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‘You can start with nothing, and out of nothing, out of no way, a way will be made’

Two young girls from a large family, with little wealth and humble connections, go on to marry two of the wealthiest men in England, men of good character and temperament. And this, against great odds – prejudiced friends, conceited relatives, embarrassing family, and unfortunate circumstances. Jane Austen, or rather, her characters, seem to have had the knowledge of The Secret. The girls, Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, as well as others in the story illustrate the principles explained by The Secret ‘teachers’.

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‘You can have, do, or be any thing you want’

‘You are the designer of your destiny. You are the author. You write the story.
The pen is in your hand, and the outcome is whatever you choose’

Pride and Prejudice is a tale of accomplishment, accomplishment of individuals, families, society and a nation. Everyone gets, does, or becomes what they want. Mrs. Bennet gets three daughters married. Jane gets the gentle, loving husband in Bingley. Elizabeth finds the man she can respect and love. Even Lydia finds all that she cares for, youth, charm and wildness, in Wickham. Charlotte asks for the security of a home and marriage, no more. And Collins is the answer. Collins is in need of a girl who will be satisfied with what material benefits he has to offer, share his deference to Lady Catherine, and not ask for anything better. And Charlotte is his stroke of luck. Darcy wants Bingley to be his brother. Wickham wants to become Darcy’s brother. Both get their wishes, though in unexpected ways! A study of The Secret and Pride and Prejudice reveals how the principles taught in one are mirrored in the other.

‘Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life.
And its attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind.
Its what you’re thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you’

Perhaps the best illustration of this rule, the law of attraction, is Mrs. Bennet. She is constantly thinking of sons-in-law. Since the day Jane turned 16, she has been thinking of her daughters’ marriages. Whenever an eligible bachelor enters the neighborhood, she sees him as a future son-in-law. She begins to celebrate, tell the neighbors, plan for dinners, make wedding shopping lists – in effect, prepare for the wedding. Regardless of their present state – lack of wealth, manners, accomplishment or connections – she expects the best, richest, handsomest men for her daughters. And they do come, from all over England, to marry them!

‘Your thoughts and your feelings create your life. It will always be that way’

Collins’ greatest joy is his patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Talking about her, thinking about her, praising her and bowing to her give him pleasure. He loses no opportunity to mention her name or express his servility to her. And see his twin achievements. He finds a wife who outwardly shares his sentiments for Lady Catherine, and he actually becomes related to Lady Catherine. The lady’s nephew marries his cousin. Through Darcy’s marriage to Elizabeth, Collins gets closer to his revered patroness!

‘You’re getting exactly what you’re feeling about, not so much what you’re thinking about’

Lydia feels thrilled about the officers. She spends every waking moment thinking about them. She shamelessly runs after them, collects information about them, dances with them, flirts with them. She even goes to Brighton with them. It is only a matter of course that she marries one of them, one with no morals, scruples, integrity or honor, Wickham.

‘You get to choose what you want, but you must get clear about what you want.
If you’re not clear, then the law of attraction cannot bring you what you want.
You will be sending out a mixed frequency and you can only attract mixed results’

Charlotte knows this. She is perfectly clear about what she wants. She wants a comfortable marriage, a secure future and some money. She gives no thought to the man himself she is to marry. Domestic happiness, intellectual company, mutual respect, even common sense are the least of her concerns. She clearly states her request, and receives Collins. Had she added “sensible husband” or “happy family”, she could have got that too, but she makes her choice, and that is granted. But her friend does better!

Elizabeth is not mercenary. Money cannot induce her to marry. She turns down Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, inspite of all his money. She believes in character, respect, love and happiness. She is rewarded with all this and more in Darcy.

Even Mrs. Bennet is clear on a few things, despite her silliness and stupidity. She is clear about what she wants, she wants her daughters well married. She is even decided on their husbands’ income. She wants Bingley for her son-in-law, she wants Jane at Netherfield. She says she would be happy if one of her daughters were to marry a military officer. Eventually, all of these do happen.

‘It is the combination of thought and love which forms the irresistible force of the law of attraction.
Thought impregnated with love becomes invincible’
‘Praise and bless everything in your life…the love of the praising and blessings will return to you’

So true, if you see all those in the story who sincerely love, praise and bless. Elizabeth loves Jane, praises her sweetness, temper, generosity, beauty, almost everything about her. This goodwill brings Jane such a good husband, and see how much more it brings Elizabeth herself – a husband of good character, strength and intelligence, immense wealth, the estate of Pemberley, a happy home. Her goodwill for Jane seems to come back to her, with greater blessings.

The same is true with Charlotte and Elizabeth. Both have affection and goodwill for each other, and they bring each other luck. Elizabeth gets Charlotte a husband. She rejects Collins’ proposal and sends him running to Charlotte, who is waiting to listen to him, encourage him, and accept his proposal. Charlotte in return invites Elizabeth to Hunsford and brings her closer to Darcy. She is the first person to see Darcy’s attraction for Elizabeth. It is at Hunsford that Darcy proposes to Elizabeth, she speaks her heart out to him, he reveals the truth about himself and the process of their transformation begins. The cycle continues, Charlotte’s goodwill for Elizabeth comes back to her manifold, for Darcy’s powerful patronage in the Church will always be advantageous to her and her clergyman husband.

