Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Michael says to start making a conscious effort every day to take actions that will sync with the energy of the life you dream about. "When you're talking about action, you're talking about walking in the direction you want," Michael says.

But not just any action will do, James says. It has to be one that comes from the heart and will provide a real service. "It's not, 'If you build it, they will come,' necessarily. It's, 'If you build it and it provides value, they will come,'" he says. "It's that heart space. Not 'What can I get?' but 'What can I give and how can I serve?' And when you're in that moment, the universe lines up behind you and it's at your command."

Launell is successful in all areas of her life—except when it comes to taking off the baby weight she started gaining 14 years ago.

The first step, James says, is to be grateful for her health and choose to stay healthy and whole. "I want you to start every single day … saying, 'Thank you for the health I have.' Say, 'I love my legs because they're working functionally,'" James says. "Concentrate on your health and wholeness every day, and you'll attract more health and wholeness every day."

Lisa says Launell also has to believe she has the right to have the body she wants. "Make a decision. Do you have the right? Are you ready for it? Are you ready to look in the mirror and love every inch?" Lisa says. "Make 2007 about showing up in the now for you," Lisa says.

Repeating after Lisa, Launell declares, "I choose today to give myself the best life ever!"
You can start living the The Secret today by following three simple steps: Ask. Believe. Receive.

After 16 years of marriage, Carlton and Beverly Credelle say the passion in their marriage had fizzled. "It just felt as though our life was just mundane, really passionless, almost emotionless," Beverly says. "Like I didn't have his mind anymore, his soul, his heart." At one point, the couple hadn't been intimate in a year.

Then, Beverly watched The Secret. "For the record, I've seen it 62 times. But the first time is when that lightbulb went off," she says. Beverly realized she was part of the problem. She stopped complaining and began to focus on her gratitude for Carlton. "I started telling myself, 'I am beautiful. I do deserve passion. I am in a passion-filled marriage.'"

Things changed immediately after Carlton also watched the DVD. Soon, he started making romantic gestures, like taking Beverly out for lunch dates and calling her during the day. She began doing little things for him, too—leaving him a rose in his car and surprising him with his favorite cookies.

Michael says Carlton and Beverly are an example of how gratitude brings about change. "My marriage now is wonderful," Carlton says. "I feel the passion. I'm loving it."

Finally, Lisa reached a turning point. "I got on my knees and I said, 'God, if you bring me through this … I promise I will spend every moment, every breath, supporting and encouraging others to do the same,'" she says.

Lisa decided to stop being a victim. She stopped looking for love elsewhere and fell "madly in love" with herself. Now, she teaches people how to treat her. "I'm the first example of how the world is supposed to love me and I have to give them the best example ever," she says. "We expect someone to show us our greatness when [instead] I'm supposed to show up understanding my greatness and allowing you to celebrate it with me."

Panel member Lisa Nichols says her life was spiraling out of control before she learned The Secret. She grew up in South Central Los Angeles, where there were gangs, poverty and violence.

In fifth grade, Lisa was in the first class to be bused to the Valley—a predominantly white neighborhood—where she thought she would be welcomed. Instead, she was met with name-calling. "My self-esteem went way down," she says.

Although she eventually became a popular student, Lisa struggled with depression. "At 17, when my best friends were thinking what college to go to, UCLA or USC, I was contemplating suicide and trying to figure out how to do it without getting blood on my mother's carpet because I knew they couldn't afford to move," she says.

Growing up, Lisa was also told that she wasn't pretty and wouldn't find love. She began having "a lot of sex looking for a little love," searching for her own validation in men. "The sex led to a lot of pain. I thought if I was saying no to the sex, I was saying no to potential love. And I didn't want to say no to love."

Lisa began to gain weight in order to avoid men altogether. After gaining 100 pounds, Lisa says she was obese and embarrassed.

True forgiveness, James says, is when you can say the following to the person who hurt you: "Thank you for giving me that experience."

