Second thoughts on The Secret
- A few months ago there was a short discussion on this forum about the
very popular book and documentary The Secret. The book claims that by
thinking positive and affirmative thoughts you can fulfill all of your
desires. In that discussion I asserted myself as quite the advocate
and fan of the book/film. However, as time progressed and my initial
wave of enthusiasm subsided, I have had some second thoughts on the
matter. Hey, I'm a human being - I can change my mind. Anyways, I'm
not as big a supporter as before. Allow me to explain...
1. When reading (or watching) The Secret, getting what you want seems
really easy: just wish for it and it will come your way. No blood,
sweat or tears required. But is it really that simple? Reality, it
seems, is a bit more complex. Aside from visualizing and thinking,
action is also necessary to bring about success. We have to work hard
towards the fulfilment of our dreams, whether it is an Olympic gold
medal or that flashy convertible. Yet The Secret likes to dodge the
action part: just state your wish and let the universe do the rest.
Sometimes I wish it was that simple. Most of the times though, I'm
quite relieved it's not. Where would all the fun be, if we got
everything without lifting a finger?
2. The Secret wants to make us feel the universe is a great big
shopping mall. Just place your order, get your gizmo and be happy ever
after. I think that philosophy is missing out on what life is
essentially about, which is not mere collecting or acquiring, but
discovering, transcending, becoming... Life is an ever-new spiritual
adventure, a journey to discover who we truly and eternally are. The
Secret wants to make us feel that it also has a very spiritual
message. But it mainly tries to clothe the life of desire in an
esoteric dress. Aren't we doing the sacred and mystic truth the
universe embodies a disservice by comparing it to a grand catalogue or
a shopping mall? Would a catalogue be all that God could come up with?
Which brings me to point...
3. Hey, what about God? The Secret talks about the universe as the be
all and end all. Yet this universe also has its source. Many people at
least feel the universe is created by God. By leaving Him (or Her) out
of the picture I think you are missing an essential point, which is
that this universe has a divine mission, a divine purpose. That
mission and purpose lie far beyond the fulfilment of mere material
desires. Rather, they are found in the search and growth into our
true, divine and immortal Self. Outer things fade away, inner things
stay. And the inner things, that's where true and lasting happiness lies.
Wouldn't you say?
- From my vague knowledge of The Secret, and similar books, my problem
with them is always the issue of God's Will and how that comes into
the equation. If we ask for something, then we have to know whether
we are asking for something which God wants us to have. Always a
tricky one that, even with the very best of intentions. So perhaps
our request should always have a tag-line, 'if that is God's Will'.
Having said that, all of us know how important positivity is in the
spiritual life. And also Sri Chinmoy said something along the lines
of (paraphrasing) if you long for anything Divine then it will
immediately start to approach you. So to be positive and think
positively and to long for spiritual progress is the correct thing
of course. But if we ask for something other than spiritual
progress, or God's Will itself to be done, then we have no way of
knowing if we are pushing with or against the Divine.
All very interesting though, since it seems like the book is helping
many people across the world and giving them hope. I always find it
comforting when something which is even partly spiritual catches the
- Hi Sarada,
for me there is no contradiction in this, but two different approaches.
One is to "order" what you would like to have and just follow your
feelings and longings. By trying you will find out that some things
are not necessary for your life and happiness is somewhere else.
The other approach is the one to keep your happiness level as high as
possible. Then you are more connected to your inner being and closer to God's Will than with emotions only. And then you can open up yourself for the fulness in life. Your inner source or God will always know what is best for you and give it to you. However, it is good to open up. I found out for myself that very often I limit myself too early. And the Supreme would have given much more...