Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Secret

By the time the Thomasites had comfortably settled in Bohol – to establish the framework for a new public education system – back in the States, in lockstep, a new spiritual philosophy, devoid of volatile colonialism, was gaining ground.  It was the so-called New Thought Movement.

It is the outgrowth of the healing theory and practice of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, whose influence was spread by his former patients, the most prominent of whom were: Warren Felt Evans, who wrote the first books in what would be called New Thought; Mary Baker Eddy, who established Christian Science; and Julius and Annetta Dresser, who, with their son Horatio, spread the word about Quimby.

Former Eddy associate Emma Curtis Hopkins taught her own version of healing idealism, indebted indirectly to Quimby and directly to her own explorations and to Eddy. Hopkins, the "teacher of teachers," taught founders of Divine Science, Unity, and Religious Science. These groups, along with Religious Science-influenced Seich-No-Ie, are the best-known groups in the New Thought movement.

The movement’s proponents also later included Ernest Holmes, an American writer and spiritual teacher. He founded Religious Science, a part of the greater New Thought movement, whose spiritual philosophy is known as "The Science of Mind."

Basically, New Thought is the application of philosophical idealism, optimistic mental discipline, and the practice of the presence of God in healing and in daily living. From its early writings to its current use of process philosophy, it consciously has incorporated Eastern and Western insights.  However, New Thought is not to be identified with magic and New Age idealism, because New Thought had various designations before receiving its present name in the 1890's.

Practitioners of new thought subscribe to the belief of the existence of certain universal laws that govern man’s existence, such as the Law of Attraction, Law of Vibration, Law of Cause and Effect, Law of Forgiveness, Law of abundance, Law of Relativity, Law of Polarity, Law of Perpetual Transmutation, Law of Rhythm, Law of Sacrifice and many more.  At the core of it all is their firm belief that whatever you nurture in your mind, whether based on love or fear, you consequently attract and manifest into your life.

It is this law of attraction that is the cornerstone of Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret.  She simply repackaged it for the benefit of a contemporary audience, and she has certainly done a magnificent job.  I am one of those who had signed up to receive her regular email snippets of spiritual wisdom such as:

“If a person is focused on illness then they are inadvertently attracting more illness to them. On the other hand, if a person focuses more on health than illness, then the law of attraction must obey and produce health. The principles of the law of attraction are a powerful tool to summon the healing power within us, and can be used as an aid in total harmony with all of the wonderful medical procedures that are available today.  Remember that if there were no healing power within us, nothing could be healed.”

Essentially, the premise of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret is truly no secret at all.  It’s just not as profoundly known as the basic tenets of the world’s more popular and age-old theological disciplines.  Be that as it may, this book would make an ideal Christmas present.

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Special thanks to my friends Beth and Dinand for having invited me to borrow from their outstanding library, and from which I came across this book.

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