‘Herd’ on The Secret… and… The Disrobed Monk

As a researcher of metaphysics, interviewer, writer, and just plain open-minded explorer of  all things that help us humans DISCOVER, CONTRIBUTE and get RESULTS, I’ve seen and heard some fascinating “stuff.”

Things that make me jump up and down and yell, “Holy @#$%… that was very cool,” and things that cause me to shake my head in wonderment.

In regards to the latter, if there’s one OVERRIDING, fingers-on-the-chalk-board sorta annoying FACT that I’ve seen come true, time and time again, it’s THIS:

Hard-core New Agers, self-help junkies, born-again meditators, LOA groupies, and worshippers of all things “love ‘n light” — heck, however you want to describe someone who boxes themselves “in” through ascension-driven thinking and living — constantly stay CONFUSED…

They confuse “feeling” good with actually BE-ing good; they confuse spending time “imagining”  reality with LIVING a real-world life; they confuse excessive self-analysis (activity) with quantifiable results (productivity); they confuse affirmations/mantras/lofty quotes with foundational and conscious awareness; etc.

Get where I’m going?

Do you see how the above distinctions can easily become disconnects when someone uses the former mindset and approach to REPLACE or minimize the latter?

Let’s explore some more…


There are a few gentlemen I want to introduce you to that I hope will ILLUMINATE (or just massage over) the soap-box I’m surfing on today.

The first one is a disrobed (former) Buddhist Monk who has been described as direct, daring, compassionate and nearly always ‘spiritually incorrect.’  In short, totally my kind of guy.

Alan Clements was the first American to have pioneered the dharma for the remote South East Asian Buddhist country of Burma, where he lived in a Buddhist monastery during the 1970s and ’80s, five years of which were spent as a monk. During this time he trained in classical Buddhist psychology and vipassana (insight) meditation with two of the most respected meditation masters of our era, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw, and his successor Sayadaw U Pandita.

However, one day would forever change the way he understood how the meditative life can (and should) be. Watch the short video clip here and he’ll tell you what happened in his own words:

♦  ♦  ♦

In short, if you want to learn about some ways to guard against the dangers of ridged fundamentalist-thinking or what I call “spiritual knighthood” (the process of fitting into a group-consciousness mold), research and learn what Alan has to say.

For a taste, here’s something worthy of your time:

“Start looking at self-deception. People can unwittingly weave themselves into a cocoon of false ideas, all the while assuming they’re free. It’s very Orwellian.

“The tool to use to safeguard yourself from becoming a political puppet or a spiritual shee are namely, sharpening self-inquiry, critical analysis, and independent thinking. The basics of a smart spiritual life.” — Alan Clements

Now for the second guy…

A little pre-name introduction: he’s an Integral Institute member (Ken Wilbur’s group), Buddhist practitioner and American musician who has been touring  for more than a decade. This renegade artist, whether through song, paintings, writings, or screenplays, has devoted his life to finding entertaining ways of exploring the human puzzle.

And, he’s got a cool sense of humor.

He has a lot of “5 Reasons…”  lists, and there’s one titled:

Top Five Reasons You Are Full Of Shit

The last two on his list are:

#4) Excuses, Rationalization, Blaming, Blah Blah Blah. Someone should put a diaper on your ego.

#5) I look through your medicine cabinet, and I’m like “Give me a break”. You have no intention to floss.

When I FIRST read Stuart Davis’ article, “The Secret: The Spirituality of Narcissism,” I thought  it was a tad harsh on the movie.

Then, after experiencing so, so many people — whether partners, subscribers, friends or customers — cling onto the LAW of ATTRACTION identity and abstract, intangible methods of creating a prosperous life (regardless of their outer results), like a junkie hordes and protects his crack stash, I became a believer.

A believer in Stuart’s critical examination, not just of the movie, but of how the masses (notice the title of this post says “herd” and not “heard”) move along like cattle, munching on whatever piece of “guru-delivered” insight that’ll validate their experience (again, regardless of how much it hasn’t changed).

If you actually see virtue in the color spectrum of life — where you’re willing to hear things you normally don’t like hearing and see things that you normally close your eyes to — you should read this Stuart Davis article (then come back and let me know what you think).

WARNING: It is a bit DEEP and does require some intellectual brain power and stamina. So, don’t go there expecting an atta-girl or atta-boy applause for embracing “The Secret”.

Instead, read what he says with an open, honest, reflective mind.

As ALWAYS, Heather and I are here to cajole you to see the “other side of the story,” and push you into taking ownership of your experiences and the results you achieve HERE “in the physical” (not in your meditations or imagination).

And, no, don’t leave a comment telling us that it’s the pretend life you create in your imagination that replaces or initiates the life you have here.

Sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.

Meditations, affirmation, self-talk, visualization, writing your future story, etc… they’re all just TOOLS to help you align intangible energy with tangible “to dos” — i.e., those things that require you to get your hands dirty and your head in the game.

By the way, if you have an interest in how to build self-reliant WEALTH — where you actually arrange
your money affairs, through little-known, unconventional programs and vendors, follow our “A Colossal Failure of Commons Sense” blog post to the bottom.

