Dec 022009

egypt_800x600 If you write about spirituality and self-development, it’s hard to avoid having something to say about The Secret, the run-away phenomena of a book (and movie, and CD) by Rhonda Byrne. I’ve enjoyed all three of them, and there is a lot that can be said about The Secret.
Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about, let me explain that The Secret is a book (movie video) intended to teach you the secrets of what is known in the spiritual development world as “manifestation” – the ability to create your own reality and all the things you need and want by through your spiritual intentions.

Let’s start with the good. I’ve truly enjoyed the book, the movie and the CD. All of them are skillfully done. They bring the highest production values and professionalism to a field of spiritual teaching where amateurism abounds. The movie in particular is engaging – even gripping. If you know someone who is manifesting bad things in their life, and have desperately wanted to help them but didn’t know how – give them the movie. It will have them hooked in a matter of minutes and teach them some excellent techniques and principles before it’s done.

The expert interviews are also well done – keeping the points crisp and moving at a brisk pace to hold the interest. The principles are well-taught, and I believe that they will drastically improve the life of anyone who uses them.

So what can be bad about that? Looking at the ratings for the products, you will see that the book in particular garners a large number of five-star ratings, and then a much smaller but sizable chunk of one-star ratings – enough to drive the rating down to a level that is frankly lower than the book deserves. So, most people love it, but a small but vocal minority hate it. Why?

There are some who are simply worried by the ideology. Does creating one’s own reality conflict with Christianity, for example (in my opinion, the answer is NO, but we’ll discuss that elsewhere). Then there are a number of people who have tried the techniques, but are unhappy with the results. They didn’t get what they wanted, or didn’t get it fast enough, or were unhappy with it when they DID get it – and are bitterly disappointed.

The fact is, there are any number of significant reasons why manifestation can malfunction. Some of these are discussed briefly in The Secret, but the book is really an introduction to manifestation, not a complete troubleshooting manual.

Any number of things can go wrong with manifestation, beginning with the fact that the unconscious part of our mind is much larger than the conscious part. While using our conscious mind to manifest can work well, we might be sabotaging ourselves subconsciously. If you really want to become an expert at manifestation, you will probably need to turn to any of the many books and websites that help you fine-tune the process. I’ll be reviewing a number of them, but one of my favorites is Steve Pavlina’s website,

On a more fundamental level, however, there is a foundational issue that must be addressed. While manifestation is a wonderful skill to develop – it is NOT the whole of spirituality. Any spiritual teacher who has even glimpsed the nature of enlightenment will tell you that simply being able to produce a lot of STUFF will not, ultimately, make you happy. Most of us crave more STUFF in a desperate attempt to fortify our ego structures. If we only learn manifestation to feed our ego-driven desires, then manifestation becomes simply a form of black magic, which we employ to gain the whole world, while loosing our own souls in the process.

So if someone is in a desperate state of desire, I would first get them started on Eckhart Tolle or a similar spiritual teacher who can show them how to tame the ego before starting them on a crash-course in manifestation like The Secret. On the other hand, if you understand the spiritual nature of happiness and want to have some fun manipulating the material world for good, The Secret is an excellent introduction.

If you haven’t seen it – have a look at the first few minutes of the movie below:

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