Control the universe with your mind? Or just the tri-county area? Let’s clear up a few things about The Secret…
Several of you have asked about The Secret, and why, since I was in it, I’m sometimes critical of it. So what’s wrong with me? Why am I such a wet blanket?
First of all, The Secret used just a small bit of what I said when they recorded what I had to say about using the mind to create what you want in the world. They had a certain point of view they wanted to present, and I quite frankly didn’t know precisely what it was when I was being interviewed. Now, I see that their point of view was primarily a magical one, in the sense that The Secret seems to be saying that all you need to do is wish, hope, or “put it out to the universe” in order to get something. This point of view was presented despite the fact that very few of the teachers featured in The Secret (and I know almost all of them) actually believe that.
If you want to give “putting it out to the universe” a try, go for it. I’ll just caution you that I know a lot of very successful people, and none of them (and I really do mean zero, none, nada, zip, goose egg) became successful using that method.
Yes, every successful person I know did use their mind, and did focus on the outcome they wanted. Focusing your attention on what you want IS necessary. However, it’s just the first step. and you certainly don’t do it because it creates some sort of magic tractor-beam that sucks what you want into your waiting arms.
Here’s what happens when you focus your mind on the outcome you want: 1) it generates ideas you can use to get it, 2) it alerts you to resources you can use but might not see otherwise, 3) it creates the motivation to act, and 4) it helps you develop necessary personal qualities you might need, such as imagination, courage, persistence, or enthusiasm.
Next, though, you need to act, you need to do something. And, if you want something in return, the action you take needs to be of value in some way. It can’t be just any action. Running around in your underwear in Times Square is an action, but it might not get you the outcome you want.
The idea that thinking or hoping by itself will get you what you want is first-class magical thinking. It’s preconventional (see previous posts for what I mean by that). Yes, if you wish for something, every now and then it might happen. This is called a coincidence. A stopped clock is right twice a day, but that won’t help you know what time it is. If Aunt Sally sends you a check right when you need money and after you “put it out to the universe” to “attract some money”, it’s a coincidence, not your mind magically pulling Aunt Sally’s arms toward her checkbook and making her write a check and stick it in an envelope addressed to you. Try using your mind to get Aunt Sally to send a check every week and see what happens.
“Every now and then” is enough reinforcement for someone at a preconventional level, though. Sadly, those who think this way struggle to make life work, because preconventional ways of being in the world work only in a preconventional society (and even then they don’t work that well). As a way of navigating the world, they are very primitive, which is why preconventional societies have always been poor, and have offered life spans of about 40 years at the most, with few creature comforts. (And, for those of you who romanticize such cultures, remember that they generally involved slavery, human sacrifices, murder rates MUCH higher than modern society, treatment of women as possessions, and had no democracy or freedom of choice–all this from the latest anthropological studies.)
But back to The Secret. What is more, both controlling things with your mind (other than yourself, which is what you should use it for) and the hope of getting something for nothing are self-centered, egocentric, narcissistic points of view. Yes, until we learn to be in charge of ourselves and our immediate environment we do tend to think mostly of ourselves, but that doesn’t make it resourceful or desirable.
I find that those who wish for magical powers like this do so because they feel powerless in the world. They don’t see a way out of their situation (though there is one) and this idea that there is a magic way to get what they want sounds very appealing.
Telling those who are having trouble making life work, “just wish for what you want,” and that no action is required, is nothing short of cruel. There are very concrete, workable ways to create what you want in this world, and they can be learned (I teach exactly how to do this, step by step, in my Life Principles Integration process online courses). Wishing and “putting it out to the universe,” though, are not on the list of ways to create what you want.
Many people who saw The Secret assumed that of course you need to take action (this is obvious to anyone past the preconventional level), and they supplied that piece even though it was barely mentioned in the film. These people quite likely benefited from seeing The Secret because they were inspired and reminded of something that is true–that all success BEGINS with how you focus your mind.