Filed under: Critical-Thinking, Personal Responsibility, Prosperity Mind / Wealth Creation

27 Responses to “‘Herd’ on The Secret… and… The Disrobed Monk”

  1. ‘Herd’ on The Secret… and… The Disrobed Monk

    You say that you see it as a hard to accept your fact that “Hard-core New Agers, self-help junkies, born-again meditators, LOA groupies, and worshippers of all things “love ‘n light” — heck, however you want to describe someone who boxes themselves “in” through ascension-driven thinking and living — constantly stay CONFUSED…”

    Do you think that is a bit of a generalisation? I work with the LOA as we all do, its a law!! How do I qualify for being classed as a LOA groupie?!!

    I am not confused about the LOA, Love and Light and see nothing wrong with self help as these modalities create growth and self reliance… If they create people who have to lean on others and lose the sense of being personally responsible, then it is the person not the system who is creating the lack of self reliance?

    I feel you need to clarify your comments?

    Best Wishes ~ Mark Halbert

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Hi Mark,

    Your wording is a little confusing, but I think the gist of your comment is that you feel offended because you’ve identified with a group of people that Barry described.

    Bottom line is, if the shoe fits — if you see your approach to self-help as taking on the realm of “junkies”, “groupies”, “worshippers” or the “born-again” — wear it. But just because you believe in or practice meditation, the law of attraction, or any other self-help technique does not make you fit in these described categories.

    Think about the imagery of these concepts. What do “junkies”, “groupies” and “worshippers” do? They get addicted, have to have it, follow the object of their affection blindly, and can’t understand why others don’t feel the same way. “Born-agains” feel the need to convert others to their faith and their way of thinking, whereas regular people who believe something simply live and let live.

    Do you find yourself randomly handing out copies of “The Secret” and forcing your family, friends and even strangers to watch it, regardless of their beliefs or desire to do so? Do you constantly preach the benefits of meditating for several hours a day? Do you give Eckhart Tolle books as gifts for every birthday or Christmas? Then you might be a junkie, groupie or born-again.

    If you simply watch The Secret and discuss its pros and cons with others who have seen it, or you meditate on your own and only tell people about it if they ask, or you only give people books and DVDs that they’ve actually shown an INTEREST in… then you’re not.

    The fact that you identify with the label shows that perhaps you’ve crossed the line a few times and feel unsure, deep down, about whether that was a good idea.

    If not, there’s no reason to get defensive.

    If you’ve seen Religulous, there’s a trucker with a similar reaction. He says to Bill Maher (the documentary host), “I don’t know where you’re going with this, but you’re not going to pick on MY God,” and then walks out… because he doesn’t know how to defend his God.

    If you have conviction in your beliefs, it doesn’t matter who says what, because you know what you need to know… and you don’t get defensive about it.

    You also feel no desire to convince anyone else that it’s true, or give them unsolicited propaganda; but if they ask, you have some compelling arguments, critical examinations, and deep topics of discussion in mind that will force them to look at it with an open mind.


  2. Yes, thanks Heather. probably did get a bit defensive!!

    And I may have crossed the line a few times. cannot deny that I have imposed my beliefs and chosen concepts on others in the past.

    Thanks for the clarification… Mark

  3. Boo Yah! I can’t believe I’m reading what I’ve been thinking for quite awhile; I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    Stuart Davis’ musings on the ego, and being personally responsible for “creating reality” are sheer genius. I’ve been saying for years that I wish these spiritual “gurus” would stop ego bashing. The human species could have never survived this long if it weren’t for our ego, it’s an internal mechanism that’s essential to our very survival. If you didn’t have an ego…you wouldn’t give a shit if you lived or died, bottom line.

    Thanks for this posting and I’m glad I got into it before just putting the email into my virtual file cabinet without checking it out first.

    I must have really needed to see this stuff outside my own head, cuz so much of the very things these two are talking about have been on my mind that my head hurts…I was beginning to think I was nuts!

  4. Barry, You have quite a lady there in Heather. Her response to Mark was Brilliant ! I think I’m addicted to you two !

  5. Barry,

    Thank you for this. I read Instinct For Freedom last year by Alan Clements which became one of the most deeply spiritual books I have read for a long time. I haven’t really heard too much about Stuart Davis until now. His article is powerful, and very literate in the way he takes apart The Secret that helps create a larger understanding of the Mystery.

    Millions of people read The Secret, and temporarily applied the principle to their lives…thinking that if they just visualized hard enough their dreams would come true. Visualization is not hard work… you just have to close your eyes and imagine.

    The whole idea of actually working at understanding self, and the deeper exploration of self and ego on the level Stuart Davis talks about is far less of a turn on than materializing a brand new car or a million dollar bank account.

    Unfortunately, in the case of The Secret, the Baby gets thrown out with the bath water… and people give up on even the idea of positive altitude and attitude, and go back to their old grumbling negative ways, now with proof positive that positive thinking doesn’t do fig.

    Somewhere in all of this is a gradient people need that leads them from the light and airy surface of spirituality down into the intimate regions of self knowledge and understand that leads to the level of thinking you find in
    Stuart Davis’ article.

    I think I am finally getting what you guy have been talking about for quite sometime now.

    Probably the best post I’ve seen from you…but I haven’t seen them all.

    Nick Grimshawe

  6. Barry, I agree with you. Spiritually incorrectness, my kind of philosophy.

    Alan Clements is fascinating and I certainly can agree with some of what he says.

    Your post and his video point out something very important; be a critical thinker in all things. Or rather, an open-minded skeptic. Or, trust after verifying.

    The difference between a cynic and a skeptic is the cynic is dismissive, seldom asking any questions that might elicit insight. While the skeptic, or rather, open-minded skeptic, is seeking out possibilities and willing to ask questions that will respond with some form of enlightened knowledge, for or against the case at hand.

