Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bill Harris on "The Secret" & magical thinking

There is so much discussion about the "The Secret," the DVD about using the power of intention to create what you want in life. I found this blog entry from Bill Harris, one of the "Secret's" experts, to be highly informing. It has been my belief that the "The Secret" does exemplify an overly simplistic and potentially narcissistic point-of-view. Beyond the simplicity, there also lies the potential for exploring a new way of thinking and being in our world. It is the responsibility of each person who seeks this lifestyle to study and inform themselves, to find great teachers, and to reach beyond the glamour and marketing ploys for real depth. Be Well, Janis

Excerpts from Bill Harris' blog,

Several of you have asked about The Secret, and why, since I was in it, I’m sometimes critical of it. So what’s wrong with me? Why am I such a wet blanket?

First of all, The Secret used just a small bit of what I said when they recorded what I had to say about using the mind to create what you want in the world. They had a certain point of view they wanted to present, and I quite frankly didn’t know precisely what it was when I was being interviewed. Now, I see that their point of view was primarily a magical one, in the sense that The Secret seems to be saying that all you need to do is wish, hope, or “put it out to the universe” in order to get something. This point of view was presented despite the fact that very few of the teachers featured in The Secret (and I know almost all of them) actually believe that.

If you want to give “putting it out to the universe” a try, go for it. I’ll just caution you that I know a lot of very successful people, and none of them (and I really do mean zero, none, nada, zip, goose egg) became successful using that method.

Yes, every successful person I know did use their mind, and did focus on the outcome they wanted. Focusing your attention on what you want IS necessary. However, it’s just the first step. and you certainly don’t do it because it creates some sort of magic tractor-beam that sucks what you want into your waiting arms.

Here’s what happens when you focus your mind on the outcome you want: 1) it generates ideas you can use to get it, 2) it alerts you to resources you can use but might not see otherwise, 3) it creates the motivation to act, and 4) it helps you develop necessary personal qualities you might need, such as imagination, courage, persistence, or enthusiasm.

Next, though, you need to act, you need to do something. And, if you want something in return, the action you take needs to be of value in some way. It can’t be just any action. Running around in your underwear in Times Square is an action, but it might not get you the outcome you want.

The idea that thinking or hoping by itself will get you what you want is first-class magical thinking....

....What is more, both controlling things with your mind (other than yourself, which is what you should use it for) and the hope of getting something for nothing are self-centered, egocentric, narcissistic points of view. Yes, until we learn to be in charge of ourselves and our immediate environment we do tend to think mostly of ourselves, but that doesn’t make it resourceful or desirable.

I find that those who wish for magical powers like this do so because they feel powerless in the world. They don’t see a way out of their situation (though there is one) and this idea that there is a magic way to get what they want sounds very appealing.

....What you focus on does create your reality, but there’s no magic involved. Many–most– people don’t know that this is true. Until you can observe your thoughts and be aware of how you focus your attention–which comes at a certain level of development–you cannot intentionally focus your mind. Before that point your mind still focuses on something, but it is done automatically, unconsciously. When you are immersed in your mental processes, these processes (what I have called your Internal Map of Reality) will create your life without any intentional direction from you.

Once you develop to the point where you can observe your thinking process, rather than being it, you can direct your mind, and in doing so begin to take charge of your life.

Read the complete blog entry via the included link: © 2007 Centerpointe Research Institute. All Rights Reserved.

One of the best known forms of training to become aware of our thoughts and focusing our attention is Mindfulness Meditation. Janis teaches this form of meditation to individuals and groups in her Chester, CA offices. Contact Janis for more information or to sign up for future classes. email=

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