|02-16-2007, 08:22 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Criticism of "the Secret"
personally, I believe:
a. the mind is much much much more powerful and robust than we give it credit for and yes it does operate in ways outside the five senses...
b. that your reality is greatly influenced by your thoughts...but I think Dan Milliman - who is by no means a 'skeptic' about spirituality... and the blogger make some good points.
Peaceful Warrior Blog
Some weeks ago, a young man wrote to us, declaring, “In six months I’m going to have three million dollars, the woman of my dreams, and a beautiful house – because I’ve seen . . . The Secret!
The Secret, for those of you who haven’t yet heard, has become an internet phenomenon. It began as an Australian television production featuring a number of well-known authors and pundits, speaking about the “Law of Attraction.” This law says that we attract or manifest into our lives what we think about or focus on or earnestly desire.
As fate would have it, the producers, in a stroke of foresight, ended up delivering this 90-minute program via internet. One can go to the web site, watch a dramatic teaser, sign up, pay a mere $4.95, and download the program to watch to one’s heart’s content — to learn “The Secret.”
I’m not surprised by the popularity of this program. Magical thinking has huge appeal for many – especially when it intersects with ideas from quantum physics and metaphysical science.
In this respectful critique, I’m going to first express what I genuinely like about the program:
I find much of the program up-beat, good hearted, encouraging. It also has excellent production values, cinematography, effects, and sound. And the editing is excellent. I’m especially impressed by the cutting-edge method of delivery — internet streaming — ushering in a new era of movies on demand with the click of a mouse.
I also like the message that what we bring into our lives begins with a vision, a longed-for aspiration — a good reminder for those of us who haven’t yet stretched the wings of possibility and allowed ourselves to embrace higher possibilities. If The Secret opens the way to expanded dreams, it serves a useful purpose.
What concerns me, however, are the program’s primary suppositions. The message, repeated in different words by the various guests, is that if we simply intend and visualize and dream big enough, we can “manifest” all our dreams — effortlessly, magically, mystically.
However, this “Law of Attraction” does not, in my view, qualify as a law at all. In my book, The Laws of Spirit, I present twelve spiritual laws (including, to name a few, the laws of balance, choices, process, faith . . . action, surrender, and unity) — laws which apply consistently and universally to everyday life. This quality of consistency is essential to any law, and differentiates it from proverbs, principles, or aphorisms, which may or may not apply. In other words, a law works every time here on Earth, much like the law of gravity.
In any case, this “Law of Attraction,” as taught many decades ago by metaphysicians like Catherine Ponder and others, is certainly a positive and expansive idea. But dreams, desires and visions are only the beginning — they must be followed by focused effort over time – something barely mentioned in the “Secret” production.
Thomas Edison wrote, “We often miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” It has the ring of truth, doesn’t it? But suggesting that we need to work hard over time to achieve our goals doesn’t sell well. It isn’t sexy or fascinating, or sound much like a “Secret.” Common sense rarely does.
In “The Secret,” we personally witness a little boy who wishes and hopes for a bicycle—he thinks about it, visualizes a bike, cuts out pictures from a magazine. And lo and behold, one day he opens a door and there is his new bike! Personally, I would have been more drawn to see him walking a paper route, or doing chores to earn some money, or at least asking his parents directly for a special Christmas gift. Which reminds me of a story I relate in Living on Purpose:
Louie goes to church every Sunday and prays to God, “Dear Lord, I’ve been a good and devout man for many years, living according to your Laws, doing acts of charity, serving the poor, supporting my family. So please, please, let me win the lottery just once!” He repeats this plea every week for years, but his entreaties go unanswered. So Louie starts to pray to win the lottery every night and every day. Until one day, he hears a voice thunder down from the heavens: “Louie, will you at least go half-way with me and buy a ticket?”
That’s all I’m suggesting — a simple point ignored by “The Secret” — go to the effort to buy a ticket. Or as an Arabic sage once said, “Trust in God . . . but tie your camel.”
So if you wish to be successful, dream big, but start small — then connect the dots. In other words, start with a vision, then take baby steps. Neither dreaming nor wishing nor magical secrets get the laundry done.
The biggest issue I have with programs like The Secret (or other idealistic notions such as learning “positive thinking”) is that when their magical methods don’t work, we end up believing that it’s our fault, our lack, our fault. We believe that if we had truly deserved it, or really applied ourselves, or focused more intently, or visualized more clearly with a sincere heart, surely it would have worked.
The Secret, then, with its lovely and uplifting promise, is a foolproof supposition: If we don’t heal, manifest, get what we want, it’s due to our own lack of faith.
Or maybe it’s because we forgot the “taking action” part . . .
There are some successful people who claim to have mastered “The Secret” and who have manifested their dreams and desires. Few of them tell us about their years of struggle and labor and preparation.
By all means strive in the direction of your dreams! Visualize a grand life! Then get to work. While we cannot control the outcomes, we can control our efforts. And by making the effort, we increase the odds of creating a larger life.
I close with my warmest wishes, and with a reminder from Henry David Thoreau: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. Now put foundations under them.”
