My friend Blair stood up at my rehearsal dinner and told everyone that we became close when we first bonded over a book called The Secret. Lots of eyes rolled in the room at that moment. I’m sure of it. I could feel it. I was quasi-embarrased but, I also firmly believe in The Law of Attraction so … as my co-worker Jen would say, “go effya’selves”.
I think most people equate that book, or the better known movie, with the bullshit idea that you can think your way into owning a Lamborghini, living in a mansion or swimming around in a pool full of gold like Donald Duck. Not true. And not what the author is actually saying.
I also think a lot of people were offended by the suggestion that one could think their way out of cancer. Also not true. I don’t agree with that at all. And, like all self-help books, I think it’s best to take what works and leave the rest.
Aside from those two, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the true lesson in it, though, which is: ask, believe and receive what you want from the Universe with authentic gratitude.
The reason I love the book so much, is because it introduced me to the idea that the way you think dictates your experience in life. If you have an abundance mindset and expect good things, most of the time you will experience abundance and good things. If you come from a place of fear, worry, scarcity and disbelief, you will experience those things instead.
I firmly believe this. Our entire reality and experience in life depends on how we perceive our circumstances.
It’s the Law of Attraction and pretty much every, single, self-help, personal development and spiritual text I’ve ever read has repeated this message. Ask, believe and receive. It’s that simple. What makes it difficult is cultivating that authentic gratitude and truly surrendering to faithful expectancy.
We’re taught to worry. We’re not taught to relax and have faith.
So, let’s discuss what The Secret is actually teaching, shall we? I’ll use an example of my own ‘manifesting’ in life. I use the term ‘manifesting’ while slightly wincing. I’ve tried that phrase on a few times, and it’s still a little short in the sleeve, tight in the crotch, a bit ill-fitting just yet but, I’ll go with it here.
Ask means that we clearly articulate to the Universe what it is that we want. We focus on it. We set a conscious intention that we want whatever it is that we want.
I’ll use one of the many examples from my own life. I wanted to quit my job and attend a month-long Yoga teacher training (not this job, the last one I quit). I wasn’t sure exactly how I would do it or pay for it but, I knew that was what I wanted.
So that is exactly what I asked for. I said “I’d like to quit my job and go to Yoga teacher training in June, please. Thank you.”
Believe means to honestly believe that the Universe is conspiring in your favor. That the stars are realigning to give you want you want. We have to have ambition and expectancy. We have to believe that not only is it possible but, it’s a sure thing.
So, after asking, I did a little experiment. Every day on my commute to work for the month before I wanted to quit my job, I pictured myself going to Yoga teacher training without any stress because the Universe had delivered the extra money that I needed to go. I cultivated a big ass smile on my face and a swell of gratitude in my chest as I envisioned randomly coming into a bunch of money. I kept saying things to myself like “See, the Universe provides!” “Life is so easy!” “I’m so lucky and thankful.” Just for shits, I mean, why not right? Yolo.
I decided I was just going to expect it and be pumped about it before it even happened. I literally had nothing to lose. I was going to go to teacher training somehow, it would just be a whole lot easier if I had some extra money. I decided that I was not going to worry about how it happened but just be thankful, as if it already had.
This last step can be the hardest part. You just have to relax and let the Universe do its job.
Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything at all but, it means you operate under the faithful assumption that what you want is happening, that the Universe is conspiring in your favor, that it will take care of the how, you just do what you think is right to move yourself forward and know that it’s all coming together.
In the Yoga teacher training case, I bought my new Yoga mat and signed up for the course. I went ahead and gave my notice at work. I told friends and family about my plan. I did not transfer any money from my savings into my checking because I came to fully expect a windfall.
Wouldn’t you know it, a couple of days before I owed the final balance, while walking to work, I got an email from my accountant. I had assumed he would tell me how much money I owed for taxes because I’d worked for myself the previous year and hadn’t paid a dime. Instead, he informed me that between the New York State Government and the Federal Government, I would be receiving a refund.
Guess how much? $5,027.00.
Guess how much teacher training and living expenses for the month of June cost? $5,000.00
I shit you not, friend. And no, I’m not complaining about the extra $27.00.
Coincidence? Sure, maybe. If you choose to believe it.
But it’s a hell of a lot more fun to think of it as my having co-conspired with the Universe, that I attracted it to myself consciously by asking, believing and receiving.
And guess what? It’s my life and my perception so…
I’ll also say that I believe ‘coincidence’ is a misunderstood phrase. I mean, who do you think is behind ‘coincidences’ in the first place? The big, bad Uni, in my humble opinion.
There are countless other examples in my life where this same process worked as well, from sports to relationships, to apartments to parking spaces. To even just last week when I decided I wanted to be a professional writer and the very next day I got an email from someone who wanted to discuss my potentially writing for them.
No, it has not worked every single time I’ve wanted something but, I’ve noticed that the times when I could honestly say that I got extremely clear about what I wanted, and then cultivated a sense of true expectancy and gratitude, that it has.
It makes me wonder how different life would be if I practiced this more often, instead of just freaking out and worrying. Maybe I could become a real-life, manifesting, miracle worker, like our girl Gabby B. Now, wouldn’t that be something…
What do you think? Have you read The Secret? Quackery or the dumbfounding wisdom of the ages?