The Secret Shadow

“Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack, a crack in everything That’s how the light gets in.”
—-Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah! “The Secret” is out. Yes, yes, that one. The one that has been on “Larry King” and “Oprah,” and written about in the New York Times, the one that loved-ones have downloaded and been inspired by and passed on to us. “The Secret” reveals the Law of Attraction, which basically says that in order to have everything we want, we must simply envision, then allow it. “The Secret” reveals time-tested truths about manifestation, disseminating information that can move people from a victim mentality into an empowered state, seemingly overnight. The timing for this information is ripe, and many people are opening up and accepting the power of their thoughts and creative impulses in shaping their lives.

I’ve spent more time than I care to admit cursing behind the wheel in frustration at my inability to find a parking space. But I don’t mind admitting that a little visualization and change in attitude has somehow shifted things in my favor, as coveted spots are now showing up in even the most challenging places. However, it is also my perception, that while “The Secret” can free us in many significant and practical ways, it can also have a binding effect. The shadow side of “The Secret,” and all the new age trends before it, entices people to collude with their defenses instead of freeing people from them. By stuffing all they do not want to feel or own about themselves into a frenzy of positive thinking, “Secret” devotees can become less grounded, less authentic, and less available to themselves, their loved ones and their reality.

Elevated, spiritual information elicits a jolt of energy that is addictive and can in some cases feed our distortions and strengthen the disconnect from our bodies. Since most highs result in a corresponding low, a crash may ensue when gravity takes over and the new magic theory does not produce the outcome one desires, resulting in latent feelings of impotence, self-hate, shame and depression. Way back in the 80’s when “A Course in Miracles” was The New Age Answer to life, I witnessed a once seemingly grounded woman charge up a storm on her credit cards in her new belief that life could be easy simply because she thought it was, and that abundance was available to her even if it wasn’t to her bank account. As you can imagine, the results of her “Miraculously” inspired trip resulted in a fierce and devastating collision with reality.

It is my experience that we cannot escape our lives, lessons or the shadow aspects of ourselves — the parts we’d rather not know of or experience. So when ‘The Secret,” or the next New Age wave unfurls into your consciousness, use it, practice it, test it, and remember that however inspiring the set of tools for healthy living it offers, “The Secret,” (or whatever has taken its place in 2011), is not quite the answer. The answer, in my estimation, still is, and always will be, a mystery.

Below are some things to beware and be aware of as you allow new and empowering information to shift and shape your lives.

The Secret Contest

New age influxes of information can become a hotbed for our competition issues. We are competitive with ourselves to be “our best”, and often in that state we disown our shadow side — our grievances, resentments, aggression, etc. — as if their is something intrinsically wrong with it. We enact this competition outwardly in our relationships, jostling with others to see who is America’s Top New Age model. Here is a mock “Secret gone wild” conversation :

Seeker 1: I visualized myself finishing the paper but I am still stuck on page three. I can almost taste the way I will feel when I finish, but I am still stuck.

Seeker 2: Well, maybe you need to visualize yourself writing it.

Seeker 1: Mmmm. That’s a good idea, I thought I had done that, but maybe I have to do it more.

Seeker 2: Yup.

Seeker 1: The truth is, I don’t really want to write it. I just have to for school. I’ve never been good at doing things I don’t want to do. Are you?

Seeker 2: Why do anything you don’t want to do? That is not in alignment. Maybe you could get your degree by not doing any writing. Maybe the degree isn’t important.

Seeker 1: Mmmm. But have you ever had writer’s block?

Seeker 2: I don’t remember. I am not stuck much anymore. I just visualize myself being unstuck and miraculously it happens.

Seeker 1: Oh.

Seeker 2: Are you going to write your paper? Or come enjoy the spring day?

Seeker 1: I think I am going to go take a long walk off a short pier.

If you and a friend are dedicated to practicing the discipline of manifesting, allow your competition to inspire each other and fuel your practice instead of using it to puff yourself up or put another down. Example:

Seeker 1: I’m stuck and I don’t like it. Is there anything you do when you are stuck?

Seeker 2: I sit for a while and wait to see if I can hear or envision my next step. When I can’t get anything or if that doesn’t work, I go do something fun, like see a movie.

Seeker 1: Wow. I think a movie might give me enough space so that I can return to my work refreshed. . .

Want to see a movie?

Seeker 2: Yes!

Secret Isolation

When people are competing about who is clearing and growing and who is the most perfect manifester (as in the example above), the space to be intimate is vastly compromised. When you are hyper-focused on what you want, are you also able to truly listen and take in others, or does the world around you disappear as you become glued to your goals? Can you make room for other’s beliefs systems in your world, or is everything and everyone you encounter filtered through your new guidebook for happiness?

Secretly Hating Yourself

You may be frustrated, disappointed and enraged, but repress it in order to “keep your vibration up.” That works really well. Not. If you are ashamed of what you are feeling because it is not in sync with the vibration of manifesting, how are you going to feel connected to yourself, not to mention others? This behavior just increases rigidity and pads the wall of self-hate.Why reject your humanity so, and struggle so hard against the stream of life?

The Secret Control Freak

Many new age theories teach that we have more control over our lives than we think, which can be very useful for people who feel disempowered. How much control do we really have? Bringing your curiosity to the outer circumstances of your life is great way to see where you are and what you really want. However, you may not be able to bring about changes in the exact time and fashion that you want to. It is important to know and be clear about what you want, but the rest is about letting go and accepting what comes. Contrary to what some secrets reveal, my experience teaches me that I cannot control everything.

The Secret and the Mystery

Even if it is true that at some level we create everything in our lives, I can see no use in actually thinking that way all the time. I know it’s supposed to be empowering, but on a human level it seems rather egotistical and grandiose. For example, when it rains on your wedding day when you envisioned sun, disappointment is an understandable response, but to think that you have somehow created the bad weather seems silly to me. If someone you love falls very ill, what is useful about suggesting they have created that illness? To me, it is more spiritually aligned to accept that life is just enigmatic sometimes. There is value to the mystery.

And remember, to secretly and not so secretly Love Yourself no matter what.


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