As a post-script, both for those who mistakenly believe that I support the message of “The Secret,” and also for those who believe I’m being unjustly critical, I offer another articulate blogger’s comments about “The Secret”.
The Secret: Spiritual Cinema?
I just finally got around to watching the whole of this movie that has such buzz in the spiritual community. Yoga teachers are talking about. My friend is at a massage school where the teacher's are suggesting that the class watch it together. Another friend is in a graduate course for Somatic Psychology where the professors think it is an important piece of spiritual cinema……
I've held out for a while, but finally I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about.
Why have I held out you might ask? Two reasons. The first has just three words: What The Bleep. Perhaps you've heard of it? It's that popular spiritual movie funded by the female cult leader who claims to channel a 35,000 year old warrior king from Lemuria (little old red flag for ya there..) and produced by her (his?) students. This film takes bad interpretations of quantum physics, puts them alongside junk science claims of water and it's ability to retain the “energy of thoughts” and then drives towards all sorts of misguided spiritual and psychological conclusions that leave it's audience more confused and ignorant about spirituality, science and the relationship between the two than when they first sat down….presumably scratching their heads and saying “what the bleep?”
My second reason, you innocently ask?
Well that's a little more complicated and has to do with my having been around the spiritual community my entire adult life and being perennially surprised, amused and infuriated with what people call “spiritual” and with the naivete, superficiality and gullibility of most “spiritual” people, as well as the basically banal nature of the material that gets recycled and marketed to it's willing consumers year after year.
The Secret takes the cake though.
Not too much searching online reveals that the movie is part of an elaborate advertising campaign to get people interested in working with the various “teachers” it features. Just like What the Bleep is a recruitment vehicle for Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, The Secret is an infomercial for it's talking heads. On a purely business level - brilliant. Too bad this is the last thing it's target audience actually needs.
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Last edited by dor; 02-16-2007 at 08:36 PM.
|02-16-2007, 09:06 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Of course you have to take some action but if you are on the right path than that action will not be difficult. I think when people think of taking action they picture it being difficult. Life is only as difficult as you make it. Like Steve said in his podcast called "True nature of reality", life is fun to participate in.
|02-16-2007, 09:39 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Outside of Chicago in a very ethnically mixed suburb. Love it.
I watched The Secret and realised that it is nothing new. Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes and others have been teaching the power of positive thinking for many, many years. However for those who are not aware of this premise, I think all the hoopla regarding The Secret will bring positive thinking to them. I have a friend, when I met her she had recently been abandoned by her husband, and was facing the future with five children under the age of six. She wanted a beautiful home with a large yard for her children. She was totally positive about this. I was doubtfull. Within two years she had married, her husband was a teacher who had developed a book of his own for teaching language. She saw the potential to market these books. While working from home, giving birth to two more children, she produced and marketed these books. They now have a business that exports all over the world. She lives in a seven bedroom home, all completely renovaed, with two master suites on an acre across from Manhatten. She is religious and when I brought up a negative she would say that God would take care of it. This was her mode of positive thinking. So I dont think it matters how you get to it, thinking in positive, can do terms will produce results. It may be a tool to make money for the producers of the product (The Secret). I doubt if it can do much harm and it may do some good. I like the idea of not focusing on war, but on peace. As Thick Nat Han said when President Bush was elected the second time, now we must pray for him. Calling the President names and becoming hostile because of his policies will not do any good. Positively feeling peace and kindness just might send enough vibrations into the world to affect a change for the better.
|02-17-2007, 04:54 AM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Yes, it is true. The universe constantly bends itself like crazy to accommodate the wishes of unreasonable people.
Once upon a time, there was an unknown teenager from a small town who decided to be a world-famous entertainer. At 20 years of age, she travelled by herself to New York City, the first time she ever took a plane. When she arrived, she had only 35 dollars in her pocket and knew no one.
But she held on to her intention, and the universe bent like crazy to make her intentions come true. Today, her initial 35 dollars have transformed into USD 325,000,000. That teenager is now the highest-earnest female singer of all time and her name is Madonna.
|02-17-2007, 05:50 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2007
The Secret (of focus, belief)
I agree with many people that the secret is a different way of presenting basic, yet profound Spiritual teachings. Are we one, one with Spirit or God? Does God or Spirit have to slog it out, to earn, or be God or Spirit? I fully agree, staying focused, trusting, and giving full attention to situations arising, resulting in the new creation are paramount. Otherwise its easy to slip into old patterns, habits, ruts (creations), or to lose inspiration, faith. Who has the most will power creativity and drive, the rich happy, successful, fullfilled person, or the alcoholic crawling through bins, finding and eating rotten half chewed leftovers, and sucking on drool encrusted cigarette butts, sleeping in the damp with insects crawling on them? Both take enormous amounts of will and energy. I am stoked that now some people that may have thought they were stuck in a rut, helpless, now have access to information that could dramatically change their situation.
|02-17-2007, 01:21 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
Thoughts...I think your opinion and all the ones you can cut and paste are just that...opinions. I think it depends on your own outlook which opinions resonate with you. I think that both of us could probably find more productive uses of our time than debunking/defending the LOA.
I think I am off to do that right now.
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