Sunday, 25 October 2009

What Secret?

I suppose that the craze surrounding the book and film The Secret is wearing off, but I still feel like presenting a few thoughts about the whole thing. When it came out, I went online and looked at the movie trailor and the author's website - at least I think it was her. I didn't like the hyped up energy and the way the woman in question was fixated on money. "I became a millionaire, and then a billionaire - all thanks to The Secret" I recall being her statement. Well yes... a nicely wrapped up ultra positive New Age book that encourages people to catch at a straw in a world full of stress and uncertainty is likely to get a lot of buyers. It screamed sensationalism to me. Anyway, I finally got a chance to get the book out of the library as it had been translated to Swedish. I was curious to see what exactly is in it, though I had a hunch from the very start that there was nothing that special about the concept of the law of attraction. Here is what I think.

First of all, notice that the message is packaged in a romantic sort of way that is sure to appeal to a lot of people. It reminds me of The Da Vinci Code. One thing that immediately struck me as phoney was the way the author makes references to people of the past and claims that they all knew about the secret. Where is the evidence? There is none. All that you get are some very obscure quotes by some of the people listed (Einstein, Emerson and so on) that tell you absolutely nothing and that probably were retracted from a context that had nothing to do with the message of this book. She also claims that all these famous thinkers and scientists owed their success to knowing the secret. In other words, they believed their way to success. Come on! It sure takes a bit of talent and education as well! Really! The book is really talking to us as if we are children who need to be convinced that the author knows what she's talking about and we have no right to contest this because we're somehow lesser knowing. Another thing that made me raise my eyebrows was the loose way of using the term "Spirit". The author claims that spirit is like the genie in the bottle, all ready and prepared to fulfil all of your most ardent wishes. Later on there is some talk about humans really being equal to God and thus in the position of creating the reality they want, but it's really not very good literature. Spirit as I understand it is way beyond our comprehension and certainly a very active part of existance, rather than a passive force that a human ego can control and demand.

I was a bit taken aback that the universe was likened to a postorder catalogue. All you have to do is choose your wish and send out the order. While I don't necessarily object to the profanity of the metaphor, I do think that it brings down a very complex process to a very banal level. What I feel is that there is nothing all that wrong with the concept about the law of attraction per se, the problem is that it's only representing a narrow scope of reality. Perhaps it does act as an eye opener to people who have never thought in terms of spiritual "truths" before. What I see as problematic is that people usually get stuck on the most obvious statements of this truth such as "abundance is your birthright" and "you must only think positive thoughts and make sure you're state of mind is always one of happiness and well being". These act as life buoys in an uncertain world and tend to freeze into dogmas. I have met people online who have been very eager to push these "truths" onto me although it actually does state in the book that you must never do that as it's only serving the ego. Other people have been very depressed because they failed to manifest their wishes and feel very guilty that they have negative thoughts. What I see as a big danger apart from egoistic self-gratification is severe self-blame! It actually does say in the book that you should embrace all of your feelings but it's not really coming out that clearly. The overshadowing statement is basically that you must not give into negative or doubtful thinking and feeling (this is being repeated many times though in fact there is a passage saying that one positive thought will outrule many negative ones...). This is a ticket to a very hyped up sort of positivity that is likely to undermine the work a person might be doing in order to attract what they want. You cannot command your subconscioius, negative undercurrents to disappear magically!

The bottomline is; you cannot make certain negative tendencies go away just by thinking positive thoughts. And what I really want to stress is that there is no short cut to deep insight and wisdom. I myself am the first to admit that I only learn the hard way! I simply cannot imagine myself going around faking my inner life to sound like a prayer wheel of repetitive, lovey dovey thoughts and feelings that are only about the wonderful things I have in this moment. "I have a lot of money, I have the perfect partner, I have perfect health..." are examples of the sort of affirmations that were actually very popular back in the early 1990s already. If it works for some; fine... obviously everyone must do what they feel is working for them. I just think that it would require an easily suggestive mind in order to work, and that it would feel highly unnatural. This is only my personal opinion, of course!

