Louise Hay

Millions of people have now heard of The Secret , a theory which brings phrases like "positive thinking" and "the law of attraction" to everyday conversations. Although the The Secret is a fairly recent phenomenon, spiritual thinkers say they've been studying the concepts for years.

Acclaimed author Louise Hay is considered the mother of positive thinking. She is back to continue the conversation about the law of attraction, which is the basis of The Secret . "The law of attraction is that our thinking creates and brings to us whatever we think about," she says. "It's as though every time we think a thought, every time we speak a word, the universe is listening and responding to us."

Louise says negativity can keep you from obtaining the things you want in life. "We don't want to put ourselves down," she says. "We don't want to say, 'Oh, it will never work for me,' or 'I'm not good enough.' Because that's what the universe hears and returns to you."

Instead, Louise says you can transform your life by staying positive. "You have to start saying things that you feel really good about yourself. 'I love who I am. I love life. Life loves me. It's going to be smooth and easy. Life works for me.' And you just start doing that—it's planting seeds. You're not going to get it the first day, but you plant a seed and you water it and you continue the affirmations, and things start to shift and change in your life."
Martha Beck and Cheryl Richardson

Author, life coach and O, The Oprah Magazine columnist Martha Beck says the law of attraction doesn't work at the snap of your fingers—at least not at first. "At the beginning, you have to be careful what level you are on in your consciousness when you're making your requests of the universe," she says. Martha says it's important that your thoughts are not coming from a negative place. "If you're in a fear-based place where you need and you want and you're going to die and everything's scary, none of your intentions or desires has much power."

People hoping to use the law of attraction are told to write lists of what they want to obtain, like a "love list." So why is it that some people still don't get what they want? Cheryl Richardson, life coach and author, explains that negative energy could be the cause. "I think sometimes it can be exactly what Martha said—that we're asking from a place of desperation," she says. "When you put desperate energy out into the world, you don't get back what it is you want."

Cheryl says the items on your list may not come to you right away. "I know that there's something called divine timing," she says. "Some of the most amazing things that have occurred to me in my life took longer to occur than I wanted because I needed to grow as a woman. I needed to evolve in some way."
Louise Hay, Martha Beck and Cheryl Richardson

For people who are more concerned about being able to pay their next bill than they are with the law of attraction, it's hard to think that keeping a positive attitude will change anything. Louise says that just hearing the ideas behind the law of attraction can help a person begin to make small changes in her life. "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," she says.

Martha says she noticed the law of attraction at work in an unlikely situation—while coaching homeless heroin addicts in Phoenix. Martha says they lived on the street because they couldn't afford apartments. "Then, I found out they were spending an average of $180,000 a year on heroin," she says. When Martha asked how they got the money for their addiction, she saw a change. "They would become completely different when they were talking about the one thing they believed was necessary. And as I've worked with them, I've seen that what they believe and expect is what they get."
Karen talks about a scary time in her life.

Before Karen had ever heard of the law of attraction, she was going through a very frightening time in her life. "A year and a half ago, I thought I was having a heart attack, and I literally thought I was going to die," she says. "My heart was beating really fast. I had a burning sensation throughout my chest and into my stomach. My whole body went numb."

After that experience, Karen says she started having panic attacks and didn't leave her home. "I always felt like something bad was going to happen to me," she says. "I didn't leave the house for close to a month and a half. I had to have someone by my side at all times."
Karen talks about her affirmations.

Karen says her healing began when she started reading about the law of attraction and began saying affirmations every day. "My two biggest ones are 'I feel safe' [and] 'I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself,'" she says. "I would say them over and over again, and I think that instead of just saying it, it became the essence of my life. It's what I believed in."

Louise says affirmations help the law of attraction work. "It smooths your mind so the universe can work out the answer."

Now, Karen says she is in a completely different place in her life. "Everything started to fall into place, and I became more positive," she says. "I started to love myself, and I stopped thinking with regrets."
Martha Beck's vision board

In addition to affirmations, a vision board is a great way to visualize the positive things you want to bring into your life. When creating your vision board, Martha says you shouldn't expect a straightforward process. "I get in a really calm place. I go to my core of peace, and I taste what is delicious in the future. It could be something I've never heard of, or it could be just the essence of something. I'm not sure what it is. And then I go through magazines or on the Internet, and I find pictures of things that represent that to me. It could be the actual object or it could be something that has the same feeling."

Some of the things Martha put on her vision board were money, friends and spirituality. Martha says she also included pictures of people on the board—poets Mary Oliver and Maya Angelou, author Alice Walker and even Oprah! Martha says she wasn't looking to meet these people, but instead put them on her board because she admires their spirits.

Martha says you need to be careful that you really want what you put on your vision board. She says one day she pasted a picture of puppies on her board because she thought they were cute. "Now I have a yellow lab and a golden retriever," she says. "They need so much walking, it drives me nuts."

Joking aside, Martha says has received many of the things she hoped for on her vision board, including a visit to Africa. "I have to say, as I was putting it together to bring here, I realized that I have to add more because everything on this board has already happened," she says. "It happens so fast now I have to keep making new ones."
Cheryl Richardson's vision board

Since Cheryl made her vision board 15 years ago, she says much of what she's wanted has come true. At the time, Cheryl says she was looking for a partner—and now is married to a man who looks like the picture of the man on her vision board. Other than love, Cheryl says her vision board has also brought her success. "Phil Donahue was on here, and that's the first national show I ever did after I put him on the board," she says.