But how can you forgive when something truly tragic or terrible happens? James says you should grieve, but eventually you need to look for a hidden gift. "Here's what I encourage people to ask themselves: How does this serve me? … If you're really willing to dig, there's a lesson in there," James says. "And secondly, what can I learn from this situation?"

Even if you can't identify the gift now, Rhonda says to remain positive in order to benefit from of the law of attraction. "You can say, 'There are so many gifts in this for me. I can't wait to see what they are,'" Rhonda says.

In chronic situations with no end in sight, Michael says you should ask yourself another important question: "If this were to last forever, what quality would I have to grow to have peace of mind? Now, as my attention goes to the quality I have to grow, that quality starts to emerge," Michael says. "The issue that I'm resisting and fighting against becomes less and less intense … it begins to dissolve because it doesn't have your attention any longer."

Simply changing her language can also start to make a dent in her debt. When asked how she is, Lisa says she shouldn't respond with phrases like "I'm surviving." "That's not the kind of life you want to live," Lisa says. "When people ask me how I'm doing, [I say], 'I'm phenomenal. I'm great'. Even in the midst of all—I'm great," she says. "I'm great because I made it through."

James, especially, can relate to Ryan's troubles, having been on the edge of bankruptcy twice himself. He urges Ryan to take an "action step" toward her dreams. For Ryan, that's starting a debt retirement program to pay a certain amount of money toward her credit automatically so she can focus every bit of energy on financial freedom.

Still, the most important stride toward a debt-free life, Michael says, is forgiving her ex-husband and to stop feeling like he owes her something. "Let him know in consciousness, in your awareness, that he cannot determine your destiny. You're not leaving him unaccountable, but you're severing those emotional vibratory tonalities so that you can be free."

Ryan Bell, a single mother of a 4-year-old, is currently $43,000 in debt. "I'm just in over my head," she says.

Ryan says her financial woes started back in college when she took out loans. After college, Ryan got a job, got pregnant and got married. To cope with the new bills, the couple opened more credit cards, and Ryan helped put her husband through school. Then the unthinkable happened: She and her husband got divorced—and Ryan's debt worsened. "I went from living on two incomes to living on one income, but I kept the same bills," Ryan says.

To support herself and her daughter, Ryan works long hours at a high-end clothing store. After her daughter goes to bed, Ryan works at her second job, a home-based Internet business. "It could be huge, but I can't spend the amount of time on it that I need to to make it successful," she says.

Now, Ryan sees every day as a struggle and won't even go to the mailbox because she knows there are bills waiting for her. "I'm sick and tired of being a victim," Ryan says. "How do I get out of this endless cycle of debt?"

Ryan's choices have attracted debt to her, the panel says. To attract a solution, Jack says Ryan should turn her focus from her debt to what she knows her life will be like when she's financially free.

According to the panel members, much of the energy that people project into the world is done unconsciously. "People aren't walking around thinking, 'I want a bad thing to happen to me,' but there's an unconscious fear. There's a doubt. There's a worry. There's a sense of separation there that's running them," Michael says. He adds that spiritual growth is "allowing that which is unconscious to become conscious."

Michael says that spiritual growth does not mean religion but our "real identity." "The love, the peace, the joy, the wisdom, the harmony—these are all qualities of the spirit that it's seeking to express through us," Michael says. "And so as we become more awake, more aware of that, our life is filled with that kind of vibration, that kind of feeling tone. To grow spiritually is to actually become more aware of who you really are."

Gratitude is one example of the magnetic force of the universe. "Basically, nothing new can come into your life unless you open yourself up to being grateful [for what you already have]," Michael says.

"If you think about it, the universe has a conveyor belt of presents lined up for you, and until you receive the one and fully are grateful for it, the next one can't come out of the chute. It's all lined up," Jack says.

Lisa says this perspective applies to weight, family, friends and other aspects of life. She says too many people who want to make things better focus on what's wrong with the present. "Instead of wanting to change it, appreciate what's there," Lisa says. "Find the things about it that work … and by doing that, you create a space for it to get better."

