who? / by vanessa

Never drink and blog.


There's a lot of controversy around The Secret right now. (I could link to the Newsweek article, etc, but I'm too tired and lazy.) Cynics are pissed about the author's approach to weight, calling the Law of Attraction a "secret" (as if it were meant to be hidden), the assertion that people can, to large extent, have impact on their environment, and oh yeah, that the Law of Attraction itself is a load of phooey.

Just for fun, I'd like to take a stab at those contentions:

1. Weight and The Secret: Okay I should say I haven't read the book, only seen the DVD. Apparently in the book Byrne says if you want to lose weight, stop looking at fat people. This makes a whole bunch of people mad. I can understand that, if you believe that being fat is "bad". It's not. It says nothing about you as a person, and that's really important to understand. Not even the worst thing you've ever done or said or has happened has anything to do with who you are -- really are. I don't know that someone's coined a law for this truth, but it is called forgiveness, and it's super important. Without it, we walk around feeling attacked, feeling less than, feeling better than, feeling like we're RIGHT. Trust me -- living in that world where everything is bad or good, right or wrong, is the lamest place to be and you want to free yourself from it. Learning this will change your life. I think it's only from the understanding that the ego is *always* a liar, that the principle behind the Law of Attraction should or can be understood. In the end, I don't know if her weight loss tips work or don't work, and frankly, I'm not inclined to try it, but I do know that shame will tell you you're being attacked, when you're not.

2. What's so secret about the Secret? Dude, I don't know either. I have a bone with the name, too. I've argued this w/ my friends before to little avail. The movie opens up and says that all the great sages of time have known about the Law of Attraction. There are lots of images of yellowed scrolls and whispered narration and like vanishing typescript. It's the aural/visual equivalent of finding out about a special aftershow at SXSW. The problem is, calling it the 'The Secret' implies an intent to hide where there was none. I'm an amateur semantician and I gotta say the misnomer bugs. I suppose the name is sexy but what's branding without integrity?

3. Everything that happens to you, you invited. The Secret contends that with our thoughts and emotions we put ourselves at a certain frequency, and so what happens to us in the present is merely the manifestation of previous thoughts and feelings. So the two big criticisms with this contention are a) Are you saying that baby asked for the AIDS? and b) How can you control other peoples actions?
Firstly, I can't say I know *why* things happen. But I do believe in that Buddhist maxim that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Sucky things happen all the time; it doesn't mean they don't hurt, but there is a distinction to be made from feeling pain and being a prisoner to it. To me, it's immaterial if I "willed" something to happen and in fact dwelling on it just keeps me in the event. What's more meaningful is: what am I going to do now that this HAS happened? How do I want to feel about it and what can I do in the future? I can be bitter, pissed, and all that, but I know from my own experience the more I hang on to anger or shame, the more I keep experiencing different variations on the same theme. In this way, dropping the stuff that keeps me victim to the past changes what I'm going to experience in the future.
Second -- yep, other people still have their own free will. So it's kinda silly to me to even hang my hopes on someone else. It's like, just keep doing what you know to be true, keep experimenting with where to find Truth and it will all work out. The right people, the right things, they'll find you. It's not about anyone else.

4. Law of Attraction? More like Law-of-a-You're-a-Sucker. Okay, not clever, but I'm leaving it anyway. My point is that the critics think the theory is shite. That's cool. You don't have to believe it, but why not try it out? If you don't believe in the power of thought anyway, well then it certainly can't hurt. So maybe just start small, with immaterial things, like having a happy day. Start with the gratitude piece and go from there. No judgment, no right, no wrong, just start with the gratitude and see what happens.