James Arthur Ray, the Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith and Oprah

On February 8, 2007, millions tuned in to The Oprah Winfrey Show to learn the mystery of The Secret. Since the show aired, our message boards have been buzzing with people who want to know more. The Secret is defined as the law of attraction, which states that like attracts like. The concept says that the energy you put into the world—both good and bad—is exactly what comes back to you. This means you create the circumstances of your life with the choices you make every day.

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.

According to James, there is scientific evidence to back up the spiritual practices and laws defined in The Secret. "Science tells us that everything is energy, and so your thoughts are energy. Your body, your cash, your car—everything you think is solid, if you put it under a high-powered microscope, it's just a field of energy and a rate of vibration," he says. "And so are we. So if you think you're this meat suit running around, you have to think again."

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.

After 16 years of marriage, Amanda and Mark say they were at a breaking point in their relationship. "I was exploding with anger and had just had enough," Amanda says. "Neither one of us felt in love, or really loving to each other."

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.
Amanda and Mark

Amanda's life took a dramatic shift when she saw Beverly and Carlton discussing their marital problems on The Oprah Show. Within 24 hours of watching the episode on The Secret, Amanda says her entire outlook on life changed. "I had to step back and look at myself and realize I didn't like myself. I was an unhappy person. And I was putting that out there and polluting my environment. I needed to change my focus," she 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."

Maureen has a question many people want answered: "[My family puts] our faith in God, and it seems that The Secret teaches you to put your faith in yourself. And so I was wondering, is God anywhere in this?"

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, Michael and Oprah

As a Christian, Maureen says she believes in heaven and hell, and she's concerned that The Secret's promotion of free will and personal choice imply that you do not face a final judgment.

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."

Angela says she has understood the principle of The Secret for years and was living the life she wanted, but everything changed on September 11, 2001. One that tragic day, one of the hijacked airliners crashed into Angela's office building. For the past five years, she says she's been struggling to keep her head above water. Her life was no longer filled with purpose and she had a hard time "just surviving."

"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."
James and Michael

After watching the show, Angela says she had a reawakening. "Everything made sense again, and I'm ready to get my life back on track," she says. The first thing Angela did was to start journaling and focusing on all the gratitude she felt in her life.

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."

In 2003, Lisa says she was living her "dark fall of the soul." She was single, severely in debt and unemployed.

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.
Lisa visualized the life she wanted.

After years of living in depression, Lisa started reading about the law of attraction and decided to put it to the test! Lisa started to visualize the life she wanted to live—she wanted to be her own boss, find true love, have children and create a home. "A big part of the change was opening up to whatever the universe was going to throw at me," 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 and Michael

Michael says that Lisa used the power of choice to change her thinking—the important first step in turning her life around. "She had to come out of the 'poor me' victim consciousness," he says. "She had to come out of repeating the same old patterns, and actually open herself up for another possibility and the universe matched that."

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."

To begin living the ultimate life you want, you must first describe that life in as much detail as possible, Michael says. However, don't just list the ways that you'd like your present circumstances to change.

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?'"

Three years ago, Joan's husband was killed in an automobile accident, leaving her a widowed mother with two sons. "I couldn't get over the grief I was facing and couldn't forgive him for leaving me alone with our boys," she says.

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.

When she heard that, Joan says, "I wept in my chair. I sat there and said, 'Oh, I forgive you.' I couldn't say that before. I could not tell him that I forgive him for leaving me."

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 the day that Oprah introduced the world to The Secret, Clarissa thought she was in for an ordinary day—which usually includes missing The Oprah Winfrey Show because she's at work. But just 20 minutes into her workday, her boss called her into his office to tell her she was being fired.

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.