Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What I Wanted to Say in a Comment But It Would Be Too Long so I Might As Well Make a New Post

Retarius commented on my Conscious Dreaming Post--including a link to his own recent blog entry. He talked about Rhonda Byrne. She's one of the few exports from Australia that I don't love.

If you haven't heard of Rhonda Byrne, you probably HAVE heard of her bestselling book. The Secret.
If you have done any readings in spirituality, you would know that this so-called secret is not a secret. The philosophy has been around for a long time.

I haven't read the book. I saw the website that bordered on sensationalism. I read the reviews on I saw enough to know that the philosophy is the same one I had read about in my spirituality reading adventures.

First of all, I want to make it clear that although I do not believe in the basic philosophy, I do not hold anything against it or people who believe in it. Just like I don't believe Jesus died for my sins; but I don't hold anything against people who believe in that.

The idea of these law of attraction philosophies is that we control our own destinies. But only if we truly put our hearts, souls, and minds into it. You need to want something, imagine having it, and be truly open to receiving it.

I first read about this idea in the Seth books by Jane Roberts and another fun book called What the Bleep Do We Know. The books are very inspiring, and when I first read them, I wanted to believe it was true.

And in some small ways, I do think there is truth to the philosophies. I do believe we have SOME control over what happens to us. I do think a positive attitude can SOMETIMES cure illness. I do think that SOMETIMES a negative attitude can make us sick.

I don't think it always works, though. For the most part, I think our wishes come true because they were meant to come true. It was our destiny.

I went to Australia not because I wished for it, but because the universe kept pushing the idea until I could no longer resist. I threw up my hands and thought. FINE! I'll go! Wishing didn't land me in Sydney. Airplane tickets did. And no the tickets did not land on our lap. We had to spend hours researching prices and then actually pay for them.

My main problem with The Secret is it seems to be a scam. I don't know. I think what we're supposed to think is Hey, it worked for Rhonda Byrne. Her life was awful. She followed The Secret and now look how rich she is! Not only that, but Oprah endorses the idea! Oprah said she's been following this philosophy her whole life. And look how rich Oprah is!

How do I see it? Rhona Byrne became rich because she wrote a book promising other people that she can make them rich. I tend to call this phenomena a pyramid scheme.

As for Oprah? Okay, maybe she's rich, famous, and mega-powerful. But how many people are out there forcing a positive attitude, waiting for magic to happen for them, and their life still sucks?

What would some followers of Byrne say to them? They're not wishing hard enough. They're not putting their full hearts into it. They're surrounding themselves with too much negativity.

If your cancer is not cured, it's your fault. If you get hit by a car, it's your fault. If you can't get pregnant, it's your fault. You THINK you're thinking about pregnancy but in reality you're thinking about infertility.

You think negative stuff, it's going to happen to you.

Think happy thoughts and you can fly like Peter Pan!

Okay, but see we must remember. Peter Pan had Tinker Bell and a nice supply of fairy dust.

Wishing without Fairy Dust can only get you so far.

I personally pretty much believe in the opposite of The Secret. I believe in fate. I believe I have free will. But I believe that what happens to me happens for a reason. I believe what free-will does for me is allow me to accept or not accept my fate. And every so often, I'm presented with a fork in the road and I get to choose the path. If I try to leave my path when I'm not supposed to, I'm let go for awhile, but then something pulls me back on the path.

I believe if I get diagnosed with cancer, it's not because I thought too much about cancer or that I have too much anxiety about dying. It's because this was my destiny. Battling cancer would be something I needed to endure for this life's lessons. I don't think a positive attitude will guarantee me going into remission, but it will probably make life more pleasant.

Last summer, we went to a homeschooling conference. One of the offered sessions was making collages inspired by The Secret. There was nothing else that seemed interesting to do, and I love cutting and pasting magazine photos, so I sat at the table with the others.

The idea was that you paste what you want in your book, and if you wish for it hard enough the universe will bring it to you.

