A few years ago a movie was released that became very popular. It was called “The Secret” and it was about the Law of Attraction. Perhaps you saw it. But if not, here is “the secret” in a nutshell. Like attracts like; we attract into our lives what we think about and feel about and visualize about, for better or for worse. Therefore, if we desire to attract something better, we must think and feel better, because good attracts good. And all of us want to feel better and to “have life more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
But “The Secret” goes deeper than this. It’s also in the Bible.
Think differently than the world.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.— Romans 12: 2
Think about what is good.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.— Philippians 4:8
It’s contained in the current, cutting-edge practice of psychiatry and psychology. Recently the Harvard Medical School Health Publication reported on this. Harvard psychiatrist George Valiant, Harvard psychologist Carol Kaufmann and University of Pennsylvania’s Martin Seligman have all written about the importance of focusing on positive emotions, and countering the traditional focus on pathology (what’s wrong), saying that we must begin to “develop a language of strength and build strategies based on that.”
What is truly jaw-dropping is this: Thinking and feeling good changes the brain.
Those of us who practice meditation regularly know that meditation will transform our minds. Through meditation we get control over our attention and we become more mindful of the present moment. And we discover, when we are in the moment, we can think consciously instead of unconsciously. We can choose to focus on what is good, instead of giving way to the negative.
But there’s more; the brain has a “negativity bias.” Dr. Rick Hanson, New York Times best-selling author of Hardwiring Happiness, puts it this way, “Your brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and like Teflon for positive ones.”
Because of this bias, we’ve found it difficult to focus on the good things in our lives and in ourselves, causing adverse changes to the brain. Changes such as the erosion of the hippocampus. In fact, we can lose up to 25% of this part of the brain and are then less able to form new memories. In essence, “As the brain changes, the mind changes, for better or worse. And as the mind changes, the brain changes. So why not use the mind to change the brain for the better?” Dr. Rick Hanson goes on to say, “The remedy is not to suppress negative experiences; when they happen, they happen. Rather, it is to foster positive experiences—and in particular, to take them in so they become a permanent part of you.”
The secret of the Law of Attraction (the secret of “The Secret”) is that thinking about the good is actually the work of transformation. We are the ones who choose to override the brain’s tendency to focus on and store unpleasant experiences. We are the ones who choose to put our attention on what is good. We are the ones who benefit. We are not only attracting more good, we are building a better brain. And since we are all connected, as we change ourselves, we change the world.
3 Steps to Focus on the Good
Here are some ideas from Dr. Hanson’s work:
- Pay attention to all the good things in your world and inside yourself. Turn every little positive thing into a positive experience for yourself.
- Make positive experiences last by staying with them for 5, 10, even 20 seconds; don’t let your attention skitter off to something else.
- Imagine or feel that the experience is entering deeply into your mind and body. Keep relaxing your body and absorbing the emotions, sensations, and thoughts of the experience.
As you focus on the good, you’re doing something very important. You are helping others to make the same change, since your energy affects all others. The survival of our species depends on the transformation of our minds. We can no longer continue thinking without being conscious of what we are thinking. Instead, as we align our minds and hearts with what is good, we will, over time, evolve the compassionate brain and our conscious thoughts and actions will become more Christ-like. We will be what we were created to be: God’s goodness in this world.