I will admit that I’m still put off by the design of the “The Secret” movie. The movie, its message and its producer are also receiving criticism for other reasons, the main one being that it is focused on selfish materialism, the secondary one that it has ripped other people and other books off. And that was partly my criticism, too.
As I said in my August 4 post, there is an old message that constantly gets reintroduced to new audiences. This time around, “The Secret” is the door-opener (or as some snidely say, the info-mercial) to a way of thinking that can truly change your life.
And there’s nothing wrong with wanting more money. The only thing that ever matters is your motive. If you want to get fabulously rich so you can show up former bullies at your next high school reunion, then that is past hurt and anger talking and motivating, and you won’t get the satisfaction even if you get the money. The best way for the Law of Attraction to work, is through selflessness, not selfishness. And why is that? Because the “Law of Attraction” is a name put to the phenomenon in “The Secret”. It really is the Law of Cause and Effect. In physics, there is no action without an opposite and equal reaction. The spiritual law of cause and effect acts no differently; it acts on human behavior vs. physical objects.
This is what is good about “The Secret”. It clearly explains why and how your attitudes produce the life you live. It shows you the cause – your habitual thinking – and it shows you the effect: A world that corresponds to your beliefs. There are non-material examples given, like the one about the gay man who kept experiencing homophobia from others, until he stopped expecting to.
Critics of the movie say it is too superficial, too materialistic. My initial impression was the same, but the movie does go into the mechanics of the mind and the Law of Attraction/Cause and Effect in such a way that any viewer must understand it’s not as simple as wishing, and it’s not just about wishing for money. Money, or the lack of it, can be a powerful motivation for seeking out spiritual solutions – as it was in my life. The other big motivation, from what I’ve seen, is marriage (you thought I was going to say “love”; I’ll get back to why I didn’t).
Let me digress for a moment: I grew up with one woman who had books published by the Rosecrucians (subliminally referred to in “The Secret”, and one of the keepers of it over the centuries, apparantly), and who never complained about money. I then went to live with another woman who did complain about money, and I, as a student, did not have much of the stuff myself. This other woman was my mother and she befriended another woman, D, who was a member of Science of Mind. One day, sharing a meal in a restaurant, D told me that God wants us all to be prosperous. The universe is abundant, she said, and ensures that there is enough for everyone. My Lutheran influence told me this couldn’t be right, so D gave me this analogy:
An oak tree produces, say, 1000 nuts. Of those 1000 nuts, 900 are eaten by the squirrels, 80 by other critters, 10 are rotten, 10 land someplace where they can’t grow, 10 do sprout, but only 5 avoid being eaten and become new trees. Each new tree eventually produces 1000 nuts each. Fivefold the original. And there are new nuts, sprouts and saplings every year. The abundance just keeps going on. There is plenty for the squirrels without destroying the oak tree population, and like the squirrels, we humans can partake of all the abundance without upsetting the system. In fact, if 1000 oaks sprouted every spring, they’d choke off all the other oaks. The oak tree intends to feed squirrels.
D laughed at me when she finished, because she could see the wheels spinning furiously in my head. And they were. Was it really true, that God intends for us to receive easily right here, right now, rather than work hard in this life and receive our reward only in heaven? Is that fair? What kind of god are we talking about, anyway? And how do I get me some of them nuts???
End digression, but now there are questions to be answered.
The scariest thing you can say to someone is, “You create your life.” Why is this scary? Because in the midst of fighting with spouses, of worrying about sick kids and unpaid bills, of dealing with the residue of a less than happy and healthy childhood, the idea that we created all of this for ourselves is simply appalling. And so people get mad at you for saying such a thing.
But it is true that we create our own lives, and here is why: Attitude and perspective. Most of us go around believing that what we see and hear and experience is pretty much what everybody else sees and hears and experience. And yet, when you listen to two witnesses to a bar fight, or to two politicians addressing a local issue, or read about the same event in a conservative newspaper and then a liberal one, you realize that people do not see, hear or experience the world the same. Most of us think nothing of such an expression of difference in reality. After all, we are all in agreement that water is not for walking on unless frozen, and that 2 + 2 = 4.
Are you sure about that? Most of what any of us know, has been handed down systematically to us (through traditions and/or school) by people who had it handed down to them in the same way. In other words, we take an awful lot about our existence for granted, simply because other people do, too.
Think about that for a moment: You see the world the way you do, because you were taught to, and so was everybody else so you get confirmation that the way you see the world is the way most everybody else does.
What attitudes do you have and where did you get them? Here are some that circulate in the reality I am surrounded by:
- Men are dickheads.
- Women are whiny and greedy.
- You can’t trust anybody.
- Being a woman is hell, especially once a month.
- Money talks so get money.
- You may work hard but The Man will always find a way to keep you down.
- There’s nobody out there worth marrying.
- There will never be peace on Earth.
To address the above:
Gender differences have been shown to be far less than personality differences. Make sure you aren’t harboring attitudes that make you automatically assume the worst about a group of people. Look closely at people displaying a behavior you don’t like, and ask if that’s due to their gender or their personality (or even childhood) or just because it reminds you of someone else – perhaps yourself.
