YO, UNIVERSE! Revisited

Feb 11

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.

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, 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 (A lot of good it did him!), 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. They wouldn’t have dared on Downton Abbey.

I have used a visualization technique called Psycho Cybernetics, from the book 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! 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 lot, according to Allen:

“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” 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. And what about Chicken Soup for the Soul? Isn’t that another way of saying all this? 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. You can be rich. And thin. And find love. And never grow old. (Why doesn’t that 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.

(Yo, Universe! Revisited is a new version of the original: Yo, Universe)

PSST: It’s nearly Valentine’s Day. Maybe a word to the universe about the Law of Attraction is in order?





  1. What a coincidence!!! I imagined that I couldn’t do a swan dive off a high board too.

  2. Nothing new under the sun. You gave good evidence for this “secret” not being anything new. I believe the success of these repacking of old ideas shows the lack of critical thinking and willingness to research things.

    • The thing is, Lisleman, that although this whole concept is as old as the hills (very old hills), I believe that there’s some truth to it. What I object to is repackaging it as new — and charging big bucks for it.

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