Updated as of October 2019 for 2 main reasons:
1. A lot of time has passed! Originally, I used this piece to work through my disillusionment and caution others. Now I've updated it to serve mostly a teaching function.
2. My beliefs changed. My spiritual beliefs once included many New Age concepts that I've moved on from. I can't advise you on what I don't know. But hopefully I can get you thinking.
The review is posted below. It's a full dissection of the Abraham-Hicks ideology and its consequences, written for those who are experiencing similar problems.
5 Years a Committed Follower of Abraham-Hicks: Ultimately More Harmful Than Helpful
A mix of harmful and helpful info from a questionable source
These teachings do seem great and feel great at first, but eventually I found them harmful, not helpful.
A word to the wise, if something seems too good to be true: IT IS.
I was committed to these teachings for 5 years. They encouraged an emotional high that made me feel my life was amazing. I felt I knew the secrets of the universe.
This is the main strategy of the book: It tells you only good news and teaches you to manipulate your mood so you feel good about everything and deny anything negative.
Like a drug, one of the reasons for the rave reviews is that it promotes highs and feelings of enlightenment.
So, does it work?
It's a mix of helpful and harmful information.
I used this to get through dark times. It helped me feel better and more empowered than ever. That's what happens when you buy into a philosophy that says you are all-powerful, there is no reason to feel bad, and you must feel good to get what you want. Daring to believe this, true or not, can indeed lead to some positive changes.
Like other self-help, Abraham-Hicks (A-H) does promote self-worth, empowered attitudes, living with intention, and so on.
I would not seek to separate anyone from their meaningful beliefs that may be providing a lifeline for them.
But I will speak the truth as I see it for those who need to detox and move away from A-H.
Some of the results I experienced were genuine shifts: My thinking expanded, I got closely in touch with myself, and I believed in myself.
However, a lot of the results were emotional hype, temporary, ultimately unhelpful, or not based in reality.
There are many self-help avenues to an improved life, and I recommend those that do not promote a single, all-encompassing ideology with falsehoods sprinkled throughout.
First, this information is said to be channeled. Is it coming from Esther Hicks herself? Something beyond Esther?
Abers don't really care. They fiercely appreciate the message, so they figure it's only important that the words fill them with hope, love, and enthusiasm.
Now that the enchantment has worn off, I am humbled by my own naivety. Emotions are easily manipulated and exploited.
Intense positive emotion can have a positive domino effect in your life, but that doesn’t mean the idea that made you feel good was pure truth and wisdom.
I understand the temptation to surrender to something that feels right. But take care what you surrender to, and examine the source.
What IS the source?
Abraham is described as something like "leading edge, nonphysical group consciousness."
This impressive-but-vague attribution imbues the sermons with more spiritual authority, while there is no actual accountability. A-H can say really anything, and it can't be verified.
Some people regard Abraham as God or God-like.
While longing for some divine connection in your life is not foolish, it IS foolish to believe that Abraham is literally God speaking through (and making money for) Esther Hicks.
If you regard Abraham as one or many non-human entities, you still can't automatically accept this information as some sort of higher wisdom.
Different spiritual and religious traditions have similar concepts (ancestors, spirits, guides, angels, ghosts, jinn, demons, channeling, attachment, possession) where entities range from benevolent to evil.
So even if you believe Esther channels otherworldly beings, this is still not a reason to blindly accept Esther's words.
Don't romanticize so-called channeled information as automatically better, more pure, more truthful, or without an agenda.
And if you think the teachings are just coming from a human woman named Esther, what makes her the authority on the whole Universe? What makes her infallible?
At the end of the day, you have a charismatic guru delivering their convictions for whatever their reasons. Critical thinking is required.
My life seemed unique through my special Law of Attraction filter, but it was no different from regular life
As for so-called manifesting, during my Abrahaze I was overjoyed to find the perfect item in a store, get a great parking space, find a nice apartment, have an inspiring conversation with a stranger, or come across a solution to any problem.
I was enthused about ANY synchronicity or "manifestation," because I was taught to see it as a sign of my specially cultivated "point of attraction."
After the Abrahaze, I realized that this is just normal life. Synchronicity happened before and still happens now. Solutions present themselves. People ask questions and answers show up, just without the special story behind it.
When you attach magical thinking and look for meaning in every experience, you find meaning whether it's there or not. It reminds me of observing episodes of psychosis where the sufferer found secret meaning encoded in every event and item.
That's what Abraham-Hicks taught me to do is see normal life through a special lens of magic.
When I finally stopped to look around, however, my life was just not any different from anyone else's.
I became well-practiced in thinking and feeling differently, but the life that was promised never came to be. My inner life was hyped up, but my outer life remained a “mixed bag” of manifestations and was utterly comparable to everyone else’s life.
If these teachings were presented as an emotional experience rather than a secret to worldly success, it would lose its huge following, but it would be more honest. Instead it caused problems.
Problems: Denial, ineffective problem-solving, willful ignorance
I was in denial about what was really going on in my life.
A-H teaches not to acknowledge reality but to focus on reality as you'd like it to be.
