This article presents a detailed description of the method advocated in The Secret for those who are not already fully familiar with it. See also Law of Attraction
Accomplishment is a natural endowment of all human beings. All of us know how to accomplish and we apply that knowledge all the time for important and trivial purposes. But few of us feel that we know the secret to ensure success in anything we do. The Secret offers a method for unfailing accomplishment.
The method presented in The Secret is one expression of the universal process of creation and accomplishment. Any person can apply this method to accomplish any goal in his/her own life. The book and DVD explain the method but not the theory of why and how the method works. Knowledge is power. A full understanding of the theory behind The Secret will enhance its power. When applied with knowledge, conviction and intense aspiration, the method of The Secret is infallible. It cannot fail.
Section One of this article presents and discusses the statements made in The Secret. The remainder of the article examines the theory behind the method.
Message of The Secret
The author states that the DVD and the book present knowledge that has been known through the ages, but is brought all together for the first time. That knowledge can be briefly summarized as follows: Human beings have the power to accomplish whatever they intensely aspire to accomplish, provided they adhere to the method advocated. The method is valid for achieving personal wealth, improving personal relationships, curing illness or any other purpose including service to society. Rightly applied, the method is infallible.
Law of Attraction
The book states that The Secret is based on an unfailing universal law, the Law of Attraction. This law states that whatever we focus our attention on is attracted to us. Our thoughts and feelings create our reality. When we consciously direct our thoughts and feelings toward the positive goals we want to achieve, we send forth a message to the universal consciousness and attract the results we concentrate on. The book does not explain the theory, process or mechanism by which the law works. It advises practitioners to concentrate on the result to be achieved and insists that method is infallible.
Summary of the Method
The essence of the method in The Secret is described in three steps:
- Ask: Intensely visualize and emotionalize the goal you want to achieve and continuously concentrate on the achievement of that goal. Avoid all negative thoughts that are contrary to the achievement of the goal. Especially avoid focusing attention on the problem or situation that one wants to change, since according to the law of attraction, attention to the problem reinforces the existing situation.
- Believe: Wait for the universe to respond. It is not necessary for you to know how your goal can be accomplished. Do not dwell on 'how', only on the goal itself. Your task is only to intensely aspire and wait for circumstances to turn in your favor.
- Receive: Align and attune yourself to the universe. Put your thoughts and feelings in harmony with what you want to accomplish. Express only positive feelings. Feel cheerful and enthusiastic. Avoid all negative emotions of any description. Try to feel now as you will when your goal is achieved. Feel gratitude for what you already have.
Step One: Visualize & Emotionalize
The first step is to formulate a clear goal that you want to achieve and then mentally visualize the goal in terms as concrete as possible. Imagine yourself doing the things you want to do. See yourself completing the goal and enjoying the benefits of that accomplishment.
This step is based on the creative power of mental concentration. Mind is a subtle plane of existence. Things shape in our minds before they express in our physical acts. Before speaking, we think. Before launching a project, we plan. The greater the mental preparation, the greater our accomplishment. Thinkers, poets, composers, writers, scientists, business people, inventors and professional athletes all know the essential role that mental concentration plays in accomplishment.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought - Buddha
Power of Imagination
The power of the mind to bring about the results it focuses on, has been known for millennium. Concentration of the mind on God, a sound (mantra), an idea (koan or sloka), an image (yantra), a center of consciousness (chakra) or one’s breath is common to all spiritual disciplines. These methods are based on the principle that all power derives from Consciousness and mental energy is one expression of Consciousness. The more vivid your imagination and the greater your mental concentration, the faster and greater the result. Einstein understood this power of imagination:
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
Avoid negative thoughts
One of the crucial insights presented by The Secret is the importance of avoiding negative thoughts. In the course of pursuing a goal – whether it is getting out of debt, losing weight, curing a disease, getting a job or getting married - we often spend more time thinking about the condition we want to escape or the possibility of failure than we do envisioning the goal we want to achieve. In the name of working on a solution, we become even more preoccupied worrying and feeling sorry about our problem. The Secret advises us that not dwelling on the negative is as important as focusing on the positive. Consciousness is power. Attention is energy. Whatever gets attention is energized. Whatever you concentrate the power of your attention on tends to increase. Problems such as illness and depression are negative formations of energy that grow and persist because of the attention people give to them. That explains why so many people find their problems increasing the more they try to solve them.
