DEAR FRIENDS -- I received this message today from a man who attends my classes on self-love and self-discovery in New York City:
"Dear Bryan: In the book "The Secret" they say we can have what we want. Is this true?"
Like millions of people, he is reading "The Secret" and other books like it that claim to understand the way the universe works and how this knowledge can lead you to fulfillment. While there is much more for me to say on this topic, I thought you would find my simple answer to be both controversial and, I hope, thought provoking. I offer it from my desire for your lasting joy and happiness.

'Dear Paul -- It simply isn't true that we can get everything that we want. That is neither the purpose of our lives, nor the way that life works. The universe does not, in reality, function as a limitless warehouse ready to ship us anything we desire, as soon as we achieve sufficient purity of thought! I suspect that the popularity of such a grandiose ideology stems from people's desire to overcome their feelings of anxiety, neediness and helplessness. And also to suppress the emotional pain that every single one of us experiences in the face of our failures and disappointments​.​ Many times it is more self-loving and growthful to accept our failure to fulfill a desire, rather than believing that we are failures and working obsessively to perfect our thinking. In the end, a self-accepting and trusting heart is far more important than a dubious belief in the omnipotence of our minds!
Having said this, I do believe that the philosophy behind "The Secret" has a bit of truth in it -- one's positive thoughts do help one move toward one's goals and dreams, and do tend to energize other peoples' support to some degree. But the idea that there is a "law of attraction" woven into the fabric of reality, that works unerringly so long as your thoughts are pure and perfect, is an illusion arising from a subconscious need for complete control.
So while we cannot, via our perfect thinking, manifest all our desires and get everything we want, we can -- and must! -- get what we need. And the most important thing we need is complete love for and belief in ourselves. Without that, you could "manifest" all your desires -- career, money, relationships, etc. -- and still feel empty and unsatisfied. But if your connection to yourself fills you and fulfills you, manifesting things externally is no longer the point of your life. And whatever you do manifest, you will be able to truly cherish and enjoy -- because it's not a substitute for loving yourself!
So, I think that books like "The Secret" can be a big -- shall we say -- distraction on the issue of how life works and what you need to be focussing on to find lasting happiness and inner peace. Make sense? Nice to hear from you!' LOTS OF LOVE -- BRYAN