Shame on The Secret?
In 2006, Rhonda Byrne released "The Secret", a DVD and later a book which, after being featured on Oprah topped the New York Times Bestseller list.
Its message is that your thoughts and visualizations create your reality and that by changing your thoughts and the imagery in your mind, you can change your world and, of course, become rich and wealthy.
Yes, your thoughts affect your life, your world and your outcome but they alone do not determine or create 100% of your reality.
The challenge with "The Secret's" premise is that instead of empowering you into thinking you can change your life, it actually undermines you by trying to convince you that you are to blame for every single thing that happens in your life - that you attracted it or you created it by your thoughts or the pictures in your mind.
On December 26, 2004, The Indian Ocean Earthquake triggered tsunamis that killed over 230,000 people in fourteen countries. Rhonda Byrne argued that natural disasters strike those "on the same frequency as the event" and implied the tsunami victims could have spared themselves. Does the same principle apply to the 800 people that died from landslides in Brazil in January 2011 or the 14,000 people that died in the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan in March 2011? Did the Jews attract the Holocaust to themselves? Are they to blame for it? Did the people in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 attract their own death? Is a 2 year-old baby that starves to death in Africa to blame?
How do all of these 'victims' create their own reality? What are the thoughts, images and pictures that create the death of a baby in Africa? How does a child that is raped bring it upon him or herself?
Of course, large populations - cities and nations have a consciousness (the combination of thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs) but cultural consciousness which can result in crime, war, disease or the toppling of a corrupt regime (the revolution in Egypt in February 2011) is not the same as a natural disaster (flood, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, earthquake, or landslide.) Is Rhonda Byrne (and all of the teachers in The Secret) saying that the people of Japan, in March 2011, collectively had sufficient negative thoughts and pictures in their head as to cause the earth's plates to move and break causing the sea floor to rise by over ten feet and thus causing tsunamis that would kill thousands of people, cause extreme radiation and a possible nuclear meltdown?
And what about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; whose thoughts and visualizations are to blame for that? Which people had thoughts and Vision Boards with pictures of dead birds, dolphins and fish?
And if people create every one of these disasters, then what about all of the New Age people who pray and meditate on a daily basis to raise the consciousness of the earth and to bring about peace, love and harmony? Are their thoughts and pictures weaker than those of everyone else?
The premise that we create every single moment in our life (including natural disasters) is a simple yet arrogant attempt to create a sense of security, to explain why 'bad' things happen, to ease our fear, chronic pain and suffering and, to satisfy our ego that we are in control at every moment.
"The Secret" though was a big hit because it promised the average person - instant wealth, health and riches; all you had to do was create a Vision Board (known as Treasure Mapping in the 1970s - clippings and pictures of the things you want in life) and voila, all of your heart's desires would come true. According to "The Secret", you didn't need any qualifications, any hard work or even any real action, other than fantasizing about what you want.
This promise tapped into the desire for an instant fix, instant gratification - the get-rich-quick scheme or mentality. And the emotional excitement surrounding the possibility of being able to instantly transform your life and solve your problems in such an easy and simple manner appealed to millions of people around the world.