Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The REAL Secret

I just posted this on some bulletin board which is a forum for people who follow "The Secret." A few weeks ago a woman from our sangha mentioned that she had dabbled with the concepts espoused by The Secret movie and book. Fortunately a Buddhist teacher reminded her that "avoiding negative people" is fruitless and that we all need to learn to deal with negative people, events, and situations.

About two years ago I watched the Secret movie and read the book.

What I have discovered since then is that when we spend so much time and energy trying to "manifest" what we want, all we are really doing is constantly pushing happiness into the future, and always just out of reach, because we are basing it on receiving what it is we think we want or need rather than learning to accept things and embrace them just as they are in the here and now.

Happiness is right here and right now, and no amount of material things will ultimately bring us the kind of contentment we are all looking for--things change constantly and nothing lasts forever.

Developing a daily meditation practice and learning about Buddhism has helped me realize this. The Buddha is quoted (somewhat irresponsibly) in the Secret movie about "what you think you become" and this is misleading. His main message was that we all have the tools right now at this moment to be happy (just as we are), and enlightenment is simply being fully present for your life right here and now just as it is. He did not suggest that we need to visualize a better or richer or thinner or married version of ourselves.

The Secret does put some emphasis on having an "attitude of gratitude" but the overwhelming message is that we all need and want things that we don't have, and true happiness is just around the corner, provided we visualize and believe and manifest these "things" that will supposedly make us somehow more complete.

We are complete already.

I truly hope that you can learn to appreciate yourself and your life exactly as it is right now. I don't say this out of malice or judgment or any ill will, I am just distressed at how many people feel that they need anything other than what they now have to be happy. We are all just fine exactly as we are right now, and until we learn that, we'll never truly be happy and fulfilled.

1 comment:

Hoy Es El Dia said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog entry, Lawrence. I am much more receptive to the Buddha's teachings than to the ways of "The Secret" nowadays, and even in my personal life I am constantly learning the lessons of present moment awareness and gratitude.

Until about a year ago, I was extremely fixated on "manifesting" a romantic relationship in my life. I was meditating and learning about Buddhism, but I couldn't let go of the tempting thought that if I just envisioned and desired someone long enough, someone would manifest.

Well, it took a close, non-Buddhist friend to finally clue me in that in focusing on what I didn't have (or on what I so desperately wanted), I was "missing the fullness of [my] life just as it is." She was so right. I had so many things to appreciate and celebrate in the moment. And even when life throws you challenges and sadness, the richness of those moments can be savored and learned from, as well.

Since that time, I have been insanely happy, even though plenty of unfortunate things may have happened, and even though I'm still single. Constant meditation helps, and Queer Sangha is a welcome addition to my practice.

I hope you are well.

-Charisa :-)