Don’t worry about ‘how?’
Most of us have no trouble imagining ‘what’ we would like to accomplish. The problem comes when we try to figure out ‘how’ to achieve it. ‘’The Secret’’ advises us not to think or worry about the ‘how’. Just concentrate on the result you want to achieve and leave the rest to the ‘universe’.
Mind naturally wants to understand the ‘how’ and keeps coming back to that issue. What is the sense of asking for something if there is no way to achieve it? But one of the keys to the Secret is that there are always ways to achieve any goal we aspire for – only many times we are not aware of what those ways are or cannot imagine that they will happen in our lives until they actually do.
In the success stories narrated in the book and DVD, often the individual does think about the ‘how’ and then carries out a plan to achieve it. Certainly in life this is the common approach for most of us. So the question often asked is: ‘Should I or shouldn’t I think about how to achieve the results I aspire for?’
This dilemma can be resolved by the following principle: Wherever we have the capacity to mentally formulate a means of achieving the goal, visualizing the means adds conviction and power to the mental formation. Wherever we find it difficult to conceive of a way to achieve what we aspire for, it is better not to exercise the mind.
The experience of Jack Canfield cited in The Secret supports this view. He decided that he wanted to raise his income from $8000 to $100,000. Then he tried to imagine some conceivable way in which that might be possible. He came up with the idea that it could be achieved if his book were written about in National Enquirer. At least his idea indicated that there was a way for him to realize his goal, even if it did not seem very likely to happen in his life. Actually, a month later a free-lance reporter who writes for the Enquirer approached him and that became the start of something great. Canfield used his mental imagination to supplement and reinforce his mental will. It supported his conviction that there was a way for him to achieve his goal. That year his income rose to $92,000 and later it rose to more than $1 million!
The Secret emphasizes the power of visualization, but it also makes clear that mere mental visualization is not sufficient to move the universe. The mind’s decision to accomplish has to be backed by full emotional commitment. The mind has the power to decide. But the nervous and emotional part of our being, what Sri Aurobindo calls the ‘vital’, is the source of the psychological energy needed for any accomplishment. Mental thoughts carry clarity, not power. The body is the seat of power, but that power is locked in the physical form and inaccessible. When the vital accepts an idea from the mind, it has the capacity to release the power of the body to realize it. The vital is the live center of human existence and accomplishment.
Everyone can recall incidents in which they decided to do something – stop smoking, exercise more, go on a diet, work harder, spend less – but their decision did not lead to action or results, because the mind’s intention was not backed by a commitment of the vital. "I decided, but my heart was not in it." The Secret says that in order to accomplish, you should throw the full weight of your emotions behind the decision.
The English language has many synonyms that express different levels of human determination. Although precise definitions are lacking, we can see a gradation in the following sequence of psychological steps:
Thought - Understanding - Interest - Conviction - Intention - Resolution - Decision - Will - Commitment - Determination - Enthusiasm - Passion - Vital yearning - Physical urge.
These words present a psychological gradient from the mere idea of accomplishing something to the level of full, total passionate determination to accomplish. The further we move along that gradient from thought to urge, the faster will be the response and the greater the level of the accomplishment.
How do I know when my vital-emotional commitment is complete? The best sign is when the thought of the goal generates an intense, cheerful, eager enthusiasm for action. As long as we are merely interested, willing or decided, we can know that the direction is set for the journey, but we have not yet generated the fuel needed to get there.
Step Two: Universe Responds
The Secret is based on the concept that the Universe is a conscious entity with the power to respond to human aspirations. It states that if we ardently aspire for a goal, exercise our mental faculties to formulate a clear vision of the goal, imagine achieving it and throw the full weight of our emotions behind that achievement, then the universe will set in motion a course of events to make it happen in our lives. Therefore, Step Two is to await patiently and be open to the opportunities that the universe will bring our way in response to our aspiration.
