The Secret


Written on 12:54 PM by isko b. doo

The next rave to hit the US is the book by Rhonda Byrne titled "The Secret" which explicates on the law of attraction and how it could be utilized to benefit the reader.

The book is endorsed by no less than Oprah (yes Virginia, there is Oprah) and it comes with an accompanying DVD and while it's being criticized for emphasizing middle-class concerns like cars, houses, jewelry, I understand where she's coming from: she's marketing a book to a nation that has patented capitalism.

So between an image of a barefoot hippie with unshod clothes on a mountaintop trying to reach Nirvana and a yuppie who adds another bling to his blings by visualization, which do you think is a harder sell?

The concept is not new of course. Eastern Philosophy has been espousing the Universal laws for centuries. Aside from the law of attraction (like begets like), there's law of affirmation (constant affirmation becomes reality), law of compensation (also called Karma) and law of causality (in this world, nothing is coincidental). Let's attempt to dissect them one by one.

Law of Attraction

As you believe, so you become. As you become, so you believe -- unknown

Basically, the law suggests that we are all interconnected. This metaphysical assumption predates the Bible and traced back to the 4000-year old Hindu monistic theory of the universe which believed on the power of thoughts. Hence, when you think positive thoughts, good things happen to you. If you entertain only negative thoughts, bad things happen. Maybe it's not an accident that happy-go-lucky people seem to lead semi-charmed lives. Opportunities and luck gravitate towards them than to pessimists.

What many religions found hard to stomach is the (blasphemous) theory posited by this law that the godhead is inherent in all of us. We are, in effect, made of the same substance as the creator -- you know, the one that played a cruel joke on the platypus (make your mind up already! what am I, a duck or a beaver?). But didn't God himself said that we are all created in his image and likeness? Even Jesus said that what he can do, we can also do. So why is it so hard to digest that we can manipulate physical surroundings by our thoughts?

Let me cite an example: when we were kids, my mother lost the change from vetsin at the tabletop. I forgot how much, but I guess it was about P3.00 or so. She was irate, to say the least.

"Asa ako kambyo dire?" she shouted at us. "Kung wala pa gani to diha sa lamesa pagbalik nako, pungkulon ta mo."

We asked each other who took the coin and nobody owned up to the crime. So we prayed. Hard. My mother is known for making good her threats and who wants to go through life with one missing limb? Definitely not me.

Well, the coin did materialize later and nobody knew how. So nobody should tell me that physical objects couldn't be manipulated. My mother proved it could be done.

History is replete with stories of the unexplainable and this include the Catholic Church, which is quick to scoff at miracles that occur outside the institution. We have a number of saints who predicted their own deaths; of the Holy Eucharist turning to human flesh; of saints who lived for 12 years without taking anything but the holy communion; of stigmatism; of preserved bodies years after their deaths.

In recent years, Oriental philosophy has experienced some kind of Renaissance. While all phenomena that couldn't be explained by science has been lumped by Western society into the so-called "New Age thinking." The term "New Age" is odious in the sense that it trivializes what old and modern Eastern societies adhere to. It where I would associate scientologists and horoscopes. I credit that to the egocentric, insular attitude of Westerners who dismissed everything that couldn't be explained by the five senses.

Mohandas K. Ghandi was once asked what he thought about Western civilization, he exclaimed: "I think that would be a good idea."


Lastly, a quote:

"To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms, this knowledge, this feeling, is at the centre of true religiousness."

No, Ghandi did not say that. Albert Einstein did.

Law of Affirmation

Despite being one of the pioneers of Dianetics, which L. Ron Hubbard expanded and promoted to become Scientology, A.L. Kitselman was best-remembered for this quote: "The words 'I am...' are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you're claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you."

Whereas, the law of attraction puts forward the power of thoughts, the law of affirmation upholds the power of words. Nobody could discount the power of words. It could build and destroy reputations; create and destroy an image; start or end wars; it could even heal or cause sickness.

Visayans have a term for a word misused. Tunglo.

That's the reason why our lolo and lola don't want to hear any talk about preparations for their burial. You always hear them say: "Ah buhi pa gani ko patyon nako ninyo?" Or do you ever have the experience when you get sick right after saying it out loud (mura lagi ko kalinturahon karon)? If not, try it. It's especially convenient when you have to attend that dreaded meeting. Hehehe. Or when we hate a person so much that we unconsciously pray something bad happening to them, and it did?

The law of affirmation states that repeatedly saying your wishes, desires, and goals to yourself over and over again, they become reality; but one component that shouldn't be left out in this process is visualization. Athletes routinely do this. Michael Jordan once admitted to visualizing how well he's gonna do before a game actually started. When he won the slam dunk crown, he visualized each aerial move minutes before hitting the floor. Larry Bird used visualization too. And we all know how they turned out.