    The trouble with most dogma or any belief system, from LOA to a spiritual path to religion and even politics or economy, is that most people feel they have to buy the whole thing.

    That’s like going into a supermarket only if you’re willing to load up on one of everything. The owners would like it if you would, but wouldn’t be so blatant as to even suggest such a thing.

    But, some of the gurus of (fill in blank) are more wiling to cajole, trick, intimidate, or entice you to buy their whole belief system.

    Okay, don’t get me started! I’m really inspired by this and may write my own blog piece.

    I enjoy your insight and attitude, even on those things we may not agree with each other about.

    Tom Justin

  7. I know why, whenever I see your tag in my email, I ALWAYS have to read through every word of your posts!!!

    Yes, I am quite capable, and sometimes MORE than comfortable in my “own little world” – imagining what “IT” will be like. However, when I emerge, I always find just the right person (yes, sometimes its you, lol!) to spur me into Living what will bring “IT” into my life.

    Its all out there, and yes, you have to do a little reflection and a little soul searching to figure out just what it is you want – but then you have to get off your butt, open your eyes, heart and ears, (and arms/hands)and go GET IT!

    Stopping something requires doing something. Getting something requires doing something. Meditation is great, and it lowers the blood pressure.

    But, once the BP is down again, the butt has to get up off the chair or mat and move in the direction of your goal – or it just ain’t worth the “office ass” you get merely dreaming about it.

    Of course, it is always nice if the rest of you follows along – *wink!!*

    Thanks again – as always!


  8. I like what Tom Justin has just said; I feel that I did not make myself understood. I follow the adoption philosophy in my life ~ I take what I feel resonates with me at the time and put it in my basket.

    This means that I am not wholly sold into one author’s approach or teachings, not caught up in a guru approach, spiritual or religious dogma or teachings, but extracting the gems, looking at the facets that appeal to me.

    I must say that I follow my own path and find love, light and beauty in many other paths and philosophies.

  9. You are so right……….. I agree with your thinking.

  10. I am one lucky man. Why? 1) Because we don’t get Oprah where I live. I’ve never watched an Oprah show and so don’t know what the fuss is all about. 2) I’ve never read the Secret and so needn’t bother myself with all the crap therein. I have manifested an Oprah and Secret free reality for myself! Yay me!

  11. I can’t bash ‘The Secret’ movie wholeheartedly because, like so many sources, I notice that what people take away from it is not necessarily what was there.

    Also, some of the players (Jack Canfield, John Assaraf, Joe Vitale) made fortunes in the real world (education, real estate, marketing) before becoming vocal about spirituality and metaphysics. Can I think they’re in ‘The Secret’ just to stroke their egos, or might they actually believe in at least a good part of the message?

    Re: Stuart Davis’s article. He sounds a bit too zealous to me, and also a bit arbitrary.

    For example, at one point he said, “thoughts and feelings (while important and valid) come from an extremely shallow dimension of the self.”

    Now, I’m not sure where thought and feelings come from. But from what I’ve studied, some very respectable people say that at least some of their thoughts (e.g., inspirations) came from God or some other ‘higher source’. This includes Einstein, the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, the above mentioned ‘stars’ of ‘
    The Secret’, etc.

    As for feelings, Abraham-Hicks say they come from our Higher Self or Source, giving each person (who knows how to ‘read’ them) an accurate compass of the direction or consequences of their current mind-emotional state.

    “As you are feeling positive emotion – such as love, peace, happiness, joy, excitement, exhilaration … it is your Inner Being communicating to you in that moment that you are feeling the emotion – that your thoughts are in harmony with that which you are wanting, As you are experiencing negative emotion – such as fear or doubt, anger, hatred, jealousy, stress, guilt, anxiety .. it is a communication from your Inner Being telling you that in that moment – that which you are focused upon – or HOW you are focused — is not in harmony with what you are wanting.” Abraham-Hicks

    If thoughts and feelings are as ‘lowly’ as Stuart suggests (“from an extremely shallow dimension of the self.”) then we really needn’t pay much attention to them.

    But in my experience, understanding my thoughts and feelings in deeper ways (e.g., giving them a lot of respect, doing my best to really understand why I feel however I do, finding ways to resolve unwanted feelings, etc.) especially in the ways that the Abrahsm-Hicks material (along with books by Drs. David Burns, William Glasser, Susan Smith Jones, Carol Miller and many others) seems to have allowed me to create quite a comfortable, hopeful, full-of-possibilities life,… especially compared to what it was before for me.

    Just some of my thoughts on this.


    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Hi Phil,

    Just because someone makes money in the “real world” as you call it doesn’t mean they don’t practice “inner world” techniques to do so. The two go hand in hand while we’re here. You don’t need to “teach” the law of attraction to “use” the law of attraction… Universal laws are there whether you believe them or not, and whether you teach them or not.

    After all, if you don’t believe in the law of gravity, does that mean you float around without touching the ground? And what if you don’t “teach” it to others… does that mean it’s somehow less important or less influential to you? Nope, not a bit!

    As for “bashing The Secret”, this post wasn’t about doing that… it was about “bashing” people who make one aspect of spirituality or metaphysics their whole identity (an “LOA” teacher, a “meditation” guru, an “enlightenment” author), following that path blindly without thinking things through, acting incongruently to keep up the facade of what they think they should be, and forcing their beliefs onto others (or looking down on others who don’t believe or experience the same thing).