‘Praising and blessing dissolves all negativity… If you curse your enemies, the curse will come back to harm you’
‘What you resist persists’

Pity Caroline Bingley did not know this. Had she known, she would not have harbored all the negative feelings about Jane’s family, especially Elizabeth. She teases Jane about her relatives in Cheapside, and they become her relatives too. She criticizes Elizabeth at every opportunity. This always elicits a praise from Darcy, for Elizabeth. At Pemberley, she taunts Elizabeth about her sisters’ attachment to the officers. She comments that the removal of the military regiment from Meryton must be a loss to her family. By referring to Wickham, she pains Georgiana and annoys Darcy. Elizabeth’s collected behavior only succeeds in fixing Darcy’s thoughts more cheerfully on her. Caroline tries to tease Darcy out of his feelings for Elizabeth by falsely congratulating him and talking about his upcoming marriage to Elizabeth. Her words prophetically come true and she has to pay every arrear of civility to Elizabeth when Darcy and Elizabeth do marry.

Caroline tries to distance herself away from the business class and forget that her own origins are in trade. She makes fun of the middle class country folk, and resorts to falsehood to keep Jane away from her brother. She not only has to accept Jane as her sister and put up with the rest of the family, she also loses Darcy to Jane’s sister Elizabeth!

In the story, meanness is not limited to Caroline alone. Many others exhibit this trait to varying degrees. At the Netherfield ball, Mrs. Bennet boasts to Lady Lucas about Jane’s imminent wedding to Bingley, triumphant in the belief that Lady Lucas can have no such hope for her own daughters. But shortly afterwards, Jane’s wedding begins to seem unlikely, Charlotte is engaged to Collins, and is set to become mistress of Longbourn. Mrs. Bennet’s meanness comes back to her in the form of Lady Lucas, who comes to triumph over her.

Mr. Bennet teases Collins during his stay at Longbourn. Collins appears insensible to the sarcasm and mirth in Mr. Bennet’s enquiries and observations, but he sends a fitting reply to Mr. Bennet when news of Lydia’s elopement reaches him.

Lydia comes back to Longbourn as Mrs. Wickham and unashamedly boasts about her marriage and husband. She claims that she cannot write as married women have no time to write letters, but her sisters could write to her as they would have nothing to do. Without remorse, she makes fun of Jane being unmarried at 23, and predicts that she’ll be an old maid soon. But her predictions prove false, it is she who writes letters, letters asking for money, to her very well married sisters, Jane and Elizabeth.

Jane is without an ounce of meanness. Without taking any initiative, without a plan or strategy, without making studied efforts as Charlotte, resorting to falsehood as Caroline or giving way to uninhibited wildness like Lydia, how does Jane accomplish?

‘It is really important that you feel good, because it is the feeling good that goes out as a signal
into the universe and starts to attract more of itself to you’

Jane speaks not one harsh word, thinks not one mean thought, holds no grudge against a soul and blames none for her pain. She refuses to think ill of Wickham, stays from making fun of Collins, justifies Charlotte’s acceptance of Collins, does not criticize Lydia’s elopement or find her mother’s behavior exasperating. After Bingley leaves, she simply stops talking about him. Reading Caroline’s letter, she only sees a sister’s concern for her brother. After the elopement, she hopes Wickham will marry Lydia. This totally positive attitude, devoid of meanness or ill will brings Bingley right back to Jane.

Contrast Jane’s behavior with the meanness of Lady Catherine. Lady Catherine has all the negative feelings – fear, anger, envy, pride, sense of competition, boorishness, arrogance, feeling of superiority. All these do her no good. She can get a Collins for a neighbor, but she cannot get Darcy for a son-in-law. And without realizing her mistakes, she blames Elizabeth for her loss, she accuses her of drawing in Darcy. Shifting the blame, finding fault with another, not admitting her own faults, she stands defeated.

‘Its not your job to change the world or the people around you.
Its your job to go with the flow inside the universe and to celebrate it inside the world that exists’
‘The universe will start to rearrange itself to make it happen for you’
‘You don’t need to know how its going to come about.
You don’t need to know how the universe will rearrange itself’

The two people who accomplish the most in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Darcy, do just this. After Elizabeth refuses to accept Darcy’s proposal, both learn much about themselves, for the first time. Darcy comes to know that there can exist a reason to reject him. Elizabeth realizes that she and her family have a lot to work on.

Darcy begins to see his faults. He sees he has been proud, proud of his class, wealth, upbringing and family. He has refused to consider others his equal and looked down on less sophisticated people regardless of their character. After Elizabeth opens his eyes, Darcy sees his misplaced pride. He sees the same boorishness he accuses Mrs.Bennet of, in his aunt Lady Catherine. He realizes he has been wrong about Jane, he has mistaken her equanimity for indifference. He admits it to Bingley and discloses his concealment of Jane’s presence in London. He sees the intelligence, culture and goodness in the Gardiners. He stops paying attention to their profession or Cheapside residence any more. He invites them to Pemberley, and is most cordial to them. He goes out to do what is mortifying to him – seek out Wickham in London, strike up a bargain with him, and get Lydia married to him. And what does Elizabeth do in the meantime?