Why doesn't it always work? One account says that affirmation wouldn't work until you reach a point where you could actually feel your goal, when you can actually "touch" and "taste" the texture and quality of your wish in your mind. That's the kind of focus that's spawned only by desperation and intense drive. I've also read somewhere that only 10 percent of those wishes coupled with affirmations come true. I don't know if that's accurate or not but what's 10 percent of a million? Exactly. Too high a number for coincidence.

And if you're thinking that you could say to yourself over and over again that you're going to be the best-looking bastard in town and have that wish come true, take heed because it's not for the faint-hearted. I tried to do it but I only succeeded in developing a skewed view of myself. I'm not an altogether sexy man, but years of self-delusion cheated my brain into thinking that I am, utilizing the power of self-suggestion that cult leaders employ. When you fully believe in something, you just might convince people to think you're right.

Or is it still part of my self-delusion?

Law of Compensation

What else can I add about karma? I think this is pretty straightforward. Jesus Christ exemplified this law with the phrase, "whatsoever you sow, you reap." The golden rule advises to "do unto others what you want others to do unto you."

In essence, for every action, there's a corresponding reaction -- that concept is amoral and transcendental. In Hinduism, which predicates the belief in reincarnation, it is the soul which reaps the benefits/consequences of karma. The payment may be made in full in a single lifetime or several lifetimes. Some mistakenly view it as payback or retribution but that's not entirely correct. Karma is dispassionate. Impartial.

Based on this concept, I think it's pretty easy to explain suffering. Hindus believe that the world exists as an experience -- a process of creation, destruction, and subsistence. When you see a blind person with a limp, he's not paying for previous transgressions in this lifetime, but rather he CHOSE that situation to live or relive (is relive even a word?) his karma until he attains moksha or liberation from his ego.

The operative word here is choice. Contrary to what the Catholic Church taught us, God's greatest gift to mankind wasn't the death of his own begotten son, it's free will. In reincarnation, the soul chooses what life to lead in the next life, the people to meet, the circumstances, and even the road signs (the lessons) along the way. The catch? nobody remembers a thing but the act has been played out over and over again.

Oh, when you drink all night and see a face like the wrinkled butt of Raul Gonzales in your mirror staring right at you the morning after, that's not karma. Gaba na!

Law of Causality

Scientifically, causality is simply cause and effect.

Of all the laws, this is probably the hardest to comprehend in the sense that it's contradictory. Causality flirts with the concept of predestination as opposed to the three previous laws which placed premium on choice. Deterministic view posits that the world is a sequence of events that has been preordained and predetermined even before we are born. In that sense, free will is non-existent.

(I for one believe in the concept of choice or free will as opposed to predetermination; I mean, where's the fun in that?)

In the metaphysical plane, the debate is still up whether the effect is connected to the cause and therefore alter the source or whether both concepts are interdependent of each other. I leave that up to the experts to figure out. Hey, I'm not going to risk offending either Plato or Aristotle who held differing views on the subject of cause and effect. They're my homies.

In my feeble mind, I think the effect would, in some or the other, shape the cause. Kung naghubo-hubo ka pagtulog unya kusog kaayo ang electric fan, pagkaugma sige jud ka utot2x. Next time, either pahinayan nimo ang electric fan or i-atubang nimo sa taas. Or kung pataka lang ka ug kaon sa birthday sa imong amigo, impatso jud imong labas ana. Sa sunod, maghinay-hinay na ka ug kaon. Pero unsaon na lang kung in-born jud ka na laog? At the risk of getting sick again, you'd have to take it easy with the food next time and would that in any way tread upon your nature to take in more chow than most in order to be satisfied?

Ayn Rand in her book Atlas Shrugged said that the nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature. In a sense, you are what you act. However, this reasoning, however logical may hold true only to inanimate or abstract objects. There are instances that could "shock" the source into changing its very nature. Wars do that, for example. Or death and disease. Hmmn.. but when the core changes, it will still act according to its "new" nature, won't it? So the original premise that a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature still holds if that's the case?

God, my head hurts. Excuse me, I must wipe the blood from my nose.

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  1. bananas |

    (off topic)

    Re: Hubo-hubo matulog--how can't one not strip himself off his own clothes sa gabii nga igang man dyud kaayo? well, walay koy aircon that's why.

    and oh...maghukas matulog? reminds of something.

  2. jayclops |

    siyet, gisunggo sad ko ba.

  3. isko b. doo |

    unsa may maka remind sa imo maghukas bananas?

    Duha na jud ta ani sunggo jay... hehehe. Sayang dugo, ma donate pa ni sa red cross.

  4. ev |

    hahahaha!nalingaw jud ko ko sa inyo chika bah!

    bitaw jo...nice post!naa jud ko nakat-onan.;0)

  5. tina |

    hehe so youve seen "The Secret" as well. Basically, its based on the book "The Science of Getting Rich" lots of copies floating around already..

    and of course nothing's new to what the secret's been talking about.. what they did was just "share it to the whole wide world" and let them be aware... that you can get what you really want.

    nice read. :)


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