    And about all feelings or emotions coming from our higher selves, do you really believe that? Fear is an emotion… what evidence do you have that the fears holding back 99% of the population are there because they’re telling the person NOT to do something?

    Are you saying we should all stay in our comfort zones, stuck in the ruts we’ve dug for ourselves, because we’re afraid to get out and face the real world?

    Are you saying an acceptable answer to, “Why aren’t you doing such-and-such?” (following a dream, making a career move, taking a step forward in a personal relationship, etc.) is “Because I feel fear, and that means I’m not meant to do it”?

    I just don’t buy it. Too many people achieve true well-rounded success when facing their fears and moving through them for that to be the case.


  12. Phil!


    Loved the truth expressed by Barry in this paragraph:

    “Meditations, affirmation, self-talk, visualization, writing your future story, etc… they’re all just TOOLS to help you align intangible energy with tangible “to dos” — i.e., those things that require you to get your hands dirty and your head in the game.”

    KEY IDEA? It’s A GAME.

    I do understand the basic meaning of the message and agree that many latch on to spirituality to escape the perils of living life within the Matrix. However, I also think there’s quite a bit more to “success” or “failure” than an inability to act — or, as you say “get hands dirty.”

    Core issues that thwart ACTIVE INSIGHT require investigation. Core beliefs that thwart ACTIVE GROWTH require acknowledgment and release.

    Finding a PURPOSE that one LOVES seems integral to the whole notion of getting the hands dirty. It’s easy to get the hands dirty when you love playing some personally absorbing 3D game, or have discovered some exciting, exhilarating, meaningful, delightful, enjoyable form of Self expression — one that PAYS, as that’s the fundamental, driving force in this seriously SICK game.

    Due to the control systems in place much in this 3D game feels like enslavement. Much of beauty, attractiveness, and joy has no monetary value — nada, zilch. Many of the exceedingly gifted drift into New Age pursuits simply because there is nothing in the Wilderness of the 3D Game that fits who they are or is monetized to provide a means of support.

    So while there is great merit in this blog it seems to me there is a great deal more to these admittedly escapist behaviors than this blog addresses.


  13. Dear Barry and Heather,

    Thank you so much for these interesting selections.

    I have been so caught up with the problematic situation in Venezuela (where I live), the U.S. (where I’m from), the East, especially Irak (where two of my sons are saving lives by clearing away mines and directing reconstruction) that I had forgotten about beautiful and exotic Burma, with its rich culture and ecology, whose diverse peoples have given so much to the world, and which is currently undergoing so much suffering.

    Of course I know the topic is Manifestation and the Law of Attraction, but both Alan Clements and Stuart Davis help us to broaden our horizons beyond ourselves and to connect our consciousness to the rest of creation. Our microcosm extends to the macro. So again, thank you.

    The Secret has been a great money-maker, hasn’t it? And it does a good job of both entertaining and encouraging us to snap out of negative thinking patterns, while it stresses the importance of clarifying what we want out of life so as to set attainable goals. By stressing immediate, material manifestations the movie becomes accessible to almost anyone.

    However, I find it sad to come across so many people “after The Secret” wondering why it hasn’t “worked” for them. These people are often being lured into spending money on systems which claim to get them what they want “this time.” There is frequent use of copy saying that it is no accident that they are reading the ad and that they should respond to the synchronicity of the moment, because nothing is an accident. “Free” teleseminars abound as promotional gimmicks to sell coaching or on-line courses on the LOA.

    Your stuff is usually off-beat and refreshing, with a lot of honest soul-searching. Also the different comments and your answers to the comments are worth reading.

    Warm wishes,

    Mary Martha

  14. Hi,
    Thank you for introducing me to these insightful, authentic individuals.

    It impressed on me the importance of trusting my own inner guidance and wisdom, and having the courage to follow them in spite of being judged harshly by the gurus and important folks in personal development.

    I have had concerns for awhile about the focus of the Secret. I even wrote a blog post about those concerns, which out of respect for the opportunity to post on your blog, I will not name here.

    I have also experienced that while in general, a value, honesty for example, is positive, there are occasions where it can be self serving. If I were hiding a Jewish family during Nazi Germany, being honest when the Gestapo knocked on my door may be honest, but spiritual? Being honest about a negative behavior when we realize we are going to be found out, is a manipulation tactic to minimize our responsibility and hopefully reduce the consequences for our poor choices. One must be honest with oneself to determine the difference.

    “What would love do Now”, at the risk of sounding like a new ager, is a wise question to ask oneself. If my family is being threatened by an intruder, to do nothing in order to demonstrate my pacifist values would be self serving-egotistical spirituality. Stopping the threat with force if necessary would be the compassionate action. However, revenge and retaliation after the fact, is simply justified violence.

    And the notion that everyone who is suffering, struggling or in dire circumstances is responsible for their situation, is supporting apathy and judgment, relieving us of any responsibility for compassion, assistance and understanding of another. Taken one step further, dishonesty, manipulation and scamming others in a business transaction can be regarded as just using our intelligence and skills to get ahead. If the person was deceived, well they attracted it or were less intelligent, so no foul on our part.

    We are part of the Universe but we do not control it. Humans have always wanted control and power over, rather than empowerment and freedom within.