For example, Lisa says she would like to lose some weight. But instead of focusing on the negative—that she hasn't dropped the pounds yet—she loves and appreciates the present moment. "I accept it. I love it. I embrace every inch, every pound," she says. In this way, Lisa is creating the space to "celebrate the now" and then invite better things into her life.

Jack says that everything in the world is made up of energy, which is controlled by thoughts and feelings. According to Jack, thoughts can travel long distances, so you are sending out signals to many people without even knowing it, and these signals attract like energy to you.

Jack and James say that this means there is no such thing as a coincidence. "Everything happens by principles and laws in our universe. And so consequently, we have an absolutely unlimited power within us," James says.

Michael says that thoughts—which turn into experience, speech and behavior—become the "feeling tone of your life." "An individual can actually begin to generate a certain feeling of gratitude, of love, of peace and of harmony, and the universe will begin to match that feeling tone—and what will flow into your life will match the feeling that you're holding," he says. "It means that everyone…can release themselves from being a victim and begin to take control of their life's destiny."

Although thoughts are powerful, Jack says the feelings that the thoughts generate are what actually attract things into our lives. "Too many times people are thinking a thought like, 'I want to be my perfect body weight of 185 pounds.' But they look at the scale and they see 205 and they think, 'But I'll never make it,' … so they feel bad," Jack says. Instead of wallowing in those negative thoughts, you need to find the positive in the situation. Jack says you should stop feeling bad about the weight, and instead feel positive that you are willing to do something healthy to make your life better. Carrying with you those positive feelings is one key to your success.

James says that in order to attract the things you want into your life—to place the right order—you have to do what he calls going "three for three." "Your thoughts, your feelings and your actions all have to be firing simultaneously in the same direction," he says. Visualizing your future life can help to hone your thoughts and feelings toward the things you want.

The panel says the thoughts and the feelings are often easy for people to grasp, but you still have to do something about them. "A lot of people watch The Secret and they say, 'Well, I'm sitting around visualizing my millions coming into my lap.' Well, they'll come take your furniture away. And then how are you going to visualize [when you're living] on the curb?" James says. "You've got to act on it. Make decisions on where you're going versus where you have been."

The law of attraction means that everything that happens to you—good or bad—you attract to yourself. Lisa describes it as if you're placing an order. "If you were at a restaurant and you ordered something, you fully expect it to come served that way. That's how the universe is. You're putting out orders—consciously and unconsciously," Lisa says. "So if you say, 'I'll never have a great relationship,' you just placed an order."

Jack says everything you focus on can have an effect on your life—from books to magazines to thoughts. "All of that affects how we feel, and the feelings actually send out a wave into the universe, and anything that's vibrating in a similar level gets attracted into our life," Jack says.

"Most people focus on how it is. We talk about our current reality—'I'm in debt. I'm overweight. I'm not happy. I'm sad. The world's not working. We're at war,' whatever. And the more you think about that and focus on that and talk about it, the more you attract that [negativity]," he says.

James Arthur Ray was insecure and awkward as a teenager until weight lifting helped the self-described geek gain confidence in his 20s. He says that surviving a near-fatal motorcycle crash and almost going bankrupt forced him to focus on the life he truly wanted. Now he runs a multimillion-dollar corporation dedicated to teaching people how to create wealth in all areas of their lives.

Lisa Nichols grew up on the tough streets of South Central Los Angeles. She admits that as a self-conscious teenager, she often used sex to feel loved by men. After hitting rock bottom at age 19, Lisa prayed for a better life. Now, she has made her fortune by motivating more than 60,000 teenagers to make better choices in their own lives.

Chicken Soup for the Soul creator Jack Canfield was deep in debt before he made it big. Now his best-selling books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, and Jack travels the country teaching the secret of his success.

To help teach the philosophy, Rhonda created the DVD The Secret, which features experts including the Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, James Arthur Ray, Lisa Nichols and Jack Canfield—who not only teach other people about The Secret, but say they are successful in their own lives because they know and use the principle.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith says he was a drug dealer in college—until he was arrested in a deal gone bad. Michael says he had a spiritual awakening during his trial and decided to turn his life around. Today he leads the Agape Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, where he teaches thousands of faithful followers the path to reaching their highest potential.

