The trouble with Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'

The trouble with Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'

I'm not here to do a hatchet job Rhonda Byrne's book The Secret, but rather, to clarify certain things which are just not mentioned throughout the book, and which I feel are glaring omissions. Which in some ways is tantamount to selling a dishonest dream..

The Secret has obviously helped a huge number of people, who have been carried and changed by the storming positivity of it (including Rhonda Byrne herself), but nowhere in the text is it looked at why it works for Rhonda Byrne and others. There appears to be a void in observation. Just a bunch of great tenets, and their application, simply isn't enough to create your own reality, as many have found out.

Why?

First of all, it's important to look at Rhonda Byrne (and others who have managed the apparent miraculous through the use of The Secret). Throughout the book, it's interesting to note that at no point does any extent of self-enquiry come into the equation. There is an unquestioning assumption that if you want something, the universe will provide it. And it fails to look into all the ground work that has gone in, behind the success stories. Because, with all the will and intention in the world, someone can't just manifest anything they want just because they think they want it.

People who have manifested something they really want, have done so because the ground work is already in place, and the time has come for them to receive these things they wanted. It wasn't because of The Secret. The Secret was simply a vehicle for something which was time to manifest. But no-where in The Secret is this pointed out. It's as if The Secret is this incredible wish-fulfilling tree, which obviously leaves many disappointed.

It appears that The Secret is saying that the laws of attraction, are able to outperform the laws of karmic attraction, and other resonances (of sabotage) that are the calling from our subconscious minds. This cannot be. A responsible universe just doesn't work like that. Beings are generally only given power equivalent to their level of responsibility, spiritually speaking....
So the secret isn't really about asking for what you want, to make the laws of resonance work for you, but actually in knowing what you want in the first place. That is the real nub of the issue. And yet, it doesn't even seem to appear in The Secret.

Knowing what you really, really want is actually quite hard to define when you start thinking about it. All sorts of things rear their heads when you look into it. Unclear motivations, and sometimes unhealthy reasons.

Knowing what you really want is actually a process of self-enquiry, something The Secret doesn't mention. Looking into what you really want, turns over all kinds of stones. A true knowing of what you want, is usually in line with what is actually right for you to have, which is quite a different thing than what The Secret 'reveals'.

You can think to yourself 'I want a Porsche car', but the fact is, is that if you get it, you get it because for some reason that energy was owed to you, not because you could suddenly manifest it, even though it looked that way to you.

A more direct problem I have with The Secret, despite observing and understanding the laws of attraction (and thus agreeing with Rhonda Byrne), is the way it sells false dreams to people. It reveals that really anything at all is possible. Anything! Wow! But that's only true within reason. If I wanted to become the best dancer in the world, in classical ballet, for example, it would never, ever happen (at least not in this life). That sort of thing requires training from the earliest of ages.

Also, it somehow allows people to fantasize over great material wealth, for example, as an end in itself, which is really quite spiritually sterile. As if great wealth will magically make people happy.

Rhonda Byrne's 'secret', is that she is karmically in a position to reap a lot of good energy, and draw a lot of people along with her...

I have a secret of my own to tell you, and I'm not charging anything for it!!

Know yourself.

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Comments 17 comments

Mike Dennis profile image

Mike Dennis 6 years ago

I just wrote a HUB entitled WE CAN CREATE MAGIC AND MIRACLES and I talk about the law of attration which I have been working with for years. When it was posted, YOUR HUB, showed up as a related hub. I read it and LOVED IT. I too, always felt something was missing in Rhonda Byrne's best seller, THE SECRET, I love your mentioning of the GROUND WORK that must be done. And ending it with KNOW THYSELF. It is one of the most famous GREEK AXIOMS and I quote it a lot and try to live by it. Boy that was the icing on the cake. There are some good things in THE SECRET and it has helped some people, but as you so well point out it misses some crucial and vitally important things to know as well before we really manifest our hopes and dreams. I actually prefer LYNN GRABHORN'S Book EXCUSE ME YOUR LIFE IS WAITING! Have you read that one? She does not mind talking about the soul and ground work we must do and how every day is not always a bed of roses or day in the park. I did mention soul contracts and karma in my hub. Thanks for such a great hub. I think I shall become your FAN if that is okay and see what else you have come up with. You are obviously a very deep and old soul with much knowledge and wisdom to impart. What a blessings to contact such people! Mike


