the operation of Law. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
If you don’t think that Thought Vibration is outdated, you should just spend a second of your time thinking about that Marconi radio reference or Atkinson’s belief that we are at the brink of discovering a thought-registering instrument.
However, unlike many other books which deal with the Law of Attraction, Thought Vibration doesn’t sound that maudlin or naïve, courtesy of Atkinson’s powerful style.
For better or for worse, mainly because of it, his ideas reverberate in many of the books written today, even though scientists have repeatedly questioned them.We are not scientists, so we’ll let you be the judge: Thought Vibration is a short book, and it will take you not more than two hours of your life. Read it for yourself, and see how much Atkinson was wrong or right. If the latter, you might have discovered a gem of a book.