"The Secret" - Part 2

From the Associated Press in a story entitled: "The Secret: Big Sales, Loud Criticism: "While The Secret has become a pop culture phenomenon, it also has drawn critics who are not quiet about labeling the movement a fad, embarrassingly materialistic or the latest example of an American propensity of wanting something for nothing. Some medical professionals suggest it could even lead to a blame-the-victim mentality and actually be dangerous to those suffering from serious illness or mental disorders. . .. As with many publishing hits, the 'Oprah Effect' played a role. Winfrey devoted two shows in February to The Secret, and Larry King and Ellen DeGeneres also featured it on their shows. It was spoofed on Saturday Night Live when a man portraying a refugee in the Darfur region of Sudan was blamed for having negative thoughts. However, the fear that The Secret will lead to a blame-the-victim mentality is a serious claim of critics. For example, the book dismisses conditions such as a genetic predisposition to being overweight or a slow thyroid as 'disguises for thinking "fat thoughts."' And during times in which massive number of lives were lost, the book says, the 'frequency of their thoughts matched the frequency of the event.'

So, according to The Secret, the victims of the Holocaust were responsible for their extermination, the rape victim is asking for it, and the people in Darfur are being murdered because of negative thinking. You see, this is a prime example of the sort of oversimplifications and confusions typical of the New Age approach to consciousness-as-cause, and one that Field theory regards as particularly egregious and shameless. Our response when asked how we explain the Holocaust and other calamitous or tragic events is that we don't. We recognize that decency places a limit on how far theory can or should be willing to go, and we don't speculate about the experiences of people who are not present to take part in the conversation and present their experience firsthand. We don't preserve our theoretical model at their expense. It is true that many who have come through Field theory who endured and survived such experiences found that they were not beyond the reach of Field practice to revise and redeem, and that the principles applied even in such severe cases, but this was their call to make, not ours, and this is perhaps why our program doesn't appear either on Oprah or Saturday Night Live.

The great mistake of The Secret and the many models, some of them far more rigorous and thoughtful, is the failure to recognize and incorporate paradox and what we call the "dialectic" into its principles and practices. As stated in Part 1 of this piece, believing in a problem sufficiently to set about "consciously creating" its solution already places one in a position of checkmate. The game is over, because belief, not willful intent, not visualizing, not prayer, not affirmations, not wishing or hoping or knowing "the secret" is what creates. This has a far-reaching implication, namely that we cannot use our creative consciousness to create conditions. We can, however, believe in the desired conditions for their own sake, or as we say, for the sake of alignment rather than manifestation. This is where practice must stop. This is the oasis in a desert of contradiction to which we banish our practice the moment we allow it to be strategic.

And this indeed appears to be something of a secret. At least the New Age doesn't seem to know about it. This essential element of paradox—this is one of the first things we give our students, and it changes their view of who they are, of what it means to be conscious and creative, and as a result, their lives in many ways, all for the better. There is no "secret" that will bring us to anything that we do not earn through the willingness to live up to the version of self to which that thing corresponds, and moreover, to live up to it for its own sake. Conscious creating, it turns out, is an act of love, an act of giving the self to the ideal rather than trying to get things from the world. We cannot escape the assumptions of our own consciousness. When the creative moment is entered into lovingly rather than for some desired effect, then and only then are we operating at the level of cause. This means that it isn't enough for us to visualize and such. We have to become the thing we want, until all experience of lack has vanished in the joy of our having come home to our ideal. Then, as far as we're concerned, the world can come along or not. Identity informs consciousness; it cannot be used as a technique to manipulate facts. Anyone who practices our method correctly, which means solely out of love for the ideal, will discover a great secret indeed.


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