Your Secret Agenda

Here’s an admission: I spent a good portion of my first forty-five years with a secret or hidden agenda driving my behavior. And today, occasionally, this duplicitous habit creeps back in.

What is a secret agenda?

You’ll recognize it when described. It’s pervasive and so hard to detect that virtually all of us possess and promote secret agendas without even knowing it.

In short, doing good, serving others, or even exploring spirit or God with a “secret agenda” of personal benefit—gratification, enriching yourself, overcoming private issues—is what this article points to.

A secret agenda is:

  • Giving a homeless person ten bucks so you can feel better about yourself.

  • Delving into the nature of Consciousness (Peace, Happiness) so you can become more peaceful and happier.

  • Using the so-called “law of attraction” to attract money into your bank account.

  • Having a preacher or cleric speak to your team for the purpose of winning games.

  • Promoting the military in order to galvanize the support of your voters.

  • Tweeting about your client’s successes under the guise of, “My message is so important, I must get it out there any way I can.”

  • Praying to God for your personal salvation.

  • Writing an article about secret agendas, with the secret agenda of acquiring adulation, followers, or future business.

A secret agenda, at its root, appears when the ego hijacks our natural pull inward toward Source (this pull may be experienced as curiosity, a desire to know, or insecurity) and spins it outward, toward desperately seeking in the relationships, activities, status, or achievements of the objective world.

Now, I’m not blaming you for your secret agendas. We’re all pretty much programmed to aggrandize and benefit the separate self by any possible means. And, again, it’s so easy to miss.

Just last week, for instance, in talking about our son Ryan, who's endeavoring to work his way up the ranks as a college or pro baseball coach, Liz, my wife, innocently said: “All Ryan has to do is keep showing up as the Love that he is. You never know how that will come back to him down the road.”

See what I mean? The most caring person I know uttered this refrain innocently oblivious of the agenda behind the second sentence. The first was textbook. Then, the ego swept in with the intent of turning love into some self-fulfillment strategy. But love can’t be used that way. The ego survives and thrives by taking us on mind-bending searches to nowhere. On the contrary, “showing up as Love,” that’s the true Self in motion; Ryan expressing who he is rather than seeking to reinforce or enable the ego—who he is not—through his coaching.

My message today is stark, and essential. While the true Self has no agenda—it is complete as itself by itself—you and I have been conditioned to lack, raised to be separate, we’ve been emboldened to seek (some of us have even been taught to find wholeness through more “high-minded” behaviors such as meditating, serving others, saving the world, or worshipping God). But check in with your own experience. Behaviors with personal intent lack integrity or virtue, thus they’ve yet to bring, and will never bring, peace.

Instead, now that they’re no longer secret, when our secret agendas creep in, let’s call them out for just what they are: ego trips to suffering. You simply cannot find peace or happiness in the objective world. And yet, as Liz knew of Ryan, you can powerfully and movingly express yourself in that world.

Absent of a personal, hidden, or secret agenda, know yourself as Love, take a stand as Love, and go.

Chips fall as they may.