    Abundance is everyone’s birthright. But not at the expense of or disregard for others. And material abundance alone does not guarantee personal freedom. It does provide the resources to avoid facing who we are, how we feel and our hidden agendas, or it can provide the resources to expand and evolve our consciousness and share our experience, time, wisdom and compassion to motivate and guide others so they have the knowledge and support to expand and evolve their own consciousness.

    As always, that choice is totally our own.

    Lauren Kennedy

  15. Barry, you crack me up, I laughed my coffee out of my nose!

    What the thinker thinks, the prover proves…

    …want to delude yourself less? Less thinking, more direct experiencing.

    Speak soon,
    Michael Campbell

    [ Barry’s Reply ] –

    While I understand you have a lot riding on your identity and public-face of teaching and selling “mind-meltingly powerful manifestation secrets,” via SuperHumanSecrets.com (hey, how’s that for a plug), it doesn’t give you the excuse to dismiss what’s been written, without examination or any type of relevant, intelligent commentary… especially, considering the fact that the whole post is about me edifying two people — Alan Clements and Stuart Davis — who actually do have relevant and substantive things to say.

    But, as Heather pointed out in her response to the first LWL reader and community member, it’s no different than the Christian whose entire identity, belief structure, and justification of experience (i.e., what they have and are able to achieve) are on such “shaky” ground that they shut out any intelligent debate or open-minded evidence of the contrary.

    By the way, to smugly write and insinuate that “thinking” and “direct experience” are actually mutually-exclusive forms of living, is about as ridiculous as the “confusion” that a grand majority of LOA enthusiasts clamor too — the very confusion that I wrote about at the top of this post.

    How do I know that Michael? It’s called “talking” to people (many people) – not only interviewing the very people who help ‘others’ work through the shortcomings of mainstream manifestation precepts and approaches, but being neck-deep in relationship, via coaching, with our community members.

    Next time, keep the coffee in your mouth and THINK a tad more before looking like another, tried-and-true “guru” behind-the-black curtain who fakes out more people, with abstract nonsense, than fascinates them with grounded realism and critical examination.

  16. Whoaaa there Barry… sounds like you’re misunderstanding me somewhat;)

    I was AGREEING with your point!

    I AGREE with Stuart Davis’s article.

    Lordy knows how got this from my comment…

    I DID NOT intend to come across as ‘smug’ or ‘superior’, (I was shooting for concise, maybe too concise;)

    Let me explain what I meant – ‘what the thinker thinks the prover proves’ is a quote from the late Robert Anton Wilson. One of his main topics was how belief shapes and distorts perception.

    View everything through the perspective of ‘the secret’ for example and you start to filter all incoming data to conform to that model, regardless of the evidence of your senses.

    View everything through the perspective of ‘buddhism’ for example and you start to filter all incoming data to conform to that model, regardless of the evidence of your senses.

    What I meant by ‘less thinking more direct experience’ was more or less Alan’s point in the video – if you’re running around in your own head you’re not actually DOING anything.

    That’s the whole point of a lot of Zen practices that offshoot from mainstream Buddhist thought – practices to root you firmly into direct ‘filter free’ experience of reality, without being jammed into any particular world view.

    I was thinking more along the lines of General Semantics, model agnosticism or Empedocles.

    The fact that I’m into manifesting, doesn’t mean I’m a fkging new age idiot you know;)

    Thank you making me get to the point,
    All the best,

    [ Barry’s Reply ] —

    Hey, glad I could help 🙂 — and, more often than not, saying what I feel, as I see it happen (in this case, “as it’s written” by you), DOES bring out the best in somebody’s ability to articulate.

    You see, Michael, over the years, we’ve dealt with a lot of metaphysicians who will say one thing one minute, in a very hazy, cryptic sorta way, and then when responded to directly, do the “Hooold on thar, pardner” dance. It’s like their intentions (or feelings about something) don’t match what comes out of their hands, via the mouse (or their “mouth” when speaking live).

    Of course, I’m sure, you truly “meant to say” in your first comment, what you ACTUALLY said in your second comment, which is very good. Since that’s probably the case, always be “clear” when communicating (especially in writing). It’s important where you place your “yous”).

    The first one read as, “Barry, you crack me up… want to delude yourself less?”

    So you see why I responded as I did. 😉

  17. Hi Barry,

    I enjoyed Stuart Davis’ article.

    He does an excellent job of distinguishing the self from the Self, but then he muddles the distinction later by saying:

    “The impossibly sick premise that people in such situations create their own Reality is so obviously wrong, so
    self-evidently false to our basic intuition, that we can almost laugh it off.”

    What would have been accurate and helped his point was if he stated the self does not create Reality, but the Self does. He could have also stated that the self “creates its experience of Reality,” as I state in my newletters, but this is another, more subtle point outside of his main thesis.

    He later says the self “influences” Reality “under certain conditions.” The self always influences Reality. (I am using his definition of Reality – the observable universe – and not the mystic idea of the One.) This is the primary benefit of the Secret – your thoughts influence your life.

    Lastly, he should purge his “4-quadrant composition of Reality” from the article, as it is a whimsical idea that
    detracts from the stronger points in his earlier arguments.

    Overall, good food for thought!


  18. Hi Barry:

    Very interesting indeed!

    I do however wonder, when I don’t agree with some thing which is supposed to be profound, whether it is me with my level of knowledge, awareness, development, whatever it is that counts, or what I am reading or being told is not all that profound.

    Let me elaborate with an example … there are people out there who can run a marathon, or some who can even run a 4-minute mile, now just because I can’t and let me even go further that even most of the people I know can’t, doesn’t mean that the statement about people running marathon or running a 4-minute mile is false.

