The Secret is a self-help book about the power of positive thinking by Rhonda Byrne. The book is based on a pseudo-scientific theory called the "law of attraction"- the principle that "like attracts like." Specifically, Byrne focuses on the idea that your dreams do in fact come true - thinking about money and wealth will attract these very things, causing them to manifest in your life. Likewise, fretting over a worst-case scenario will only cause your fears to be realized. Hence the importance of positive thinking. There are no accidents and bad luck. Instead, Byrne writes, "Your life right now is a reflection of your past thoughts."
According to Byrne, the mind is a magnet, emitting and receiving frequencies to and from the Universe. Each thought sends out a signal, which in turn gathers similar frequencies - due to the law of attraction - before returning back to you. In this fashion, your mind can bring you anything you desire - dream of a new house, and somehow, someway, it will come to you. On the flip side, dwelling on war and poverty will only perpetuate these evils. Byrne even proposes that too much negative thinking can put you in the path of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
The Secret Revealed
People often accumulate great wealth only to lose their fortune and gain it again in cycles. She argues this is due to the law of attraction. People lose money because they allow "fearful thoughts of losing wealth to enter their minds," causing their fears to be realized. Once the money is gone, their fear disappears as well, and they are able to focus on rebuilding their fortune.
This is the law of attraction in a nutshell - if you think it, it will happen. "Like attracts like"- so envisioning riches will actually bring you wealth. Byrne means this literally. She believes that thoughts are magnetic, emitting a positive or negative frequency. Whatever thoughts you send out into the Universe will attract similar energies before returning like a boomerang. She explains this is no different from watching TV. You receive a signal that the channel is programmed to send you. If you want to see something different, you have to change the channel. Thus the importance of positive thinking and sending the right frequency into the Universe.
Byrne notes that "your life right now is a reflection of your past thoughts." If you're doing well, you've been thinking positively. If not, it's because you've been too negative.
Byrne points out that most people don't even realize they are thinking negatively. The problem is that the Universe doesn't understand the word "no." As a result, the Universe interprets "I don't want to be late "as " I'll be late."
Throughout the chapter, Byrne explains the science behind the law of attraction. She claims that it is supported by quantum physics, where the consensus is that the mind is powerful enough to create anything - including the Universe itself. Thus, the law of attraction is a law of nature. Like gravity, it applies whether you know it or not. The benefit of understanding the law of attraction is that you can use it to your advantage once you know how it works.
Bill Harris, a teacher and founder of Centerpointe Research Institute, shares a story next. A former student named Robert faced constant harassment from his coworkers for being gay. Robert dealt with the stress by complaining to his teacher, who encouraged him to focus instead on his passion of becoming a stand-up comedian. Within 8 weeks of this change, the bully coworkers either left the company or were transferred to a different department.
Byrne explains that it takes more than a single negative thought for bad things to happen. She claims you can start changing the way you think by becoming aware of your thoughts, suggesting 10 minutes of meditation per day. Negative thinking is extremely powerful, and Byrne ends by warning the reader that the 1st step to a better life is changing your attitude.
The Secret Made Simple
The law of attraction is always at work. If you think you have no control over your destiny, then you will attract situations that render you helpless. The trick, she says, is to tell the Universe you have control over your life.
Byrne offers a tip to tell whether you're thinking negatively: listen to your body. Too much worrying often brings pain in your stomach or chest. Byrne goes one step further, arguing that these feelings are actually a message from the Universe. She quips this is the Universe's way of saying “Warning! Change thinking now. Negative frequency recording. Change frequency. Warning!”
Byrne closes by introducing the concept of "Secret Shifters." These are activities that can help brighten your spirits so you don't stay focused on negativity. Byrne suggests making a list of things that can help shift the mood in times of distress, such as a fun song or thinking of a loved one.
How to Use The Secret
Byrne changes focus in this chapter by introducing the concept of "ask, believe, receive."
Self-help expert James Ray opens by comparing the story of Aladdin to the law of attraction. Ray says the Universe is our Genie ready to grant the wishes we ask for. But it's impossible for the Universe to know what to send unless you ask for it.
Byrne then explains that The Secret works on 3 steps:
Step #1: Ask
Step #2: Believe
Step #3: Receive
You must ask clearly for what you want. When the request is not specific, the signal will be confused and the frequency can attract mixed results. There's no need to ask repeatedly because the Universe will understand the request the first time as long as it's clear. Asking over and over again shows that you doubt the "order" placed.
You must believe before you receive. It's important to believe your wish is already coming the moment you ask. Once you believe, you can move on with your life and let the Universe work things out on its own. There's no need to wait for your desires to materialize. Ongoing worry will only mix negative energy into the signal. Byrne stresses that believing is the most difficult step.
Byrne says that in order to receive something, you must feel good about it. Act as if you're already bought the car you want. Make plans for where you'll go or where you'll park. These actions will continue sending positive energy into the Universe until the car finally materializes.
Byrne then explores the concept of time in relation to the law of attraction. She explains that time is relative, a principle from quantum mechanics. Some wishes take longer to manifest because people don't believe in themselves. The only reason for earning $1 million dollars takes a long time is because people think it should.
This chapter focuses on exercises to help you "ask, believe, receive." Byrne cites a lecture given by Neville Goddard in 1954. An influential metaphysicist, Goddard suggests spending a few minutes before bed replaying the events of the day in your mind. But instead of visualizing the day as it occurred, replay your day as you would have liked it to be. This sets up the next day for success by dialing up your positive frequency.