Here is where the skeptics have a field day. Visualizing and emotionalizing is what people can do, but whoever heard of the universe responding? Some will dismiss The Secret simply because the concept of a universe that can respond to human aspirations is so foreign to modern scientific thinking. In fact every society has possessed knowledge of this fact in the past as reflected in their customs, stories, practices, values and in words such as luck, fortune, fate and destiny. All great literature and films – from Hamlet to Star Wars - depict this phenomenon. Most high achievers in business, politics, sports and even science are at least partly conscious of it in their own lives. And all of us have experienced this innumerable times, without perhaps understanding or even being conscious of what was happening. But we live in an age of scientific materialism in which an empirical and positivist mind-set has persuaded us that all such occurrences are simply strokes of chance.
The concept that the universe can and does respond to human consciousness is referred in Human Science as Life Response. Elsewhere on this site, you will find detailed explanations of Life Response and a wide range of examples drawn from history, biography, literature, cinema and contemporary events. For those who would like to better understand the concept of a conscious universe that can respond, see Conscious Universe and What is Life?.
The speed and magnitude of the response by the universe will depend on the intensity of our aspiration. The greater the intensity, the faster and greater the response.
Step Three: Align and Attune
The final step is for us to respond to what the universe brings us in the most positive manner possible. Often the greatest possible good comes to us through people, circumstances and events which at first appear disagreeable or opposed to our advancement. You need only reflect back on your own earlier life or the lives of high achievers to see that great good fortune often presents itself in the form of problems and challenges. Since we do not and cannot have the foresight to know the outcome beforehand, "The Secret" provides a simple three-part formula to ensure maximum receptivity to what comes to us from life. This step involves tuning in and aligning yourself with the universe, being alert and receptive to what comes, so that regardless of the form or the apparent hazards, you do not let the opening pass by. Your thoughts and feelings are in alignment with what you seek when they are entirely positive.
The Secret suggests three powerful methods for creating harmonious alignment through an exhaustive inner effort to be at your best. These three methods are found at the heart of many spiritual disciplines – cheerfulness, faith and gratitude.
What could be so difficult about being cheerful? It's not difficult when we are in a good mood! It is extremely difficult when we intensely aspire for something to happen and find people or circumstances indifferent, obstructing our path or opposing our progress. Cheerfulness becomes a powerful method when you make a firm commitment to maintain it regardless of what happens. The cheerfulness referred to here does not just mean a calm, friendly and smiling demeanor. It means an unshakeable positive inner attitude toward people and events that occur around you, an incapacity for reaction, anger, impatience, annoyance, resentment, jealousy, frustration, or discouragement. Such an inner attitude has the power to align you with the most positive movements of life around you and to attract those movements to fulfill your aspiration. You can also call for cheerfulness and joy.
Faith is a predominant characteristic of everyone who achieves anything. That faith may be in God, in another person, in life, in law, in one’s abilities or one’s destiny or anything else. In the words of the Gita, “As is a person’s faith, so is his life.” The Secret is not preaching any type of religious faith or even faith in oneself, though either or both of these can be powerful aids to accomplishment. It specifically advocates faith in achievement of the goal. From the very outset, you should try to acquire an absolute confidence and conviction that you will, in fact, achieve the goal, rejecting all doubts, hesitations or fears of disappointment. But it goes even further. It says you should acquire such an intense faith in your ultimate accomplishment that you already feel now as you will feel when you have achieved the goal. Entrepreneurs achieve because they believe in themselves and their capacities. Practitioners of The Secret achieve because they believe in the method. The power in both cases issues from the belief.
