Monday, October 22, 2007

Thoughts on "The Secret"

Ever notice how when you have an injury of some sort, it seems to act almost like a magnet for more pain? For example, ever notice how if you have a hurt toe, that is the one you seem to stub over and over again? Or it is inevitably the one that people step on? When we are in pain, we tend to focus on the pain. That’s human nature. Our awareness is ‘drawn’ to the area of injury by the sensation of pain, the fear that we’ll hurt it again, etc. In fact, the wound seems especially vulnerable to reinjury.

It is as though the injury attracts more injury. The wound seems to draw additional pain to itself.

I think this ordinary experience that we’ve all had illustrates an important universal truth: Like attracts like. What we focus on grows and expands. What we place our attention on, we get more of.

This is one of the main concepts presented in the recent book and movie phenomenon known as ‘The Secret.’ Some people loved The Secret, others really disliked it. Of those who disliked it, a main objection was that it seemed to have an exaggerated focus on material acquisition. Some felt that it encouraged a sort of greed and entitlement that is not good for us as individuals, our larger community or the planet. While I share some of these concerns, I believe that The Secret serves an important and positive purpose at this time. Its primary message is that our thoughts and our consciousness have a profound impact on our life experiences. What we think about and put our attention on (even if it’s at a subconscious level) will grow and expand. We will attract more of it to ourselves… good or bad, pleasurable or painful.

How this works is a divine mystery. I don’t presume to know how the universe and the creator engineer this so we attract what we are focusing on. I do, believe, however that we are attracting that which we need in order to grow and evolve as spiritual beings. The things we attract, be it people, relationships, experiences and even injuries, come into our lives to teach us about ourselves and the way the universe works. We are given powerful learning opportunities to clean up old, distorted patterns inside ourselves that keep us stuck at levels of living we were never meant to hang out in. I believe we are self healing mechanisms, and that Spirit seeks our wholeness. We are constantly being given opportunities to let go of things inside us that no longer serve us and to move into ever higher levels of consciousness and health on every level.

The Secret uses a lot of material examples to show us how to work with our thoughts and inner states of conscious to change our outer world. While the focus is quite material, I tend to look at this as a ‘first course’ in learning the importance of our mental and emotional states held over time. It is the easiest place in our lives to start learning this truth and proving it to ourselves.

I use the following example to illustrate what I mean here. You can’t go into a kindergarten classroom and start teaching calculus. Any of you remember counting beans on the table? That’s where you start when you are in kindergarten.

The Secret presents basic, rudimentary concepts about manifestation and the power of consciousness. It’s a super simplified version of the universal truth of our ability to manifest and co-create our worlds with God or Spirit. The goals change as we mature in our knowledge levels. Just as our bean counting on the tables in kindergarten morphs into balancing our checkbooks, paying bills, and donating to charities when we are older, the material focus in The Secret is only a place to begin. Being of service to other people, Spirit and the planet are more mature expressions of the spiritual concepts presented in the Secret. They didn’t take it that far, partly because of time limitations and also because they didn't want to overwhelm people with too much information at the beginning of the journey.

We all start by working on the areas where we have pain in our lives… relationship challenges, debt, material lack. That’s why The Secret started with these areas of focus. When we start to learn and practice this concept in those more concrete areas and get some of that stuff handled, we become free to elevate our goals and aspirations to be less self focused and more service oriented. It is more difficult to have higher aspirations if you are fighting for your own survival. I’m certainly not implying that its impossible, plenty of people have done it, but it is much more difficult and many people simply won’t do it. They need to learn the concepts in the soil of their life’s own garden before they can apply it to the larger world.

One of my biggest complaints about The Secret is that the concepts taught there aren’t secrets at all. The ideas come from many ancient wisdom traditions and have been available to us all from the beginning of time. Universal Truth doesn’t change. It simply is. Nor do I believe, as they suggest, that there was some big conspiracy by the ‘powerful’ to hide it and conceal it from us.

We, through our own ignorance and mutual agreement have buried these principles, or not resisted others who have shown us less empowered ways to live. Our religious leaders, political leaders and other authority figures have their own models for how the world works, and we often willingly and blindly follow them. That’s how the ‘Secret’ became a Secret. I don’t deny that some leaders, especially religious ones, have motivation to keep people dependent upon them and to keep people from feeling that they have direct connection to the creator, but I still don’t buy that there was a giant coordinated conspiracy to conceal these principles from us. That seemed a bit contrived to me in the way they presented it in ‘The Secret.’

Bottom line is, I do believe there is value in The Secret. I think it represents the ‘bursting into mass consciousness’ of a powerful spiritual principle. Albeit in a rather spiritually immature form… but we all have to start somewhere. I started way back when using these ideas to heal my eating disorder, to manifest parking places and to get out of a tremendous amount of debt. And yes, I used it to work on acquiring things, back in the days when towards the end of a pay period for my job, I’d be digging coins out of my couch cushions in order to go buy things at the grocery store. I didn’t start off trying to manifest world peace. I started off trying to manifest money to go get a 48 oz. Diet Coke from 7-11. I’ve come a long way baby! :)

Others, exposed to these ideas through ‘The Secret’ have the opportunity to come a long way also. That is my belief. It’s a doorway into a world that many people have yet to discover. I believe it will ultimately be a positive thing for human consciousness.

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