I was thinking about The Secret the other night, Deepak Chopra's book on visualizing things into being. It was introduced to me by one of my students. I haven't heard as much about it lately; perhaps it's no longer fashionable, and people are waiting for the next malarky cart to come by. His idea, baldly put, is that by eliminating negative thoughts and visualizing achieving goals, one's health will improve and desires will be fulfilled. This is owing to something he calls "the Law of Attraction," which says the universe stands ready to dole out its gifts to anyone who truly wants them.
It's familiar Norman Vincent Peale positive thinking mixed in with Christian Science, aromatically seasoned with Eastern Mysticism. What's particularly frustrating isn't that it's nonsense, but that it's so nearly true; for some reason though, it's the nonsense aspect that so entrances adherents, so much so they will forego a wheelbarrow of common sense for a teaspoon of hocus-pocus.
Wishful thinking ain't gonna get you Jack, my friend. The Universe ain't in the business of dishing out goodies. The Universe does not know you're here. BUT. It is indisputable - and also common sense, which is maybe what Chopra et al can't pedal it - that knowing what you want is the indispensible first step to getting it, and a powerful first step it is. As that other great mystic, Yogi Bera, put it, "If you don't know where you're going, you may not get there." How powerful is a person who knows what he wants. He's like a wakeful person in a world of sleepwalkers. Knowing what you want - and the more clearly you know it, the more powerful you are - is the real secret of visualization. It means you can see what you have to do to get it, and that you are free to take action.
When you are thirsty, you do not ponder, but go and get yourself some water. If all your desires were as clear to you as that need, your course of action would be as obvious as walking to the sink. That's the "Secret." It's no secret.