Hundreds of thousands embrace ancient philosophy citing law of attraction — believe and you will receive
Love. Happiness. Health. Peace.
It’s absolutely possible for everyone to have these things and more — at least that’s what the teachers say in “The Secret.”
Centering on the universal law of attraction, the 92-minute film cannot be seen in theaters; it’s only available on DVD or at the “The Secret” Web site. Last week, the film was the No. 5 top-selling DVD at amazon.com.
Nevertheless, it’s been seen in every country around the world through word of mouth since its March 2006 release. While some are skeptical of the film’s message, more than 700,000 copies of “The Secret” have been sold in the United States.
In the film, viewers learn to ask for what they want. And, if they believe it, they will receive it.
It sounds simple enough, but here’s the catch: If you’re cynical, sad, depressed and resigned that nothing will change, nothing will. Thoughts are so powerful, the teachers insist, that you attract what you think about, even if you don’twant it. Get it?
“Whatever you hold in your mind, consciously and subconsciously, is what you are attracting to your experience,” says “Secret” teacher Hale Dwoskin, author of the “Sedona Method” (Sedona Press, $17). “If you want to know what you are holding in your mind, look around you.”
The teachers — who include ministers, philosophers and writers, such as Jack Canfield (“Chicken Soup for the Soul“) and John Gray (“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus“) — say to receive what you desire, you must act and feel it’s already done.
“We have a magnificent inner calling, vision, mission, power inside us that we are not honoring and harnessing,” says philosopher and “Secret” teacher John Demartini in a recent telephone interview. “This movie brings it to the forefront that we can (harness that power).”
Last November, after CNN’s Larry King had two shows on the movie, interviewing several “Secret” teachers, he called it the most profound information he’s run across in 40 years. The movie also has been featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and in Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal. On Wednesday, producers of the movie will be in Chicago taping an appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Alicia Nails of Southfield watched the movie two weeks ago and says applying the law of attraction really works. Just Monday, she learned a $500 monthly fixed payment had been reduced to $72, and she didn’t negotiate the change.
“It has been a kick-start keeping my thought patterns on the things I do want, not the things I do not want,” she says.
The movie was conceived in 2004 after Australian-born screenwriter and producer Rhonda Byrne suffered a number of setbacks — she was broke, her father suddenly died and all of her relationships were in turmoil. Her life changed when she read a book about the law of attraction, “The Science of Getting Rich,” written by Wallace Wattles in 1910.
While researching the law of attraction for six months, she discovered noted figures in history — Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, William Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln and many others — understood the philosophy. She found the information dated as far back as 3500 B.C., and learned the law of attraction is a part of every religion, including Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism, but most people were unaware of its very existence.
Following her research, Byrne says she was left with a burning desire to make the film, and in 2005, she moved to Los Angeles with a mission of producing it. However, she had no idea how she would accomplish the goal. When she arrived, she had only one interview arranged, and no money for the project. But one introduction led to another, and all the teachers necessary to produce the $3 million film. She attributes her success to the law of attraction, walking by faith, taking one step at a time until the project was completed. She’s still amazed by the process.
“When you think about something, you become a magnet for what you want,” Byrne says in a telephone interview from her Los Angeles office. “Anytime I think of something, it comes so fast, and that’s the thing. The more that you see the little things happening, the more you get the hang of it and get out of the way. You float with life, float along. You think, ‘I might do this, I might do that,’ and it comes to you.”
Apparently, people are hungry for this information. Since the movie was released simultaneously around the world last year, more than 150,000 people have viewed it online and as of Friday, more than 700,000 copies have been sold in the United States, says Robert Rainone, president and CEO of “The Secret.”
Compared to Hollywood blockbusters, the numbers seem paltry, but with the combination of viral marketing and the power of word-of-mouth advertising, Byrne is excited about its success. With its $4.95 one-time viewings online and $29.95 DVDs, the spiritual film has been distributed to every country in the world, Byrne says, including 6 million copies in Africa.
The movie’s distribution is notable because the producers used the Internet in a unique way, says Robert Thompson, professor of media and popular culture at Syracuse University.
“A movie like this can really take on a life and is being distributed in ways that would have been absolutely impossible in the past,” Thompson says. “Now you can see a movie someplace other than on a television channel or in a movie theater.”
After watching the movie, Thompson says he’s disturbed by its message.
“It’s egregious snake-oil stuff that you can think yourself into a mansion,” says Thompson, who also is the director of the university’s Center for the Study of Popular Television. “There’s no evidence for it, and it is actually blasphemous. It reminded me of a long infomercial. Maybe at 3 a.m., when you’re half asleep, you can take in some of this stuff. But watching it in my full consciousness, I found it disturbing.”
Despite Thompson’s skeptism, others say the movie has changed their outlook on life.
Aldonna “Godis” Smith watched the movie for the first time about two months ago. In small, simple ways, she says all her desires are being fulfilled. For example, Smith wanted a tall garment rack for her loft. A few days after she thought about it, a neighbor coincidentally called to ask if she needed a tall garment rack.
“It’s so pertinent,” says the Detroit photographer. “I believe this is what people call revelation times, and it’s a time for truth. This truth is coming forward.”
Applying ‘The Secret’
Have an attitude of gratitude: Giving thanks for the things you want in advance turbocharges your desires, says “Secret” executive producer Rhonda Byrne. Before she rises, Byrne spends time being thankful, saying “thank you” many times.
Visualize: Author Jack Canfield transformed a $1 bill into nearly $100,000 by filling in zeros on the $1 bill. He looked at the new bill first thing every morning. At the end of the year, Canfield made more than $92,000. The next year, he made $1 million.
Ask: Let the Universe know what you want. Write what you want on a piece of paper in present tense, starting “I am so happy and grateful now that .” “The Universe responds to your thoughts,” says Lisa Nichols, author and personal power advocate in the film. Believe: Believe that whatever you want is already yours. Have unwavering faith.
Receive: Begin to feel wonderful about what you’ve requested. Feel the way you would feel once it arrives.
Create your day in advance: Make it a daily habit to determine every event in your life in advance through your thoughts. Create your life intentionally.
Kimberly Hayes Taylor / The Detroit News
Get the movie, book
To watch “The Secret” online ($4.95) or to order the DVD ($29.95), visit thesecret.tv/home.html. Last week, the DVD was No. 5 at amazon.com. The companion book “The Secret” (Atria Books, $23.95) was No. 6 on the Wall Street Journal’s non-fiction best-seller list. As an audio book, it’s ranked eighth on iTunes.com
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