Mar 08

What good is a “secret” that’s been around for thousands of years?

Well, if it’s news to you, it could change your life. And it’s never too late to learn.

The Secret, which Oprah introduced to her adoring public just before she left her show, is that everything in the universe is connected, including your thoughts, so that what you think directly affects what happens to you. In fact, you get what you ask the universe to give you. AKA: The Law of Attraction.

This is not praying or begging, but like placing an order in a catalog. You have to be specific, not at all vague, and you have to work towards your goal. But if you do this, you will get what you want.

Trust me, folks, this is nothing new. I’m not saying it’s bad, nor am I mocking it: Maureen Dowd, on the other hand, called it a cross between Dr. Phil and the Da Vinci Code. Well, yeah, a little around the edges. If I were bitter, I’d say that’s it’s a new way to make money from an old idea. All I know is that when I went to The Secret web site, it asked for $4.95 just to enter it, and when I didn’t pay up, that colorful whirling ball came up and wouldn’t stop until I shut down the computer and rebooted. Coincidence? Retribution? You decide.

Anyway, this whole philosophy goes back to the time of Aristotle, or maybe even to some cheery caveman—one who hadn’t seen those poignant Geico ads of yesteryear . . .

Hello? Positive thinking?
As in: The Power of? As in, Norman Vincent Peale? It’s no secret that he preached these ideas and had a huge following.

How about the practice of 1900, revived in the sixties (What wasn’t?), of repeating to yourself: “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.”

I suppose you could substitute “richer” and “richer.” Or “thinner and thinner.” On an episode of Upstairs Downstairs years ago, a woman repeats, “Every day in every way my baby is getting more and more male.” Hmmmm. That kinda hurts, doesn’t it girlfriends? OTOH at that time in that society, only males could inherit wealth, so the woman wasn’t totally wrong in her desires.

Moving right along, I once used a visualization technique called Psycho Cybernetics, from the book of that name published in 1960. The idea is that if you can picture yourself doing something, say executing a perfect swan dive off the high platform—really picture it, in clear and vivid detail—you can do it in actuality. I know for certain that this works. I, for one, cannot begin to imagine executing a perfect swan dive anytime in this lifetime. And sure enough, I can’t.

All right, that’s not fair. I have successfully used visualization to win over difficult clients, get the apartment I wanted (You think that’s easy in Manhattan?), ride a horse (not well, but without falling off), even marry a wonderful guy (after more than one previously unsuccessful attempts). This positive thinking stuff really works. On the other hand, the relationship, unlike the Universe, didn’t last forever because alas, he died, and dammit I didn’t ask for that.

However, life goes on, and it is true that like attracts like. So if you’re happy —or depressed — that’s the kind of person who’ll gravitate towards you. It’s also true that How a Man (or Woman!) Thinketh (a book written in the 1890’s by James Allen) really does count. It counteth a lotteth, according to Allen:

“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” Psst: The book calls this idea “The Strangest Secret.”

Ever hear of Tony Robbins, Dennis Waitley, or Wayne (“You’ll-See-It-When-You-Believe-It”) Dyer? They’re all in on “The Secret” and will be happy to share their version of it with you. For a price. I haven’t read Think and Get Rich, but I suspect the title says it all.a somewhat similar approach is expounded in a book that has become a cottage industry, Chicken Soup for the Soul.

For a condensed version (I couldn’t help myself) here’s what Loretta Lynn told me about overcoming obstacles when I was interviewing her for a book about her childhood: “Honey, I didn’t think about what I didn’t have, but what I did have.” Worked for her, didn’t it.

I used to tell people to “talk to the universe” to solve their problems. They hated me for that.

People don’t want to hear that they may be the cause of their own problems, and that they could have a better life if they gave themselves an attitude adjustment. If you tell them this too aggressively, they may be tempted to give you one, upside the head.

Look on the bright side!

Now you know The Secret. The hell with the rest of the world! You can be rich. And thin. And find love. And never grow old. (Why doesn’t that last one work, I wonder? Never mind.)

So let us go forth in our wonderfulness and unleash the glorious power of our thoughts into the bountiful universe. Negativity? Don’t even think about it. And if you don’t believe me, ask Oprah.


(Yes, astute readers, Son of Yo, Universe! is a new version of the original: Yo, Universe which first appeared in I Can’t Believe I’m Not Bitter some time in the blogospheric world. The post an older one, but then, so are we.)


  1. Lou Venezia /

    Sometimes positive thinking gets interrupted by things like a lunatic driving a van on a crowded sidewalk. Whenever I focus real hard on positive thinking, invariably my thoughts turn to porn. I can’t help it, it just happens.

  2. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. Maybe we should call Oprah.

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