I think The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is one of the worst best-selling books ever. It’s one of the most popular Law of Attraction books and one of my greatest pet peeves.
I call it the Atlas Shrugged of manifestation. Don’t get me wrong: You can learn the basics of LOA manifestation from The Secret.
But like Ayn Rand’s tome, it also teaches you to be a selfish prick.
According to The Secret, you should stay away as far as you can from people with—uh-oh, it’s the P-word--problems.
Don’t say it too loud, otherwise you might attract all that negative stuff they’re dealing with. What a load of crap.
Now, there is a group of people you should stay away from. I call them “energy vampires.” But they're not the same as people with problems.
Energy vampires are those perpetually pissed-off party poopers (don't you love alliterations?) who will suck you dry if you spend more than 15 minutes in their presence.
You can tell you’re with an energy vampire when you...
People with problems—i.e., people who are down on their luck or depressed—on the other hand, deserve your compassion and attention.
It’s utterly heartless to shut someone out who is grieving due to divorce, loss of a loved one, money problems, unemployment, or what-have-you because you can’t be bothered to taint your precious LOA auric field.
I also don’t like that The Secret tells you that you’re God and therefore almighty.
According to The Secret, the thing that fulfills your wishes is “the Universe,” a sentient but robotic desire-vending machine that will do anything you ask if you just ask the right way.
Oh, and by the way, don’t be shy. Just ask for anything you want, because the Universe will happily deliver all the yachts, Ferraris, and Caribbean cruises you can handle.
There is a kernel of truth to all of this, of course, but it’s not the whole truth.
For example, in my opinion, it’s good to believe in something greater than yourself, some Supreme Being.
The reason is that it keeps you humble. When you listen to The Secret, it’s quite easy to let all that newly found super-power go to your head.
On the other hand, when you believe that all good things come from God and that you’re a co-creator but not The Creator, it kind of puts things in perspective.
And quite frankly, the people who crave yachts and Ferraris quite often use those objects to compensate for something else.
Like a gaping emptiness that they try to fill with material possessions, or certain… ahem… shortcomings, if you know what I mean.
Unsurprisingly, some of the people doling out this kind of advice are not the greatest role models themselves.
James Arthur Ray, one of the contributors to The Secret, went to jail for two years after killing three people in a sweat lodge in Sedona, AZ, in 2009.
During his “Spiritual Warrior” retreat, he deprived attendees of sleep, starved them, and then let them sit, in their already weakened state, for hours in a sweat lodge.
When several attendees started complaining that they felt dizzy and nauseated, he refused to let them leave the lodge.
Three people died, nineteen others “collapsed, vomited, had trouble breathing, hallucinated, foamed at the mouth or fell unconscious,” according to a CNN report.
Ray got out on good behavior in 2013 and went right back to promoting himself as a spiritual teacher.
Now, I’m by no means perfect, but wow.
I mean, really.
Personally, I’m a fan of Florence Scovel Shinn’s writing. Start with her book, The Game of Life and How to Play It.
If you’re not a believer, be warned that it has a lot of God stuff in it—but her whole personality is so kind and benevolent, you just gotta love her.
After all that greed and selfishness of The Secret, it feels like a fresh breeze.
I read a lot of Amazon reviews by non-religious people who adore Florence Scovel Shinn just because of how sweet she is (or was, since she published this book in 1925 and is long dead).