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The Secret Behind "The Secret".

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Now that The Secret is out, people can’t stop talking about it.

Millions of people have discovered “The Secret”. On the one hand, this phenomenon has opened people to new possibilities about the way they look at and live their lives. It has encouraged people to be positive, to be grateful, and to make changes in their daily living. But it also misrepresents the very real power of the imagination when equating abundance with money, seemingly creating a capitalistic spirituality. Has an abundance of money ever lead to anything other than a tendency toward greed? Has greed permeated its spiritual message?

The big secret behind all of this enthusiasm is that the message is nothing new. Seeing the positive in things, rather than the gloomy and dingy, has always been a matter of choice, of looking at a glass and seeing it as half full or cracked. It re-iterates the age-old alchemical adage: “As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without.” Jesus the Christ said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is here, amongst you.” In the 90’s, mythologist Joseph Campbell (The Power of Myth) told us to ‘follow your bliss’. Christian theologian Matthew Fox told us that instead of dwelling on our ‘original sins’ we might better spend our time considering our ‘original blessings’.

So why is “The Secret” so wildly popular right now? Simply put: because people need it. Because we are living in dark and dangerous times and people need to feel they have some control over their lives in a world that is going out of control and makes no secret about wrestling control from us. The world is waking up to the fact that we have caused great damage to the environment by our modern lifestyle. We are also seeing, once again, how destructive, debilitating and demented war is. Most governments appear to be controlled by corporate interests rather than by the people. Many people are alone and struggling, living in fear and want. We need hope. So imagining that we can create the life we want is enticing.

Some people would have it that we are dancing in a moment of time when the world is ready for a great spiritual awakening and that the popularity of “The Secret” is part of this awakening. Other religious people believe that we are living in the ‘End Times’. Everyone is looking for salvation. Can people find salvation in this movie/book just as other believers find it in their Holy Books?

The ideas presented in “The Secret” are all valid.

1. Our values form our perceptions, and vice versa.
2. Our perceptions determine how we experience the world.
3. We need to become aware of our behavior patterns.
4. We must believe that we can change, and this change often comes through painful experiences and the insights we gain from them.
5. We need a broader and deeper awareness that is only achievable through Love.
6. We should know that without hope, we’re lost.
7. We need to remember that we have free will and if we exercise it, our choices will be more in tune with who we really are.
8. And last but not least, we must recognize that money comes from creativity.

Another reason for its popularity is disturbing and two sided. “The Secret’s” emphasis on the concept and condition of abundance can be construed as another variation on the Protestant Ethic. If we create our own realities, whether of sickness or health, wealth or poverty, then the blame game gets transferred from being a sinner (Protestant Ethic says, “I am wealthy therefore God loves me. You are poor, therefore you are a sinner.”) to being the cause of the problem ourselves (I’ve somehow created my illness, my poverty, etc.). A better way to understand why things happen to us might be : “The state of my wealth and health are lessons I have chosen to learn in this lifetime.” There is always a mystery surrounding our soul’s purpose. There are lessons to be learned and responsibilities to be accepted. To everything there is a season under heaven.

The Law of Attraction, as the film/book presents it, seems to be another ‘get rich quick’ scheme that plays such a big role in the American psyche. People come to America because its ‘streets are paved with gold”. Americans want things to happen quickly and easily – a psychological attribute of adolescent behavior. Attracting abundance is eagerly embraced, since most of the world’s wealth is owned by less than 1% of the population. From the middle class on down, we Americans are scrambling to make ends meet, and so the golden image of abundance makes us shell out $30.00 + (don’t DVD’s sell for $19.95?) to get the inside scoop on the Secret to having this abundant life. Am I naïve not to think of the marketing of our greed as an insured success for “The Secret”? Do we really need to aspire to the exaggerated lifestyles of the rich and famous?

Now, for another Secret. Do you ever wonder why those ancient sages kept The Secret a secret? Why would this ability, which seems so simple – just imagine and feel yourself in that new and improved abundant state and you’ll get what you desire – have been kept a secret? If the likes of Galileo, Plato, Isaac Newton, Da Vinci and others knew this secret, why didn’t they share it with the world at large? Could it be that it takes a special kind of integrity and consciousness to work with it in the right way?

In its rush to tell us the great Secret of our humanity – that we, too, have a spark of God’s Spirit within us and that we can become co-creators with Spirit – “The Secret” disregarded the first lesson of good teaching. Begin at the beginning. A good teacher lays a strong foundation of knowledge before going on to higher learning. “The Secret” begins in the middle and the basics get lost along the way in the golden glimmer of the hope for ‘abundance’. All the hardships – and their lessons - these ‘experts’ went through in their lives are easily ignored in the rush to “create my own abundance reality”.

A good teacher might have stated in the beginning of the movie:

This Secret knowledge is built on a strong foundation. Everyone who knew the Secret had to first work on certain crucial aspects in regard to themselves.

1. The Greek Philosopher Thales said it millennia ago. “Know Thyself”. You have to put in the time to understand who you are, how you think and feel about your life, what your real desires are and what you want to accomplish. Not everything you desire is ultimately good for you. Bad people can use this knowledge with hurtful results. You really need an intimate knowledge of your Shadow (a term coined by the Swiss Psychologist, Carl Jung) - the part of the human psyche that acts in you unconsciously and autonomously. But the Shadow is not evil, although it can cause you pain. It is energy you somehow rejected within yourself and which creates blockages in you, often causing pain and suffering until you recognize and name it. You need to work with the Shadow, because the Shadow can really twist a good desire into an unhealthy one. When you work consciously with the Shadow, it transforms into a new gift or talent or energy available to enrich your life.

2. Another foundational building block is to know your values and live by your ideals. If you believe in love, truth, beauty, honor, integrity, valour, compassion, kindness, etc., you must actively live by these principles in your daily life. You have to ‘walk your talk’ to truly and responsibly participate in the whole - either in your community or in co-creating your intentions with the cosmos. Otherwise, what is to keep a person from imagining that they are meant to be lovers with a movie star, and working to create that reality. It’s not healthy and it’s not right.

3. You must believe in yourself. It is not enough to know yourself and know what you desire. You must also believe that you deserve it. This can be a major stumbling block to any success. So many of us have what Jungians call “a negative mother complex”, i.e., we don’t love ourselves for who we really are.

4. The power of intention is based on what used to be called ‘magic’. It is based on the ability to work with the imagination. You have to meditate and learn to create a thought form in the imagination. The more concrete details you can hold in your mind, the stronger the image and intention. The trouble with this is that you are working with the unconscious, which is where all of your unconscious beliefs and behavior patterns lie. This leads you back to the first lesson, Know Yourself. Otherwise, there is the danger of becoming inflated by the archetype; simply put, you think your ego has a power that doesn’t belong to it. Carl Jung’s psychology works with the Unconscious through dreams and visualizations, teaching you how to properly relate to the Unconscious, which is full of powerful forces and even dangers. There is hard work involved in this part of the lesson. Working to uncover your unconscious patterns is a must - otherwise you will not be able to create a valid thought form to attract the life you want.

5. Once you have done this work on yourself, then The Secret is yours. You can focus in on your true desires because you know what they really are. You can create intentions and goals that you want to work towards. And when you succeed, you can live a creative, abundant life and make money doing it.

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Cathy Pagano is a spiritual advisor and Jungian psychotherapist, storyteller, author and teacher. She is the author of a book on the return of the Goddess, "Wisdom's Daughters: How Women Can Change the World". Cathy trained at the C. (more...)

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