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The Secret

A book by Rhonda Byrne

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I Preferred the DVD

  • Dec 6, 2006
  • by
Rating:
+2
"The law of attraction is a law of nature. It is impersonal and it does not see good things or bad things. It is receiving your thoughts and reflecting back to you those thoughts as your life experience. The law of attraction simply gives you whatever it is you are thinking about." - From the book

Last night, my husband and I watched the DVD version of The Secret and were incredibly moved and inspired. However, I've written a separate review about The Secret DVD here at Amazon.com If you can't find my review here--it's quite buried--you can also read it at my website in the Reviews--DVDs section. THe direct URL is http://janetboyer.com/The_Secret_DVD.html.

An attractive book of 198-pages, The Secret is a deft compilation of direct quotes from the movie version, as well as some connecting thoughts provided by Ms. Byrne. The Secret, according to the author, provides the key to eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible. The Secret heralded discovery, advancement and prosperity through millennia, but was largely withheld from the public. Luminaries like Einstein, Jesus, Plato, Newton, Emerson, Lincoln, Ford--they all knew the secret and applied it accordingly.

So what's the secret? The law of attraction, which, as you probably know, is not new to anyone familiar with New Age/consciousness ideology. The Secret culls wise, practical insights from noted authors, teachers, and life-coaches that show readers how thoughts create reality. That is, what you think literally becomes your life. Every person, every disease, every relationship, every social situation--all are the result of the law of attraction. You cannot behold or experience *anything* that is not the result of your "vibration" magnetizing to a corresponding manifestation. Some of the exceptional contributors to The Secret include Michael Beckwith (founder of Agape International Spiritual Center often featured in What Is Enlightenment? Magazine), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul series), Hale Dwoskin (The Sedona Method), John Gray (Mars and Venus), Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God), Fred Alan Wolf (Dr. Quantum), and many others.

Here are some compelling excerpts from The Secret:

"This is really fun. It's like having the Universe as your catalogue. You flip through it and say, `I'd like to have this experience and I'd like to have that product and I'd like to have a person like that.' It is You placing your order with the Universe. It's really that easy." - Dr. Joe Vitale

"When you visualize then you materialize. Here's an interesting thing about the mind: we took Olympic athletes and had them run their event only in their mind, and then hooked them up to sophisticated biofeedback equipment. Incredibly, the same muscles fired in the same sequence when they were running the race in their mind as when they were running it on the track. How could this be? Because the mind can't distinguish whether you're really doing it or whether it's just a practice. If you've been there in the mind, you'll go there in the body." - Dr. Dr. Denis Waitley

"There is no blackboard in the sky on which God as written your purpose, your mission in life...your purpose is what you say it is. Your mission is the mission you give yourself. Your life will be what you create it as, and no will stand in judgment of it, now or ever." - Neale Donald Walsch

Without exception, every contributor to The Secret offers transcendent yet usable wisdom for enhancing well-being. That is, except the author/editor herself. In my opinion, she basically ruined the book for me with two shallow, accusatory contributions that have no place in this incredible book. And, it's these kind of Western superficialities that have ruined law of attraction books for me in the past.

After being very "high" after watching the DVD, I decided to read the book. I was halfway through when I read this about weight loss, and received a deafening record scratch in my head:

"The most common thought that people hold, and I held it too, is that food was responsible for my weight gain. That is a belief that does not serve you, and in my mind now it is complete balderdash! Food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your *thought* that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight....IF YOU SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE OVERWEIGHT, DO NOT OBSERVE THEM, BUT IMMEDIATELY SWITCH YOUR MIND TO THE PICTURE OF YOU IN YOUR PERFECT BODY AND FEEL IT" (caps mine for emphasis).

It is this kind of stupid, shallow, prejudicial comment that turns people off the law of attraction! She didn't need to include this inane section in the book, for the wisdom offered by the OTHER contributors clearly spelled out how to attract what you want, cultivate internal joy, radiate gratitude, and so on. What the author has done is what many New Agers (and religious leaders) have done: try to fault readers/disciples by throwing on some "New Age guilt" (as Joan Borysenko would say). This is not new. There were infirmed people in Jesus day and the judgmental, cruel religious leaders at the time--the Pharisees--wanted to know "Who sinned? The boy or his parents?" Jesus replied NEITHER--it was for the glory of God (because the child eventually became healed).

**And just in case you don't think this kind of attitude causes guilt and suffering in others, an 18 year old girl happened to write me the day I posted this review, blaming herself for her agoraphobia because of the Law of Attraction**

But what is perhaps more disturbing is that Ms. Byrne suggests "turning away" from the overweight and implies with her other comments that "fat thoughts" make "fat people"--and that thin is the ideal. Hello?! Fat/thin is a cultural thing. Go to Mexico and you'll find that roundedness is revered. During the 16th and 17th centuries, voluptuous, curved women were seen as ideal because it represented WEALTH. (Famed painter Peter Paul Rubens created breathtaking portraits of full figured women, which is where we get the term "Rubenesque".) Ms. Byrne's ignorance is a reflection of Western pop-culture that says stick thin is ideal (she thought 143 pounds was "fat"!). One could just as easily reason "A full figured woman doesn't think FAT thoughts--she thinks thoughts of ABUNDANCE!" It's all a matter of how you look at it--and how you feel about yourself. But this kind of prejudice--the only kind that is still perfectly acceptable in Western society--has no place in this book in my opinion. One could easily argue, according to the author's logic, that heroin chic is a reflection of thoughts of depravity, scarcity, and self-hatred!

