Awakening to happiness
Vitale has come a long way from living on the streets in Dallas - "probably around 1976, 1977, 1978" - when a firm went bankrupt with his savings. In The Awakening Course: The Secret to Solving All Problems, he asks: "How did that person become this person?" The key is finding happiness by transcending your toughest problems - and the need to struggle or make some "effort" through life - through what he calls the "four stages of awakening", Vitale says.
In the first stage of "victimhood", Vitale urges readers not to think like victims because bad things can create changes for the good. Citing how the fuel crises led to more economic cars, Vitale says "awakening" begins when you audit and "breathe through" your fears and failures, and stop blaming everyone for your woes, allowing you to create a new "reality" for yourself.
To "awaken" you must take responsibility for failures, learn from hurt and recognise the need "to do things differently", Vitale says. Then audit your strengths, because whatever you decide to focus on, you do best.
In the second stage of "empowerment", Vitale describes how good things can come to you, even at "the right seminar", when you move on and are happy inside. His "laws of attraction" then state how "everything you are getting in life, you are attracting because of your conscious beliefs".
Tackle self-confidence and deservedness issues and you'll feel more empowered. Visualise your goal "with feeling" and "the universe will supply it to you", Vitale says, offering meditation guidelines.
Intent is key, he adds. Avoid saying: "I hate my job." Instead, say: "I intend to love my job" or "I intend to attract the job I do love."
The third stage of "surrender" involves a Hawaiian technique that Vitale calls "Self I-dentity Ho'oponopno" and stems from a doctor's claims of success with difficult patients in a prison asylum.
The doctor felt he was a co-creator of the people who upset him, and offered his feelings to the "divine", Vitale says, repeating the physician's plea.
"If these people showed up in my life, then in some way, shape or form, I helped to create them."
Facing difficulties, Vitale asks the "divine" to forgive him "for what I've done in my life. I'm not aware of what I did". Then he adds: "Thank you for taking care of this", and in a "surrender" to the "divine", he says, "I love you".
Vitale then urges readers to "clean" their feelings, even in day-to-day business, as the prison-asylum doctor did, with the invocation: "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you."
In "awakening" - the final stage - Vitale guides meditation to "awaken to being the divine itself", doing what is right for you.
Vitale identifies useful keys to healing and reinvention and sprinkles his chapters with cross-sells to his other products.
But readers might tire of Vitale's frequent reminders of his wealth and question the value of repetition in the final five chapters of the 215-page book.
The Awakening Course helps to rationalise problems, but some Hongkongers might lack the time to "breathe through" their failures.
Others might find similar guidance for free in the scriptures of their faith.