Book Summary: The Greatest Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Quick Summary: As the sequel to the best-selling book The Secret, The Greatest Secret uses the laws of attraction to help readers improve their lives. In this installment, we uncover a greater secret: who we really are, and how that knowledge can lead us to everlasting happiness.

You don’t have to read the whole book if you don’t have time. This summary will provide you with an overview of everything you can learn from this book.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

The Greatest Secret By Rhonda Byrne Book Summary

Introduction

A secret lies in plain sight, waiting to be discovered. But most people are unaware of it. This is a secret known to the world’s prophets, sages, and religious leaders for eons. You can live a life free of all negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, irrespective of who you are.

The majority of people are unaware of this hidden secret, even though it is right in front of their faces. In the age of chaos and distractions, we have been blinded to the truth: that everlasting peace can be achieved by all, not just those with enlightened minds.

What is this elusive secret? Get ready – you’re about to find out.

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Lesson 1: Your true self is not an individual

Let’s begin by asking a simple question: Who are you?

You may be thinking, well, that’s easy. As a person, you have a name, you have an age, you have an ethnicity, and you have a particular set of memories.

What if you discovered that you are not human at all? Could you be something else entirely? Could your identity be an illusion – one that causes you all your suffering and pain?

You might not feel like you’re suffering. You might feel anxious, stressed, or upset occasionally. Doesn’t everyone feel this way sometimes? No, they don’t! 

A person suffering from any negative feelings is, according to the author, experiencing pain. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way – you can live a life of blissful, constant happiness. Realizing who you truly are is the first step.

At this moment, you are almost certainly experiencing an experience that feels like being a person. Your body seems to be there. Your mind seems to exist. But these feelings are really illusions hiding the truth.

Firstly, let’s look at the body. Consider it like a car – something you use to get around. Inside a car, you never refer to yourself as the car. Your body is just a vehicle through which your true self moves.

Your mind is not who you are, either, despite the fact that it often appears to be so. The voice within your head talks like you, knows all about you, and uses the word “I” to refer to itself. But that voice belongs to your mind, not to you. 

In the absence of thoughts, there will be no mind – but you will still exist since you are neither a thought nor a feeling.

The traits that make you up are also not what make you who you are. So how could you be you? Personalities change throughout life. It’s not possible that these different versions of you are the real you; if they were, a piece of you would disappear whenever your personality changed.

Your true self is not a body, not a mind, not a personality. Who are you? In the next insight, you’ll learn the answer to the most important secret.

Lesson 2: Your true self is Awareness

Let me ask you another question: Are you aware?

To this question, there is only one answer. You must be aware because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t know the question. Since you were a child until now, you have been aware of it. It is only your awareness that remains constant, no matter how much your body changes, how much your personality changes, and how much you experience new emotions.

The greatest secret is that. Awareness is the real you. Awareness of everything you experience makes you who you are.

If you would like to understand your true nature – Awareness – then you should try a very quick thought experiment. Picture yourself without any body. Think about how you would feel if you had no mind, no name, and no history. Take away all your thoughts, memories, and beliefs. What remains? Only Awareness.

Awareness is known by many names: consciousness, true nature, infinite being. They are all simply different names for the same thing. The innermost part of you is awareness — the part that remains the same as you age or as your mood changes. The innermost part of you is pure love and infinite peace.

A remarkable aspect of Awareness is that it is shared by everyone. Your body and mind act like a localized funnel for one Awareness. As a result, you cannot experience Awareness in its entirety at the same time. You are aware of the vast, formless expanse of Awareness, which resides within you and surrounds you.

Also, awareness has no expiration date. It existed before your body or your mind. Your fear of death is probably caused by the mistaken belief that when your body dies, you will also die. However, this is not the case! The material world dies, yes, but your awareness, your real self, is eternal.

It isn’t necessary to become or attain anything to access the power of Awareness. Awareness is already within you, so you cannot become it! Living in the knowledge that you are Awareness is all you need to do. You will be relieved of all your thoughts and mental torment once you do. Your life will no longer be filled with suffering, but will instead be filled with pure happiness. The next insight will reveal how.

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Lesson 3: Consciously stay as Awareness by following the three-step practice

The author uses an awareness practice to stay aware. Three steps are involved.

