This article is about an important concept in Abraham-Hicks’ account of the Law of Attraction: the 17-second (68-second) rule.
KEYWORDS: 17-second rule, 68-second rule, Abraham-Hicks, activating thoughts, beliefs, dominant thoughts, emotions, feelings, focusing, law of attraction, philosophy, point of attraction, psychology.
First published Mon 24 Jan 2022; substantially revised Mon 9 May 2022 (Rev. 2).
Abraham-Hicks mentions the 17-second rule many times in their workshops and lectures, and also in some of their books.
So I will in this blog post try to outline how the 17-second rule (and the 68-second rule) works, and describe how we can deliberately use it in our attempts to achieve a more satisfying experience.
A ‘Beamer’ of Energy
According to Abraham-Hicks every single person is a “beamer” of energy.
We are like light-houses that beam our thoughts and vibrations all around. Or we can think of ourselves as radio antennas which broadcast our thoughts as signals into the ether.
In either case, our thoughts, right now, determine our emotional state of affairs, and act as a magnet for the law of attraction to act upon.
It’s Right Now
It is important to stress the idea of “right now”. The only time in which you can achieve any change to your vibration is right now.
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that “right now” equals one second. Then we would have 60 “right now” moments each minute to care about, in order to improve our emotional status. And we would have 3600 “right now” moments each hour, etc.
So there are a lot of “right now” moments to care about, for a serious practitioner of the law of attraction.
Note that you very well may be thinking about a nice thing that happened yesterday, or about a nice thing that you want to be happening in the future. But in either case, you are doing it right now. And it is this that Abraham-Hicks calls “activation” or “re-activation”.
Activate a Thought, or Not?
The idea is that we can choose to activate or re-activate any story or event that we have experienced, or wish to experience. This is important especially if we are often revisiting terrible experiences, or are pondering terrible scenarios for the future.
By choosing not to activate those scary memories, or those worrisome future scenarios, those negative vibrations linked to those stories will gradually fade out, and then disturb our total point of attraction less and less.
So the general recommendation is therefore to avoid all thought that is negative (in every “right now” moment!), whether it concerns historical events or future scenarios, and instead always think about good things, as much as possible.
The 17 Second Rule
The underlying principle of the 17 second rule is that there is a minimum amount of time currently required for the Law of Attraction to start working.
By holding a certain thought, or idea, or story, for 17 seconds, then the Law of Attraction will “bounce back” to you another thought, idea, or story, that matches the vibration of the original one.
The general functionality of such a “bounce back” by the Law of Attraction is described by Abraham-Hicks in their Ask and It Is Given (p. 109):
“With only a few seconds of focusing your attention on a subject, you activate the vibration of that subject within you, and immediately the Law of Attraction begins to respond to that activation.”
So by focusing our attention on a particular thought, idea, or story, and keeping that attention for a number of seconds, we gather enough energy for the Law of Attraction to react.
Focusing Gets Easier with Time
In the beginning, when trying to focus upon a new thought, idea, or story, it may not be entirely easy to keep one’s focus over time. But that will be less difficult over time.
Thus, Abraham-Hicks say in their Ask and It Is Given (p. 109):
“The longer you keep your attention focused on something, the easier it becomes for you to continue to focus upon it . . .”
So the deal is then that if we only can keep it going, it will be easier and easier to maintain it. But why is that so?
The reason is given in that same book (p. 109):
“. . . because you are attracting, through the Law of Attraction, other thoughts or vibrations that are the essence of the thought you began with.”
Therefore, if we only can get our “thought train” going, we will practically experience less resistance the more we focus on it. For the Law of Attraction will help us, by sending us more and more similar thoughts.
The Two Basic Components
Now, for the Law of Attraction to be set in motion, there are thus two basic components required: enough focusing, and enough time.
So one criterion is that you need to focus your attention in such a way as to produce a clear message or idea. If your attention is not focused enough (perhaps your thoughts are all over the place?), then the Law of Attraction will not kick in.
The other criterion is that you need to extend the period of time that you are focusing on that message or idea to the minimum prescribed time. And if you for some reason don’t keep that focusing up for the minimum prescribed time, then the Law of Attraction will not kick in.
First Step: 17 Seconds
The current time limit of 17 seconds for the Law of Attraction to be engaged is mentioned by Abraham-Hicks in several places.
