Most of us are very familiar with some form of either the media phenomenon “The Secret” or the so-called Law of Attraction. It is almost an unchallengeable belief in new age spiritual communities that if you visualize what you want strong enough and you follow various strategies for refining that strong visualization, you will get everything you desire. If you aren’t getting everything you desire right now, it is because you are a weak visualizer or because you have missed some small detail in the process of visualization (you didn’t use the present tense, or you didn’t feel it with enough of your senses, or you sabotaged your efforts by thinking negative thoughts).

No one ever questions how essentially narcissistic it is to believe that the universe or God is just here to serve our particular material desires. No one questions how infantile it is to believe that “we” control the external world with our “wants.” No one ever asks whether our own constricted little egos are the best writer/directors for the incarnate drama we call our lives. Instead we construct philosophical models that support our urgent need to fulfill our egoic desires. We dress them up as spiritual truths and immutable cosmic laws and back them up with pseudo science (being the religious authority of the day) so that we won’t have to question our own motives and so that we can maintain the comfortable illusion of duality.

There is a good reason for this and it is largely an economic reason. The reason the secret behind “The Secret” is a secret is because no one gets rich telling people that the stuff they want won’t actually make them happy. We sometimes seek out spiritual teachers because we say we want the truth, but what we really want is a truth that we like. It’s like people who watch a particularly biased “news” channel because they say they want to get the truth about what is going on, but what they really want is to have some authority confirm their world view.

Just to be clear, I do believe in a universe that is alive and conscious and dynamic and interconnected and responsive in myriad mysterious ways. I fully believe that we are all made of the same interpenetrating field of consciousness and that we are connected in ways we do not fully comprehend. I also believe that our energy fields affect each other. When we open as love, people can feel that. When we constrict in fear or anger people can feel that. Since we are all made of the same stuff, when one of us wakes up or becomes fully conscious and compassionate, if even for a moment, it impacts us all. What I don’t believe is that this realization or this understanding equates to “If I pray hard enough for a new Mercedes or get very clear about all the characteristics I want in my dream gal, God is required by cosmic law to give it (or her) to me.”

The real secret of “the Secret” is that it isn’t really about getting the things you think you want. I know it isn’t sold that way and that most people understand it in very literal terms—if I do this, I will get that—like it was a simple cause and effect relationship, but it isn’t. It’s about being happy, content, passionate, living your life fully minute-by-minute right here, right now.