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 6 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Thank you for the comment. I'll look out for Grabhorn's book :-)


Mike Dennis profile image

Mike Dennis 6 years ago

And thank you. I'd love your ideas on my hub WE CAN CREATE MAGIC if you get a chance to read it. It got 29 HITS in one day and I was so humbled. We are all seeking help and answers, and yes the ultimate greatest teacher is 'the self' I do believe. blessings.


lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

"There is an unquestioning assumption that if you want something, the universe will provide it."

"Also, it somehow allows people to fantasize over great material wealth, for example, as an end in itself, which is really quite spiritually sterile."

I think it's all about self empowerment. Getting out there and taking control of your surrounding, working towards goals.

I've never bothered to watch the Secret, or read the book. I know many who have. To me, it's just common sense. A great attitude is something to behold; but as you suggest, a materialistic course of action is not the most innocent use of this theory.

Eh, it's all good, though.

They won't have it all for very much longer...


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 6 years ago from Wales, UK Author

lxxy very interesting comments...

I do agree with you with regards to self-empowerment and I don't like to seem like a cynic, because I actually agree with these truths... but being used for really cheap things, I don't know about that (but what is cheap to one person isn't to another, so who am I to judge)

'They won't have it all for very much longer...' Humm, is that intuitive prediction? It certainly seems that way to me


Thriller profile image

Thriller 5 years ago from India

The secret is that the book is entirely based on Joseph Murphy's truly amazing book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind and nowhere has she 'felt' any 'gratitude' for him


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Thriller - thanks for visiting, and you're right, all that material can be found elsewhere


mammasigi 4 years ago

My 16 yr old daughter read the secret about 2 yrs ago and became an obsolete fanatic and we became worried about this obsession. We bought the book and audio and agree that the basic s behind the secret are good - think positive, work toward a goal, positive attractionetc. She joined the webpage and gets daily readings. After a while interest seemed to wain however it has reappeared and I am worried about its effect. In the last 6 months she has moved for school and is now looking for bigger and more dramatic results after believing for so long that ''things" will happen. I now think I have a daughter verging on depression. She is doubting her abilities and thinking that her efforts are futile and worthless. She has an incredible passion(and ability) within the field of music and the secret is now turning her against herself because "it" hasn't happened yet. I was so pleased to find your hub as I am now trying to arm myself with some "wisdom" to tackle the mind of a 16 year old.

I will also check out WE CAN CREATE MRACLES AND MAGIC.

Thank you. (I wonder if there are others who have experienced the same)


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

mammasigi - when I was that age, Norman Vincent Peal's book 'The Power of Positive Thinking' influenced me a lot, but the book is quite Christian in its approach, which in some ways was a good thing as it somehow helped keep a perspective on things.

It's fantastic for kids to have vision in what they want to achieve, but it literally takes 10,000 hours of practice to turn truly professional. This number was actually analysed - the Beatles for example, did hundreds of hours of playing small venues in Germany, slowly refining their craft. Anyone who has got anywhere in life have put in a huge amount of work - 10,000 hours of practice being the magic number, apparently! It's what I call 'ground work' in this article. Positive thinking with endless hard work does achieves results, a bit like the pop singer 'Pink' did. Natural talent is meaningless without hard work, vision, and 'sustained laborious toil' as someone once put it.

Hopefully your daughter is passionate enough to put in the hard rate of work required. If she isn't actually passionate enough, and doesn't, it just means there's something else out there more suited to her personality and talents, and perhaps she's being guided to something else. We all have a different part to play. I wish you all the best.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"Just a bunch of great tenets, and their application, simply isn't enough to create your own reality, as many have found out." - It was quite enough for me ... a great beginning actually.

"This cannot be. A responsible universe just doesn't work like that." - Categorical statements such as this one make me smile. : )

"Knowing what you really, really want is actually quite hard to define when you start thinking about it." - I think that is a point that the Secret makes. When we use intent, we start learning about the "knowing": we focus, we dream, we attract by the power of our attention (if we have any).