In Ask and It Is Given they say (p. 109; my square brackets):
“Within 17 seconds of focusing on something, a matching vibration becomes activated [by the grace of the Law of Attraction].”
This time limit is also mentioned in The Amazing Power of Deliberate Action (p. 175):
“. . . when you hold a thought for as little as 17 seconds, another thought like it will join it.”
And in Money, and the Law of Attraction, they also confirm that the time limit is 17 seconds (p. 224):
“And when you offer a point of attraction for as little as 17 seconds, the Law of Attraction kicks in.”
By these quotes we can see that Abraham-Hicks’s account of the details of the “operation” of the Law of Attraction is a consistent one: we need a minimum of 17 seconds to get the Law of Attraction going.
The 68 Second Rule
However, according to Abraham-Hicks, 17 seconds alone is not enough to really set things in motion, in terms of delivering tangible (gross physical) manifestations.
So although fine-physical manifestations, such as thoughts, feelings, or emotions may be quicker to manifest, gross physical manifestations will typically take longer time to show up.
Therefore, in order to get some serious movement in your vibration, you will need at least 68 seconds.
So Abraham-Hicks point out in Ask and It Is Given that (p. 109):
“And if you manage to stay purely focused upon any thought for as little as 68 seconds, the vibration is powerful enough that its manifestation begins.”
This is also confirmed in Money, and the Law of Attraction, where they say that after 68 seconds (p. 224):
“. . . things begin to move enough that a discerning eye can see the manifestation has begun.”
Note that the phrase “discerning eye” most probably should not be taken literally. As I understand it, it is not possible for the practitioner himself or herself to visually see any change.
But one way of thinking of this might be to say that it is Abraham-Hicks’s “non-physical eyes” that can see that the manifestation has begun.
Another way of interpreting the phrase “discerning eye” might be to take it in the sense of an “emotional eye”: the practitioner might be able to, if done right, emotionally feel that there has been a shift in the vibration.
Tell a Wonderful Story, Not Like It Is
The idea here is that we should always tell ourselves, and others, wonderful, uplifting stories, so that we can get happier. If our life is already wonderful, sure, then we can tell it like it is.
But many people experience a lot of not-so-wonderful things. And in those cases we should not tell it like it is. Rather, we should edit our stories, so that they become more wonderful and positive, leaving both ourselves and others in a positive emotional state of affairs.
So the challenge is to create good stories and thoughts and ideas, and then keep telling them for 68 seconds in order to get some substantial movement going. This is especially important for our daily self-talk, whether verbal or “within” ourselves. As Abraham-Hicks says in Money, and the Law of Attraction (p. 224):
“68 seconds of telling it the way you want it to be rather than telling it like it is. Are there things in your life that are as you want them to be? Keep telling that story. Are there things in your life that are not as you want them to be? Don’t tell that story.”
The Dominant Thought
Another important concept is the idea of a “dominant thought”. As Abraham-Hicks says in Ask and It Is Given (pp. 109-110):
“When you repeatedly return to a pure thought, maintaining it for at least 68 seconds, in a short period of time (hours in some cases or a few days in others) that thought becomes a dominant thought. And once you achieve a dominant thought, you will experience matching manifestations until you change it.”
So the idea here seems to be that by repeatedly returning to a certain story or idea or thought and each time doing at least 68 seconds of focused attention on it, the effects will soon be manifested.
Note, however, that the word “manifestation” is used in many different capacities by Abraham-Hicks. Surely, money and cars and condominiums can be counted as “manifestations”. But the idea here in this quotation should most probably be understood to mean that manifestations such as thoughts and emotions will be experienced by the sincere practitioner within a short time.
Alternatively, it may also point to physical manifestations if the subject matter is new and fresh, and non-resistant in nature. But if a person has lots of resistance in regard to a certain topic, and perhaps have struggled with it for many years, it is extremely unlikely that physical representations will appear in that person’s life within hours, or a few days.
According the standard Abraham-Hicks philosophy, “You get what you think about, whether you want it or not” (Ask and It Is Given, p. 110).
So if we want to be successful with the Law of Atttraction, we must be very deliberate in our thoughts, and really try to spin every story in the most positive and uplifting way.
And we should always remember that truth is not so important, but that positive emotion is the whole deal. Then, we will experience more and more happiness in our life.
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004), Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires. Foreword by Wayne W. Dyer. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Amazing Power of Deliberate Intent: Living the Art of Allowing. Foreword by Louise L. Hay. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
- Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2008), Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
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