Three years after her divorce my friend has found her perfect partner. Perfect in every detail, she assures me; exactly as she had specified him in advance. Didn’t I know, she wonders, that if you really, really wanted something, provided it wasn’t going to harm others, you just had to order it and wait for it to arrive?
Aha. She was talking about the Law of Attraction, without knowing its official name, the process that allegedly uses the power of the mind to turn into reality whatever is in our thoughts and wishes. Of course. I suddenly remembered when I had first come across this idea many years ago, and the ways in which it worked – or didn’t. At the time I was working on a popular magazine, reporting on whatever was trendy, noble or downright weird, and one day I was told to investigate the revival of – wait for it – white witchcraft in South-East England.
It turned out to be a tame assignment, interviewing kindly housewives about their beliefs in herbs, candle magic, dream interpretation and love spells. Only one of them seemed an interesting character, firmly convinced that indeed one could turn wishes into material reality. “The main thing is to get the details right,” she said, “every single one of them, otherwise…”
Otherwise indeed. For many years she had been longing for a pair of green crocodile leather shoes, visualising their shape, heel height and exact shade of green. And then one day in the window of a charity shop she saw them, perfect in every detail – except they were the wrong size, for she had forgotten to specify that, too. Now you may think that not having green crocodile leather shoes is not the worst fate to befall a woman, but the point is that once you start using slightly irregular methods to obtain your heart’s desire, you must abide by the rules, and in this case the main rule seems to be to get the details right.
I stored that story in my treasured collection of useless information and forgot about it, until one day a friend told me how she had found her ideal flat without any effort. She had written a precise, detailed description of what she wanted, ending the long list with “And I should be able to afford it!” and put it away in a safe place. Three months later a colleague told her that she was moving to the country and wanted to sell her flat…guess what, the very flat my friend had so painstakingly described on her wish list. Oh, all right, I thought somewhat irritably – it’s coincidence, not the workings of a magical universe, the main thing is that my friend had the flat she wanted.
And yet, and yet, six months later when I realized that I needed to move from my far too large house into a smaller, more manageable one, my irrational side took over and, let me confess, I wrote an exact description of what I wanted. A small house with one very large room, three bedrooms and a modest South-facing garden, in a quiet road near a beauty spot, preferably in a conservation area. Quite a tall order, I thought, putting my “order to the Universe” in my desk drawer. But, to be on the safe side, I also asked an estate agent to look around for me. He did – and the very first property he asked me to view was the exact house I had described for my own use: it was as if between them, the estate agent and the Universe, had cooperated smoothly to produce my new house. Needless to say, I bought it as casually as if it had been a pair of shoes (NOT green crocodile leather ones) and still live in it to this day. It’s near the Thames, lively with swans and waterfowl; my peaceful road has recently been designated as a conservation area, and I don’t intend to leave it, except when I leave the world, too.
I don’t want to reach any grand conclusion, but the Law of Attraction seems to work. Not always, and sometimes it takes a long time to manifest, but there’s no harm in trying to use it. Like now. I’ll leave it at that and begin to work out – in precise detail, of course – what I’d like to attract into my life. Forgive me if I don’t share it with you. You see, it’s rather personal…