    I know, the example I have given is not a particularly relevant one, so best I would be able to say about something that I don’t have real expertise on is that at this point in time with my level of knowledge, awareness, etc at the moment, I don’t get it, I can’t agree with it, or some thing to that effect.

    [ Barry’s Reply ] –

    Yogi, I do believe the BEST reply I can give you in regards to your obvious defense of your OWN “understanding” and your hope that if “I get it” (i.e., what you know but most like can’t explain)… that I won’t have such a critical-eye on spiritual practice and speak-out against metaphysical psycho-babble… is this:

    It’s the SAME response we’d give to somebody who sits smugly on a wooden chair, in view of a dim light, spouting off cryptic sayings and yet not really getting his listener any closer to real-world understanding or practical living.

    To elaborate, please read our REPORT titled: “The Eckhart Effect and The Quest For Spiritual Accountability


  19. I figure that at some level, everything is true. The Universe is infinite. We are finite. By definition, finite things cannot encompass infinity. But being humans, we all give it a good try.

    So I figure at some level, each of us has a bit of truth to offer about Spirituality, the Universe, the Nature of God. And I like the idea of taking what works for us or feels right to us, adding it to our own repertoire and going with it. As Alan Clements says, we each are our own bible, and that’s where we should get our answers.

    Stuart Davis says: “Authentic spirituality is not a vending machine that spits out cars, lovers, and shiny red bikes.” That nails it exactly for me what has been disturbing about all this LOA network and/or affiliate marketing.

  20. Heather,

    In my opinion your reply really distorted my reply.

    Regarding your remarks about fear you seem to imply I was somehow saying we should give in to our fears and not do things because we fear them. If that’s the case, that’s completely the opposite of what I thought I was saying.

    Again, here’s part of the A-H quote I originally posted:

    “As you are experiencing negative emotion – such as fear or doubt, anger, hatred, jealousy, stress, guilt, anxiety .. it is a communication from your Inner Being telling you that in that moment – that which you are focused upon – or HOW you are focused — is not in harmony with what you are wanting.”

    To me, that means: When you feel fear don’t assume it’s an indication you should back away from some venture or choice. On the contrary, it seems to be saying your fear “is not in harmony with what you are wanting.” And that, to me, means don’t let the fear necessarily deter you. It may just mean proceed with caution, or cover yourself as you proceed, or change “HOW you are focused.”

    I could go on, but to me, you’ve also proven a point I was trying to make: People will see something like ‘The Secret’ or read my post, and what they take away will not necessarily be what was there.


    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Phil, feelings and emotions come from thoughts.

    If we agree that fear is an emotion, which we do… then it’s the result of a thought or belief.

    If we say your quote paraphrased as, “if you’re feeling fear, then in that moment of feeling fear, that which you are focused upon (the thought that caused the fear) is not in harmony with what you are wanting…”

    … Then it can’t be the FEAR ITSELF that’s not in harmony with what you are wanting… it’s the THOUGHT that created the fear (so that thought might be, “I’m going to speak in public more to get ahead in my career,” and the fear is the RESULTING emotion; or the thought might be, “I’m going to make a lot of money in this venture,” and the RESULTING emotion is doubt).

    Taking the quote AS IT’S WRITTEN, that means the thought about speaking in public more is not in harmony with what the person wants. So that person, following those teachings, would conclude that they’re not meant to speak in public, because that’s what the quote says. And as a result, they would stay in whatever rut they were in already.

    Likewise, the person feeling doubt, if following those teachings, could only conclude that the thought about making money was not in harmony with what they want… so they would give up on that idea and go back to their regular old lack thinking.

    This is where teachings like that have the potential to hold people back and make them fail.

    On the other hand, I see where it could be useful if the original thought was a limiting one, like, “If I speak in public, everyone will laugh at me.” That resulting fear WOULD show that the thought (being laughed at) was not in harmony with what the person wanted, which really was to get ahead, so they’d have to lose the thought about being laughed at and accept that they might do well.

    But that only works with certain thoughts. The black-and-white Abraham-Hicks quote doesn’t have enough shades of grey to work well for MOST people, and therefore I don’t see a lot of value in it.

    AND… it seems, by looking at my examples, that Stuart’s right. These particular emotions DO come from a shallow place, spurred on by our fleeting thoughts, not the deep truth of the soul. Sure, there are intuitive feelings that come from our “Inner Being” or “Soul” or “Higher Self”, but not every feeling fits the bill.


  21. Hey Barry,
    Thanks for the oportunity to hear what I’ve already known! It was great.
    I’ve never had any particular great epiphany or seen the burning bush, although I’m sure they have occured.

    The bottom line, Life IS about the journey. We want to think it’s more but it’s not. It IS about the journey we choose. Now, what most don’t realize is that it IS our journey to choose. That’s where LOA comes in.

    But it’s just a wonderful universal law that allows us to create the Journey want to create.

    And while I sit in comtemplation and pure positive thought about what I want to create for myself, which is of course joy and happiness, with lots of abundance thrown in there for fun, I also contribute to the joy and happiness of the world around me, becasue……………….that’s the world I am creating.
    And if you want to join the same world of joy and happiness you will be there, if you don’t, you won’t, but my world still goes on and I continue to create my joy so that one day those who don’t see finally do…………if indeed that is there desire.
    Either way, I win, because it’s not a race and we never get it done.

