“The law of attraction is a law of nature. It is impersonal and it does not see good things or bad things. It is receiving your thoughts and reflecting back to you those thoughts as your life experience. The law of attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about.” – From the book
Last night, my husband and I watched the DVD version of The Secret and were incredibly moved and inspired. However, I’ll write about the DVD in a separate review (ASIN: B000K8LV1O). I will say that I feel the DVD is superior to the book, and I’ll share why in this review.
An attractive book of 198-pages, The Secret is a deft compilation of direct quotes from the movie version, as well as some connecting thoughts provided by Ms. Byrne. The Secret, according to the author, provides the key to eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible. The Secret heralded discovery, advancement and prosperity through millennia, but was largely withheld from the public. Luminaries like Einstein, Jesus, Plato, Newton, Emerson, Lincoln, Ford—they all knew the secret and applied it accordingly. So what’s the secret? The law of attraction, which, as you probably know, is not new to anyone familiar with New Age/consciousness ideology. The Secret culls wise, practical insights from noted authors, teachers, and life-coaches that show readers how thoughts create reality. That is, what you think literally becomes your life. Every person, every disease, every relationship, every social situation—all are the result of the law of attraction. You cannot behold or experience *anything* that is not the result of your “vibration” magnetizing to a corresponding manifestation. Some of the exceptional contributors to The Secret include Michael Beckwith (founder of Agape International Spiritual Center often featured in What Is Enlightenment? Magazine), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Hale Dwoskin (The Sedona Method), John Gray (Mars and Venus), Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God), Fred Alan Wolf (Dr. Quantum), and many others. Here are some compelling excerpts from The Secret:
“This is really fun. It’s like having the Universe as your catalogue. You flip through it and say, ‘I’d like to have this experience and I’d like to have that product and I’d like to have a person like that.’ It is You placing your order with the Universe. It’s really that easy.” – Dr. Joe Vitale
“When you visualize then you materialize. Here’s an interesting thing about the mind: we took Olympic athletes and had them run their event only in their mind, and then hooked them up to sophisticated biofeedback equipment. Incredibly, the same muscles fired in the same sequence when they were running the race in their mind as when they were running it on the track. How could this be? Because the mind can’t distinguish whether you’re really doing it or whether it’s just a practice. If you’ve been there in the mind, you’ll go there in the body.” – Dr. Dr. Denis Waitley
“There is no blackboard in the sky on which God as written your purpose, your mission in life…your purpose is what you say it is. Your mission is the mission you give yourself. Your life will be what you create it as, and no will stand in judgment of it, now or ever.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Without exception, every contributor to The Secret offers transcendent yet usable wisdom for enhancing well-being. That is, except the author/editor herself. In my opinion, she basically ruined the book for me with two shallow, accusatory contributions that have no place in this incredible book. And, it’s these kind of Western superficialities that have ruined law of attraction books for me in the past.
After being very “high” after watching the DVD, I decided to read the book. I was halfway through when I read this about weight loss, and received a deafening record scratch in my head:
“The most common thought that people hold, and I held it too, is that food was responsible for my weight gain. That is a belief that does not serve you, and in my mind now it is complete balderdash! Food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your *thought* that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight….IF YOU SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT, DO NOT OBSERVE THEM, BUT IMMEDIATELY SWITCH YOUR MIND TO THE PICTURE OF YOU IN YOUR PERFECT BODY AND FEEL IT” (caps mine for emphasis).
It is this kind of stupid, shallow, prejudicial comment that turns people off the law of attraction! She didn’t need to include this inane section in the book, for the wisdom offered by the OTHER contributors clearly spelled out how to attract what you want, cultivate internal joy, radiate gratitude, and so on. What the author has done is what many New Agers (and religious leaders) have done: try to fault readers/disciples by throwing on some “New Age guilt” (as Joan Borysenko would say). This is not new. There were infirmed people in Jesus day and the judgmental, cruel religious leaders at the time—the Pharisees—wanted to know “Who sinned? The boy or his parents?” Jesus replied NEITHER—it was for the glory of God (because the child eventually became healed).
**And just in case you don’t think this kind of attitude causes guilt and suffering in others, let me share a snippet from an email I got LESS THAN FOUR HOURS AGO from an 18 year old agoraphobic (doesn’t leave the house), anxious, depressed teen who needed to confide in someone: “Then I keep thinking okay, you caused all of this because that is what Law of Attraction says, etc. I just feel worse about myself.”**
But what is perhaps more disturbing is that Ms. Byrne suggests “turning away” from the overweight and implies with her other comments that “fat thoughts” make “fat people”—and that thin is the ideal. Hello?! Fat/thin is a cultural thing. Go to Mexico and you’ll find that roundedness is revered. During the 16th and 17th centuries, voluptuous, curved women were seen as ideal because it represented WEALTH. (Famed painter Peter Paul Rubens created breathtaking portraits of full figured women, which is where we get the term “Rubenesque”.) Ms. Byrne’s ignorance is a reflection of Western pop-culture that says stick thin is ideal (she thought 143 pounds was “fat”!). One could just as easily reason “A full figured woman doesn’t think FAT thoughts—she thinks thoughts of ABUNDANCE!” It’s all a matter of how you look at it—and how you feel about yourself. But this kind of prejudice—the only kind that is still perfectly acceptable in Western society—has no place in this book in my opinion. One could easily argue, according to the author’s logic, that heroin chic is a reflection of thoughts of depravity, scarcity, and self-hatred!
She also states that those who experience widespread calamity (tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine, diseases like AIDS, etc.) experience it because they are “vibrating” in exact alignment with these disasters (such as thinking they could be in the wrong place at the wrong time). I’d like to see Ms. Byrne walk amidst the AIDS suffers in Africa or those in Louisiana who survived Hurricane Katrina and say those things. Oh, wait! That’s right. According to her we shouldn’t OBSERVE such nasty things. PuhLEEZE! Honey, you can vibrate at a high level, with love and compassion, and NOT be “negative”—and still offer solace, encouragement and aid. Hell, even Mother Theresa and her amazing work with the lepers was featured in the film! Duh! This kind of stupidity and coldness is what turns people off to the law of attraction. Maybe THAT is why more people “don’t know about it”, Ms. Byrne—because The Secret has been tainted by egos like yours instead of left alone to speak for itself! Maybe The Secret has not been hidden, only ignored, because of the chilling narcissism that gets thrown in the mix—contradicting the very wisdom traditions (like the New Testament) that you conveniently hijack to prove the law of attraction! If Ms. Byrne hadn’t contributed those ten or so pages to The Secret, the book would be excellent. How she comes across in those passages—how she “vibrates”—doesn’t jive with the rest of the wonderfully sage, revolutionary, and compassionate revelations offered by the other contributors. So I’d recommend—VERY HIGHLY—that you get The Secret DVD instead. It isn’t marred by stupidity, and is an utterly amazing work (which I’ll review as well). However, if you saw the DVD and want a handy reminder of much of the ideas shared in the movie, the book would be a great companion.
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