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Archive for August, 2007

“The Secret” has offered many positive ideas, though I share many of the concerns expressed in this post by Dan Millman as highlighted in Balance “Secret Principles” with Compassion. Dan has respectfully critiqued “The Secret” with a succinct understanding.

As many of you know Dan is the author of many spiritually insightful books on personal transformation, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which has been made into a successful movie called Peaceful Warrior in 2006 starring Nick Nolte. Here is Dan’s insightful post on “The Secret”:

Some weeks ago, a young man wrote to us, declaring, “In six months I’m going to have three million dollars, the woman of my dreams, and a beautiful house – because I’ve seen . . . The Secret!

The Secret, for those of you who haven’t yet heard, has become an internet phenomenon. It began as an Australian television production featuring a number of well-known authors and pundits, speaking about the “Law of Attraction.” This law says that we attract or manifest into our lives what we think about or focus on or earnestly desire.

As fate would have it, the producers, in a stroke of foresight, ended up delivering this 90-minute program via internet. One can go to the web site, watch a dramatic teaser, sign up, pay a mere $4.95, and download the program to watch to one’s heart’s content — to learn “The Secret.”

I’m not surprised by the popularity of this program. Magical thinking has huge appeal for many – especially when it intersects with ideas from quantum physics and metaphysical science.

In this respectful critique, I’m going to first express what I genuinely like about the program:

I find much of the program up-beat, good hearted, encouraging. It also has excellent production values, cinematography, effects, and sound. And the editing is excellent. I’m especially impressed by the cutting-edge method of delivery — internet streaming — ushering in a new era of movies on demand with the click of a mouse.

I also like the message that what we bring into our lives begins with a vision, a longed-for aspiration — a good reminder for those of us who haven’t yet stretched the wings of possibility and allowed ourselves to embrace higher possibilities. If The Secret opens the way to expanded dreams, it serves a useful purpose.

What concerns me, however, are the program’s primary suppositions. The message, repeated in different words by the various guests, is that if we simply intend and visualize and dream big enough, we can “manifest” all our dreams — effortlessly, magically, mystically.

However, this “Law of Attraction” does not, in my view, qualify as a law at all. In my book, The Laws of Spirit, I present twelve spiritual laws (including, to name a few, the laws of balance, choices, process, faith . . . action, surrender, and unity) — laws which apply consistently and universally to everyday life. This quality of consistency is essential to any law, and differentiates it from proverbs, principles, or aphorisms, which may or may not apply. In other words, a law works every time here on Earth, much like the law of gravity.

In any case, this “Law of Attraction,” as taught many decades ago by metaphysicians like Catherine Ponder and others, is certainly a positive and expansive idea. But dreams, desires and visions are only the beginning — they must be followed by focused effort over time – something barely mentioned in the “Secret” production.

Thomas Edison wrote, “We often miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” It has the ring of truth, doesn’t it? But suggesting that we need to work hard over time to achieve our goals doesn’t sell well. It isn’t sexy or fascinating, or sound much like a “Secret.” Common sense rarely does.

In “The Secret,” we personally witness a little boy who wishes and hopes for a bicycle—he thinks about it, visualizes a bike, cuts out pictures from a magazine. And lo and behold, one day he opens a door and there is his new bike! Personally, I would have been more drawn to see him walking a paper route, or doing chores to earn some money, or at least asking his parents directly for a special Christmas gift. Which reminds me of a story I relate in Living on Purpose:

Louie goes to church every Sunday and prays to God, “Dear Lord, I’ve been a good and devout man for many years, living according to your Laws, doing acts of charity, serving the poor, supporting my family. So please, please, let me win the lottery just once!” He repeats this plea every week for years, but his entreaties go unanswered. So Louie starts to pray to win the lottery every night and every day. Until one day, he hears a voice thunder down from the heavens: “Louie, will you at least go half-way with me and buy a ticket?”

That’s all I’m suggesting — a simple point ignored by “The Secret” — go to the effort to buy a ticket. Or as an Arabic sage once said, “Trust in God . . . but tie your camel.”

So if you wish to be successful, dream big, but start small — then connect the dots. In other words, start with a vision, then take baby steps. Neither dreaming nor wishing nor magical secrets get the laundry done.

The biggest issue I have with programs like The Secret (or other idealistic notions such as learning “positive thinking”) is that when their magical methods don’t work, we end up believing that it’s our fault, our lack, our fault. We believe that if we had truly deserved it, or really applied ourselves, or focused more intently, or visualized more clearly with a sincere heart, surely it would have worked.

The Secret, then, with its lovely and uplifting promise, is a foolproof supposition: If we don’t heal, manifest, get what we want, it’s due to our own lack of faith.

Or maybe it’s because we forgot the “taking action” part . . .

There are some successful people who claim to have mastered “The Secret” and who have manifested their dreams and desires. Few of them tell us about their years of struggle and labor and preparation.

By all means strive in the direction of your dreams! Visualize a grand life! Then get to work. While we cannot control the outcomes, we can control our efforts. And by making the effort, we increase the odds of creating a larger life.

I close with my warmest wishes, and with a reminder from Henry David Thoreau: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. Now put foundations under them.”

