A few years ago I heard people in the Internet marketing circles talking about “The Secret.”
I was told it was an amazing film featuring successful people demonstrating a “law of the universe” that had been hidden from the majority of mere mortals.
Starring in this film based on a book by Rhonda Byrne were such people as Joe Vitale, James Arthur Ray, Michael Beckwith, David Schirmer and Bill Harris, among otthers.
I decided to watch the film to see what it was all about.
What I saw, and continue to observe, boggles my mind.
The film was well-produced. It is a documentary-style presentation that intersperses interviews with the so-called luminaries with an unfolding of the secret through animations and cinematic-style re-enactments.
So what IS The Secret?
It’s just the New Age movement rehashed and repackaged for a new generation.
Now they are calling it “The Law of Attraction.”
Here’s what About.com states about this so-called “law.”
The Law of Attraction is one of the better known universal laws. The theory behind the Law of Attraction is that we create our own realities. We attract things we want and we also attract things we don’t want. We attract the people in our lives, the stuff in our homes, and the money in our bank accounts through our thoughts and feelings.
When our beliefs are limited, we attract limited wealth and compromise our well-being. When we believe anything is possible, the sky’s the limit. In fact, you can break through that glass roof on the sky with your miraculous positive thoughts. When we focus on the “lack of” we are creating a less-than reality. But, if focus on being abundant and happy we will enjoy a luxurious and glorious reality.
In other words, if you think good thoughts than good things will come your way.
Dr. Michael Beckwith tells us “It has been proven scientifically now that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought.”
Really? Proven? And where exactly is the evidence for this?
In the film, we are told that we can “manifest” people and things (including money) into our lives just by thinking about them. The universe is portrayed as a magical genie that wants to give us whatever we want.
The downside of the law of attraction is not good.
Apparently we also have the power to “manifest” bad things into our lives. Illness, unemployment and abuse all come our way when we don’t appropriate the law of attraction properly.
There is a three-step process to getting what you want from the universe.
Those concepts are lifted directly from the Bible. Only when you apply them to the philosophy taught in the Secret, they don’t mean the same thing.
Secret. Manifest. Attraction.
What a load of nonsense. Utter tripe. And incredibly damaging to the dignity of human beings.
But Joel…. Oprah, Ellen and Larry King have had stars of The Secret on their shows! Doesn’t that prove that it is real?
No. Fools of a feather fly together, my friends.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with positive thinking. In fact, I believe approaching our day and our life circumstances on the sunny side is a great idea!
We should celebrate the good times and have our fill of the goodness of God, His Creation and those we are privileged to share it with.
But life is also full of trials and tribulations.
Homelessness, poverty, famine, bullies, political squabbles, natural disasters, sickness, disease, rape, incest, and ultimately, death.
According to Law of Attraction, your limiting beliefs and thoughts “attract” a tornado to wipe out your home. You “attract” disease and illness into your life.
Those who live in some third world countries have “attracted” filthy water and starvation.
Are you cursed with a life-threatening illness? According to the Law of Attraction, the Universe is just giving you what you asked for.
And according to Joe Vitale, rape victims “attract” the heinous crime to themselves.
Doesn’t this make your blood boil?
This makes me incredibly angry, because it blames the victim. I find it abusive to those who need our compassion, not an explanation for how they brought this terrible thing upon themselves.
Interestingly enough, the law of attraction doesn’t seem to be working too well for some of those who appeared in the film.
Rhonda Byrne is being sued by the film’s co-creator. Apparently Rhonda isn’t paying him his fair share of the royalties. And that’s just one lawsuit again her.
Did Ms. Byrne “attract” these legal battles?
James Arthur Ray was arrested and is being tried for the death of three people who lost their lives in an Arizona sweat-lodge gone terribly awry in 2009.
Did Mr. Ray “attract” death into his life? Or were those who died responsible for the disaster that befell them in Arizona?
Joe Vitale says there are “no exceptions” to the Law of Attraction.
Hmmmm… No exceptions.
The trigger for this article was an advertisement I just ran across on a web site. It was a photo of Joe Vitale with the question that asked if I was using the LoA properly in my life.
I clicked to see how Joe would determine if I was “using” the law properly.
I took a 21-question quiz and was assessed.
Turns out I am using the LoA just fine. But I could improve if I signed up a for a free coaching call.
When pigs fly, my friends. (There WAS an article about a sow that flew first class on a jet recently, but that’s NOT what I am talking about…)
Over the past few years I have spoken at a number of events where I have shared the stage with proponents of the LoA (I’m tired of spelling it out. Can I just use this acronym instead?)
I am amazed because they seem to be intelligent individuals. Yet it illustrates the vast difference between knowledge and wisdom.
I don’t doubt their sincerity. I am certain there are those who are hucksters preying on people’s weaknesses. I am not accusing any individual of anything. I AM stating that their teachings are false and should be disregarded.
What pains me is to see people seeking direction for their lives and falling for LoA in massive numbers. It’s an age-old story. People are looking for answers. They are fast to latch on to solutions that are easily digestable and packaged.
The movie and the book were both huge best-sellers.
Why has The Secret been so successful? And how did LoA become something that so many have embraced as a life-guiding philosophy?
My theory is that it provides an easy explanation to how life works. And more importantly, it is very empowering to the individual. It gives people a sense of control, even if it is nothing more than self-delusion.
So are you ready for the truth?
Here it is.
There is NO “law of attraction.” (I have stripped it of its power by not capitalizing it any longer!)
There is, however, a law of sowing and reaping.
It comes not from thinking, but from DOING.
When you do things that bring value to others, you are sowing good seed. Good seed leads to a harvest of good fruit. This is why I sign off my emails with “do good stuff.” Do enough good stuff and good stuff comes back at you.
In contrast, if you are selfish, greedy and hurtful to others, you are probably going to have a rough go of things in life.
Does that mean good things don’t happen to bad people?
No! By no means.
And in the same way, does it mean that bad things don’t happen to good people?
Of course not.
Life is full of challenges. To explain those challenges away as something as simplistic as the universe responding to our thoughts is the height of silliness. It is an immature approach to the harsh realities of a world. Perhaps that is why it is easily accepted by those seeking easy answers.
But The Secret doesn’t stand up to any rational scrutiny. And those responsible for teaching it are accountable for misleading so many astray. All the while they are filling their bank accounts at the expense of others.
I have not attracted my successes any more than I have attracted difficulties in my life.
Successes are the result of hard work, good decisions, right choices, and I believe, a healthy helping of Divine intervention.
Difficulties and the seemingly negative things in my life are often the result of bad choices of my own. And sometimes bad things happen just because bad things happen. I’m sure the victims of Katrina would vouch for me on this one.
You can NOT control the universe, no matter how much you try. Can’t do it. Not gonna happen, friend.
What you CAN control is how you think, and more importantly, how you behave.
We act on that which we believe to be true Right thinking LEADS to right choices. Right choices frequently lead to good results.
What can you do today to make a difference that really counts? What behavior and choices can you make that will bring about positive results?
The REAL secret is not a secret at all. Life is what you make it. Go out there and do good stuff!
I’m sure I will “attract” some comments with this post. What do you have to say?