I think that a big problem with this sort of thinking is also the idea that all we need to do is know what we want and then ask for it. I believe that we rarely know what we truly need, and that this is way more important than wanting things. Of course, some people are here on Earth with a purpose of discovering ways in which they can attain a higher level of happiness and success, but if you're on a serious spiritual path I really don't see "wanting" as very relevant. I like to believe that I am always guided by the more higher spiritual part of me, and so whatever comes my way is there as a challenge that helps me gain a higher level of wisdom. I don't think we learn much of any value from a very easy life. If this was the case, we would probably not be on Earth, but in some other realm where there are less opportunities to experience the friction between polarities. Every dilemma that I manage to solve leaves me feeling more accomplished, and this is a deep experience that has little to do with the puny "little" self, the ego. Of course there is always the option of using spiritual insight as a way of growing the ego, but I think that the more humbled you are by life and the incredibly complex forces at work, the less likely you are to want that. I have to say that it wasn't long ago that I had an experience of surrendering part of my will to Spirit and it caused a surge of Kundalini (a strong energy current) in me.

I think that claiming that you can keep your weight only by thinking that you have your perfect weight is a bit strange. I understand the concept, and maybe it does work for some. In my case my weight depends on what I eat and how much I exercise. To manically focus on keeping it is not really my thing. I also have to say that I got through University because I believed I would. But I also got through it because it was quite important in terms of my self-esteem and my life's purpose. Manifesting something like that "just because" doesn't make any sense to me. There are also lots of people who believe they have tons of money and end up heavily indebted. Of course, if you really did what The Secret tells you would also make sure that you don't believe in being indebted or somehow change your energetic frequency to match a state of true abundance. But really... we can certainly try but how realistic is it that we would be able to juggle with so many elements that are actually subconscious, for the most part? Better, methinks, to just take a step at a time and see how things really work out on this level of reality..?

I also like to stress that people do need to talk about their own hardships, and not keep it all to themselves as The Secret suggests. It's simply very bad psychology! Dwelling on negative things incessantly is a different issue... still there's a time for everything. You also cannot force feelings of love so all the imperative talk about having to feel massive amounts of love all the time is not realistic either. First and foremost, be kind to yourself!

Some time ago I met someone who really fancied me. It seemed that I represented all the things that this guy had asked for (he confessed to having pleaded to the universe). However, there were other things there as well: I also brought a host of challenges into this guy's life. In the end he refused the good as well as the bad and went back to a more comfortable lifestyle. Perhaps I was a manifestation in this person's life? The thing is, that could very well be the case because we certainly are not islands and so oftentimes we act out a role that someone else is needing to experience. I'm sure I learnt important lessons from all this myself. But this person obviously didn't really know what he wanted, and so the scenario had to collapse. I also don't want to pretend to know exactly what was really involved in the drama. Only time and deep contemplation may reveal some of the reasons behind the encounter, but some of it may remain embedded in the unconscious forever. All I can do is try and do the right thing, which in my vocabulary means being intuitive and following thoughts and feelings with utter attention and discernment.

I also wish to give another example of the complexity of life. I became friends with a very nice woman in the spring and was hopeful about the contact. One day she texted me something very short and dismissive. I was quite hurt, and didn't hear from her all summer. Recently I deleted her from my list of Facebook friends. Suddenly I received a sincere apology from her. She was asking to be my friend and explained what exactly had happened. There was no reason for me not to accept the apology and so there is a chance that we will be able to carry on our deep conversations. But the point is; I didn't manifest her return, in fact I had negative thoughts about her. There was no direct law of attraction implied other than that me taking a decisive step made her realize that she was attracted enough to our friendship so as not to let it go!

Finally, I want to say that I think the law of attraction is really quite common sense (don't most of all realize already that we attract certain things into our lives depending on who we are?) and not some hushhush "secret"! Perhaps it's just me but I really like to live life in a natural way. To me it does not mean living an unconscious zombie like existance (cf. the state preceding the awakening suggested by The Secret), but being attentive to all that goes on inside and outside of me. It's relaxing into the real me the way this "me" is manifested by Spirit in this time and place. I don't want to control my environment or make other people become something that I want through some idea about manifesting the perfect people to surround you with. It's not easy, but that's my personal challenge.
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