Archive for March, 2010

We think of self-help books and groups as ‘new age’ and a modern phenomenon but in fact neither of them are anything new.  A book published in 1910 has become popular again because it inspired a contemporary author – but that book has never been out of print.  It all started back in the late 1800’s…

The New Thought Movement

This predominantly spiritual movement started in America in the late 19th Century.  It attracted an eclectic group of religious and non-religious members, authors, philosophers and those with metaphysical beliefs.  A hundred years ago, the members of the New Thought Movement believed in the power of positive thoughts, creative visualization, the laws of attraction and personal power.  Do those ideas sound familiar?

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802 – 1866)

This gloriously named philosopher was the earliest follower of New Thought.  He also practiced mesmerism (today’s hypnotism) and healing.  He was also an inventor.  Quimby thought that illness was caused by believing in the ‘wrong’ things.  He argued that if a person held their mind open to the wisdom of God, then any illness would be overcome.  He called this the ‘mental healing movement’.

Wallace D. Wattles – author of ‘The Science of Getting Rich’

Wattles had used mental strategies that he learned from Quimby to overcome illness and feelings of physical discomfort.  Wattles called Quimby’s mental strategies ‘a certain way of thinking’.

As word spread about the power of the mind to heal, people began to wonder if this ‘certain way’ of thinking could have other powers.  Wattles began to apply the mental healing strategies to financial situations in the hopes of achieving material comfort as well as physical.

The Science Of Getting Rich’ is a book that was written by Wallace D. Wattles and published in 1910.  Wattles, a former Methodist, deliberately used the word ‘science’ in the title of the book to show his secular (non religious) approach to the mental strategies originated by Quimby.

Wattles also wrote two other ‘Science of…’ books: ‘The Science of Being Well’ (also published in 1910) and ‘The Science of Being Great’ (published in 1911).  These three were obviously intended to be a ‘self-help’ set as they were originally published in matching bindings for the discerning thinkers’ library shelves.

‘The Science of Getting Rich’ features chapter titles such as “How to Use the Will” and “Further Use of the Will”, in line with Wattle’s ‘certain way of thinking”.  This book spawned similar works by peers of Wattles, such as ‘The Master Key System’ by Charles F. Haanel (published in 1912), ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill (published in 1937) and works by a Methodist minister called Frank Channing Haddock – ‘Power of Will’, Power for Success’ and ‘Mastery of Self for Wealth Power Success’.

Criticism of ‘The Science of Getting Rich’

The Ankerberg Theological Institute criticizes the book for being centered on the individual instead of God.  The Institute claims that this striving for personal wealth ignores passages in the Bible that are against that way of thinking.  The Institute has a free pdf book called ‘Exposing the Secret’ available for download from their site.

Current followers of the ‘New Thought’ movement contend that everyone is a spiritual being and that God is a supreme, everlasting, infinite intelligence.  They say that “the highest spiritual principle (is) loving one another unconditionally…and teaching and healing one another”, and that “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living”.

Advocates of the book say that its’ theme was misunderstood.  They claim that it helps people to reach full personal development – not just wealth – and that it brings a better understanding of how our spiritual wealth fits into God’s plan.

Why is the book in the news again now?

Rhonda Byrne claimed on Oprah Winfrey’s website that it was ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ that inspired her film and book – both called ‘The Secret’.

Rhonda found ‘the secret’ in 2004.  At that time, she was in “total despair” as she had terrible physical, emotional and financial problems and then her father died.  Her daughter, distressed at how upset her mother was, gave her a copy of ‘The Science of Getting Rich’.  Byrne said “Something inside of me had me turn the pages one by one, and I can still remember my tears hitting the pages as I was reading it…It gave me a glimpse of The Secret. It was like a flame inside of my heart. And with every day since, it’s just become a raging fire of wanting to share all of this with the world.”

Who is Rhonda Byrne?

She is an Australian television producer and writer.  She made a film called ‘The Secret’ in 2006, for Prime Time Productions.  The film contains interviews regarding the power of positive thinking and is available on DVD . The following year, she wrote a book of the same title, based on the film.

The book sold half a million copies in its’ first six months and has now sold several million.  The DVD has also sold in millions.

In 2007, Time Magazine included Byrne in its’ list of ‘100 people who shape the world’.

The book and film have been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Ellen show and on Larry King.  You can watch Oprah talking to Larry King about ‘The Secret’ here. It has also, inevitably, attracted negative press.  Try a Google search of criticism of the secret and you’ll see what we mean.

The book is available in hardcover (198 pages) and has attracted an amazing 2,490 comments by Amazon.com reviewers It’s also available from Amazon as an Audiobook CD (used and new).

The power of positive thinking…

…is nothing new as we have seen.  In these difficult times, thinking positively can do no harm and it has obviously helped a lot of people.  Why not buy the ‘The Science of Getting Rich’ and / or ‘The Secret’ and see if positive thought can help you?

What is Chi?

For billions of people Chi is a very real and personal entity. But what is Chi. Simply put it’s the life force that surrounds us and abides within us.  Chi is a concept found primarily in Asian spiritualism. It relates directly to such concepts as martial arts, Chinese medicine, and Feng Shui.

In Chinese medicine the thought is that an imbalance of Chi within the body leads to different illnesses. The healer will address the area that has a Chi blockage and prescribe various remedies to open that area back up, restoring spiritual as well as physical health.  There are 7 major Chi points on the body each corresponding to a different color and element.

With regards to martial arts such as kung fu and karate, Chi is an inner power that is focused during combat. A practitioner will concentrate his Chi and release it through a punch of kick. The thinking is that this extra energy being expended results in greater physical power. For Chi to be effectively used in combat the martial artist must be calm and focused.

What is probably the most common expression of Chi for westerners resides in the concepts of Feng Shui. Feng Shui concerns itself with the lay out of homes and buildings. Since Chi energy flows around and through everything it’s important that it have a natural path to follow. There are very specific guidelines for setting up living areas so that Chi stays balanced. These include sleeping with a bathroom door closed so Chi won’t flow out through the drains and using rounded edged furniture to keep the Chi fro being cut or damaged.

What’s important to remember is that Chi is a living energy that helps us be the people we are. Without it we would just be shells. It is Chi that gives us our lives

There are few stones as breathtaking as Fire Agate. This rare gemstone is only found in areas from Mexico to Arizona to California. It’s a hard mineral that is not only difficult to find but exceedingly hard to cut and polish. As far as spiritual properties go fire agate represents creative power. 

Everything you need to know about fire agate: 

First things first, fire agate is a pretty new discovery. It’s only been found and polished into gemstones in the last few decades. One of the unique attributes of the stone is that it doesn’t form a normal crystalline structure gem. It forms more like sedimentary rock. This means that the gems end up being really strange shapes and sizes making it much harder to use for jewelry.

 Even though fire agate is hard to work with and even harder to shape and facet it still commands a premium price since it’s only found in one really small part of the world. 

If you manage to get your hands on a piece of rough fire agate you’ll have to be extremely careful when shaping and polishing it. If you take off too many layers of sediment you’ll ruin the entire finish. It’s a much better idea to hire a professional to bring out the beauty of the stone.  

For those concerned with spirituality fire agate represents the creative explosive power of nature.  It can be used to ward off depression as well as to defend against negative burst of energy from hateful individuals.  

If you are looking to harness fire agate for healing it’s red color most represents the circulatory system and should address those issues.

 Whether you are choosing fire agate for its sheer natural beauty or for its spiritual qualities it’s a unique beautiful gemstone that looks great in any setting.