Elizabeth realizes Charlotte was right, anyone on seeing Jane will not understand the depth of her feelings, they’re bound to make a mistake. When Lydia makes a crude comment about Mary King, she admits that she is capable of harboring such feelings herself. Sadly, she sees the truth in Darcy’s observation of her family. Her mother’s silliness, her sisters’ unchecked wild behavior and their father’s indifference cannot be denied. She realizes they’ve driven away Bingley from Jane, not Darcy, not even Caroline. She tries to persuade her father to stop Lydia from going to Brighton.

She is ashamed of her behavior in Wickham’s case. She has allowed herself to be completely taken in by his wiles and carried away by prejudice. Now she can clearly see his duplicity. When he comes to take leave, she hints that she knows the truth about him, she is happy to see him go. She decides not to expose him, so when news reaches her about the elopement, she immediately feels responsible, she knew the truth about Wickham’s character but had not made it public. Had she done it, the elopement might have been prevented. Darcy feels similarly. He had stayed completely silent about Wickham’s character to protect his sister, Georgiana. To make amends, he gets Wickham to marry Lydia. He keeps his role a secret, not wanting to take credit for what he considers his duty, and not using the opportunity to influence Elizabeth’s feelings.

These are the two who make the most progress within. They do not bother to change the world or blame another. They see the truth in what comes to them, accept their mistakes and transform themselves. And life fulfills all their hearts’ desires.

‘And so just when we think that resources are dwindling, we find new resources that can achieve the same thing’

Taking responsibility and making amends is powerful. Simply taking the decision to make amends is powerful too. Mr. Bennet stays from blaming anyone, not even his wife, for Lydia’s elopement. He takes all responsibility, and goes to London in search of his daughter. He is ill-equipped for the task, but still takes the effort.

The effort is rewarded, when he fails and returns to Longbourn, Darcy takes over and traces Lydia. On learning about the marriage, Mr. Bennet resolves to pay Mr. Gardiner. He does not know how much money he owes, or where it will come from. For this sincere, strong resolution, life rewards him immensely. Not only is Lydia married to Wickham with any expense from his side, his two favorite daughter, Jane and Elizabeth are married very well.

Jane and Elizabeth have two powerful processes working for them – cheerfulness and gratitude.

‘So inner happiness is actually the fuel of success. Be happy now. Feel good now.
That’s the only thing you have to do. Anything that makes you feel good is always going to be drawing in more’

All the Bennet girls are cheerful, Elizabeth perhaps the most of them all. They don’t have great wealth, their mother is always bitterly complaining about the entail and worrying about their future, but they are a bunch of silly, intelligent, lively, reckless, well-behaved, but all happy girls. And they all end up as well as they want to be.

Jane is greatly pained by Bingley’s sudden departure from Netherfield, and his seeming disinterest in her. But she tries hard to keep smiling and lift up her spirits. She does not moan over his loss or complain about his sisters, she picks herself up and moves on. And Bingley walks right back into Netherfield, and into her life, this time to marry her!

Announcing her marriage to Darcy, Elizabeth writes to her aunt Mrs. Gardiner, ‘Jane only smiles, I laugh.’ Truly, this is how she compares to Jane all along. Elizabeth is more strongly given to cheerfulness, she can shake off her disappointment surprisingly quickly. When Darcy insults her at their first meeting, she laughs. She narrates the incident to her friends later with great humor! There is this handsome, wealthy man who says she is tolerable but not handsome enough for him, she just laughs! And the man comes back to her, to woo her, please her, and marry her.

After her return from Hunsford, she greatly looks forward to the trip to the Lakes with the Gardiners. When her aunt informs her that the trip will be shortened and they can go only upto Derbyshire, it is a great disappointment for Elizabeth. But she cheers up quickly. She starts to look forward to the trip. On the trip, they visit Pemberley. Darcy arrives unexpectedly and their relationship is renewed. Seeds are sowed here for all the three marriages that follow, of Lydia, Jane and Elizabeth. Elizabeth accepts what comes her way cheerfully and she receives abundantly.

‘What can you do to begin to turn your life around?
The very first thing is to start making a list of things to be grateful for.
Gratitude is absolutely the way to bring more into your life’

The story of Pride and Prejudice, rife with examples of the principles of The Secret, concludes with a striking illustration of the power of gratitude. Elizabeth knows the secret of Darcy’s role in Lydia’s marriage. At the first opportunity, she thanks him. This instance of gratitude opens up Darcy, he sheds his reserve and renews his proposal. Elizabeth readily accepts it now. All their faith, strength, goodwill, cheerfulness, positive attitude and transformation bring them this far, and gratitude completes the story.

‘And then you can do and have and be things that people once said that’s impossible for you to do and have and be’

Note: All italicized text are excerpts from the book ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Bryne

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