She also states that those who experience widespread calamity (tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, famine, diseases like AIDS, etc.) experience it because they are "vibrating" in exact alignment with these disasters (such as thinking they could be in the wrong place at the wrong time). I'd like to see Ms. Byrne walk amidst the AIDS suffers in Africa or those in Louisiana who survived Hurricane Katrina and say those things. Oh, wait! That's right. According to her we shouldn't OBSERVE such nasty things. PuhLEEZE! Honey, you can vibrate at a high level, with love and compassion, and NOT be "negative"--and still offer solace, encouragement and aid. Hell, even Mother Theresa and her amazing work with the lepers was featured in the film! Duh! This kind of stupidity and coldness is what turns people off to the law of attraction. Maybe THAT is why more people "don't know about it", Ms. Byrne--because The Secret has been tainted by egos like yours instead of left alone to speak for itself! Maybe The Secret has not been hidden, only ignored, because of the chilling narcissism that gets thrown in the mix--contradicting the very wisdom traditions (like the New Testament) that you conveniently hijack to prove the law of attraction!

If Ms. Byrne hadn't contributed those ten or so pages to The Secret, the book would be excellent. How she comes across in those passages--how she "vibrates"--doesn't jive with the rest of the wonderfully sage, revolutionary, and compassionate revelations offered by the other contributors. So I'd recommend--VERY HIGHLY--that you get The Secret DVD instead. It isn't marred by stupidity, and is an utterly amazing work.

However, if you saw the DVD and want a handy reminder of much of the ideas shared in the movie, the book would be a great companion.

Note: If you'd like a more scientific and compassionate take on "thoughts creating reality", try The Intention Experiment by Lynne McTaggart. If you're going through some rough times--death of a loved one, illness, emotional upheaval, etc.--I highly recommend Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth? by Robert Schwartz.

And, I've received a LOT of comments on this review, with some people misunderstanding my comments about the weight issue. In her book A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are Byron Katie writes:

"People ARE perfect just the way they are, however deeply they're suffering, but they don't realize that yet. So when I meet someone who's suffering, I don't say, 'Oh, there's no problem, everything is perfect.' Though I can see that there's never a problem, and I'm available to help him see that, telling him what I see would be unkind. That part of my body is suffering, everything is NOT perfect for him, because he believes it's not. I, too, have been trapped in the torture chamber of the mind. I hear what he thinks he needs, I hear his sadness or despair, and I'm available. That's full-blown activisim."

This, dear readers, was my point.

Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)

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More The Secret (book) reviews
review by . July 13, 2010
This is one of those books that you will love or hate. I really enjoyed it as I believe that the energy we put out there is what we get back. The book focuses on thinking positive and controlling your own destiny. If you are struggling in your life or feel like you are surrounded by negativity it is a good book to help get you back on track. There are some world renowned spiritual teachers involved in this book and I cannot imagine they can all be wrong. That being said it can be a little over …
review by . June 23, 2010
        I enjoyed the secret. Reading this book made me feel like I have some control over my life and that made me feel a little bit better about  being able to deal with difficult situations that occur.        I would recommend this book because it brings back a positive attitude. I think this is very important in life and this book gives you some ideas on how to tap into that attitude.     The book basically is a book on …
Quick Tip by . October 13, 2010
Waste of time, there is no secret to life, the book is a scam!
review by . October 05, 2010
Pros: Excellent concepts, easy to read.      Cons: none      The Bottom Line: If you are looking for a truly inspirational book, this book is definitely the one to read. Really great writing about real concepts.      One thing that I have learned throughout my many years of education is that if you are going to achieve anything in life, you have to be forward thinking and make it happen for yourself. Things don't just tend to come to …
review by . June 19, 2010
   This is simply one of the best books that i have ever read. It literally changed my life because of all the good info that was in the book. It made me realize that  i was not only in control of my own life but everything that was happening around me. After reading the book i was a more confident person with many new goals that i once thought was impossible. I got a chance to read the book and watch the movie, even though both shared the same information i was very happy about the …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
The true secret: convince a bunch of people that you have the secret and they will shell out cash to buy it from you.
review by . June 29, 2010
   The Secret definitely has it's pros and cons. i checked the book out of the library after having watched the original movie (where Esther Hicks/Jerry Hicks/Abraham) were included in the discussion of the enlightened experts featured in the film.      There tends to be a strong division between those readers who swear by this book and those readers who are bent on discrediting the author and the panel of experts in the film.      For me personally, …
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
I enjoyed the book. It was repetitive but at least it made you think more positive in the end.
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
A shortcut to read what the universal spiritual sense teaches. Kind of a bible without God. You can read Proverbs and earn much more!
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
I really liked it...It was soo brilliantly written i completely loved it..Great review also...
About the reviewer
Janet Boyer ()
Ranked #205
Author of The Back in Time Tarot BookandTarot in Reverse. Co-creator of theSnowlandDeck. Amazon.com Hall ofFame/ VineReviewer; Freelance Writer/Reviewer; Blogger; Professional Tarot Reader/Teacher; Lover … more
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Wiki

Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. 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.
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Details

ISBN-13: 978-1582701707
Author: Rhonda Byrne
Genre: Body, Mind & Spirit
Publisher: Beyond Words Pub Co
Date Published: November 28, 2006
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1984 (British first edition)

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