After that first discovery, Rhonda read hundreds of books, listened to hundreds of hours of audio tapes and scoured the Internet for more information. She says she traced the idea of The Secret through history—all the way from 3500 B.C. to the present day. "Since I discovered The Secret, every single moment of my entire life has changed, and I am living my life for the first time," Rhonda says.

Rhonda defines The Secret as the law of attraction, which is the principle that "like attracts like." Rhonda calls it "the most powerful law in the universe," and says it is working all the time. "What we do is we attract into our lives the things we want, and that is based on what we're thinking and feeling," Rhonda says. The principle explains that we create our own circumstances by the choices we make in life. And the choices we make are fueled by our thoughts—which means our thoughts are the most powerful things we have here on earth.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Discovering The Secret

People around the world have been talking about a movie so powerful that it can change the course of your life. This movie, The Secret, was created by Australian Rhonda Byrne, and she says that if you follow its philosophy, you can create the life you want—whether that means getting out of debt, finding a more fulfilling job or even falling in love.

Rhonda says she stumbled on what she calls The Secret at the end of 2004. At the time, everything in Rhonda's life had fallen apart—physically, emotionally and financially—and she was in "total despair." Then her father died suddenly, and she was worried about her grief-stricken mother. "I wept and wept and wept, and I didn't want my daughter to see me sobbing," Rhonda says.

That's when Rhonda's daughter gave her a copy of The Science of Getting Rich, a book written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles. "Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it," Rhonda says. "It gave me a glimpse of The Secret. It was like a flame inside of my heart. And with every day since, it's just become a raging fire of wanting to share all of this with the world."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Secret By Rhonda Bryrne

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Supporters will hail this New Age self-help book on the law of attraction as a groundbreaking and life-changing work, finding validation in its thesis that one's positive thoughts are powerful magnets that attract wealth, health, happiness... and did we mention wealth? Detractors will be appalled by this as well as when the book argues that fleeting negative thoughts are powerful enough to create terminal illness, poverty and even widespread disasters. The audio version of this controversial book, read by Byrne and contributing authors such as John Gray and Neale Donald Walsch, is uneven at best. The cheesy, obvious sound effects will not do much to add intellectual respectability to a work that has been widely denounced as pseudoscience. Mostly, this audio is hampered by its confusing and disjointed organization—techniques that worked reasonably well in the print version and the movie, such as cutting every few seconds from one enthusiastic expert to another, make for a choppy and somewhat bewildering listening experience. The gentle cadences of Rhonda Byrne's breathy, Aussie-infused voice are certainly the best part of the audio, but her material is scarce and provides mostly connective tissue between the testimonials.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile
Audio seems like the natural medium for Rhonda Byrne's blockbuster motivational book on positive thought for positive results. The Australian TV producer leads listeners through her exposition on the secret of life. Quoting from an array of New Age gurus and interpreting more traditional teachers as well, the program integrates sound bites from the various authors, with actors taking many of the roles. Neale Donald Walsh, Denis Waitley, Jack Canfield, and dozens of others make cameo comments throughout the program. Byrne's slightly whispery, intimate voice calling the listener to believe alternates with hyped "you-can-do-it" encouragement from speakers like Bob Proctor. Kudos goes to the production team that integrated the dozens of speakers--some just introducing who will speak next. The resulting audio keeps a rapid pace hop-skipping along to support Byrne's premise of the essential "Law of Attraction." R.F.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description
Fragments of a Great Secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it.
In this book, you'll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life -- money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You'll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that's within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.
The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers -- men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