Those who didn’t supply this extra piece, and were left with the idea that they can just wish for what they want, didn’t benefit from The Secret, and in fact were, in my opinion, harmed.
And don’t even get me started on the idea that people in Africa are starving because they are thinking the wrong thoughts.
What you focus on does create your reality, but there’s no magic involved. Many–most– people don’t know that this is true. Until you can observe your thoughts and be aware of how you focus your attention–which comes at a certain level of development–you cannot intentionally focus your mind. Before that point your mind still focuses on something, but it is done automatically, unconsciously. When you are immersed in your mental processes, these processes (what I have called your Internal Map of Reality) will create your life without any intentional direction from you.
Once you develop to the point where you can observe your thinking process, rather than being it, you can direct your mind, and in doing so begin to take charge of your life.
So, my friends, keep Holosyncing, because Holosync creates such awareness. And with this awareness, keep stepping back in an effort to observe whatever it is that you are immersed in. In this way, you can transcend it. More on that later.
Finally, before I go, let me comment on a few posts responding to what I said about Yogananda. I love Yogananda, but that doesn’t change the fact that a belief in miracles that still surrounds him is preconventional, magical thinking. No evidence whatsoever exists that people can dematerialize, for instance, or that any of the other sorts of magic described in that tradition can actually happen. If those of you who believe in this stuff have some evidence–not stories, but actual evidence, that any reasonable person would accept–put it on the table.
And, I have to say that one of my pet peeves is people who use quantum physics to “prove” that magic exists. Quantum physics represents a deeper level of understanding how the universe works. It does not, however, prove the silly New Age magical events it’s often trotted out to prove. If you really think there is some actual evidence for magic or for the suspension of the laws of physics, show me. Not stories, not anecdotes, not that someone else you respect thinks so, but proof.
And make no mistake, anyone who wants to believe in this stuff is welcome to do so. I wasn’t trying to demonize it, and I’m not trying to talk you out of it. By its nature, magical thinking requires no proof, so I’m not surprised that several people have posted comments in which they pledge allegience to various types of magical thinking, but without any attempt to offer proof.
All I’m doing is pointing out where such thinking fits developmentally, and further making the point that people who live from this point of view have a hard time functioning well in the world. Magic is an explanation offered when rational, or transrational, explanations are not available.
Yogananda, for instance, was very highly functioning, but it wasn’t because he relied on magical powers. It was because in other areas of his life he was developmentally well beyond that approach to life. If he wanted to create a certain result, he focused his attention on how to do it, then took action. I don’t recall a single situation where he relied on some sort of magic to get things done.
Someone asked the Dalai Lama what would happen if modern science disproved some of what Buddhists believe (which it has, in several cases). “Then that belief will have to go,” he said. This is why the Dalai Lama is not a preconventional thinker.
Again, thank you for reading.
PS: By the way, I have another recommendation for you. Please check out Integral Institute’s Integral Life Practices Starter Kit. Ken Wilber and his brain-trust (consisting of some of the smartest and most spiritually advanced people on the planet–and I mean that) have created a unique way to “cross-train” in the areas of body, mind, spirit, and shadow material. This, along with Holosync, is a very potent way to develop your awareness.
Ken and his team have found that when you do a daily practice that affects all four of the above areas, it greatly accelerates your growth. When you leave out any of these areas, it holds you back. So, they’ve identified some of the very best time-tested practices in each area and they show you exactly how to do them (solving another problem–what’s the correct way to do a certain practice?). They even give you “one-minute modules” you can do on days when things are hectic and you have little time, so you can hit each area, at least a little bit, every day.
Most of you are already using something powerful in the spirit area–Holosync (in fact, as they add “auxiliary modules,” Holosync is the first one they plan to add). I think you’ll find that this kit is a powerful way to create a practice in the other three areas. I highly recommend this kit. Go check it out at www.myilp.com.
Until next time, when I’m going to share something new about development…
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