Archive for the ‘On The Secret’ Category

An image is worth a thousand words.

The arrogance of the LOA prescribed belief that the universe is your catalog and all you have to do is flip through the pages and then settle your mind on your order is overwhelming.

Perhaps all these kids need is to is to believe that their overly bloated bellies are full of food. That the flies in their eyes are actually visions of candy canes dancing in their heads.

Somebody should let them know how easy it really is.

The Train

Imagine this. It’s 1:34 am. A moonless night. For whatever reason (every story needs to start with an unknown trauma behind you), you are beside a railway track, just a foot or two to the side.

You have infamously fallen and you can’t get up.

In the ghostly distance you hear the ghastly hoot-hoot of an oncoming train. You struggle to get unstuck. No luck. A brief minute passes and you no longer just hear it: you see its ominously-deadly headlight doggedly lurching toward you. Chugachuga chugachuga choo-choo. This is it. Your big moment. The grand finale.

Admittedly, you’re being dramatic. For you are not square on the railroad track. You’re off to the side. You are also somewhat smart: you also know that trains are typically wider than the  track they run on. But visions of your own demise dance in your head. You are the train wreck. Soon to be the wreckage.

So you do the only thing any normal human being would do. You pray. Your life flashes before your eyes. You do a quick-and-nasty inventory of what you can do without and offer it up.

And, here’s the fun bit, you get to chose your own ending.

Option 1

Miracle of miracles happen. Before the train can hit you, it rumbles to a stop. Why? probably because you prayed to your god. A hobo comes along, gets you unstuck and helps you up. And you live happily ever after.

Option 2

Miracle of miracle happens. The train passes you by and you don’t get a scratch. You get a bruise. A big black-and-blue, ache-to-the-bone nasty bruise on your right upper arm. Because something happened, something incredible. Someone threw a bagful of freshly bundled unmarked bills out the window and it smacked you right there. Why? probably because you prayed to your god. A hobo comes along, gets you unstuck and helps you up. And you live happily ever after.

The End

All fairy tales end with that promise, aka Happily Ever After. It’s a lie, by the way. It gets a lot more complicated. But that’s for another tale. Let’s (ominously) stay on track.

Here’s what really happened. You think you discovered the secret. It’s called god. But now elevated to God. Intermingled with the glory of self wallowing and the new realization that this entire Universe is all about you. Thoughts are things, you realize. You control the Universe, as evidenced by the recent near miss. As evidenced by your very own life.

You set out to share the news with others. You know everyone is seeking this secret. This Secret. You know that people generally undervalue what comes to them freely (after all, you too payed the ultimate price of adrenaline). And so you charge them for this information. And you write books on how to think the right thoughts and have the right mindset. And you give seminars. Oh sure your seminars are free to start, but you give no real secrets away on these freebies. Just incentive. Motivation to move up to the next level (for $1,000). And the next (for $5,000). And the next (for $30,000). And you capture it all onto audio. So that you can continue to spread the word. At a significant cost of course.

Why gosh! you have become a guru. A Guru.

And in the shadows of Truth, with the layers peeled back, here’s what really happened.

Option 1

There was a train station. You were so wrapped in the drama of your own demise that you failed to make out its unlit shape in the shadows. Your sweet God actually had nothing to do with it. The train station, on the other hand, had everything to do with it.

Option 2

A  bank robber’s sleeper car was just about to be searched. He was tipped off by the bus boy (do trains have bus boys? No idea. Hey, it’s MY story about you. I’m the one telling it here), who has had a long standing crush on this swarthy and dangerous frequent flyer. Or rider rather. The bank robber made the split-second decision to trash the loot and live to steal another day, so he opened the window and tossed out his single (but incredibly valuable) bag of bills.

You were so wrapped up in the drama of your own demise that you failed to realize that this was a perfect example of opportunity, where luck meets preparedness. Preparedness had everything to do with where you were physically located in that moment. It had nothing to do with who you were or how hard you worked to get there (because face it, you didn’t).

Your sweet God actually had nothing to do with it. Another person’s story, which had nothing to do with you, had everything to do with it.

Epilogue

The Law of Attraction is taken to these same ridiculous extents. Oprah did not pray her way into her career. God did not reward her for her visions. She happened to be the right person with the right attitude, at the right place, at the right time. Dastardly end of sentence. Strike me down now or for ever hold your peace.

Well what do you know… I’m still typing.

When they (the ominous They) tell you that if you can conceive it you can achieve it, they mislead you. What they really mean is that if you can see it you may achieve it.

Think of yourself as an Olympic athlete running the hundred yard dash. In the moment that marks the beginning of the race, when that gun goes off and each of you pushes off, you are all the same. An athlete with a goal. You can all see it. You can all conceive it. But only one of you will achieve it.

Will it ever be you?

