What the world needs now are real spiritual Change Makers, not fierce individualists searching for wealth as a justified end goal of enlightenment. Although wealth and personal success are great vehicles for conscious change, the major pitfall of popular New Age movies like ‘The Secret’ are blatant promotion of wealth as a singular positivity-raising standard which exemplifies spiritual expansion. This particular movie has contributed to a lot of good-natured people living in disillusionment for a decade, believing that all one must do is reach a positive emotional state and focus on the rich outcomes they wish for in order to create personal change.
The Winds of Change
Nationally, mounting tensions are due to a resurgence of violent racial inequality, rapid decline of life-sustaining environmental resources, and corporate entities involved in public policy. Our dwindling precious natural resources, especially, require aggressive grass-roots advocacy. Fostering real change in our society has become a herculean task with the power of our nation resting in the hands of a privileged few. History shows us having wealth does not an altruist make. There was a powerful reason Upton Sinclair wrote, ‘The Jungle.’
Instead of the usual contrast, the gap between working poor and the wealthiest let’s look at the gross inequality between Man Vs. Nature. For example, the Koch Brothers alone have an estimated net worth of $80.6 billion, enough to purchase a small city, but environmentally, areas of the country are reaching emergency levels of depletion. Recent projections show California only has one year’s supply of water left for their current population. In addition, other unsettling scourges are invading and stamping out natural life. Like the mountain pine beetle, a critter that has ravaged northwest forests killing off the lodgepole pines in Colorado, Montana, and farther north into British Columbia. No species appears safe as populations of bats in the northeast decline because of White-nose Syndrome in Vermont, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Bees too, the great pollinators, are disappearing from colony collapse disorder.
Most of these intricate issues have already been linked back to man by environmental biologists, either through the use of unregulated pesticides altering habitat, carbon emissions forcing climate change, or the dramatic overuse of resources. For instance, Californian almond farms by themselves produce an estimated 80% of the world’s almond supply. The Colorado River supplies over 60% of Southern California’s water supply. Since the 2014 drought created a state of panic in almond farmers, they were pumping out groundwater reserves at rates five times greater than could be replenished.
Politically, with Citizen’s United ushering in a new era of free unlimited campaign financing backed by private corporations and the 2014 Princeton study officially declaring the United States an Oligarchy instead of a Democracy, one thing is certain, we’re going to see more heavy-handed tactics which will come at a great cost. De-regulation, loss of civil rights, and fixing accounting laws are just a few.
Where’s the Spiritual Beef?
The usual force to balance power as a counterpoint to egregious exploitations is spiritual leadership. Our generation has seen little in terms of spiritual catalysts willing to walk bravely into the masses and wake up consciousness by exposing these harmful truths.
Looking back, one of the most popular spiritual trends in the past decade has been Rhonda Byrne’s independent Aussie movie, ‘The Secret.’ Released in 2006, there was literally a wave of good vibes spreading around the globe raising hope that positive thinking could make a difference. ‘The Secret’ widely broadcasted what had been circling underground in a spiritual counter-culture for many years, the teachings of the Law of Attraction (LA). Created by Esther and Jerry Hicks, through their contact with universal guide Abraham, their wisdom and advice was intended to help make the world a better place.
Thousands of uninitiated viewers’ of the original LA started following the Secret’s spin on LA teachings like changing emotional patterns, and mainly, how to create effortless wealth. Teachers and conscious change makers like Lisa Nichols, Reverend Michael Beckwith, and Jack Canfield were featured as successful thought leaders and conscious entrepreneurs who used a philosophy similar to ‘The Secret’ rising to the top of their respective fields.
A divisive fissure grew between the followers of The Secret and other fields of specialized empowerment. The more outspoken leaders were in fields of Psychology, who expressed deep concern about the un-grounded approach the movie championed. Their concern was, many a promising student may have stumbled upon ‘The Secret’ and traveled unwittingly down a rabbit hole of illusion, innocently working toward self-betterment, but lacking the necessary tools and life-affirming growth required for making real progress. Coaches witnessed many instances of their clients materializing conflicting results like alienation from family and friends, loss of productivity, and even bankruptcy.
The troubling fact is the Secret promotes only a select few pieces of information from the LA. Concepts were shortsightedly pulled from of an entire system of knowledge. This resulted in a stripped-down short cut. Viewers were enamored by a classic get rich quick scheme embedded eloquently in esoteric language, propped up by famous faces. One of the more deceptive psychological concepts which grew from The Secret’s philosophy was this false idea: you don’t have to work hard to create what you want. Besides the ironic sabotaging effects the movie had on its own featured success stories like James Arthur Ray who was later convicted and incarcerated for a felony and the subsequent law suits against Rhonda Byrne, if you ask Esther Hicks who taught Rhonda what the secret really is, she has and would say this, “They completely missed the ‘secret’ behind the secret.”
We need to look closely at these pioneers and change makers like Esther and Jerry Hicks, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King and illuminate what ‘the secret’ really is. Creating real change requires heart and soul. The radical individuals who had a visionary gift of sight and a serious desire to create something bold would tell you their vision has nothing to do with profit. Because despite what reality would have them believe, through unthinkable circumstances, overwhelming odds, and what their friends would tell them wasn’t possible, they forged ahead full steam anyway with an almost superhuman conviction that change is possible.
What would our lives be like without these impressive spiritual souls who never lost heart or purpose? We need new change makers who are willing to go the mountain top and see the future and bring their massive energy to bear on the solutions our communities face today. We need the believers, the dreamers, and inspired people who continue to hope with conviction and courage. Drivers of spiritual-minded approaches who will do not only what they see as an essential human right for peace and justice, but for those who can’t stand up and fight for themselves.
Although The Secret may have had some good ideas, like individual betterment through changing negative thought patterning, what it stripped from a more comprehensive body of work, was the heart and soul’s mission which require the human's highest spiritual vibrations to make the world a better place. It is up to the conscious butt-kickers, to walk the walk, down a new path by remedying a solution.
Courtney Marchesani is the creator of Intuitive Soul Language™. She designs breakthrough inspirational empowerment programs for traumatized individuals. As an award winning coach and advocate, Courtney empowers others with her strategies learned from Wilhelm Reich's character structure, Jacob Moreno's psychodrama, and intuition. She is an Expressive Art Therapy graduate student at California Institute of Integral Studies.