I did enjoy the activity because it helped me clarify WHAT I want out of life. This makes me feel less emotionally cluttered and confused. But knowing and wishing doesn't mean it's going to happen. At least, I don't think so.

In his comments, Retarius mentioned that the conscious dreaming thing I talked about in my last post is also called Lucid Dreaming. This is what Robert Moss says about that:

I prefer the phrase conscious dreaming to the widely used term lucid dreaming for two reasons. First of all, the some of the recent enthusiastic for "lucid dreaming" have given the impression that their aim is to practice dream control: to manipulate dreams to serve the agendas of the waking ego.....The point is that dreams are wiser than our everyday minds and come from an infinitely deeper source. To try to control this source, to interfere with the authentic flow of dreams and to justify this on the grounds that they are "only dreams" is the ultimate delusion of the control freak who lives in the ego.

I have a fairly good amount of Lucid Dreams--usually four or five a month. Well, I think that's more than the average person. I have tried controlling the dreams in the past and have had no real luck. The best I can do is REMEMBER that I had planned to control the dreams and make an attempt to control the dreams. But things never work out the way I want them to. So I've pretty much given up, and Robert Moss helps me feel okay about that. I enjoy the dreams. I don't try to manipulate the environment. If anything, I try to change my attitude towards the dream. I tell myself to slow down and observe what is around me. I tell myself to enjoy the dreamworld, rather than try to CHANGE the dreamworld.

Who knows where dreams come from? Our neurologically-based unconscious? Some Ancient long-dead Aboriginal dude? A Goddess in the tree? Our Spirit Guides? Our Higher Selves?

Whatever. I have my hunches, but I can't say for sure.

Why try to control it, though? Why not just enjoy what is given to us and what is shown to us?

I feel that we can apply this to life as well.

It's kind of like the AA motto which I love.

grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.


  1. Last weekend The Weekend Australian Magazine ran a cover story on Rhonda Byrne and her success with The [So-Called] Secret.

    It seems that the wealth she has accumulated from this little venture of hers was based on ripping her partners off: having them work with her without a contract (because writing up a contract goes against the principles of The Law of Attraction, and has thus avoided paying any royalties or profit-sharing), or attempting to renegotiate contracts after the success of the DVD.

    She's being sued by a number of people over all of this.

  2. Stephen,

    I'm glad to hear she's being sued.

    It's sad though.

    I wonder why writing up a contract goes against the laws of attraction:

  3. "How I see it? Rhona Byrne became rich because she wrote a book promising other people that she can make them rich. I tend to call this phenomena a pyramid scheme."


    I work for a bookstore and every time someone asks for it, it pains me to hand it to them.

    That book is a complete plagiarism of ideas and books that are already out there. I hope they win their lawsuits and she ends up in the poor house. Karma, now there's something I believe in.

  4. Darcy,


    I believe in Karma too.

    I don't know much about Byrne. Did she believe in all of it and just foolishly passed on the information?

    Or was it a planned scheme? Did she think "Oh, this is complete bullshit, but I can fool people into believing in it?"

    I tend to believe it's the former.

    I think a lot of wealthy people think they're wealthy because they believe in themselves and work hard.

    They tend to ignore other factors--such as luck. Or perhaps even the fact that they exploited others to make their money.

    I doubt Byrne is evil and super greedy. I think she's just a delusional guru.

  5. According to the article Bryne's reasoning on contracts being bad is because they focus on the negative - one writes and enters into a contract to protect one's interests in case something bad happens. By not writing a contract, one is therefore fully open to abundance because one is not focusing on what could go wrong.

  6. Stephen,

    I guess she wouldn't agree with the philosophy of "hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

    You know for a brief time, I started to believe in the law of attraction. What made me think otherwise is I thought about all the times in my life where I had a really negative attitude about something and then ended up loving it.

    This happens to me especially with holidays. I'll totally dread going on one. I'll think over and over about how dreadful it will be. Then I end up having fun.

    Then the reverse happens to me too. I'll be positive and excited about something and then it ends up being awful.