I don’t know. Are you persistent? Are you will to accept a personal best as a win? Or must must the entire universe revolve only around just you? Perhaps you didn’t think enough happy thoughts then. Or not in the right sequence. Or the smile on your face was actually fake. Never mind that the winning runner was faster….

In these times of extreme financial hardship, it’s only natural that we turn to those who have succeeded. Financially. Only you need to realize that the entire financial success of many (most?) of these Gurus depends not on the god they chose to pray to, not on their prior dramas, but on the fact that you are willing to dish up the dough that sustains them. They depend on your financial struggles to fill their coffers.

So give your head a shake. Get clear on what you want. Seek the council that directly addresses your path. (HINT: Getting rich is not it. That’s a dream, not a goal.) If you want to write a book, for goodness sake speak to authors. If you want to open a store that sells shoes for the hard to fit, for goodness sake talk to other niche store owners. If you want to work in a German deli, talk to the boss. Stop throwing good money away on gurus teaching you something as stupid as how to win the lottery.

Rhonda Byrne has written a follow up to The Secret, called The Power. In it she claims to have discovered “the most powerful force in the universe” and that her readers will develop the ability and skills to manipulate this “Power” to make all their dreams materialize. The power she is talking about is “the power […]

Above is an excerpt from Yakaru, blogger of the site aptly named, “Spirituality is No Excuse.” As usual, he hits the nail on the head. Read, and follow.

One of the biggest commonalities among LOA “teachers” (term used incredibly loosely here) is the LACK of accountability. Their positioning is that they know everything and you know nothing, and all you have to do is open your mind to their right-ness.

Socrates once said, “All I know is that I know nothing.” The sign of a becoming a philosopher was the deep knowledge that you know nothing. A debate was in fact an exercise in listening and learning, not an exercise of positioning and proving.

When looking for a REAL teacher, it’s vital that your teacher is constantly learning. When someone claims ultimate KNOWING, let that be your first indication to turn and run (as fast as your little legs will carry you) into the opposite direction.

Rhonda Byrne immediately positions herself as all-knowing. Good marketing says to talk from the perspective of the buyer, which, as this blog shows, has been done with incredible effectiveness.

So from a business perspective, great marketing; from a mentor perspective, run baby run.

Violence against [name-your-cause, mine is women] happens because there is a cluster of so-called “thinkers” out there who believe that [women] are inferior, objects to be owned and controlled.

According to the extremist Law of Attraction advocate, a woman gets raped because there is something innately within her that desires to get raped.

Some might soften the blow a little, and say (as they do about violent acts against children) that the thoughts that the child/woman was emanating to the universe was of smaller significance than that of the perp. (Other’s might blame it on the mother’s inability to protect the child because her thoughts are all wrong.)

When the h#ll did we get so f*cked up with our thinking??

As a feminist years back, I jumped on the bandwagaon that made violence against [women] a woman’s issue. We’d build our little victim recovery centres and pat each other’s hands and say there there dear, it’s all over now but tell me again about your pain. You need to let it go, little sister.

As a feminist today, I am jumping on a different bandwagon that is making violence against women a man’s issue. No more hand-holding, just a straight-up acknowledgement that, yes, you’ve been physically assaulted, but honey, you will heal; the person who’s psychologically bent is the frigger who did this to you. Now there’s one soul who seriously and immediately needs a good therapist.

Interestingly, I’m not alone. There are other groups out there who advocate it. Other men’s groups. Watch Tony Porter, a speaker at a TED-Women event. Here what “vibes” this guy is putting out into the universe.

Now, here’s the interesting question (or more accurately series of questions) that I’ll put out there to the LOA extremists who dare to read this blog (and other’s like it): If we can agree that the bulk of all men are not rapists (even though the bulk of all women experience sexual interruption), why is it that rape still happens in epidemic proportions? Whose thoughts are manifesting it? Are the women manifesting it? Or are womanly vibes not “strong” enough for the universe to register, and it’s actually the men’s thinking that brings it about? Can we say that when rape is used as a very specific war tactic (as it was in Bosnia), that when rape is conceived by men as a strategy, that the women have caused it to happen specifically to them? to her? to that one?

If there are men out there like Tony Porter who advocate that men step up to the thinking part of their brain, and women like me out there who subscribe to the belief that violence is a man’s issue (not a woman’s), why in the hell aren’t our thoughts significant enough to change the way things are?

7
Jul

The Secret. Idiocy.

   Posted by: Britt

I love Google. Google at large, and technology in general. It’s amazing what we have access to these days!

Today I did a search for the terms, “Law of Attraction” and “idiocy,” and came back with some excellent articles which of course I will share with you dear readers.

