Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sacred and the Lore of Attraction

My commute material last week included the audiobook of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I had a few concerns about the book, which were partially addressed in the book There is More to the Secret by Ed Gungor, which I read over the weekend.

This "secret" is very similar to other short books I have read in the past 18 months, most notably As A Man Thinketh by James Allen and especially The Science of Getting Rich by William Wattles, which she specifically mentions. Earl Nightingale summed these works up in six words: We become what we think about. (I must shamelessly add that you'll find Allen's and Wattles' works in one convenient package by clicking here.) Many modern thinkers have adopted this theory – the whole process of visualizing your goal, believing it has already been met, is an outgrowth of what Byrne calls The Secret.

As Gungor points out, there is something to this law of attraction that Byrne describes – as far as it goes. She goes astray (and, I would argue, so does Wattles) when she attributes the law to a perfect but amoral Universe rather than God. I had a little trouble matching her arguments to my reality until I noticed a trick of the ear.

She kept talking about "getting in touch with the sacred," and that puzzled me. Her book really is not about that kind of supernatural power. The only direct reference I heard to Jesus, for example, was in a list of philosophers known to have tapped into the law of attraction. My first epiphany came when I realized my aging ears were mis-hearing her Australian accent. She wasn't saying "sacred," she was saying "secret."

But when I started listening with an ear tuned to how The Secret complements what I know of The Sacred, the concept seemed to click in my mind. I was further aided by her accent when it came to what sounded like "the lore of attraction," which of course is how she pronounced "law." Those pronunciations became my aural cues to think in terms I could see in real life – When she said "lore," I thought "Lord." She was so close to the real Secret – just one letter off!

Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. (Matthew 21:22)

I said "my first epiphany." More to come on this subject.

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