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The Secret: Is It the Real Deal?

A theory about the power of positive thinking draws adherents -- and controversy.
By
WebMD Feature

Imagine if all successful people knew something that you didn't -- something that enabled them to amass tremendous amounts of riches and live long, healthy, happy, and potentially disease-free lives.

Well, they just might, according to a hot new self-help book and a documentary DVD aptly titled The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The Secret boasts a growing list of disciples including talk show host Oprah Winfrey. It basically takes the power of positive thinking to a higher ground.

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Envisioning What You Want Will Help You Attract It

In a nutshell, if you think it, want it, and feel it, it can be yours -- whether it's good health, a new BMW, or even a spot on American Idol. According to Byrne and many who teach the tenets of The Secret, such luminaries as Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Beethoven, Einstein, and many more all knew this.

The Secret is really quantum physics in action, explains Anne Taylor, the Cleveland-based author of Secrets of Attraction and Quantum Success.

"The Secret is the law of attraction and that's about energy," she tells WebMD.

Like Attracts Like

According to quantum physics, we all project measurable energetic frequencies or vibrations, she explains. "We project energy in our emotions, beliefs, and thoughts, and that is really the source of what and who we attract and the basis of our sense of well-being," she says.

"If I am always depressed, that's what I project in my energy field -- and I attract people and situations that are even more depressing," she says. "It's about matching energies."

The Secret is "not wishing for something and thinking about it and focusing on it, it's about understanding and perhaps changing our personal energy," she says.

Take infertility, for example. "If you are urgent and desperate to achieve something like having a baby, then that urgency and desperation will sabotage your intention," she says. "You need to try to release the urgency. You will become more fertile and more likely to conceive if you are relaxed, not anxious, and not obsessing."

The Law of Attraction Plus Action

Amy Applebaum, a Los Angeles-based life coach and certified hypnotherapist, puts it this way: "The law of attraction is about attracting what you want. Like a magnet, you attract what you focus on," she tells WebMD.

"If you focus on the negative or the problems in your life, your life will be 'the problem.' But if you focus on solutions and what you want, your life will be 'the solution,'" says Applebaum, author of the forthcoming Bootcamp for Your Mind.

But, she cautions, "you don't get what you want just by sitting in a room and thinking about what you want. The key to all of this is action: Your actions must be in alignment with your thinking," she says. "Without it, you are sitting on the couch, dreaming up your life, but nothing is getting created."

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