In the center of her board Cheryl has the word "God." She says a vision board shouldn't only be filled with material objects like fancy cars and expensive jewelry. "It's not just about getting things," she says. "It's a spiritual principle, which we've said a million times. But, yes, these work. And they're kind of cool to look at."
Louise Hay discusses gratitude.

After welcoming the bounty of good things from your vision board, Louise says it's important to have proper gratitude for all you've received. This will keep those positive gifts coming. "The more grateful you are, the more you get to be grateful about. It's that simple," she says. "The universe really loves gratitude. And the more gratitude you have, the more goodies you get."

When should you show this gratitude? "Morning, noon and night," Louise says. "Be grateful when you look in the mirror at your own face. 'I love you. I'm so grateful.'"

"What God loves most is appreciation," Oprah says. "So when you show appreciation, you get appreciated."

Wendy says long before she had heard of the "law of attraction" or The Secret, she knew she could change her life by picturing exactly what she wanted. "No one has ever taught me this," she says. "I have just known that in my soul. It's so awesome because it's not something that we have to go get somewhere. It's something we all have within us."

After years of bad relationships with men, Wendy says she decided to focus attention on herself. "I deserved something better," she says. "I was not going to waste my time anymore. And the moment I made that really clear decision, I met the greatest man I've ever known in my life."

Cheryl says though everyone wants good relationships, bad relationships don't have to be all bad. "The gift of the bad relationship is you get very clear [about] what you don't want anymore," she says.

While Wendy found what she was looking for almost immediately, Cheryl and Louise describe finding things they were looking in stages or in waves.

"You're always being steered." Martha says. "If I start to go the wrong way for myself, my body starts to hurt and I know immediately [to] pay attention."
Denise struggled after her son died.

It's easy to feel gratitude when good things happen…but what about dealing with a devastating blow? Denise says she was once a very positive person with what seemed like a charmed life. "A supermom, a wife, beautiful boys, a nice home," she says. "Just a really good, good life."

When her son was diagnosed with cancer, she says everything changed. After about a year and a half of fighting the disease, he died at age 18. Shortly after that, Denise's husband left. "He wasn't happy, and he wanted to start his life over and felt it was too much pain," she says. "When he left, just everything crumbled. And it's surreal. You just almost can't believe that it's actually happening. I felt like I was just waking up from a nightmare."

Denise says her despair was so bad that she was on the verge of suicide. "I literally had his pain medication, a bunch of pills, in my hand," she says.

Then, Denise says she felt the pills being knocked from her hand and heard the words of her late son in her head. "He said, 'Mom, I was here as a gift for you, and you have to go on with your life,'" she says. "I felt his presence around me—that warmth, that comforting feeling of someone standing with you."
Louise congratulates Denise's ability to forgive.

Denise says dealing with the twin blows of her son dying and her husband leaving left her with so much pain and so many questions. "It's hard to see that you can do something more with your life. You think God doesn't love you, and why are you going through all these things?"

While watching the movie You Can Heal Your Own Life, based on Louise's book, Denise says she found herself relating to the main character—a woman who was completely withdrawn from the world. "I saw her and I thought, 'Oh, my God. That's me,'" she says.

The film made her realize that she needed to forgive her husband, which she did on his birthday. "I said, 'Good morning. I just want to wish you a happy birthday and hope you're having a beautiful life because I know I am. And I know I'm on that path,'" she says. "It was like a weight lifted from me."

Louise says Denise should prepare herself to live again. "You have no idea what's in store for you," she says. "The most wonderful adventures are coming."
Susan asks a question.

Susan from the audience asks for clarification on the difference between an intention and a wish or dream.

Cheryl says the biggest difference between the two is how they originate. "A wish is often coming from what isn't working in your life. Like, 'I wish I would win the lottery because I'm in debt. I wish I would meet a partner because I'm lonely and I don't feel comfortable living alone.'"

"An intention is a soul goal, not a head goal," she says. "My prayer is always, 'If this is in the highest and best interest for me and those around me, then please allow it to happen.' And that sort of is a humble way of saying it's not just about me and what my head thinks because I'm a physical being and I'm having a physical experience. It is also about me and this greater energy, this greater creative force, and that's where an intention is set from."

Martha says she has an even simpler way of knowing whether something is a wish or an intention. "What I found is that if you really want something, it makes you feel physically stronger," she says. "And if you think you want it but you don't really want it, it makes you feel physically weaker."
Dominique and Brittany have vision boards.

One thing many parents wonder is how they can raise children to grow up living with of the law of attraction.

Twelve-year-old Dominique and 9-year-old Brittany are sisters already are! They've even created their own vision boards. "The law of attraction is a way of life. The way you think. The way you react to situations," Dominique says. "If you're a positive person, you get positive results. If you're a negative person, you get negative results."

"On my vision board are some of my long-term goals," Brittany says. She's included things like becoming a fashion designer, visiting the Great Wall of China and meeting Johnny Depp.

Dominique says the law of attraction is good for more than just long-term goals. "During school, I try to keep a positive attitude with my friends," she says. "Because I notice that if I'm negative, then I'll attract negative things and negative people during the day. So I try to keep a positive attitude."

Dominique's vision board includes places she would like to go in her life, like Rome and England, and people she wants to meet, like the Dalai Lama. One of her vision board goals just came true…she wanted to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show!