As a first step, ask yourself, Am I aware? Don’t try to answer with your mind. You can simply feel its presence as you ask the question. Ask yourself the question again if your mind starts to wander with an answer or a thought. You don’t have to cling to Awareness too tightly either. It will bring you feelings of relief, peace, and happiness.

Slowly, your mind will begin to quieten. You will then be able to proceed to step two: noticing Awareness.

You will notice awareness more automatically once your mind begins to quiet, without having to ask yourself if you’re aware. Throughout the day, focus on the feeling of Awareness as much as possible. You will feel a deep sense of peace as a result.

Practicing staying as Awareness is the final step. You must modify how you direct your attention to achieve this.

You might find it helpful to imagine your mind as a zoom lens. This method focuses your attention on narrow, specific details – as if you were taking close-up photos. However, in order to capture a wide-open space, you need to zoom out as much as possible. Your attention needs to remain open and wide in order to remain Awareness.

Right now, you can try it for yourself. Take a look around and find something that interests you. Concentrate all your attention on it. Zoom out when you are done. Observe your surroundings as much as possible, and don’t concentrate on anything in particular. As a result, you will feel an immediate sense of relief and relaxation, as you will no longer need to exert energy to maintain focused attention.

When you practice staying as Awareness, your mind becomes quieter and quieter. Tough tasks will become easier and easier. By becoming calmer, you’ll be able to handle storms of negative emotion much more effectively. Awareness itself can’t be disturbed.

Your mind, however, likely still controls the show at the moment. Negativity’s power lies in your belief that it originates from somewhere outside of you. Here’s a spoiler: it doesn’t.

Lesson 4: We are dominated by negative thoughts and feelings

Are you aware that you have a computer program inside of you? That’s right! The mind controls your life, and you probably still give it more power than it deserves.

You accept everything you see with your conscious mind, your thinking mind. Ultimately, all of that information gets stored in your subconscious, which acts as a repository for all your past experiences. That material is recycled by the subconscious and turned into beliefs, which may be true or false. 

Those beliefs then become thoughts that run in a loop in your head. There’s a lot of limiting thinking going on in our minds, such as I don’t have enough money or That person doesn’t approve of me.

People often mistakenly believe that there are negative situations somewhere “out there” in the world. All negativity, however, stems from the thoughts you have about those situations. Shakespeare once said, “There is nothing either good or bad, only thinking makes it so.”

The process is vicious. An unpleasant feeling will result in a negative thought about it. This will cause you to feel even more unpleasant. Soon enough, your view of your life will be obscured by a veil of sadness.

You will also experience negative situations if you think negatively. As you think more negatively, you will attract more negativity in general. Continuing to let your mind tell you that you lack money, time, or love will result in you lacking these things.

You limit yourself unnecessarily when you feel negative. When you were a child, you learned to suppress your feelings instead of expressing them immediately. All of the bad feelings you experienced as a child still linger in your soul as an adult. The subconscious is where they live, where their negative energy can disrupt your health.

A negative feeling can keep you from experiencing the happiness that is your true nature if you’re not feeling happy right now. But you have the power over negativity – forever! Just use the power of Awareness.

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Lesson 5: Stop identifying yourself with negative feelings, and embrace them

It seems like everything is going right when you are feeling good. Amazingly, your energy is limitless, but you’re also relaxed at the same time! Your true nature is this good feeling, because Awareness is your true nature, and positivity flows from Awareness.

On the other hand, negative feelings result from resistance to a situation or event. When something happens and you react negatively – “No! I don’t want this! That creates tension and resistance in the body and mind. The negative feelings remain longer as a result.

The maintenance of positive feelings is effortless, whereas the maintenance of negative feelings requires a great deal of energy. You don’t need to waste energy on negativity if you can drop this resistance.

The next time you feel a negative emotion, pay attention to it. Do not resist it. When you stop resisting your negative feelings, you’ll find that they simply disappear.

Likewise, you can engage in the practice of welcoming, which is a powerful way to let go of past and present negative feelings. It involves merely opening your mind to negative emotions. As if you were about to embrace someone, you can even physically open your arms to the side. The tension in your body will begin to melt away as you start to feel your heart open.

Once, when the author was dealing with painful emotions associated with a childhood memory, welcoming helped. Amazingly, she doesn’t remember that childhood memory anymore. She banished the memory completely by releasing the negative energy attached to it.

