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Rhonda Bryne's "The Secret" Revisited

Updated on August 13, 2013

Several years ago, I read Rhonda Bryne's book entitled "The Secret." The basic premise to this book is the law of attraction, where you aim to attract things into your life that you want and conversely remove things in your life that you do not want. I first heard about this book at a Soka Gakkai monthly District meeting when a visitor was inquisitive about a philosophy of religion that mirrors the law of attraction and within a month converted to Nirchiren Daishonin's Buddhism. What was interesting regarding both the Secret and Soka Gakkai International is that they both have an aspect of attracting certain types of individuals through their desire to accumulate material wealth and to give both credit, they capture the attention of those who have no desire or inkling for a spiritual journey. Interestingly, this individual was very philosophical rather than material in his search. This individual piqued my curiosity, and I read the book and watched the movie.

As a typical human being, once there is no proof of effectiveness or discussion of application, I quickly moved to other issues and topic of interest. The reason for revisiting the law of attraction is that I met people who were in a rut in their life. In the movie "About a Boy," an individual who lived a life of the same routine, counting his activities in increments of units, surprisingly came to question whether his life is meaningful. Like this movie, I have met people who started questioning about the meaning of their lives, being trapped in the same humdrum routine, and are looking toward "The Secret" to change their lives.

The Manifestation of Thoughts

Whether you even put one ounce of thought on the law of attraction, there are common examples to show that it is applied more commonly than you think. Everybody knows that thoughts are powerful. Rhonda Bryne was not the only recent writer to talk about it. Mary T. Browne also wrote a book called The 5 Rules of Thought: How to Use the Power of Your Mind to Get What You Want. I am sure that there are other writers on this topic, but the bottomline is that you are by the most part what you think. How is that so? People who walk and pay attention to the ground can avoid stepping into dog poo and also find money. So, a person who actually pays attention to the ground while walking looking for dropped change will most likely find it.

Another example is what I call the job hunting game or the find a mate game. There are people who move from job to job while others stay in one place. I used to be a person who didn't stay at a job for more than 2 years. During the 90's, when the economy was one of the worst for attorneys, I was unhappily employed. I was totally absorbed by the job hunting process, especially a weekly publication that predates Every week I combed through the publication and decipher whether any of the vacancies was within my KSA (knowledge, skills and ability) and every lunch period was my opportunity to drop off an employment application and visit each department to determine whether there were any vacancies that were not included in the weekly publication. I did this so routinely that it ended up being my exercise, and unfortunately, I also learned to eat on the run or eat standing on the subways of Washington, D.C. However, of the jobs that were offered to me, there was even one that was actually created for me, even though it never existed before. As I later found out snooping through a stack of documents to be filed at one of my jobs, I was hired to fill a minority spot so that agency statistics would look good in the midst of a minority discrimination lawsuit in one of the major Federal Departments. At that time, I didn't know anything about manifesting thoughts or "The Secret" in 1992.

As for finding a mate for life, I knew because of my upbringing that I valued companionship over success. My mother was not in a happy marriage but because of her culture and her generation, she had no recourse but to suffer in it until my father passed away. I learned from this experience what kind of person I was looking for. So, instead of feeling sorry for myself after my breakup, I checked out self-help books from the library next door to figure out the latest on male and female relationships. I also said yes to every type of dating and presented myself in a positive manner. One time I had a blind date with someone whom I did not realize losing 50 pounds meant that the person might be grossly overweight. Instead of bolting from the date the moment I saw him, I completed the date and graciously thanked him. I had learned so much about the business of publishing a directory featuring all of the radio stations in the country. He was totally surprised that I did not leave in a rage after our meeting like all of his other dates, but I had to turn him down carefully that I didn't want a second date so that I did not to hurt his feeling. Eventually, I bumped into a classmate/friend who eventually became my husband. I manifested my thoughts of finding a great companion instead of sitting at home thinking that I could make myself happy but alone.

Observing Recent Manifestations and Coincidences

The only reason that I started thinking about Rhonda Bryne's The Secret is that I listened enthusiastically to a coworker who is trying to attract good things into her life. So, not being a total disbeliever, I decided to see if I could mitigate the nearly $400 vet bill that I received for our cat's recent hospital visit. I even joked that it would be great to get a focus group to cover this expense. So, it was interesting that a couple of weeks ago, my husband did receive a call asking him to do some cooking videos for a focus group for $100. We thought that this was better than nothing, and since this seemed like an interesting project, he diligently completed the six videos with the assistance of my 12-year-old son's editing skills (the one summer camp he attended really paid off). Then, since they liked his videos so much, they asked my husband if he was willing to participate in an in-home interview. He wasn't busy, and he had fun the last time we had an in-home interview regarding the use of two refrigerators in a home. In fact, it was my interview, but he ended up answering the questions as well. So, this one was again about a new kitchen. When the check came, it was $450. We knew about the $250 for the interview, but then he wasn't sure what he was receiving for the additional opinions. He wasn't sure whether he was going to be bumped up into a new category.