Trust is important, and why one doesn’t trust others can be past hurts or projection. Projection is a psychological term meaning that whatever we won’t acknowledge in ourselves, we project onto others. We accuse others of having the very shortcomings (or even strengths) we don’t want to address in ourselves. So, if you suspect people of being thieves, liars, and fakes, and so not worthy of trust, you may want to ask what it is about yourself you feel comes across as a thief, liar or fake. See also below about “The Man”, since that belief often has to do with not trusting the system.
As for trusting politicians, they cannot live up to campaign promises because the nature of government is more akin to a hostage negotiation than anything else (they shouldn’t promise so much, true). As with men and women, it’s really more of a question of the individual’s behavior, rather than their group at large. But the media and our lack of understanding of how politics work make us think we’re being had.
All those female troubles that so many seem to have, have not been a part of my family. I did not grow up with any women who referred to menstruation as “the curse” or other derogatory terms, nor did any of them get other “plumbing” problems. I therefore did not have any expectations of being sabotaged by my own body. Quite the contrary: My body has expressed good health and good healing abilities throughout my life. I do not take any drugs to stay healthy; this has surprised some others my age (46 going on 47 as of this writing). Many of us are surrounded by the health issues of today’s lifestyle: Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and more. We assume that growing old automatically involves pain and illness. But there is research suggesting that illness (and addiction) is a reaction to stress (including emotional stress that can date back to childhood), and there is also evidence that suggests that illnesses in old age appear as early as middle age and are not caused by aging, only exacerbated by it. That stress part is certainly within our own control.
Money does talk – to the greedy. And like junk food, it’s great right then and there, but you want more in a very short while. Most people would rather talk to people, and people do listen. Most folks understand that someone who offers only money, is extremely superficial and even weak. If you do have money, consider what you want to express with it. “An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.” (Henry Ford)
The idea of “The Man” (not to belittle the struggles of minorities) – a person or system with power that won’t give a regular person a break – can be found in many areas of life. For some, it’s as close as a parent or spouse; others see “The Man” as their boss or the company’s CEO; still others see “The Man” as whoever is in charge of running this country (into the ditch); and some see God as “The Man” and feel like they’re being punished for being human. What all of these perceptions have in common, is that they have one thinking like a victim. That in itself will keep you from feeling you have choices and possibilities. You are basically believing that someone else has more power over your happiness in life than you do. Doesn’t that sound just plain wrong to you?
I mentioned above that money and marriage – not love – are big motivators for seeking out spiritual solutions to lack. Why not love? Because people looking for love are usually looking for it in the traditional places: Parents, family and marriage. So what family can’t give, you try to find in a marriage. What most people are really looking for when they say they are looking for love or someone to love is validation. What they really want is to be seen and appreciated and valued and respected, things they probably didn’t get or get enough of during childhood. They want a spouse to make up for what parents couldn’t give. That’s a tall order and it never gets filled completely.
Another adult with his or her own baggage cannot fix your childhood for you. Only you can do that. Most people who set out looking for love in others discover that they must first find it in themselves. Love yourself or you’ll never understand why anybody else would want to love you, and you’ll push them away (see, Law of Attraction at work). You have to be the nurturing, caring, accepting grown-up in your life now, picking up where your parents left off. You have an inner child that needs your adult validation and acceptance, so give yourself that. I’ve been there and done that and it can be done and it feels both liberating and empowering to truly be the adult in my life, and not a neglected child or teenager in an adult body.
Lately, I’ve been reading that phrasing is everything: “War on terror” has nothing peaceful in it or about it. Neither does “Fight for peace”. And stating, “I want peace on Earth” is a tad vague. No deadline. Stating “Peace on Earth” or “We are at and in peace” are more here and now, like a good affirmation. And that’s what was stated in “The Secret”: You must act as if it is already true. It also helps to double-check one’s facts. According to the Washington Post, the number of armed conflicts on our beautiful blue world has steadily decreased since the end of the Cold War. The IRA lay down its arms after 70 years of conflict and bombings. It is far more productive to believe enemies will stop fighting now, than to shrug and say, “It’s always been that way”. “That way” has changed and ceased many times in history, partly because enough people wanted it to.
To sum up most of the above: Be aware of what’s in your mind, of where you got it from. And ask yourself if what you believe and think is really you, is really good for you, is leading to good for you.
There is something else I want to say about using the Law of Attraction, or more correctly, the Law of Cause and Effect: You cannot use it to hurt or hinder someone else. You would be setting up a cause (“stop the other guy”) that will have an effect on you (you get stopped, too). Remember, there are plenty of oak trees and nuts because the Universe is set up so, so you can get your needs met without hindering anybody else in getting their needs met. There is more than enough to go around. (Yes, even food. Food shortages are actually due to a lack of distribution, not a lack of crops.)
“The Secret”‘s critics point out that it can create a “blame the victim” mentality. This is always a risk, much like suggesting that stress-induced illnesses could have been prevented by the patient himself, adding guilt to the list of symptoms. Let me go back to the beginning of this post, where I said that the movie “shows you the cause – your habitual thinking – and it shows you the effect: A world that corresponds to your beliefs.” Now let me say this:
The only thing to do with this knowledge now – if it has stirred up feelings of guilt or remorse or anger – is to say:
The past is past. All I have is this moment and this moment is showing me I can make a better future for myself. I am grateful for my past, for the experiences it has given me. I now move forward into a better life for myself without guilt or blame or remorse. I am fine right where I am, with who I am right now, and lovingly accept this moment as my starting point for anything I want to do from now on. I use this wonderful moment to set up future wonderful moments.