The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Book synopsis (abridged): “For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it. In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life—money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life. The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers—men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.”
It’s probably fitting that I finished this book at Christmas since I got it for Christmas, two Christmasses ago. That is correct, it was a gift – and not the sort of gift I would get myself, even now. I am not a fan of spiritual mumbo jumbo self-help books, my one-time obsession with all things pre-OWN Iyanla Vanzant (I was much younger then) and the fact that Eat Pray Love felt so aspirational (the movie killed that quick). My problem with these books, including The Secret is the broad brush with which they paint – all you need to do is think and you’ll grow rich (market forces, your resources, and the many variables that affect such things be damned), never mind where your feet are planted and what talent and/or resources you have at your disposal. And I’m the impractical dreamer? The natural extension of that way of thinking is if you have cancer and don’t heal it with your mind then you’re just not trying hard enough. And this book actually goes there. It’s your fault that you’re not getting better. “Any time delay you experience is due to your delay in getting to the place of believing.” How convenient. I almost stopped reading a few times, but I continued snark-reading and after a time I wasn’t wholly snark-reading. Because The Secret was saying some things I found helpful during the rough patches of this past year, and the need to generate good vibes even in the rough. I decided in the end to take what I could from it –thinking positively, affirmatively, never hurt anyone; imagining the world is as you want it to be can be helpful (I feel inclined to add here and as long as you don’t lose sight of reality …which probably means I fail). Okay, look, not letting the world and people drain your energy, not worrying about things you can’t control, dreaming and stretching toward your dreams, using the power of positive thinking to manifest them, finding your internal rhythms and not simply dancing to the world’s beat, and rejecting negative thoughts and self-defeating self-talk, I embrace that. That’s Yoda wisdom right there, “do or do not; there is no try.” The power of the Force = The Power of the Energy within you. I get it. I value self-care but not selfishness (which is the tricky line though). Mostly, I just don’t like blaming sick people for dying, poor people for being poor, someone stuck in quick sand for not being able to simply walk on out of it (it’s a bit too “slavery was a choice” for me). I mean, “Whether people have been told they have a slow thyroid, a slow metabolism, or their body size is hereditary, these are all disguises for thinking ‘fat thoughts.’ If you accept any of those conditions as applicable to you, and you believe it, it must become your experience, and you will continue to attract being overweight” … really? The mind is hella powerful, I agree, and keeping certain things out of your mind as much as you can, don’t have to tell me twice…but the pragmatist in me sort of insists on insisting that a thing is a thing, some things can be changed, and sometimes all you can do is change how you think about that thing. But maybe I’m just not trying hard enough. I do like what The Secret says about gratitude and visualization; and it is making me more intentional about the way I think (even or especially when my brain is idling, or life is at its most…combative). So, thanks to the gift giver for that.
I planned to do a quick take for this one if I wrote about it at all but this ran longer than expected. My stated issues with it (and my bias re books of this type notwithstanding), it’s not easily dismissed. Let me tell you, this book has me so spooked re the power of thought and energy, that I hesitated posting my decidedly mixed feelings (but Energy knows either way). And, in the end, with this as with any thing, I say, whatever helps. Do.
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