You might also enjoy the following link to a short You Tube commentary on “The Secret” from an Advaita Vedanta perspective:

As a post-script, both for those who mistakenly believe that I support the message of “The Secret,” and also for those who believe I’m being unjustly critical, I offer another articulate blogger’s comments about “The Secret”.

by Dan Millman

Dan Millman

Originally posted on www.danmillman.com

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We felt this was an important article on emotions to share with our readers. Our novel “Nexus: A Neo Novel” also deals with uncovering layers of emotions and learning to deal with them. The following insights about your emotions presented by Aymen Fares are helpful and worth noting:

We have covered our thoughts and we have touched upon ego. This month we look at emotions. Emotions control most peoples lives. They are an inexplicable force that the majority of us have to deal with on a daily basis.

Think of your emotions in terms of energy currents. Imagine an energy field around you which changes shape, colour and texture as your emotions change. In spiritual terms this is called your astral body. Some people call this your emotional body or energy field.

Generally, your emotions serve your personality or your ego. If you wish to achieve a measure of personal development you must learn to master your emotions and not be ruled by them. This personal development is one of the first steps on the spiritual path of initiation and is also known as spiritually evolving. The goal of our personal development is to exercise control of our emotions. Energetically this is like calming the stormy sea and symbolically, emotions are represented by water.

This doesn’t mean that we do not ‘feel’ or that we should ‘shut off’ as many people do, on the contrary the only way to master your emotions is to get closer to them and actually find out what you really are feeling.

Our emotional needs are often manifested in physical form. A simple example would be; eating, many people eat too many sweets. Sweets are often used as a reward by parents or eaten at celebrations and may be associated with happiness. People who are not happy have a subconscious craving to eat sweets. Emotions control this behaviour.

Other ways in which emotions dominate are numerous. You may seek to satisfy desire in many ways, food, money and sex are common ways to do this. Your subconscious emotional needs dominate and cause behaviour which is not ‘good’ for you.

We measure ‘good’ from a reference point of what you, the soul behind your ego, thoughts and personality wants. Through the veil of emotion and ego, a clear path is often needed before your true self is discovered.

The way to still the waters is to

1. Find out what you are thinking.
2. Respond, rather than react.

Reacting means you are usually expressing a negative emotion such as anger and jealousy. Please notice how I said expressing. If we respond rather than react we will still feel the emotion. We do not however have to express it in a negative fashion. This two step process is simple, but hard to put into practice, the heat of the moment often providing a difficult training ground.

A common way to overcome this difficulty is to work backwards. Start with the moments that cause you to react. Look at incidents that cause you to get emotional, situations where people ‘push your buttons’. Anger and Jealousy are easy places to start.

Look for the message about yourself, don’t just react.

Your emotions originate from thoughts. Unravel the thread. Find the thought pattern behind the emotion. All negative emotions start with a fear.

Take jealousy for instance. This is based on the fear of losing your partner. It also has it’s origins from the incorrect assumption that you posses your partner. This shows up as issues of self worth and it means that you are comparing yourself to another person and judging yourself as less.

Envy is another negative emotion and again the origin is fear. The focus with envy is on what we are lacking. What you are really thinking is “The other person has what I want” This is based on one of two ideas;

There is not enough for everyone and I might be inadequate

or

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I am not happy with myself or my situation.

This manifests with you launching an attack or belittling the person or object of your envy. Statements such as “I didn’t want that anyway” “That’s no good because…” mean you are focusing on what you don’t have.

Change your thoughts, focus instead on what you do have.

Once you are aware of the mechanics which come into play when your negative emotions are aroused, you have come a long way. What is required to finish the task at hand is a willingness to confront yourself. Remember, when emotions are raised in YOU, that is the signal for you to look inside. A common trap along the way is failure to look at yourself and instead look to the other person involved. This means you are not taking responsibility for your self. You need to shift the focus back onto you.

Finding and facing your fears is not always easy. All you need is light. Once you illuminate your fears to yourself, they quickly dissolve along with the accompanying emotion.

By Aymen Fares

Aymen Fares is an International Life Coach with clients all over the world. He is based in Melbourne Australia. Article originally posted on spiritual.com.au

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Debby and I have for the past few months had thoughts germinating about a new book that we’d like to work on together. What’s our new book about?

Well right now that’s a secret but we’ll post more information when the time is right. So stay tuned!

Our thoughts have been building up over the last few weeks. The other night, Debby put our thoughts down on paper and created a clear outline for our new book.

I started to think how new ideas are generated.

I’ve found deliberate thoughts on generating new ideas are less successful than when you’re in a “free-flow” discussion. This is the reason why brainstorming exercises work so well.

You’re using your intuitive, creative mind to generate ideas without interference from your conscious mind. Debby and I have found that free thought that arises from a relaxed, creative space often yields best results for coming up with new ideas.

You’ll find some great examples of brainstorming strategies at Gallaudet University page on “Pre-Writing Strategies.” Debby and I have successfully used many of these strategies to generate ideas for our current book, Nexus: A Neo Novel.

Now we’re using them to generate ideas for our new book. We tend to use “Brainstorm,” “Outline” and “Mapping” in generating ideas. Which one will you use to unleash your creative powers?

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