  • Oprah’s Ugly Secret, from Salon.com. This is 2007 article, and it’s just as relevant today. From the intro, “By continuing to hawk “The Secret,” a mishmash of offensive self-help cliches, Oprah Winfrey is squandering her goodwill and influence, and preaching to the world that mammon is queen.”
  • Skeptico had an interesting little exchange with Joe Vitale, also back in 2007, about the real definition of “law.”
  • An interesting book review on The Secret, with a tonne of interesting links and references (including one of my favourite resources, Wikipedia)
  • A wickedly ironic look at the definition of the universe, brilliantly comparing the academic view of Dr Malachi Z York’s Nuwaubism against that of one of Michael Losier’s certified Law of Attraction Facilitator called Marc Fladell. Guess who wins? Fladell, of course. Grin.

As wonderful as the world now is with the incredible extensive reach of the web, it’s also one that can be used against us. The Secret, apparently, is the result of incredible virus marketing. As trusting human beings, we tend to believe the words of the experts. Consider Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret. While she presumably had some career before 2007 (she was born in 1951), it’s starting to appear that it was the making of The Secret that really made her rich. The wikipedia entry on her life is pretty sparse. Google doesn’t turn up much either.

Most of the gurus who are reaping from their teachings have dabbled a bit in what is known as New Thought (founded in the early 1900’s, so not really so new anymore) not through successes of their own but through the untouchable teaching of the law of attraction. Untouchable because the teacher is never accountable for their teachings; if you don’t get it, it’s because you’re not thinking it right.

Barbara Ehrenreich has been one of the most renowned (in my little world) academics speaking out (see her here  on Fora TV too) against this nonsense. Or should I say idiocy. Thank goodness for the bloggers and the likes of Ehrenreich who can help us find a counter voice that lets us come back to a more balanced take on life. Cheaply.

What gets me is that people like JAR, Bob Proctor and Rhonda Byrnes (author of The Secret, 2006) didn’t really get rich prior to becoming a guru. Seems like it’s the becoming a guru, thereby causing others to part with their wallets, that is the real unarticulated secret. Interesting stuff, this “secret” business. Even Napoleon Hill doesn’t warrant career mention until his book, The Law of Success (1928) makes it big when it is retitled Think and Grow Rich in 1937.

29
Jun

Quantum Physics PsychoBabble

   Posted by: Britt

ABC News takes a critical view of the self-help think-yourself-healthy industry….check this out!

Remember this famous quote?

Morpheus from the Matrix: You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

What “The Secret” gurus, the so-called self-proclaimed “Law of Attraction” experts have been selling you is actually a blue pill that they’ve dipped in red dye. Sometimes that red dye may be some of that stuff left over from Easter; other times it may be actual human blood. Metaphorically speaking. Yes, life can get that complicated.

You go to their seminars. You-the-container who is hungry for the wealth that has so-far eluded you in life, choke down these gigantic (blue) pills (painted/tainted with a brilliant red). “I won the lottery in life. It happened to the untrained me, it can happen to you.” Somehow you miss the small print: “Results not typical.” And, “My big money maker is actually selling this junk/jism to you.”

You wake up in your bed. And you believe whatever you want to believe. Like, say, that you can become rich through the mere act of thinking. Like, say, that you create the universe and thus you can shape it entirely to your liking. Like, say, that abundance exists entirely for your ego (the part of you that wants to acquire things).

The red pill is actual quite different. First, it’s free. Second, it’s quite small.

The real Law of Attraction works like this: when you become open to a possibility, you start to see the existence of that possibility around you. But (and here’s the key) to see that possibility, that possibility has to first exist in the universe beyond “you.”

I had a roommate, Karen, who once bought a new car. It came in a new selection of colours, a metalic bronze. She’d never seen it around before and wanted to assert her uniqueness to the world. Funny thing happened though. After Karen bought this car she started to notice that this car colour was already out there. There were a few. Quite a few actually. She felt as if she literally couldn’t turn the corner without seeing her car colour reflected in another car.

Same thing happened to me when I got pregnant. Suddenly, there was an abundance of people out there on the streets (women actually) who were as big-bellied as me. So many that I actually wanted to start doing the “motorcycle wave” (like waves to like) to the others in the street.

Same thing happens to drivers of Volkswagen vans. Parents of twins. Job seekers with University degrees. Name your category.

The peddlers of the blue-pill-painted-red would have you believe that that you have created these entities. And likewise, you can create money. Just stick a million dollar bill in your wallet, and “feel the joy” at least twice a day. Do a vision board. It will come to pass. You can create your universe.

Wrong.

In noticing, you can become aware of what is, what has always been.

Accept for a moment this: Each of us is essentially invisible. We can only become visible when something causes us to be noticed. Pretend for a moment you are a traffic cop stationed on your local highway. A million cars pass you by every day. You “see” them in that they are right there before your eyes. But you don’t really notice them. Thus, they become invisible. What you do notice is the occasional speeder or the occasional person not wearing a seat belt or the occasional person talking on their hand-held cell.