From the Publisher
The Secret is truly the most outstanding book to date that we have published. I am so pleased that Rhonda Byrne was able to bring together this life-changing information so masterfully. She first did it for the movie of the same name that she produced, which has been a phenomenon in its own right. She then added, in only ones month's time, incredible additional content to the transcript of the film that brings even more clarity to the reader. This is absolutely a book that people from all walks of life can read and then "get" the concept of The Secret. It allows them to then take it and apply it to their lives. Children, teenagers and adults of all ages are reporting miraculous stories of positive changes as a result. Rhonda Byrne is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of The Secret and to making sure that now, finally, the whole world knows about The Secret. You will want to share this with your friends and family and they will be grateful for it. This book gives hope for what many have been waiting for-- a shift in the way the world thinks. Its a very exciting time that we are living in, and I as well as everyone at Beyond Words and Atria Books are grateful to be a part of it.
--Cynthia Black, President, Beyond Words Publishing

About the Author
One spring day towards the end of 2004, Rhonda Byrne discovered a secret - the secret laws and principles of the universe. Almost immediately her life was transformed, as she began to put into practice what she had learned. It seemed to Rhonda that almost no-one knew the things that she had discovered, even though the concepts could be found in almost every religion and field of human endeavor throughout history. And in that moment her greatest wish, and mission, was to share this knowledge with the world.
Rhonda began to see that her entire life - everything she had ever done - had been quietly and steadily moving her towards the most perfect place for her to be able to fulfill her wish. And to fulfill it on the grandest possible scale! She had gone from working as a producer at the Nine Network in Melbourne, Australia, to starting her own television production company, Prime Time Productions, in 1994. And after ten years of creating internationally successful shows, Rhonda was ready to take Prime Time Productions in a direction that fulfilled people rather than just entertained them.
On that spring day in 2004, when a small, old book called The Science of Getting Rich was put into her hands, and Rhonda's whole life suddenly pulled into spectacular focus, she knew exactly what her mission was to become. She was going to take this knowledge to the world. She was going to make a movie to carry joy to every corner of the Earth. And so the great journey that was The Secret began.
In early 2005, when The Secret was simply a name and a (momentous) vision, Prime Time Productions was made up of Rhonda, Producer Paul Harrington, and Director Drew Heriot. For eight weeks Rhonda intensively taught everything she had learned about The Secret to Paul and Drew.
One of Rhonda's initial intentions for the creation of the show was that Prime Time Productions would use The Secret to make The Secret... that it would be an effortless, joyful journey as they attracted everything and everyone that was needed to fulfill the vision. And right when the company was ready to begin production, as if by magic, the perfect people to make The Secret began to appear.
The day Rhonda arrived in the United States, she had not one interview set up but she had the firm intention that the teachers for the film would appear. And in a matter of seven weeks, the team arrived and filmed a total of fifty-two 'teachers' of The Secret. Wherever the team went, more and more amazing teachers would emerge--great writers, leaders, philosophers, doctors, and scientists. These teachers created the foundation for The Secret.
Today The Secret is the Prime Time benchmark, and the company's firm intention is to produce work that inspires, uplifts, and, most importantly, continues bringing joy to billions.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Review of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
by Donald S. Whitney

Rhonda Byrne, The Secret (New York: Atria Books, 2006) 198 pages.
A video by the same title was released earlier in 2006.

I had never watched an entire episode of Oprah until her program on The Secret. In the promo for the show, Oprah announced that the program would present "the secret" to making more money, losing weight, finding the love of your life, and achieving job success. Who could resist hearing more about such a claim, especially when it is made by the most influential woman in America and touted as the key to all her success? Apparently I wasn't alone. After the show, Oprah's website was overwhelmed, emails poured in, and within hours The Secret had become the best-selling book in the nation.

A week later, while unpacking in a hotel room, I powered up the TV. Oprah and two guests from the week before appeared on the screen, effusive about the transforming power of The Secret. Her website called the episode, "A follow-up to the show everybody is talking about!"

People are not only talking about The Secret, they are buying it. I am writing this review in a Barnes & Noble bookstore, and this particular branch has completely sold out of the book—again. Only two days ago—so I am told—a storewide announcement assured a horde of anxious shoppers that another large shipment of the book had arrived and would be brought to the sales floor momentarily. Readers quickly grabbed every copy. Almost impossibly, The Secret is even outselling (at this writing) the final Harry Potter book. And if that weren't enough, the audio edition of the book follows these two as the nation's number-three seller.