"You can think to yourself 'I want a Porsche car', but the fact is, is that if you get it, you get it because for some reason that energy was owed to you, not because you could suddenly manifest it, even though it looked that way to you." - I am not sure what to say here. You know that one does not get what they wish for because they were able to manifest their wish and You also know that one gets what they wish for because their wish was owed to them ... Categorical statements again. Either way: if someone's wish was owed to them or manifested by them, if it came true and they thought about it and willed it then, it's all good in my mind.

I might be missing the point here ... You let me know. : )

I liked the Secret and I got many things out of it. It's working for me, that's all I can say I guess. Just my opinion. Cheers!


klarawieck 4 years ago

I agree with you that there is definitely something very fishy about The Secret. I read Byrne's book right after Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, and ended up totally confused - do we live in the moment or do we believe that the desired future outcomes are already here? Hmmm. :) Sometimes it's best to put the books aside and look for the answers within. Everyone is trying to share what works for them in ways that fill their wallets. Isn't that convenient?

Thanks for sharing your free secret. It sure makes a whole lot of sense!


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 4 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Mr.Happy - thanks for commenting. The trouble comes when people who perhaps haven't thought things through, in general, get hold of books like the Secret. By the way you chide me for my instances of sloppy and/or lazy reasoning, I don't think this somehow applies to you! lol. Thanks again.

klarawieck - I'm a real fan of Tolle. I couldn't get on with the Secret at all. Different folks, different strokes, as they say :-)


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Greetings Mr. Denizen,

Let me say to begin with that I just have a lot of questions, in general. That is how my mind works: keeps asking questions ... not always good ones either. Which brings me to the next point: many things apply to me, including "sloppy and/or lazy reasoning" at times but I try to my best ability to be careful.

I agree with You that many people don't think things through, including when it comes to such books. Actually, I am not a fan of the "hot-to-make a billion dollars" books. The Secret was digested differently by me though and it had a marvellous effect on my life.

Indeed, categorical statements which include everyone make me cringe a little. Like Mrs. Klarawieck's comment about how: "Everyone is trying to share what works for them in ways that fill their wallets. Isn't that convenient?" - I write here for free, for almost three years. I like to share knowledge, ideas, etc.

I just thought I would share a different view/perspective on this book. It's all perception anyway so, I do not think your perception is worng or my perception is better - just different ways of perceiving. And yes, I do struggle sometimes to understand the ways in which other people comprehend this three dimensional perspective.

Many thanks for the conversation. Cheers!


PDXBuys profile image

PDXBuys 3 years ago from Oregon

The secret about The Secret is that there is no secret.


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 3 years ago from Wales, UK Author

Well that's another way of putting it PDXBuys! - hey, thanks for visiting


Sérgio Zucchi 23 months ago

I'm writing today at many blogs to let you know about something really wrong with Rhonda Byrne. Two years ago I did an Android app entitled "The Secret Unofficial App" and published in some places, except on Google Play because copyright. My app was free, its functionality was very similar to "The secret Gadget for Windows", showing the Secret Daily Messages except that I added an "Oracle mode", so that a random message could be showed for you. "Someone??" reported me, not only my app, and my app was removed from the lists. I couldn't believe, and I still can't. I know they sell their apps, but I was very clear about the title "Unofficial app". It was hard for me to take it at that time, I could not buy the app because I was unabled to get a credit card and I thought other peoples could be in my situation. Well, really, for me The Secret is a lie, they don't do what they say. Oh, she wants to bring joy to billions, right? So, maybe Rhonda can re-think about colaboration and begin to act as the nature does. Maybe this way, she may be successful.


Electro-Denizen profile image

Electro-Denizen 23 months ago from Wales, UK Author

Thanks for visiting Sergio Zucchi - this blog makes for interesting reading http://moz.com/blog/the-secret-sem-sued-for-tradem...

Really, Rhonda Byrne's re-hashing of esoteric truths and suing people for trademark infringement, shows The Secret it up for what it is. It's such a danger for people, who want spirituality but who also want everything in this life. Many saints have often repeated, you can't really progress spiritually while still having attachment to this life.

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