    See ya in the later,

  22. Not too long ago it finally sank in that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Everything is experience. I see no problem with leaning on philosophies to grow the experience. Problematic when we use it as a crutch to blame our experience on. The lack of choosing to be completely responsible for self is where I see a lot of issues arise. Personally, politically, medically, etc.

  23. The post has raised valid points regarding how people have tried to use the LOA without much success. In my opinion, when one watches the “The Secret” and hears the various gurus share their experiences, it is easy to think that applying the LOA is easy. However, what is not apparent to those wanting to use the LOA is that most the gurus have been working on their thought processes for a very long time as well as aligning their belief systems to benefit from the LOA. So when some people think it will be easy to manifest all their material needs, they still need to work on their belief systems surrounding money, guilt about abundance etc, which can hinder the LOA.

    As for the Stuart Davis article, he makes a key distinction between the ego ( lower self) and spirit (Higer Self). But I think he does not clearly distinguish how approaching the LOA from the ego and spirit viewpoints can lead to totally different manifestation outcomes. In other words, although people can use the LOA to manifest for ego purposes, these results don’t bring lasting fulfilment. The ego is always demanding more material things and is never satisfied!

  24. Part of the irony of dismissing the Law of Attraction, and saying that your thoughts mixed with emotion cannot enable you to achieve your dreams (of course, action is needed too), is that you will probably attract the kind of future that you do not want as a result.

    For example, “The Secret is a load of nonsense. Visualizing and focusing my thoughts on my dreams with emotion will not help me to achieve them. Thought energy doesn’t work and is the stuff of New Agers.” Etc.” Guess what will happen?

    I’d like to suggest that people with this belief are unaware of the science that has shown without any doubt that our thoughts and emotions can and do influence our environment and our own life.

    I’m not going to go into detail here; just point out a few relevant areas of scientific experiments. Here are the results:

    1. The DNA in our body has a direct effect on our environment.

    2. We can change our DNA by means of our thoughts and emotions, and thereby affect our health

    3. Human thoughts and emotions have the ability to change the effect that our DNA has on the environment.

    4. We can increase the energy that we emit from our body’s energy field by changing our thoughts and emotions.

    5. Distance is no obstacle when we use our emotions and thoughts to change the effect that our DNA has on the environment. We can influence our DNA with our thoughts and emotions even when our DNA is hundreds of miles away from us. The effect is instantaneous.

    6. I have demonstrated myself the proven fact that one’s thoughts can influence crop growth at any distance from the person thinking those thoughts.

    I find that I can use the LoA to my benefit or to my disadvantage, just like I can use my awareness of the Law of Gravity for good or bad.

    Everyone to his/her own, of course, but if I may say so, there are benefits to be had by not dismissing the LoA as nonsense. Thought energy is real and measurable.

    [ Barry’s Reply ] —

    Somehow, if find it interesting that you feel, Peter, that this post, or anybody referenced in it, is refuting the Law of Attraction. Certainly most of our readers here know it exists – they know WE “vouch for” inner-world work, just that we don’t advocate being over-consumed it in. There’s a big difference in how you “live,” based off how your reliance, interest, and over-examination one of ideal – one spiritual precept – is or isn’t working for you.

    After all, Pete, as I stated via the posted link below, it’s just one LAW – that’s it. And, moreover, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, when you don’t put importance on other laws as well.

    Read on here…

  25. Thanks to everyone here who took the time to post, most were very thoughtful, insightful and articulate. Barry and Heather are learning as they go. After all, didn’t they get into this game on the shirttails of the very Secret they now disdain? Aren’t they now ‘finding themselves’ by these posts? Aren’t they wanting the same kind of financial ‘success’ of some of the gurus? I’d stopped reading the posts for the very reason that B & H are so defensive of their own positions while espousing free-thinking, and it wasn’t until the Michael Campbell post that I realized that nothing has changed. I believe they both carry a great deal of anger, which is too bad, because they do have potential… as do we all. So shoot me for saying so.

    [Heather’s REPLY]:

    Wow, congratulations! You have written the SINGLE most arrogant, pompous, condescending and judgmental comment of all time!

    No, you won’t be shot, but you will have to face your own disturbingly negative energy. Look in the “mirror” (over-reactions like yours come from the “mirror effect”) and ask yourself why you feel the need to put down people who are helping others.

    You obviously don’t know anything about what we did with Masters of the Secret, because it wasn’t riding on any coattails, it was giving people a much-needed opportunity to go beyond what was taught in the movie The Secret and discover the missing parts that are required to help them consciously create their realities.

    We didn’t “disdain” the movie then, but we did point out its limitations. We didn’t judge it harshly, as it never claimed to be more than it was, but we realized that people needed a lot more if the topic was new to them… and that’s the same sentiment that caused Stuart Davis to write his article.

    Our feelings about the movie haven’t really changed. What HAS changed is the number of people who have now seen it (it was very underground at the time), and as a result more people have now decided that the shallow approach The Secret talks about is the be-all and end-all. And yes, many of them have misinterpreted the message, as we’ve said all along. Hence the need for articles like Stuart’s.

    No, we are not “finding ourselves” through making blog posts. What a condescending judgment to make. Only crazy people do their inner work in front of the whole world. We do a lot of research and preparation behind the scenes before publishing anything, and it’s anything but a personal spiritual quest through the desert that we just happen to be inviting you to watch.

