The phrase is closely associated with New Thought beliefs and practices, from which its most common definition arises, but it also has a long standing (and more complex development) in other esoteric fields such as Hermeticism and Theosophy. Recently, the New Thought version was popularized by the 2006 film The Secret.
Many people who accept the Law of Attraction as a guide for right living do so on the basis of their faith in the Universe and The Universe's 'Laws'; thus, to them, the nature of the 'Law' is not one to be settled scientifically, and the word 'Law' carries the same belief-based weight as non-scientific 'Laws' from other religions, such as the 'Law of Karma' and the Ten Commandments. This is especially true among those who are adherents of various New Thought. One common way that New Thought adherents utilize the Law of Attraction is through the practice of positive affirmations.
Some proponents of a more modern version of the Law of Attraction claim that it has roots in Quantum Physics. According to them, thoughts have an energy that attracts like energy. In order to control this energy, proponents state that people must practice four things:
- Know what one desires and ask the universe for it. (The "universe" is mentioned broadly, stating that it can be anything the individual envisions it to be, from God to an unknown source of energy.)
- Focus one's thought upon the thing desired with great feeling such as enthusiasm or gratitude.
- Feel and behave as if the object of one's desire is already acquired.
- Be open to receiving it.