The Secret Is Out
To help answer your burning questions, two teachers of The Secret, James Arthur Ray and the Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, are back. Michael says he thinks The Secret is alluring because it helps people stop feeling like victims. "I think us talking about the law of attraction, talking about these universal spiritual principles, allows them to see that they can begin to govern their thoughts and their way of life," he says.
One way to describe this energy is by comparing it radio waves, "The frequency you give out through your thoughts and your emotions is what you have a tendency to manifest in your life," Michael says. "Whether those thoughts and emotions are conscious or unconscious, it doesn't matter."
This means that if you are sending out the same negative energy over an over—whether thoughts or feelings—you will attract like energy back to you. James says that when bad things happen people might ask, "Oh, God, why me?" "Because it is you," he says.
Neither Amanda nor Mark was willing to go to counseling to deal with their issues. Mark says he felt his needs weren't being met and there was no room for improvement. Both felt they were headed for a separation. "Our emotional barriers at that point became a physical barrier. We put the pillows in between ourselves, so that was the fence," Mark says.
When the couple sat down to discuss their problems, they realized at their core they were both "achingly sad." "One thing just led to another and [a] dam burst and there we were just talking and talking," Amanda says. "I think that we have a miraculous chance of moving forward and having a great life together."
James says an important lesson for everyone is to stop focusing on things that are wrong in your life. Instead, use that energy toward things you desire, like a happy marriage. "Energy flows where attention goes," James says. "We have attention surplus when we are focusing on the things we don't want—I don't want to be broke. I don't want to be unhappy. I don't want to be fat," he says. "The mind can't process a negative."
Michael says The Secret involves the laws of the universe and they, in turn, describe the nature of how God works. "[Jesus] said, 'Pray believing that ye have that ye may receive.' That's The Secret in a nutshell," he says. "Pray believing and feeling and sensing that you already have it, and then you're available to receive it."
Michael says The Secret isn't about contradicting religion—it supports it. "It actually goes underneath the culture and explains to you the sacred laws that these wonderful teachers have brought to us," he says. According to James, The Secret is about supporting the great spiritual traditions in a more modern form. "It really is just putting Christianity, Judaism, all the great teachings into a current vernacular," he says.
James says that while he honors Maureen's Christian belief system, he suggests looking at the concepts of heaven, hell and judgment in a different way. "Jesus the Christ said the kingdom of heaven is within. He didn't say it was out there somewhere—[he said] within. And so is it possible to consider that the kingdom of hell is within as well?" he says.
"The kingdom of God is actually in us, and what comes out of your mouth, what you think about, how you express—you're either participating in the realm of ever-expanding good or you're cutting yourself off from the realm," Michael says.
Michael suggests that instead of living a life preparing for some ultimate reward, you should live in the now. "When you're anticipating some future good, you're preventing that good that is all around you from expressing through you," he says. "[Don't] put life on the layaway plan and try to anticipate that it's going to get good in the future."
"What I was bringing to the table was a tired, worn-out survivor, and I knew that," Angela says. "I was shut down, but I was moving."
Michael says this is very important because nothing new can come into your life without being thankful for what you have already been given. "The moment you began to focus on gratitude, you create within yourself the condition for more things to be grateful for to come into your life," he says.
"Basically what you're saying is, 'Thank you so much. Give me more of this,'" James says. "The most powerful magnetic attractive force in the universe is the power of gratitude."
Angela says she created a sense of peace inside herself by focusing on this energy. "That peace was already there," Michael says. "But the filters of the way you were looking at life were blocking you from experiencing it."
For years, Lisa struggled with a tragedy from her childhood. When she was 12 years old, her two sisters were killed in a tragic accident. Since that fateful day, Lisa says she has carried a lot of pain with her.
"For a lot of my life, I've struggled with feeling guilty that I'd survived. And so I wouldn't allow myself good things to happen because I didn't necessarily feel that I deserved them," she says.
In less than a year, Lisa successfully created the life of her dreams. First, she started her own business. In January 2004, she met her future husband. In May, they bought a house. In June, they got a dog. In December, Lisa gave birth to their son.
"I think that our mind is a very powerful thing," she says. "I think anything is open to you if you believe that you can have it."
James agrees that Lisa's altered thinking changed her life. The reason, he says, is that humans are spiritual beings. "The mind is the bridge between the two most powerful forces in the universe, which are spirit and form."
However, he says, too often people place their focus in the wrong places. "We're accessed and able to do anything and everything," James says. "And yet what we tend to do, with our mind, is define ourselves by our physical circumstances. … When you look at your current results and say, 'This is me,' the universe says, 'Your wish is my command.' But that's not you, that's not who you are. It's who you were. It says nothing about who you can become and what you're capable of."
Instead really think about how you want your life to be. For instance, Michael suggests this description: "I see myself living a life [in which] I'm absolutely, totally healthy. Everything is working together for my good. There's prosperity flowing through me. I'm in a place of employment that I really love. I'm really providing value everywhere I go."
James says that this describing—"Not asking. Not hoping," he says—is just the first step, which he calls intention.
After you've established your intention, the next step, James says, is attention. Here, you should feel gratitude and maintain your feeling that your intended goals are coming, he says.
The third step is action. "This is the scary part, even when you teach this stuff," James says. "Step forward, taking action in the direction … not where you are currently, but moving forward and saying, 'Okay, if this is who I'm becoming, then what action would I take right now if I were already there?'"
When she saw The Oprah Show about The Secret, Joan says James's definition of forgiveness really opened her eyes. He said forgiveness is being able to thank the person who has wronged you. "You say, 'I don't want it to be different because there are so many gifts that came out of that. Thank you for giving me that experience,'" James said.
Almost instantly, Joan says her life changed. "A friend of mine even said, 'I can see it in your face. I can see it in your eyes.' It was like this boulder was lifted off of me."
Michael says that by not forgiving, Joan was enduring self-abuse. "The message to the universe is, 'I want to keep repeating this experience over and over,'" he says.
"Being unwilling to forgive is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die," James says. "Ultimately you don't forgive for the other person. If they accept it, that's great. It's wonderful. But if they don't, you forgive for you, because you release that toxic energy from your body and you move forward."
On her way home, Clarissa called a friend who was fired by the same boss weeks before. "She and I were talking and we were just saying such bad things about him, just [the most] horrible things that we could think of. There was a lot of anger in both of our hearts for him because we were upset," she says.
After she arrived home, Clarissa and her mom watched the show about The Secret. "It just made me seriously think back and think, 'God, it wasn't him. It was me. He was right. I was negative. I didn't want this job. I didn't need the job. It was just a stepping stone.'"
She immediately typed up words and phrases—gratitude, true happiness, gratefulness—and hung them on the walls of her bedroom so that she'd remember them daily. Clarissa even wrote her old boss a letter. "I was upset at your reasoning for letting me go. Then I watched The Oprah Winfrey Show and the topic mesmerized me," she wrote. "For the things you said to me, I forgive you. And in the same sentence, I hope you forgive me. … Thank you for hiring and firing me."
"Now I'm so much more positive on everything that has happened," she says.
"You're open to the possibility of whatever is supposed to come into your life," Oprah says.