In other words, you notice what it is you are looking for.

So, you can set your sights (continuing with the traffic cop metaphor) on cars with babies in the back seats, or cars pulling trailers, or cars with bicycle racks. And then suddenly you will notice them, those that have previously invisible while you were attuned only  law-breakers. And you will notice them not because you have created them but because they actually exist out there on the road. They were there before you noticed them, and they will continue to be there after your shift is over.

But, dammit, you can’t start suddenly seeing trains on that same stretch of highway. I don’t care how much you “feel it,” how many such trains you’ve slapped on a vision board, or how many trains pictures you carry with you in your wallet. If they ain’t there, hun, you’re not going to see it or receive it. Believe THAT, baby.


The origins of this blog entry are a springboard from another excellent blog article from RoosterMoon. Thank you, Michel Fortin, for the example of the vehicle purchase and your excellent blog article!

1
Jun

Fear of Flying

   Posted by: Britt Tags: , , ,

Here is an excerpt from the chapter, “The (f)Law of Attraction” in my soon-to-be-released book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman. Let me know what you think!

When I watched the movie, The Secret, my fear of flying was renewed. Because, after all, as the Law of Attraction clearly states, what you think about is what you attract into your life.

Shortly after seeing this movie, and having been deeply impacted by it, I started becoming more and more aware of my thoughts. Awareness that you are even having thoughts is a good thing! The average person thinks at the “astonishing rate of up to 400 words per minute.”[1] The more you are aware of the inane chatter in your head, the more you can distance yourself from it and realize that you are not your thoughts.

But the Law of Attraction has you thinking that you are your thoughts. So there I was, with a heightened awareness that I was my thoughts. My thoughts did not like it when my body flew in a plane. I had just come back from a personal vacation on a cruise ship, and the only way to return home as quickly as I wanted or needed was to fly.

On this particular day, I was flying home from San Diego to Victoria. The last section of the flight from Seattle to Victoria was particularly rough. The turbulence literally bounced us into the air a few times. “Empowered” with this new knowledge that I am my thoughts, and that all I have to do is to control my thoughts a little better, I found myself entering a panicked frenzy with the following train of thought:

    If I think it, it will come to pass.
    Crap. Was that turbulence? Uh oh. It’s not stopping. I think this plane will crash.
    Damn! I can’t think that, cause then the plane will crash.
    Stop thinking the plane will crash. Stop thinking the plane will crash. Stop thinking the plane will crash.
    I can’t stop thinking that the plane will crash.
    What if others are thinking that this plane will crash?
    Oh my GOD, how many such thoughts are there on the flight today?
    Surely this plane will crash. Why is that man praying? What does he know that I don’t? Does he have an inside scoop?
    Damn! I can’t think that because then the plane will crash.
    Stop thinking the plane will crash….

and on and on the insanity went.

By this time, I had broken into a damp cold sweat. My heart was pounding, and I felt like it would burst out of my mouth any minute now. And if I kept my mouth shut, it would pop out through my eyes. I had almost stopped breathing. I really felt like I was going to die. It was by far the worst panic attack I have ever experienced. And I don’t normally experience panic attacks.

Then, I had an epiphany.

“Wait a doggone minute here,” I scolded myself, “it matters not what I think, but what the G—D pilot thinks! I’m not in a position to bring this plane down. He is.”

And almost instantaneously, I calmed down. (And, no, the turbulence didn’t stop.)

I had this realization, then and there, that you needed to be in a position where you could actively impact the event in order for the event to be realized.

As The Serenity Prayer[2] says:

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change
    courage to change the things I can
    and wisdom to know the difference.

The first fatal flaw of the Law of Attraction (LOA) is that it is not a law.


[1] Robert Gerzon. Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety. New York:  Bantam Books, 1998. p. 108.

[2] Most commonly attributed to the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr.

Here’s a link to an excellent blog that captures the essence of what I think is wrong with many of these “woo woo” get-rich gurus who like to bring in metaphysics and spirituality to argue their case. In it, LaVaughn makes the case that the universe does not exist to serve your ego. That thought, in and of itself, should be enough to stir some into a type of awakening.

I know just a little about Buddha. And I know enough to make the claim that enlightenment comes from ego-less-NESS. It’s about letting go of possessions, of ownership, of power. Of letting go of the concept of self.

Anyway, read thisblog. It’s a mental gem.

Here’s a little video ditty from Jill Sobule, singer/artist extraordinaire, and Julia Sweeney, new on my list of people to follow, performing at TED in 1997. Oprah gets slagged. That takes guts for anyone in the public eye as Oprah is a millionaire maker.

Buh-bye (Oprah) money, hello (Oprah) funny! How cool are they?