Would like a side of cash with that?

?Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I?m not sure about the former.??Albert Einstein


?Read it with a grain of salt, then tell me what you think,? my sister said as she slipped a copy of ?The Secret? into my hand.

I glanced around and quickly stuffed the book into my bag, feeling that I had somehow just stepped within the grasp of some bazaar metaphysical society. (No offense to my sister, she?ll understand. I think.)

But I also wondered if the world as I knew it was about to change.

Well, not really. But I was still curious.

?The Secret,? if you haven?t heard about it, is a book and DVD by Rhonda Byrne, an Australian television producer, and packaged as the answer to ?it all.? (Very effectively packaged too, since almost 4 million books have sold just in the United States.)

I kept it tucked inside of my bag for a few more days, unable to shake the awkwardness of having the book in my possession, although I couldn?t pinpoint why. It must have been the mixed opinions I had heard, from it being cult-like to new-age junk.

Whatever the reason, I wasn?t about to crack it open on my lunch break. It was now my secret, to be read in the comfort of my own closet, door closed, under a blanket, with a flashlight.

OK, it wasn?t that bad. But until I had a feel for what it was about, I kept it to myself.

So now I?ve read it. It was? bizarre.

Some of its principals are the ?Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten? rules, rearranged. Be nice and you?ll get nice back.

But then they threw out insightful tidbits like this:

?If you summon the universe by saying ?I don?t want to spill something on this outfit,? the universe translates this as, ?I want to spill something on this outfit.?


What is the big secret then?

Visualize. It?s the Law of Attraction. All you have to do to get the things you want is to ?place your order with the universe.? How do you do that? By living as if you already have those things.

And think only positive thoughts. According to ?The Secret,? people who are sick, poor, overweight, abused, or otherwise miserable, have brought it on themselves with negativity and bad choices.

Yep, if you don?t get what you want or if you get something you don?t want, it?s your own fault.

And if you really mess up and do something as foolish as say, get cancer, well, shame on you. (I read that one of their experts also recommended foregoing chemo for positive thoughts.)

In the financial chapter, they suggested convincing yourself that the bills coming in the mail were actually checks.

Put your need out there?envision that money and eventually you would actually get checks in the mail.

Crazy? Uh-huh. But for the sake of experimentation, I tried it for a week.

?Hey, look at all these checks!? I told my cat for the fifth day in a row, smiling hopefully and fanning a handful of envelopes. She flicked her tail and disappeared around the corner.

Either I didn?t visualize clearly enough, my cat sabotaged my good vibe, or the universe simply misunderstood, because while I did receive some checks, it was a box of 200 from Checks-In-the-Mail.

Not what I had in mind.

If taken as my sister advised?with a grain of salt?a person could find some good in ?The Secret?s? philosophy.

It encourages positive thinking, taking responsibility for yourself, the Golden Rule, garbage in/garbage out, all that good stuff.

There?s no denying that ?The Secret? worked for its creator, Rhonda Byrne. And so did her marketing strategy.

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