I’ve been struggling with understanding The Secret for a while now – in fact before the hype started. Part of my struggle is that I hear people say to (to me) opposite things. On the one hand there’s the idea that we are responsible for our own life. If we truly clean up our act, we will be happy, because we’ve let go of guilt and only let positive energy into our lives. If we want something, we should visualize it and create it from within. I’ll leave the contrast between actual action and visualizing change for the moment.
We are told to ‘let go’, to ‘not be ambitious’, to surrender to the universe. People are saying that we should let coincidences into our lives. We should be open to what presents itself – because the universe knows best.
Am I missing something here? Isn’t it part of life to make choices, take responsibility for where we are and where we want to go? How does waiting for fate going to change my life?
The type of thinking I’m trying to understand here seems to have two aspects:
- You are in this life to learn life’s lessons, the lessons you chose to learn. You are responsible for both the lessons and the way you respond to them.
- Your most interesting life is going to be lived not by controlling everything, but by letting the universe tell you where you need to be. Let coincidence and fate decide things for you.
While I have my reservations about the first idea – I’m not responsible for the mistakes people make while learning their lessons (to name one – I have more reservations about the second: If I let coincidences rule my life, I am not making choices – I’m just being a passive feather on the sea of life. I know some people who live like that – and I feel they are doing even worse than not making choices: they’re not taking responsibility for their lives.
The most important lessons I’ve learned in my life were while taking actual responsibility. I chose something, threw myself into that, and ended up failing miserably. No coincidences there. No universe telling me something: just me trying to find my way in a very complicated world.
First published and discussed here.