I have a secret!
Added: Saturday, 26 January 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Cover image Have you heard about the book and subsequent movie "The Secret"? Thousands flocked to read, watch and apply the one principle behind this hyped media phenomenon: "the reality of man is his thoughts". Well I have a secret. Abdu'l-Baha said this at the beginning of the last century. Sure, it's an eternal truth and Abdu'l-Baha didn't package it in a spectacular way. In fact, He didn't make a secret out of it at all!

Two months ago I watched as two of my friends were arguing over The Secret. One had religiously read and re-read the book, believing in its mantra and working hard to convert his thoughts and desires of "success and fame" into reality. The other friend made fun of him and planted the seed of doubt in his mind, writing The Secret off as another one of those 'self help' type of works that attract weak people who don't want to take responsibility for their life and the consequences of their actions. He demystified The Secret and this caused my other friend to practically throw a tantrum; scared of losing his grip on the accumulated positive energy he felt he'd attracted thus far.

I watched the two and thought to myself, here are two types of people. One firmly believes that the world is what it is and his actions have a definite, though probably limited, impact on his life. The other believes in some mystical force that he can tap into to make his life better; even perfect. One is perhaps a little defeatist and the other positive and hopeful, but in a frighteningly vulnerable way. Whatever their attitude, however, both of them were ironically creating their reality and affirming it with their beliefs in those very moments. As I watched them, the question in my mind was not whether our thoughts are our reality or not, the question is 'what are our thoughts' and what reality are we creating? If we, like my one friend, believe that humans are really like animals with a little more intelligence but ultimately prone to weaknesses, temptation and urges over which we have little control; then our reality will reflect that. If, like my other friend, we believe that the universe is conspiring to bless us as individuals, it will.

That's why we're in such a mess at the moment. Most people in the world think that their race, nationality or (especially) religion are better than those of others. This is our reality and this is reflected, nay perpetuated in our social and political structures. If we believe that as humans we are by nature sinful, it is reflected in our societies and institutions; our justice system, our education system, our religious practices etc. If we believe that as humans we are by nature noble (as Baha'u'llah says), then this will be reflected in our societal structures. Our current and deep-seated beliefs in the superiority of our faith, color, nationality or political convictions is causing our world to reflect and perpetuate the fragmentation we experience in our thoughts. If we change our thoughts to believe that we are truly one organism with beautiful, individual and unique cells, our reality will reflect that. It's that simple.

I experienced this first had. A few days ago I invited my neighbor whom I had deemed prejudiced and guarded. This was quite hard for me. While we were talking over the fence, the less I focused on what I perceived to be her prejudices, the more beautiful she became. It was almost as if my focusing on her strengths brought out those gems in her. This blew my mind. I simply tried to apply what Abdu'l-Baha says:

"When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love."

"To be silent concerning the faults of others, to pray for them, through kindness, to correct their faults. To look always at the good and not at the bad. If a man has ten good qualities and one bad one, to look at the ten and forget the one and if a man has ten bad qualities and one good, to look at the one and forget the ten."

My neighbor has accepted my invitation in principle. I will give her time to feel comfortable coming over, perhaps after my impending trip.

The Secret is not a secret. It's a truth and a tool that can be used to create and perpetuate fragmentation, disunity, misery, self-indulgence, egotism and ignorance or it can be used to create unity, equality, diversity, love and selflessness. As my husband would say: "It's all in your head!"

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