That’s how to handle negative feelings. Negative thoughts often generate negative feelings, but what about the thoughts themselves?

Being aware of your thoughts will help you get rid of them, too. Eventually, you will no longer believe them.

Pay attention to what you are thinking. Recognize that they aren’t you; they come from your mind. By viewing thoughts from a detached perspective, you’ll have the option of believing each one or not. 

Rather than letting your thoughts dictate your actions, be the Awareness that is aware of your actions. By simply practicing this one simple technique, you will begin to manifest positivity in your life.

Lesson 6: Become aware of your false and limiting beliefs

Thoughts and beliefs are very similar. A belief is actually just a thought you have had so often that you now consider it true.

Think about it: If you want more money, you have to work more hours. Most likely, you heard this from someone else. Soon, you start doing the same thing. Eventually, you accept it as truth. Eventually, you begin to see it everywhere.

This belief, however, is not objectively true. It is simply what you are experiencing. You are actually prevented from having contradictory experiences by your belief! In this example, your belief has prevented you from receiving any cash windfall from any other source.

We must simply eliminate disempowering and limiting views like this one. We must first become aware of what we believe.

You need to become conscious of your beliefs in order to dissolve them. The nature of your beliefs may not always be obvious. Therefore, give instructions to your subconscious mind. Tell it: “Show me all of my beliefs, one by one, so I can become aware of them.” 

Keep a very close watch on your beliefs as they are revealed to you. Watch out for statements starting with “I think,” “I don’t think,” “I believe,” or “I don’t believe.” What follows will be one of your beliefs.

Being aware of your reactions is another way to spot your beliefs. Reactions are simply beliefs expressed in another way.

As an example, imagine you just received your monthly electric bill. Because you didn’t expect it to be so high, you react negatively -* perhaps with anger or sadness. You may react like this because you think you were overcharged, or you don’t have enough money.

Being aware of a belief or reaction you have is all you need to do. You’ll remove all power from that belief or reaction. You’ll be able to dissolve all of your beliefs – along with the limiting thoughts that your subconscious mind has attached to them – once you accept that they are just stories you’ve told yourself.

Your body will feel lighter and less burdened as you use your Awareness to dissolve your beliefs. You can do whatever you want, no limits.

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Lesson 7: Everything we see is an illusion created by our minds

There is often violence and turmoil in the world. There is hunger, war, and poverty, all of which cause desperation. Sages and mystics, however, claim that all is well.

When there is so much bad happening, how can they possibly think that way? It’s because they understand what most people can’t: everything is an illusion.

There is no doubt that everything exists in definite, concrete form. But the key word here is seems. In fact, science tells us the world really is quite different from what we imagine it to be. Sound is really just vibrations that our brains convert into sounds. 

As quantum physics tells us, everything in the room we’re sitting in returns to a mere wave of probability when we leave.

Many of these illusions can be shattered by science, giving us a better understanding of objective reality. However, it relies on the world being material and separate from us, so it cannot answer two big questions: “What is the universe made of? and “Where does consciousness originate?”

Scientists might not be able to answer these questions. Sages can.

It seems quite simple to them. A big bang occurred at the beginning of the universe, and the universe will end at some point in the future. Since the universe is finite, that means it came from something infinite. Consciousness, according to the sages, is that infinite substance. It does not originate anywhere. It just is. It is both within us and surrounding us.

Guess what? You yourself are the infinite Consciousness from which the universe is created! The vast screen of Consciousness shows everything you see in your life like a movie.

On a clear night, you can see an expanse of stars that seems endless. They certainly seem to be outside of you. It is your brain that converts the light particles you see into an image when they strike your retina. Thus, what you see outside of you is actually taking place inside of you. As everyone else in the world, you are the universe. Take the power that resides in that reality.

Final Summary

Every person on earth can experience everlasting happiness. 

Most people can’t attain this because they continue to mistakenly identify with their bodies and minds rather than with their true nature, Awareness. 

When you stay as Awareness and welcome all of your feelings, you can be rid of negativity for good.

About The Author

Rhonda Byrne is the brains behind The Secret, a documentary and best-selling book. Byrne has been featured in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most spiritually influential people, as well as in Mind Body Spirit’s list. 

The Secret is not Byrne’s only book. He’s also written The Power, The Magic, and Hero.

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