The Self-Help industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that helps people become their best selves- in most cases. Books like “Atomic Habits”, “Think and Grow Rich”, and “The Power of Now” have helped millions of people to grow; spiritually, mentally and financially.

One of the books that inspired many is “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. The book has become so popular that a documentary followed. In the book, Byrne explains the law of attraction and how our thoughts shape our lives. If we think positively and in abundance, we will attract positive things into our lives and become abundant. If we want money, we can “manifest” it through thoughts about our abundance. And if we are sick, it is claimed, we’d only need to manifest health.

First of all, I believe in the law of attraction. I am confident -and have experienced myself- that the energy flows where attention goes. But I have a huge objection, and I’ll explain it in a bit.

What I like about the Book

Inviting Positivity

The Secret wouldn’t have been so popular and even been filmed if it were all nonsense. The messages resonate with many people – and for good reason. It gives hope and strengthens the area of influence while becoming more resilient to what’s outside of that area.

I agree that if we focus on the negative, we close off and become less aware of the positive things in our lives.

Positive psychology emphasises the influence that gratitude and savouring have on our well-being. Gratitude journals are so popular because thousands of people notice how this simple practice can greatly impact the rest of our day. By focusing on the things we are grateful for, our attitude towards life becomes more positive. And we may start searching for more things to love.

The Omni-Potent God

Many of the statements in the book are encouraging. God, for example, is considered omnipotent. This is a belief that I am familiar with from Tantra. Tantrics believe that God is everything. Not outside of ourselves but within us and around us.

God is no outside entity who could choose to stop wars but decides not to. Tantra has a beautiful philosophy that is described in Christopher Walli’s book. It’s so much more than just sexy techniques in the bedroom – it is an ancient philosophy that outdates all current religions and is worth a dive!

As in The Secret, the omnipotent God is appealing because it allows us to engage with our surroundings more lovingly. In Tantra, we call it ‘consecration’. It is turning the ordinary into something sacred. If we believe the divine is in our coffee, we will drink it differently. An example that I always think of is a cacao ceremony. The cacao is considered a Deva (a Goddess). You do not just drink it. You whisper into it. You honour every sip. It’s a beautiful process.

Some practices are considered sacred. Practising Yoga, for example, isn’t just something people do. It is something that people meditate on, that people focus on. The subtle movement and the Shavasana are an act of honouring the practice and connecting to the divine.

Tea ceremonies, mainly in Asian countries, are an act of honouring and consecrating what mother nature offered us.

By acknowledging that God is all around us, we do not just sip our coffee; we do not just see the flowers or hug our friends. Instead, we realise how stunningly magical nature, its resources, and its inhabitants are.

In the “Cultish” Podcast, I’ve heard a Christian believer compare “The Secret” to be almost Satanic because it offers all worldly pleasure and takes away from serving God. I couldn’t disagree more with this.

And maybe my tantric beliefs come into place; We’ve been given this life, not to reject it. But to feel it, experience it and savour it. If we see this life as an obstacle towards what is to come (Heaven or Paradise), how can we treat the creatures and organisms on this earth with dignity, respect and love?

Manifesting, Meditating, Journaling

The Secret works with manifestations and uses affirmations, meditation and journaling to manifest the things we desire. These practices are essential to clarify one’s goals and, possibly even more importantly, to reduce the mind-chattering.

There is a tendency for people to have their thoughts all over the place, being nervous and unclear about one’s goals. Writing things down or sitting down with one’s thoughts brings clarity and quiet into the internal landscape.

That, in and of itself, is so helpful.

Problems with “The Secret”

All these positive aspirations and invitations – positive thinking, meditation, omnipotent divinity – and then there’s that downside: The Secret does not allow negativity.

If one doesn’t manage to manifest what they want into their lives? – they haven’t believed in it enough. There MUST have been some negative frequencies that prevented the manifestation.

If something negative happens (robbery, loss of a loved one – you name it), it must also have been manifested.

There is a subtle hint of victim blaming for negative experiences in one’s life. According to the law of attraction, victims do not exist, only Co-creators. Imagine now there is a child born into this world that happens to be abandoned and spends years growing up in abusive situations. Is it the child’s fault? Really?! The child manifested it into their life? I hope you understand how ridiculous, uncompassionate and ignorant this sounds.

Bad things happen. They can happen to anyone. For no reason. Not because they attracted them into their lives but because we live in a complex world and are not the only ones participating in it.

We need to stop telling people their frequency is not high enough if something terrible happens to them. There is a chance it has nothing to do with their frequency but the simple fact that just as positive things happen, negative things can also happen. Randomly and to anyone.

Closing Thoughts

Over and over, friends call me who are scared of complaining about unhappy circumstances. They believe that if they complain, they invite negativity into their lives. So instead of nagging and complaining, they suck it up, and it seems to all be built up under a pile of toxic and inauthentic positivity.

And it saddens me. Because if we don’t allow ourselves to be authentic and give some time for reflection on our circumstances, we miss the chance to make an inventory of our current situation, to introspect and make desired changes. Actively.

It takes a lot of courage to look at one’s life without the filter of toxic positivity and “manifesting” something away. But only then, I’d argue, are we allowing ourselves to really make the changes.

And these, we can boost with a little pinch of “manifesting magic”. As an addition, not a main ingredient.

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