Byrne then introduces the concept of visualization. She says many of the great inventors in history relied on visualization. The Wright Brothers, she points out, saw a plane in their imagination and then brought it to life. Visualization is a tool to help you forget about the "how" and focus instead on believing and receiving.
Byrne offers some additional methods to help with visualization. Focus on moving images: instead of thinking about the kitchen of your dreams, imagine yourself cooking, opening the fridge or grabbing a bottle of cold water. She also suggests creating a "vision board:" a corkboard where you pin images of all the things you want. The board should then be placed in a visible area, where you can look at the images as you ask and believe.
The Secret to Money
This chapter outlines how the law of attraction can make you rich.
Jack Canfield - creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series - explains that he grew up with very specific beliefs about wealth. He used to think that "only evil people have money" and "money doesn’t grow on trees.” As a result, he had none. Then he met speaker W. Clement Stone, who told him to make a goal and focus on visualizing he would achieve it. Thirty days later, he conceived of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which ended up earning him a million-dollar check.
Byrne offers tips and reminders on using The Secret:
Tell yourself that you can buy and afford things even if it seems impossible at the moment. Byrne refers readers to The Secret website, where people can download and print a blank check. Readers can then make the check for any amount they want and visualize their new fortune.
Byrne stresses the need to let go of the "how." Let go of the idea that money can only come as a result of a job. The truth is that money can come from anywhere.
Another way to attract money is to give some away. The thought of "I have enough money to give away" will make it come true.
Byrne ends by saying prosperity is everybody's birthright. Money doesn't bring unhappiness. Believing wealth and happiness go hand in hand is the only way to achieve both.
The Secret to Relationships
This chapter explains how to use The Secret in relationships.
Byrne tells the story of a man who wanted romance but decorated his house with paintings of women looking away or hiding. Once he replaced those paintings with the artwork of loving relationships, he got just that.
Byrne says that it's important that actions don't contradict wishes. Byrne gives several examples including one involving her own sister Glenda, who wanted to move from Australia to the U.S. For a long time, Glenda couldn't quite figure out the logistics, so she eventually decided to take action. She sold her belongings, packed her bags, and started to organize her life as if she already had a departure date. Within a month, things had fallen into place and she was working in the U.S.
The Secret to Health
According to Dr. John Demartini, the "Placebo Effect" explains how the law of attraction applies even to your health. "You tell the patient that this is just as effective, and what happens is the placebo sometimes has the same effect, if not greater effect, than the medication that is supposed to be designed for that effect. They have found out that the human mind is the biggest factor in the healing arts, sometimes more so than the medication."
Surrounding yourself with positive thoughts is important when trying to heal. Byrne says that disease can only remain in the body when people are holding it there with their mind. Avoid focusing on illness if the goal is to make it go away. Talking about it only creates more negative energy. Change the topic in order to improve the way you feel.
Byrne says it's important to not buy into "preconceived" notions of disease. "It is as easy to cure a pimple as a disease," she writes. "The process is identical; the difference is in our minds." Byrne gives the example of Morris Goodman, who crashed his airplane and was told he would remain a vegetable for the rest of his life. Goodman says he used his mind and willed himself to get better. In just a couple of months, he walked out of the hospital on his own. Byrne ends by her motto: nothing is impossible as long as you believe.
The Secret to the World
This chapter can be summarized by a short quote by Carl Jung: "What you resist persists." Resisting actually pours more energy into the very thing you fear. This creates additional pictures, emitting a signal that reinforces the events. By focusing on fighting against war or poverty, the world is putting energy into those two things, instead of channeling that energy into peace and wealth.
The key is to realize what we don't want and then focus on the opposite. So instead of contemplating on the war and the misery it brings, it's best to focus on positive changes that can be made. By ignoring the negative, the Universe is receiving feelings of well-being and will return just the same to you.
Michael Bernard Beckwith then shares the myth of "not enough." He says people have become accustomed to the idea that there's simply "not enough to go around." As a result, people experience fear, greed and other negative emotions because they feel they have to fight for what they want before somebody else takes it. However, Beckwith believes there are enough joy and power to go around. Byrne reinforces this idea by saying that since everything comes from inside the mind, it's impossible that "there's no enough" for everybody. The mind creates whatever it can imagine, so there are truly no limits to what you can achieve.
The Secret to You
Byrne talks about the spiritual side of The Secret. She argues that since we are made of energy and energy cannot be destroyed (it only changes form), it makes sense to believe our true essence "has always been and always will be. You can never not be." Byrne also points out that idea or knowledge is already out in the Universe, waiting for somebody to draw from it.
Byrne follows up by reminding readers to always be aware of their thoughts. When the mind is left to run wild, it allows all kinds of thoughts to enter including negative ones. Instead, Byrne says it's important to stop and ask, "What am I thinking now? What am I feeling now?" Byrne also believes that the Universe can answer any question. Once the question is released into the Universe, the answer will manifest at some point. However, awareness is key to "catch" the answer, as it can come in many different forms, such as a newspaper headline, an overheard conversation or even a sudden inspiration or mental image.
The last chapter of The Secret focuses on "purpose." Byrne quotes Neale Donald Walsch, who says that God hasn't decided on our life purpose - instead it's up to us to decide what that mission is. Byrne says you "get to fill the blackboard of your life with whatever you want." If there are negative things or baggage from the past written on it, you can wipe it clean and write on it again.