Then, this week I forwarded an advertisement that I won a free Papa John's Pizza to my husband. I never ordered any pizza so I cannot imagine why I could be 1 of 2 million winners. However, my husband replied that it had to be real because he plugged in the code and the cost came to zero. So, when there was a grand opening of Petsmart in my neighborhood, we decided to visit. We both won one of the 25 $ 25 giftcards as well as many other promotional giveaways. We ended the day with a free family preview of Zarafa at Aero Theater, together with free popcorn, water, and watches for the children. I decided that I would better continue on my coincidence journal since I managed to attract ways of saving the family money so that we can set aside more money for our aging cat.

Another recent interesting occurrence was when I had an opportunity to tell a colleague who is in remission from cancer regarding from my Mom's recent discovery of cancer. A friend of mine had suggested that I take the time to have lunch with him, but the purpose was for me to just get out and take my mind off work. He suggested that I look into the miracle vegetable soup for my mother; however, the soup has completely changed my life. I went from having to expand my rings and still barely being able to fit into them to now only after 3 weeks on this soup, my rings easily glide onto my fingers. I also acquired a gut and prior to drinking this soup, a number of individuals had come to me to congratulate me on my pregnancy. I was truly embarrassed. Now, in addition to feeling thinner and less bloating, the most important aspect was improving my energy. I drink it right before coming home from work, and I have the energy to stay awake until 10 P.M. and then waking up early, feeling quite refreshed.

What the Critics Say

Being a person whose glass is typically half full, I decided to look into the critics behind the Secret. One criticism is that there is no explanation of how it occurs, especially if your wish does not come into fruition. There could be a lot of empty promises wishing for something that may never come true. Like Eastern chanting and prayers, some people often admit that their spiritual journey is almost non-existent and that they are only going through the motions. For that reason, they are not seeing the benefit of their prayers. However, no effort is wasted. There are some wishful thinking that would never come true. For example, let's say that there is a drug dealer who wishes to become president of the United States. This individual could be wishing and visualizing about being president but this would never become reality. Another example is a person who has racked up a tremendous amount of credit card debit such as $100,000 and makes minimum wage. Even if this person can visualize being out of debt and dreams about it daily, there is a probability unless he or she wins the lottery that getting out of debt may be realistically impossible because of the skyrocketing interest rate. At some point, individuals must face reality that there is an impossibility to this "Secret." However, if one has put oneself in this type of debt, at least trying to eradicating it is better than merely giving up. And any effort to tackle such problem is a step in the right direction instead of harboring a defeatist attitude.

The Wisdom Of Knowing What To Wish For

In Eastern religion such as Buddhism, we are often advised in confronting a rut in life to pray for wisdom. In Christianity, there is a similar prayer for wisdom, which I find to be applicable to my approach to Rhonda Bryne's "The Secret." The Christian prayer that I am referring to is the Serenity Prayer created by Rheinhold Niebuhr:

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

It is important to understanding what can be changed such as oneself, one's attitude and one's behavior versus what cannot be changed such as certain life events that have occurred or other people. By discerning and separating possible wishful thinking from irrational delusional thoughts, we can also continue to attract good things into our lives rather than bad ones, such as impulsive greed for easy money but ending up being a Ponzi scheme victim.

If by reading Rhonda Byrne's "The Secret" or watching her movie you are able to become a more positive and happier individual, by all means continue and move onward.


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    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks, teaches12345, for your comments and Merry Christmas. Faith is so important, but when people lose their faith, they need something to remind them to be positive.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Postive thinking is always helpful in making decisions and facing life with courage. I know my Christian faith has helped me to realize the potential through all things. Great thoughts and review on this book.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Gina145, sometimes it's all about timing. I, too, had ignored the "Secret" until the topic was raised recently. Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

    • Gina145 profile image

      Gina145 5 years ago from South Africa

      I read "The Secret" a long time ago, but never really tried to put its advice into practice. I think it's time I read it again.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi twistedc, I received Conversations with God as a Gift. I will have some time next week. I'll be sure to read it. Thanks for your suggestion.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi AlexK2009, thanks for your feedback on your experience with the law of attraction. I would be interested if you try again in 2013. Thanks for visiting.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi Cyndi10, thank you for informing me about Creative Visualization. I will look into it. We have the power and determination to fulfill our goals, dreams, and desires. Again, I appreciate your discussion.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi carol7777, your words are very encouraging. Thank you!

    • twistedc profile image

      Clint Mann 5 years ago from Florida

      The Secert along with Conversations with God have changed my life for the better the power of thought is amazing.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Interesting points. This has not worked well for me but has not always failed totally. I need to work on it more

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      The power of positive thinking and the law of attraction is often that it puts you on the track to what you want. Creative visualization is closely aligned to the law of attraction. In fact, another book you might find interesting is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain written before The Secrets.

      I think inherent in both is a powerful belief in oneself and a faith that you can accomplish, achieve your desired outcomes. It makes you put those outcomes before you and to make them come to fruition, you usually take the appropriate steps to make things happen, as you illustrated.

      However, there are times when things just fall the right way, as in someone does win the lottery or you are lucky at winning prizes. At those times we count our blessings. Great hub with a lot of material for discussion!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I found this most thought provoking and could share a gazillion stores about believing and positive thinking brings things. If you focus on something, take action and believe it will happen...and if was not supposed to. I always believed in my son with all his problems,school and academic issues..Got all the right people along the way and today he has a PHD, a family, and a big government position.. I never thought he was limited or could not. Everything that has been really important to me I have made happen..but the keyword is not desire but belief. Great hub..and lots of good examples. Voting UP+++