The Secret's Lawsuits and Spiritual Integrity

  • Posted on: 5 July 2009
  • By: mokshalom
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If you've followed my website for any length of time, you'll know I've been a pretty outspoken critic of The Secret for a while. This has been a tough road to hoe, because coming out against The Secret at the height of its popularity is in some respects a bad marketing move for someone in the personal development business. But I have my personal integrity, and I won't back something that I think is not true at best and harmful at worst.

This is why I am actually quite glad that I'm getting some vindication in the form of former associates coming out and speaking up against Rhonda Byrne. I remember telling friends of mine a while back that this woman's energy was bad and her heart was not pure, but who's going to believe little ole me compared to the huge success of a best-selling author and new gazillionaire? I will submit to you all the lawsuits and fraud allegations against her.

So Rhonda, how's The Secret working out for you? Are your thoughts still creating your reality? Is The Secret helping you now?

You have to wonder, has she been sitting in her million dollar home thinking lawsuits into existence? Because according to her, that's the only way things happen to you - when you think them into being.

I hope these lawsuits will wake people up and help them get away from blindly following The Secret. Some good might then come out of them.

Sadly, some former associates aren't backing down on the Law of Attraction - Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks recently wrote a piece in the Huffington Post claiming Rhonda's problems are actually proof that the Law of Attraction works. They speak to the issues of integrity, which in principle I will agree with. Yet, their criticism seemed nothing more than a less-than-veiled attempt to encourage people to take their Law of Attraction seminars. The message seems to be: "We can make the Law of Attraction work, if only you follow our special version of it."

That the Hendricks speak of integrity is quite ironic to me. I've been extremely skeptical of the Hendricks ever since I saw a very shocking and judgmental blog post by Kathlyn Hendricks. Touting the Obamas as the perfect couple, she slams Cindy McCain for being a shallow rich person (despite Cindy's extensive humanitarian work) and then really gets into it with an extremely unspiritual and horrific character attack on the Palin family as "Jerry Springer" material: a "gun-totin', hockey-stick-wielding clan" that might wreck the furniture in the White House. For shame, Kathlyn, for shame.

This is just embarrassing to read from a spiritual teacher...partisan politics should not be a reason to express outright hatred and classism against average American "rednecks" - or "snowbillies" as the the Palins are sometimes called. Integrity also means not solely judging people because they come from a different culture or political party than you. I certainly can get political myself, but I try to stick to the political issues. I just expect that older, more established spiritual teachers such as the Hendricks would be a bit more forgiving and kind. It seems that a lot of so-called enlightened Americans have declared war on our Christian brothers and sisters who just happen to live in rural areas and like to hunt for their food.

To me I think this is a very good example of how the teachings of the Law of Attraction do not really teach the foundations of true spirituality. Christianity isn't perfect, but the idea of loving your neighbor, "judge not lest ye be judged," and all of that turn the other cheek stuff is a good place to start.

The Secret and the Law of Attraction are ultimately selfish paths that get people way too focused on their own personal good, often to the detriment of others. This is why it was easy for Rhonda Byrne to cut her producers out of her profits - all that was important, in her world view, was to focus on all the money she wanted.

For the Hendricks, who supposedly teach about love, their love is about getting the relationship you want. It's not so much about giving unconditional love to someone from a different political party from you. Love your spouse, but don't love Sarah Palin, because she's a gun-totin' redneck and we don't like those people.

So I think the thing to remember here is that spiritual teachers are just human beings. Sometimes they do share good information, but it's always important to consider the source as well as the material itself.

One of the most important things to remember is that self-help is big business. Are people in the business because they really want to help others, or because they want to make money? You can make a heck of a lot of money selling self-help snake oil. If you know how to push people's buttons and promise them a lot in return for little effort, you can make a killing.

I think we can see from the example of Rhonda Byrne's own life that The Secret alone is not enough to create a life of joy, integrity, and love.

One of my spiritual teachers wrote the following about The Secret:

I found that my clients who practiced it often wound up in very tight self-delusion and pain in their lives...It has also caused much heartbreak and led folks to become stuck in their old unproductive patterns that need to be cleared rather than reinforced.

If you expend your spiritual energy solely on what you think you want and need, then spiritually you are nothing more than a three-year-old.

Consider instead the mantra of someone I know, who doesn't try to sell self-help pablum, but has spent a lot of his free time helping others:

Don't focus on what you can get, focus on what you can give.

Comments

I think many are missing the point. When you get into dribble about defending and refuting New Age doctrines, you put yourself into Murphy's Law--"Never argue with a fool, people might not notice the difference."

Anybody who really "THOUGHT" this book writer believes what she is writing, needs to have their on thinking examined carefully. Aside from the same old New Age Repackaging, this is nothing new. How can she "own" this teaching. People write books all the time for no other reason than to make money, not because they really want to get their truth out. I have NEVER read "the secret" or any other so-called truth because I know I am wasting my time. I will read books I know that have value and the writer admits his source of his books and the like.

BEWARE:if you are constantly refuting "nonsense", the question is what are you using to refute the nonsense? These days I have a hard time figuring that one out.

Stephanie,

Just came across your blog/website today on a link from an article you write a while back about mastermind groups. I really concur with you on much of what you say in this article. I, too, have had my concerns about The Secret and its approach.

I firmly believe in the power of our thoughts influence our lives. Positive, empowered thoughts are going to serve us much better than negative, unempowered thoughts. We should use, in my view, whatever means necessary to help us focus our thoughts on the positives.

I, too, have experienced some wrath for questioning the methodology of The Secret. I think the concept underlying it has some validity, but it stretches it too far.

Wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed the post and look forward to reading more of your work in the future.

Ray Davis,
Founder, The Affirmation Spot

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If you've followed my website for any length of time, you'll know I've been a pretty outspoken critic of The Secret for a while. This has been a tough road to hoe, because coming out against The Secret at the height of its popularity is in some respects a bad marketing move for someone in the personal development business. But I have my personal integrity, and I won't back something that I think is not true at best and harmful at worst. 646-656 E20-591 117-101 HP0-S30 E20-322 642-661 642-262 642-481