The Australian author of The Secret, Rhonda Byrne, introduces the book by admitting, "A year ago, my life had collapsed around me" (p. ix). Through searching for answers in a variety of books new and old, she began to trace what she believed was a common thread in them all. She dubbed it the "Great Secret—The Secret to Life" (p. ix).

Byrne became convinced that this was the key to explaining the success of "the greatest people in history" (p. ix). As she started practicing this secret, Byrne says that her life immediately began to change in ways nothing short of miraculous. She decided to make a video called The Secret to share her discoveries with others. In March of 2006 it was released on the Internet, but soon went to DVD. By late autumn, the phenomenal success of the video placed it on two episodes of Larry King Live. Shortly after, two of the teachers featured on The Secret were guests on Ellen Degeneres' daily TV show. Before Christmas, The Secret DVD had spun off a book by the same title which Oprah Winfrey catapulted to the top of the charts in February of 2007.

The essence of The Secret is "the law of attraction." According to Byrne and the twenty-nine co-contributors whom she quotes extensively, everything in the Universe (which is always capitalized and usually synonymous for "God") vibrates on a particular frequency. When you think in harmony with the frequency of something, you attract it to you. If you think about wealth, you will receive wealth. If you think instead about your debt, you will receive more debt. You attract what you think about; your thoughts determine your destiny.

Byrne restates the law of attraction in various ways: "Nothing [good or bad] can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts" (p. 28). "Your thoughts are the primary cause of everything" (p. 33). "Your current reality or your current life is a result of the thoughts you have been thinking" (p. 71). According to the product description on the DVD, "This is The Secret to everything—the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted.

Byrne promises with ironclad certainty: "There isn't a single thing that you cannot do with this knowledge. . . . The Secret can give you whatever you want" (p. xi). By it "you will come to know how you can have, be, or do anything you want" (p. xii).

In the final analysis, The Secret is nothing more than Name It-Claim It, Positive-Confession, Prosperity Theology (without God and the Bible), built on a foundation of New Age self-deification. In other words, the book is just another version of what some TV preachers have taught for decades, namely, if you will sustain the right thoughts, words, and feelings, you will receive whatever you want. But The Secret adds this important twist: your thoughts can bring anything into your life because you are god.

Books that promise health and wealth for their practitioners are published every day. But few associate such promises with Byrne's breathtaking audacity. She proclaims to her readers,

You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet (p. 164).

If that weren't blasphemous enough, realize that the book your neighbors and coworkers are reading more than any other also tells them,

The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and it sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the Universe. You are the heir to the kingdom. You are the perfection of Life. And now you know The Secret (p. 183).

This would be beautiful if it were addressed to the God of Heaven. But as Byrne thinks this is what we should say to the person in the mirror, it is the heresy of heresies. Her "Secret" is nothing less than Satan's original lie in the Garden of Eden, "You will be like God" (Gen. 3:5).

It is no exaggeration to say that this book implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) denies virtually every major doctrine in the Bible. For starters, the authority of Scripture is undermined in The Secret, because the Bible apparently has value only insofar as it (according to Byrne) teaches The Secret.

Moreover, the Bible is neither unique nor supremely authoritative, for Byrne maintains that the holy book of every religious tradition contains The Secret. Thus Byrne's teaching is eclectic, that is, she believes that all religions and their scriptures are equally valid in their authority and basically teach the same thing.

Without mentioning Jesus, she quotes Him in Matthew 21:22 and Mark 11:24, claiming that the teaching to ask, believe, and receive in prayer is the way to "create what you want in three simple steps" (p. 47). And of course, it is not God we're to ask, but "the Universe." Thus The Secret is pantheistic, that is, it teaches that God is not a Person; rather He is to be equated with the totality of everything.