This attitude of faith is illustrated by a story from India about two spiritual aspirants intensely seeking to realize god. One was seeking God through knowledge by concentrating all the energy of his mind on the thought of God. The other was seeking God through devotion by concentrating all the energy of his heart on a passionate emotion for God. One day both seekers were informed by a wise man that they would realize God after another 100,000 births. The mental seeker felt disillusioned and hopeless at the thought of having to wait and aspire so long to reach his ultimate goal. The God-loving devotee responded differently. He expanded in joy at the thought that he would at some time in future actually unite with God. The very next moment God realization came to him. A joyous, unshakeable faith in accomplishment has the power to bring the goal instantaneously.
There are people who have subtle faith in their health. Often it is a subconscious faith. When the doctor finds his efforts to cure them are in vain, a smile lights up their faces and they decline further medical help. When the medical help is removed, the innate health of the body asserts itself because of their subconscious faith. A middle aged woman with severe asthma suffered such a serious attack that her physician gave up hope of saving her life and withdrew. The patient removed the tubes providing her oxygen and quietly went to sleep. On waking, she found she had recovered, to the utter amazement of her physician. For the next 20 years she never suffered another serious attack. Something in her told her, “I know I will be all right, medicine or no medicine.” The method advocated by The Secret has the power to yield results, whatever the present position.
Here is a Test of Faith.
The Secret says be happy regardless of what happens and maintain an unshakeable faith in your achievement. Then they add a third psychological method – feel grateful for what you already have. Gratitude is something we all learn to express in words, but to feel a real inner sense of mental and emotional gratitude is extremely rare. The author of a business book was nearly overcome with disappointment when the initial promise of success seemed to vanish in thin air. Late one night, he decided to offer intense gratitude to those who had been responsible for helping him write and publish the book. When he awoke the following morning, he received an unprecedented life-changing opportunity that became the start of a whole new career. That is the power of genuine, intense gratitude.
Test the Method
Here ends the lesson of The Secret. It presents a method, provides a modicum of explanation, and then invites you to apply the method in your own life. It does not insist that you believe in the explanations provided. It only insists that you complete the three steps. It confidently asserts the method is infallible and unfailing.
The Secret is not a philosophy or a religion. It is a practical method for accomplishment. It should not be judged on how rational or logical or scientific it sounds, but on whether or not it really works. Practitioners of The Secret report many striking life incidence which illustrate its power. See The Secret: Case Studies. Hundreds of similar incidents can be presented from personal experience, history, biography and contemporary events. But the only real question is whether it works and that question can only be answered by making the effort. We invite you to try it for yourself.
Understanding how the theory works can make the effort more effective. Further articles on this site examine a wide range of issues regarding the method that are not raised in the book.
The Secret is not the only method for accomplishment or the only way to describe the process of accomplishment. There are other methods or techniques that can be used to complement those mentioned in the book and make them even more effective. Further articles on this site examine additional strategies and techniques that can make the method far more successful as part of a comprehensive approach to accomplishment, growth and spiritual progress.
Many questions have been raised by people who have read the book or seen the movie. The article also raises and provides answers to several common questions that are not discussed in the book. Additional questions and answers by contributors can be viewed on The Secret: Forum of Human Science.
Those who would like to understand more about how or why The Secret works can refer to articles in the Life Portal. Those who only care for the result or the proof of the method are invited to make the experiment for themselves.
Summary of Strategy
The following are the steps described in The Secret by which we can attune ourselves with creative universe to fulfill our aspirations:
- Ask: Visualize & Emotionalize
- Envision the goal you want to achieve and vividly imagine it being realized.
- Do not concern yourself with how it will be achieved.
- Focus exclusively on the positive outcome you desire, not on the problem or obstacles to its accomplishment.
- Endorse the goal emotionally and fully release your emotions for it.
- Believe: Be open to the answer that comes to you from the world around you.
- Receive: Attune yourself to the universe by
- Unreserved, unwavering cheerfulness that is undisturbed by whatever happens
- Intense faith that is felt even now how you will feel when your goal is achieved.
- Gratitude for all you have received thus far in life and all you will achieve in future.
Have questions about how to apply The Secret in your life? Raise questions about The Secret and provide answers to questions raised by others in The Secret: Forum or send a question or comment by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See also other articles on The Secret