Sunday, April 20, 2008

I've got a secret...

And it sucks.

So I bought the book The Secret early last year and got about half way through it when I became a bit skeptical about some of the concepts and messages. It was my intention to read it again (not where I left off but starting fresh from page 1) this time with more of an open minded approach. And again, not going so well, especially after just finishing A New Earth. I grasped several of the key concepts from that book, a few being: stop thinking so much, happiness and joy is within you, let go of the ego, money and material things do not equal happiness, etc. etc. So while reading The Secret I find it somewhat shallow when the author places so much significance on money and material possessions. The underlying theme in this book is that if you visualize and focus on money, your dream car, your favorite clothes, or even your "perfect partner", one day it will all be yours! And while having enough money does reduce certain worries and stresses in your life, it will never have the power to make you happy and at peace with who you are in this world. But even so I continued to read.

I hit another stumbling block when I got to the topic of weight loss. According to The Secret, for one to become thin they must "think thin thoughts." Really? That's all it takes? Then how does one explain the 1+billion overweight human beings on this earth? Now speaking personally I've never had issues with weight BUT I still have a hard time with this one because there are medical conditions and/or genetic reasons people are predisposed to weight gain. But according to this book, just think thin thoughts and you'll start to change what the universe brings your way which will ultimately result in weight loss. I can even accept the fact that thinking positive thoughts about a healthy weight (rather than focusing on the negative) would cause one to consciously become more aware of their eating habits and motivate one to exercise but even then there are still people who will struggle with this for the rest of their lives no matter how many slim fasts they drink or stair masters they climb. I guess it's safe to assume the author never had a weight problem because it seemed she trivialized this very complex, sensitive subject. But again, I forged ahead.

Until...

I read the chapter on health. According to The Secret, someone who is diagnosed with a terminal disease only has to "think perfect health" and disease will not able to live inside their body. Wow, sure wish I had this book a few years ago. Here's an exact quote (page 130 in case anyone would like to follow along)

"Think thoughts of perfection. Illness cannot exist in a body that has harmonious thoughts."

and on the following page...

"You can think your way to the perfect state of health, the perfect body, the perfect weight, and eternal youth. You can bring it into being, through your consistent thinking of perfection."

And this is where I stopped reading. I'm guessing here, but I have a hunch this author (or more specifically the people who wrote some of these quotes) have never had to witness a child, sibling, parent or close loved one suffer the devastation of a terminal illness. I could really go into a lot more detail here but I think I've rambled on long enough. Perhaps I may skip along to the next chapter or so, or I may end up tossing this book into yet another box of closet purges. Or I may just "think" this book is terrific and read it over and over again and again.

9 comments:

ChiTown Girl said...

Gee, my family must just not be good positive thinkers, cuz I'm still fat, and my mom still has cancer. Hmmm...maybe we aren't trying hard enough.

Girl, I say put it in the box, and don't bother trying a third time.

Elizabeth said...

I think myself thin everyday and still, I'm chubby. And I seriously, 100% believe I'm a thin person. It's like I have the opposite of anorexia, where no matter what, those affected by it think they're fat, but in my case, no matter what I think I'm thin. Well, until I buy a pair of jeans, then I'm hit with the truth and it all comes crashing down. But if the theory of thinking yourself thin worked, I'd be a size 0 at this point. Thanks for cleaning up my reading list.

Mindy said...

I don't know much about quantum physics, which is the "scientific theory" behind The Secret, but the book did open my eyes to how negatively I do think. I agree 100% that "thinking" these material objects will make you happy will absolutely fall short.

My reading list is running short. Time to search amazon!

Stephanie said...

I've lost over 160 pounds in the last year and change and if it had been as easy as thinking positively... well... it would have been much less of a pain in the ass. I'm ALL for thinking positively because I think it does make our PSYCHE feel better, but when it comes to terminal diseases and other health issues... no. I haven't read "The Secret" and don't plan to even though I've heard some good things about it, but saying disease can't live in a body that's thinking positively is a slap in the face to anyone battling terminal illness and their loved ones. Here & Now by Henri Nouwen is a good book that made me feel better about life if you're looking for something. It's a little religious, but not in an uncomfortable or judgmental way.

karengberger said...

Thank you for the book review; I'll skip this one. It brings back memories of Christian Science on a bad day. It sounds like an oversimplification of what I find to be a very complex world.

I love how you say what you think with humor and truth. Blessings to you!

Smileygirl said...

Tom says the same thing about the positive thinking aspect. He thinks I'm completely missing the point and am taking things too literally. We got into a "discussion" about it last night and he started to go all "L. Ron" on me and all I remember is that someone said something about sticking the Secret somewhere or other.

Stephanie you're amazing! I admire your strength (both physical and mental) to set and achieve such a goal. If you can lose 160 pounds, quite frankly, you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. So what's next on the list?

Karen, I just e-mailed kbl2ord2san earlier today saying how incredibly inspiring you and Katie are. And you're always so encouraging to others which is a genuine gift. When I read some of the entries in your blog sometimes the tears start to come but no matter what I'm reading there is one common thread to each and every post and that is LOVE. Even through the sadness there is an overwhelming feeling of love that just radiates through your words and of course the pictures. You are one of the most amazing mothers I've ever come across.

karengberger said...

Laura,
You just made my day. I feel as if you looked through the blog into my heart, and saw the most important thing in my life. Thank you!
I think life may be mostly about learning to love. I have made grievous errors and awful mistakes, but that seems to be part of being human. Which goes back to the book...no one is perfect, so how can we keep our thoughts "spotless?" I tried it as a Christian Scientist (that was my family's religion when I was growing up), and "the way" got too narrow, as in narrow-minded. I decided to look at the world in a different way, and "that has made all the difference," as Frost said.

Mary Beth said...

Do you think that I have a wire mis-connected? I think thin thoughts and gain weight! Maybe I should start thinking of myself as fat and the weight will melt off?

karim said...

Good one on positive thinking and it helps a lot.

Thanks,
Karim - Positive thinking