    Do you think that anyone who critically examines human behavior, and points out stupidity for others to benefit from, is in the process of “finding themselves”? Do you think that Larry Winget and Randy Gage are “finding themselves” in their books, and Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Michael Moore are “finding themselves” on film and TV?

    If you feel yourself in a position to make that judgment of others, can we presume you’ve “found yourself”? If so, perhaps the community would benefit from you sharing, rather than just judging.

    Here’s a hint… we, like everybody in the world, “find ourselves” through the process of LIVING. These posts are simply allowing us to connect with our community, help people discover new things, engage in fascinating communication, and find more laughable human behavior to examine, such as yours.

    Next time, perhaps you can do what you’ve applauded the other community members for doing, and contribute some intelligent commentary about the content, rather than simply lashing out at the creators of it.

    Speaking of creating… we do so because we love it, and we continue to create every day. And yes, we do enjoy the financial rewards that come from giving value to the Universe. We never said we didn’t; we’ve been creating valuable content, and accepting financial reward, for many years now.

    But “financial success”, as you say, and “gurus”, as you say, are NOT mutually inclusive. We know that first hand from getting to know many teachers that people have labeled “gurus”. We don’t believe in the concept of special “gurus” who are somehow blessed with unique deep knowledge, though… we’re all gurus in that sense, because if you spell it out, you’ll see what it really says: G-U-R-U.

    “Guru” has too much baggage associated with it. We call people who have knowledge on a topic “teachers”, “mentors” or “experts”. And we, too, are teachers, mentors and experts on some things.

    As for us being “angry”, there are a few points here. First of all, anger is not something to be repressed as many people believe… another disservice that may have come partly from The Secret, or maybe from The Power of Positive Thinking. As Dr. John Demartini teaches (they cut this part out of The Secret), the Universe is in complete balance all the time. 50% positive, 50% negative. You HAVE TO experience both.

    But beyond that, you seem to confuse passion with anger. Perhaps you have never been passionate about creating something, exploring something, or sharing something with the world, so you might not understand that. Although, if you’ve truly “found yourself”, I’m having a hard time imagining how you did that without any passion, as it’s a driving force of human life.

    Yes, it IS possible to point out things that are out of place in this world while still maintaining that 50-50 balance.

    There’s a reason we wrote a report called “Self Help Nonsense”, and a reason why it’s now available for free at Masters of the Secret. You can get your copy here; I think it will be very useful to you:

    I know what you’re thinking: “See, they’re defensive! Told you so, told you so!” But Sharon, that reaction of yours would be the result of a contrived set-up, not the truth. Your approach is, “I’ll tell them all the things that I think are wrong with them, INCLUDING calling them defensive, and then they can’t respond rationally without proving my point, because it will be defensive! Ha ha!”

    And yet, I AM responding to you rationally, not reacting and lashing out as you did.

    It’s fine to judge if you do so after fully examining something with a critical eye, and do so from a place of conviction and inner knowing. It’s NOT fine to mis-judge others with unfounded statements as you’ve written here.

    Now, since you don’t read our posts enough to get an understanding of what we’re all about, I’ll leave you with this highlighted section from one of my recent articles… although maybe you DID read it after all, because you left a condescending comment on THAT post too (and I replied to you, starting with, “Well, meeee-ooowwww!” and gave you some good advice that could have stopped your repeating negative, judgmental pattern here, if you let it).

    For reference, your last comment and my response is here:

    And here’s your next step to consider:

    “KEY NOTE: If reading our stuff, which we wholeheartedly KNOW ahead of time will trip some people’s triggers (i.e. ruffle some feathers), offends your sensibilities, then just do it — just “unsubscribe”. Don’t throw some cheap warning our way about it. Our LWL brand has never been about “glorifying and ‘pedestal-izing’ fundamental LOA-thinking” and our motto has never been: “Life 100% Filtered For Your Protection.” We’re here to explore, to discover, to debate, to engage, to compel critical thinking, and to encourage you to SEE life with your EYES wide open. The last thing we care about is keeping people on our list who feel a Life Without Limits means “you should filter what you say, regardless of how you see it, research it, or know it to be, because people have feelings.”

    Hmmm, last time we checked, there are about 10,000 other communities out there who will fill you up with niceties and motivators from the same grade-school self-help primer. Life involves more than analyzing yourself to death, or discussing the merits of gratitude, or constantly trying to hone your meditation and intuitive skills. Self-exploration, when done with the right approach and in the right context, is a MUST; yet, while Barry and I shake our heads because we even have to mention this (it’s obvious, but NOT to some of our readers), we’ll REPEAT it again: Life’s about politics, economics / wealth, travel, business, marketing, health, family, relationships and more, and we’ll continue to provide commentary and products that sync up with a well-rounded view of living.”

  26. Heather & Barry

    Thanks for the insight. As always, you challenge me to examine my own thinking as I walk the path of personal growth and ‘enlightenment’. Please keep on doing what you do, and protecting us from being induced and/or duped by these so-called guru’s of enlightenment.

    I knew something was fishy when some of the very ones featured on “The Secret” kept sending me invitations to learn “The Secret behind The Secret”. Come on now, how much is it going to cost me to learn to use my brain and emotions to get the things that I want in life? As though I’ve never achieved ANYTHING without knowing this so-called “Secret”.

    I’ve come a long way BABY! And have miles to go before I sleep … miles to go . . .

    Loving every minute of it 🙂

    Thanks for being my friends along the way.

    P.S. Can’t wait for the Wealth Vault to open!

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