You are not a victim of the universe, but a part of it.
--from Your Invisible Power, by Genevieve Behrend
I've written before that Rhonda Byrne's The Secret left me somewhat disappointed with its derivative nature and overall superficiality, so I thought I'd attempt to go deeper into The Secret's subject matter by reading some of the primary texts Byrne used. I started with Your Invisible Power by Genevieve Behrend.
Unfortunately, it was nearly incomprehensible.
Not completely incomprehensible, mind you, but close. And while there's a lot of wisdom in this brief book, you'll need to wade through a fair amount of incoherent writing to get to it. It's a shame, because I think this book could be much better than it is--and if it were a better book, more people could get more value out of its pages. With that in mind, I'll try to help readers along by providing a brief roadmap of the best way to read Your Invisible Power.
First, do not start at the beginning! Start with Chapters 8, 9 and 10. This portion of the book gives the background of Behrend's search for meaning in life and her attempts to become a pupil of Judge Thomas Troward, who was her era's best known proponent of the so-called school of New Thought and the author of The Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science.
The story of how she managed to secure a teacher-student relationship with Troward--a bizarre tale which includes a French astrologer, a Persian cat and the Book of Revelations--is alone worth the price of admission, and it gives important context strangely missing from the beginning of her book. Read these later chapters first, return safely to Chapter 1, and you'll find the book a lot less incoherent.
Finally, you can completely skip the final two chapters, 16 and 17, which appear to be nothing more than unstructured notes. Weirdly, these chapters give readers the surreal impression that Behrend left her book unfinished.
Once again, it's unfortunate that a helpful book, addressing many of the principles and mechanics of visualization and the Law of Attraction, had to be written so poorly. There is a lot of value hidden away in these pages, but, sadly, few readers today will have the patience to dig for it.
One other thought: gullible and credulous readers often mistakenly believe an inscrutable book requires study, as if the book's inscrutability is the fault of the reader, not the author. Don't be trapped by this mindset. Read Your Invisible Power according to my road map, get what you can out of it, and always remember that all authors have an enormous obligation to their readers to state their views as clearly and unconfusingly as possible.
Ironically, I'm starting to become thankful that The Secret's Rhonda Byrne borrowed many of Behrend's principles of visualization in this book in her (as I condescendingly put it) derivative work. Rhonda did us all a bigger favor than I thought by transforming these ideas into coherent prose.
In the coming weeks, I'll be reading a few more of the source texts Byrne used, again to see if the ideas borrowed throughout The Secret are addressed with more substance and more originality. For now, however, I'm seriously rethinking The Secret's value as a clearly-written, if simple, Cliff Notes version of the entire New Thought movement.
A final note: Your Invisible Power is in the public domain, so while you are perfectly free to pay a nominal cost for the physical book at Amazon (and support my blogging efforts while you're at it!), you can also obtain an electronic version of the book at no cost here and here.