Do We Define Our Lives

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Do We Define Our Lives, or Do Our Lives Define Us
Kristen Hurst

Over the last decade or so people have begun to make a shift into accepting a new way of looking at the world that we live in – the belief that is making this impact is that you create your own life and, in some respects, you are in charge of your own destiny. This system of beliefs became known as the “New Age Movement”, however it's really not all that new. The “law of attraction”, as it's also known, has been around perhaps nearly as long as humans have been able to have reasonable thoughts. In fact, there's a quote from Buddha saying, “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.” This law of attraction has only gained popularity recently because of the emergence of books like The Secret into popular culture that seemed to take the world by storm. As with anything that becomes hugely popular, it has varied from being widely accepted to being strongly criticized. There are numerous authors who have written books instructing readers how to “tap into the universe” and use the law of attraction to bring things into your life that you want. Conversely, there are just as many who criticize this new way of thinking as being lazy, selfish, and causing people to not take responsibility for the actual work needed to achieve their goals. Perhaps the biggest criticism of the New Age movement comes unsurprisingly from the Christian community, who claim that the idea of you being in control of your own life takes away from the teachings that are portrayed in the Bible – that God is is ultimately in control and that we should leave things completely up to Him. However, even in books guiding people to understand the law of attraction, they use quotes from the Bible or use the name “God” to describe the force that is helping people achieve their best lives. It's hard not to get caught up in something that claims that we can “attract” great things into our lives with little or no effort, or to get caught up in the argument that it's selfish of us to want certain things in our lives and to pursue them. Ultimately, I think what it comes down to is what you find that works for you. I believe the biggest influence on convincing people that the law of attraction works is participation in the act of defining what you want out of your life instead of floating thorough it aimlessly, and in doing so, you cause yourself to put in motion the actions that will make those things happen. My English professor, Dr. Janet Smith, expressed it best when she said, “You can't control other people and you can't control the world, but to some extent you can control your own life.” Another influence from the law of attraction is actively changing your perspective on the events that are happening in your life. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be” and I have to say that I agree whole-heartedly with him.

To begin to understand the law of attraction and the effect that it's had on the world and even on your own life, the first thing that you should look at is the book The Secret written by Rhonda Byrne, released in 2006. The book actually came out some time shortly after the movie that shared the same title and is basically a way of reiterating the main thoughts that were presented in the film, but in a text version that could be easier used for referring back to. The book begins by introducing the idea of the law of attraction by saying, “When you focus your thoughts on something you want, and you hold that focus, you are in that moment summoning what you want with the mightiest power in the Universe” (Byrne 14). The book actually takes the liberty of describing the law of attraction as a definable law of nature as is seen when Byrne states, “The law of attraction is a law of nature. It is as impartial and impersonal as the law of gravity is. It is precise, and it is exact” (Byrne 27) and also, “Just like the law of gravity,...
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