Despite this brief nod to the Bible, Byrne's book is marketed upon the implication that readers probably would never discover The Secret on their own. "It has been passed down through the ages, highly-coveted, hidden, lost, stolen, and bought for vast sums of money. . . . Now The Secret is being revealed to the world" (from the back cover). Thus the book is Gnostic, that is, it makes you dependent upon a small, elite group (namely, Rhonda Byrne and her panel of enlightened experts, "avatars," and relatively obscure historical sources) to tell you what you need to know. In fact, in true Gnostic style, Byrne and her illuminati expressly refer to what we need to know as a secret—"the Great Secret." And of course, you must pay—in this case, the price of the book or the DVD—to learn The Secret.

There's no mention of sin in The Secret. The cause of all the problems in the world and in our individual lives is merely bad thinking, specifically the failure to recognize and appropriately use the law of attraction. Therefore the solution to everything lies within us. And that, of course, eliminates the need for a Savior, a Substitute, or a Sacrifice. The cross and resurrection of Jesus become irrelevant.

Curiously, there's not a single reference to death or the afterlife in the book. Apparently this is a non-issue for contributors to The Secret, for one of them assures us, "no one will stand in judgment of [your life], now or ever" (p. 177). Another, when questioned about this on Oprah's second show on the book, suggested that Heaven and Hell were present experiences, not future destinations.

So as with nearly all false teaching, the flaws of The Secret are most visible when you examine what it has to say about the Bible and Jesus.

If I had to commend something about The Secret, I would mention its emphasis on gratitude and the importance of the thought life. Byrne devotes several pages to "The Powerful Process of Gratitude" (pp. 74-80). Though she does not base it on the Bible, Byrne nevertheless encourages just what the Bible teaches in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "in everything give thanks." She says that regardless of the situations awaiting her, "By the time I am ready for the day, I have said 'Thank you' hundreds of times" (p. 76). Remarkably, she never says to whom thanks should be given. Nor is her motivation kindred to the one stated in the verse above: "this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Regarding the thought life, The Secret reminds us that there is a powerful connection between our thoughts and our actions. While the thoughts Byrne wants us to repeat are typically contrary to Scripture, she rightly observes that the thoughts we constantly affirm influence our feelings and our behavior. This conforms to the declaration of Scripture that Christians are "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). For us to live for the glory of God and in increasing conformity to Christ requires not only that we grow in our knowledge of God's Word, but also that we constantly reaffirm specific truths of Scripture, despite feelings or circumstances that contradict them.

The problem with The Secret is that it focuses our hope selfward and not Godward. It is all about self-empowerment, self-fulfillment, and getting whatever we want. But Jesus warned, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" (Matthew 16:26). The Secret disregards the fact that God has a Law and we have broken it (James 2:10). What Byrne fails to realize about her law of attraction is that our sinful hearts deceive us (Jeremiah 17:9) and attract not only more sin and guilt, but ultimately, the wrath of God.

However, God in His mercy sent His Son to receive this wrath as a Substitute for all who will repent of their selfishness and believe in Him. And "through the true knowledge of Him"—not Rhonda Byrne's book—"His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).

"The Secret to everything" (to use Byrne's term) is God Himself. And God, the "Great Secret," has been revealed in Jesus Christ, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3). God has freely told us in the Bible everything we need to know about discovering the unlimited "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" found in Christ. And He remains an unknown Secret only to those who will not look for Him there.

Copyright © 2007 Donald S. Whitney. All rights reserved.
For more short, reproducible pieces like this, see

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rhonda Byrne

Rhonda Byrne (b. 1955) is an Australian Television Writer and Producer, best known for her work, The Secret, a self-help book and movie. She has also been a producer for Sensing Murder[1].
According to an article published by Australia's Herald Sun,[2] Rhonda has also worked on the Australian TV series World's Greatest Commercials and Marry Me. In 2007, Byrne was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World[3].

See also
The Secret (2006 film)

1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0126279/ Rhonda Byrne on IMDB
2. ^ http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21062184-5006022,00.html Herald Sun - Colin Vickery, January 17, 2007
3. ^ http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100/article/0,28804,1595326_1615737_1615871,00.html Time Magazine - The Time 100
External links
• Spoof, performed by Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live, from the SNL Archives' Impressions
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Rhonda Byrne
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