“The Secret” Controversy

“The Secret” controversy ~ what are people thinking? I think the “real” secret is that we need to remember to use common sense when we evaluate the information that is put in front of us!

The Secret has been around for more than 1,000 years! Okay – not the book or DVD from Rhonda Byrnes, but the principles behind “The Secret” have certainly been around since time began. One example of how long the secret has been around is St. Augustine. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) took great pains to create and project a powerful image of himself beyond the churches and towns where he wrote and taught in Roman north Africa. He succeeded in this self-presentation beyond his wildest dreams. He believed that we could become that which we focused our thoughts upon.

Prentice Mulford was a “new thought pioneer,” who lived between 1834 and 1891. His belief in the principles of the secret are on his gravestone: “Thoughts are Things.”

His books and essays include such “new age” titles as “Thoughts are Things,” “Your Forces and How to Use Them,” “Think Yourself Wealthy: How to Attract Riches Through Thought,” and “The God in Yourself.” Think “The Secret” is new? It’s been around for AGES, but now it has a shiny new ribbon and an endorsement from Oprah, the queen of pop culture, as well as the attention of Larry King, the Today Show and every other news or talk show on every network.

I appreciate that one of the teachers in the Rhonda Byrnes edition of “The Secret,” James Arthur Ray, has managed to pull away from the pack. He says that while “The Secret” talks about thoughts and feelings, we also need ACTION behind those to make them effective. Sitting on your butt and wishing for things isn’t going to make them so. If that is the problem that people have with the secret – the oversimplification of our thought process – then I understand. As Ray put it recently, “If we become what we think about, then in school I would have become a busty cheerleader!”

Again, let’s please use our common sense! The principle that thoughts are things is so simple it doesn’t deserve all of the controversy that surrounds it.

Apparently, some people just feel the need to go against popular thought (which normally is not such a bad thing!) The gifts of the universe are presented in this simple thought and yet people choose to argue about it, rather than take action and realize their dreams.

Think about it…The Secret simply says that thoughts are things and we become what we think about. If we focus on illness, trouble or drama, that is what will manifest in our lives. Perhaps at the root of the controversy is the fact that many people don’t want to accept responsibility for where they are. It’s easier to blame society, our parents, our jobs and anything else we can rather than understand that we are actually able to manifest the things we want in our lives. I am oversimplifying all of this, but I believe that we can, in many ways, create our own lives.

(Note: St. Augustine believed in predestine, that no matter what we did, we would ultimately end up exactly where we were intended to by our creator. Even so, he strongly believed in the power of thought.)

A radio station broadcasts a signal, whether anyone has their radio turned on to receive it or not. And even though no one may be listening, It doesn’t mean the signal isn’t out there. Similarly, our thoughts emanate from our minds and go out into the universe. There they are picked up by whatever “radio receivers” are tuned in to our thoughts. Many people understand this is the principle at work when the phone rings and they answer it to find it’s a friend that they were just about to call. (I always joke that some people just don’t need phones!) My sister and I can tell what each other is thinking more often than not. Mothers often have this with their children. Is it telepathy? How can we use this gift constructively?

The Secret simply says “Thoughts are things; we become what we think about.” This is also the foundation of “The Law of Attraction,” which is as real as the law of gravity. I love Raymond Holliwell’s book, “Working

With the Law,” a simple explanation of how the laws of the universe work, particularly the Law of Attraction. Defying these laws is akin to defying the law of gravity. You can choose not to believe in gravity, but if you drop your pen, it will still fall to the ground, regardless of what you believe. If you think about being successful, and you write down your thoughts about how your life is already successful, in the form of an affirmation, it won’t be long before success will start to find you. You put it out there, like the radio station, and the elements that are tuned to your frequency will start to respond.

It really is magical. My father, Dr. Erwin Jay, used to make us listen to Earl Nightingale records as a way to discipline my brother, sister and I when we were kids. He wanted a way to give us constructive criticism whenever we would misbehave. I literally grew up listening to Earl’s deep voice reminding us that a “…good attitude equals good results; a bad attitude equals bad results.” Not a bad way to teach your children. Earl called his philosophy “The Strangest Secret” and explained that “Thoughts are things; we become what we think about.” If you think about success, you will attract success. Likewise, if you think about being depressed, it won’t be long before you find yourself depressed. I remember hearing Dr. Wayne Dyer speak, telling the audience that he never gets depressed…that he does not even know how to be depressed – to which one lady responded, “THAT’S depressing!”

Think about how it feels to have good health, and before long, you may find yourself enjoying long walks or gym work-outs. Think about how driving your new luxury car will feel and pretty soon, you are likely to find yourself working harder, instead of knocking off early with your friends to grab a beer. You must first SEE YOURSELF as that person you wish to become, doing the things that person would do.

At least this latest version of the secret has gained widespread publicity and attention so that people who have never heard of “The Law of Attraction” before may actually try using it and find for themselves that they can create a better life for themselves.

Last but not least, I have this wonderful poem from Henry Van Dyke framed and placed where all of my guests to my home will see it. It was written quite some time ago – Mr. Van Dyke passed in 1933. I hope you find it in your heart to bring forth love ~ Robin.


“THOUGHTS ARE THINGS and wings: And that we send them forth to fill the world with good results, or ill. That which we call our secret thought speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot, Leaving its blessings or its woes. Like tracks behind it as it goes. We build our future, thought by thought, For good or ill, yet know it not. Yet so the universe was wrought. Thought is another name for fate; Choose then thy destiny and wait, For love brings love and hate brings hate.” Henry Van Dyke

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