The other day I was watching Oprah (but only because my friend happened to have the TV on! Yeah right heard that one before. No it's true! Shhhoorahhhh
). Ok, seriously.
Anyway this was the episode about the Secret, that notorious New Age video about positive thinking & creative visualisation (or as they call it, The Law of Attraction).
Anyway I'd previously heard about it and read the hatchet job on Wikipedia (which included some conspiracy theory stuff or something, but this was later removed) so i naturally had a jaundiced opinion. Then when I was doing the Theta Healing course everyone was talking about it. So I thought either (a) this just proves New Age bnaivity, or (b) there really is something in this after all.
A few days after i finished the Theta course, my friend had taped The Secret and said i should watch it, because I had told her my friends at the Theta Course had spoken highly of it. So I thought ok, although I was feeling sick at the time because i was coming down with a bad cold (because my subconscious was still full of fear about catching colds).
So i started watching it, and i'd never seen such boring repetitious shite. I mean it isn't that they were saying anything that wasn't true, it's just that it went on...and on...and on... about the saaaaame thing, as if they were addressing a retarding two year old. And they never explained it. All that happened is that the first person would say a sentence, then the next person would say the same
sentence, or something very similar. Or even a phrase, or a single word. Worst of all was the soppy music which was supposed to be mystical or melodramatic or something. Maybe because i was feeling sick at the time, but i considered it the most badly directed and produced thing i'd ever seen. So I stopped watching it after about 10 minutes. I would have edited the whole 90 minutes or whatever it was down to 10 or 15 minutes.
And I thought yeah, typical. New Age people, too much "feelings", not enough "thinking". Unbalanced, so they need 90 minutes or 2 hours for what can be said in 10 minutes.
Fast forward to Oprah.
Maybe because it was the people involved actually talking avout stuff, not just all saying the same thing in 1 or 2 word soundbites, but i could really see they are decent people and one guy in particular i got a very nice vibe from (Michael Beckwith of the Agape center).
Ok, sure the whole thing is simplistic, and highly egotistic. Because it is about doing it yourself, rather than realising that you don't do anything (which is what I am learning from Theta, although I wonder how many who did the course got the message, and how many simply try tp be the healer a la The Secret.)
It is also all about being "the doer" (thorough creative visualisation and positive thinking). Nothing wrong with that, but it is an inferior level of consciousness. For me, spirituality and self-transformation is about letting go of the idea that "you are the doer" (which for me is very hard). And I thank Simon Rose and his Theta Magic course for this insight. It is of course in keeping with Wu Wei (non-action) and Zen and the Art of Archery, and with mysticism everywhere. The only difference is that the Theta technique, like The Secret and New Age magic in general, allows you to manifest things that your ego would like. Now, I have already commented on my Integral Transformations blog that I consider this a good thing, as long as it is for the good of al l sentient beings. This is because mysticism is tied up with a poverty conscioiusness, the idea that you need to live an ascetic life of denial to get close to God. I have suggested that a new, more world-affirming, mysticism is emerging.
However even if positive thinking is still at the egoic level, it is still a valid, authentic occult/magical technique. Even if it doesn't transform the subconscious the way that The Mother's yoga, or the Rainbow Bridge material, or my own current practice does. But it is still useful, indeed necessary if one wants to benefit from life rather than hinder oneself. And it is certainly part of the New Age tradition of "you create your own reality".
But the spirituality involved also transcends the simplistic exoteric message of self-centered magic. I did pick up on that from listening to the people on the Oprah show, and that's what made me change my opinion. You can't get that from just the video alone. The consciousness of The Secret video is actually very base. But it's like using exoteric religion to reach an esoteric level. The exoteric is selfish and egotistic, the esoteric is about transcending the self.
Critics of the Secret might be divided into two categories. Either they are sceptical materialists that cannot handle occultism. Or they are Integral theorists or some other intellectual New Age / New Paradigm movement who like to judge other systems or teachings.
The technique it mentions (which can be explained in 30 seconds) works, it is valid and real and one aspect of Magic. For many people, soimething like this, not too complicated or frightening, is what they need to turn their lives around and get out of their rut; realise they have no-onbe to blame for their situation but themselves, and that they are not a slave to fate or karma, and so create a better reality. Thus this video serves a purpose. Also, the fact that it isn't addressed to cerebral and very intelligent people is also good; because it's the people with more heart development and less mental development - water rather than air as my astrologer friend would say, foir feeling rather than thinking if you're a Jungian, EQ rather than IQ, who really need to hear this message, because they are often the most vulnerable, having put themselves in negative situations with no-one to guide them.
However, I haven't seen the whole video, and i have been told there are some objectionable things in it. From the well-written if perhaps over-cynical critique The Secret Behind The Secret
by Ingrid Hansen Smythe
"An example of this is amply demonstrated in The Secret
DVD, in which a girl is shown laughing with glee at her pet - a cat, who has his head stuck in a small bag and is backing up and shaking his head in an attempt to get the thing off. The girl thinks this is hilarious, and her laughter is apparently generating good feelings which will bring more good things into her life - but what is the experience of the cat? It is one of distress, and it is this distress which the girl is using to generate her own positive feelings. "
Like I said, I haven't seen the video all through, or even a quarter of it, but if this really is part of it (which seems at variance with the vibe of the nice folks on the Oprah Show, but maybe it just goes to show how confused the whole thing is) it shows that this really is an example of the narcissistic and ugly underbelly of the New Age, and that it attracts negative lower astral entities, such as motivate their human puppets to acts of sadism.
I really need to watch the whole of the Secret to see if it really is something that empowers and also allows transcendence, or if it is something that limits the consciousness and encourages the basest forms of selfishness and insensitivity in that it allows cruely (such as in the above illustration) as a means to achieving the goal.
So imho The Secret is
o the current phase of American-based you create your own reality New Ageism
o pseudoscholarship and myth making (the usual lost of famous names all knew about "The Secret", even the title is melodramatic)
o explains (albeit in repetitous detail) one element of real occultism ("like attracts like")
o a technique by which people can genuinely improve and empower themselves,
o an example of an "exoteric" "spirituality"
o (maybe) a form of slavery to negative forces?
ok, so much for my own egotistic rambling! :-)