This leads Abers to become overly subjective, only giving weight to their inner world rather than the actual condition of their lives.
This is thoroughly encouraged, but it is not effective. It does not change actual reality.
I did not deal with problems in normal, effective ways.
Instead of real-world action, Abers are told to use their thoughts and emotions to attract what is desired.
For example, rather than set boundaries or end unequal friendships with people who used me, I focused on what I appreciated about these people. I wrote about great relationships. I chose to see only the positive and really FEEL it, as I was coached to do.
I was supposed to see my thoughts as the real problem and change my “vibration" so only great friendships could be a part of my experience.
This, of course, did not work. Now imagine employing this tactic in every area of your life, including in serious situations (I discuss "reckless advice" further down).
It taught me to avert my eyes from problems in the world.
The world is full of problems that require attention and action. But A-H teaches that everything is perfect and that looking at problems makes them worse.
So Abers feel very noble. They believe they help the world most by simply turning the other cheek and feeling good.
I'd like to survey people who have tangibly improved the world and see if this anesthetized approach was the secret behind their success!
A-H gives followers welcome relief from the fear and helplessness that comes with living in this overwhelming world. But resilience can and should be accomplished without denial.
Problems: Brainwashed into believing and constantly going back for more
It's all happening on the inside, not in actual reality.
Abers can spend years in a brainwashed head space where they perceive amazing things to be happening, but mostly it's transpiring on the inside in the form of stories and beliefs.
When reality attempted to slip in, I had to fend it off.
To get myself back on track, I would run back to the A-H books, Youtube videos, meditations, and the Abe Forum.
This is very common among dedicated Abers. You'll hear the phrase, "You have to do the work." This is part of doing the work to be a "deliberate creator."
Now that I’m on the other side, I say it's more like addiction and brainwashing.
It led me to attempting to create and sustain emotional highs as often as possible.
That is not, and will never be, wisdom.
There are clear parallels between this ideology and addiction: escape reality, escape negative emotion, stay high, numb your discomfort, avoid pain, seek pleasure...
A-H may contain some useful nuggets for emotional management. But it also advocates for escapism, emotional manipulation, and intolerance for regular old human life.
Problems: Distorted emotional functioning, plus self-blame
It created inner frustration and denial in me because I was not spontaneously feeling my authentic emotions.
You can’t look away from the truth, choose to make up your own truth, and not register the dissonance of that deep down.
I can now see this strain and dissonance clearly in others who try to alter reality by tightly controlling their thoughts and feelings.
It taught me that emotions are my guidance system using an erroneous, unhealthy model.
Our emotional guidance is skewed by Abraham-Hicks into a system for measuring how true something is: If a thought makes us feel good, it's supposedly a true, worthwhile thought that's aligned with Source.
Therefore whatever we want to believe, including the appealing promises of A-H, must be taken as true (convenient).
This also dismantles a person's built-in emotional protection, like telling Spiderman that his spidey senses—rather than alerting him to danger—indicate that he should change his problem thinking to something more positive.
Also according to A-H, our emotions indicate what we are manifesting: Good feelings mean good manifestations, bad feelings mean unwanted manifestations.
So your basic, very human, very complex emotions get removed from their true context and become something to constantly steer around in pursuit of pleasing manifestations.
This is such a misuse of emotion that it is confusing to a person at a very basic level. It scrambles our intuition, critical thinking, and authentic experience. Not to mention the fact that the Universe does not revolve around your mood, which is basically what modern Law of Attraction preaches.
If the teachings aren't working for you, it's YOUR fault.
If it's not going the way A-H said, then it’s because you personally failed.
- You weren't able to resist the ultimate, vibration-destroying act of noticing that nothing is happening.
- Your point-of-attraction was not where you thought it was.
- You weren't actually feeling as good as you thought you were.
Abers reinforce this, pointing out possible areas where you’re holding resistance or not “doing the work.”
The flaws of the teachings themselves are never responsible, because these teachings are held as flawless.
Problems: Spiritual superiority, social isolation, reckless advice
Followers can't help but feel special and superior, because they supposedly know how everything in the world works and why everything happens.
People want to believe that they understand everything that happens in their lives, other people's lives, and the world at large.
This philosophy delivers this sense of security (and superiority) by giving a sure explanation for every facet of the world. Again, this is not wisdom.
It isolated me from other people.
Abers feel like they know more than non-Abers, plus they don't want to waste any time talking about normal subjects in non-Abraham-like ways.
After all, it could increase their resistance, make them feel something less than good, and mess up their vibration and manifestations.
This belief system leads to bad advice, sometimes with disastrous and tragic consequences.
Husband is cheating on you? Look inside for why you attracted it. Work on your vibration because he could not have done this unless it was in your vibration.
Addicted to alcohol? Take the path of least resistance, which might be continuing to drink but changing how you feel about your problem.
What is an Aber's measure of success to know if advice has helped them? If they feel better.
There is also the case of Sharon Lee Giganti who renounced her beliefs after she gave a friend New Age answers about suicide, and then the friend took her own life.
Using truths, half-truths, and lies to create superstitious followers
These teachings appeal to those of us who really, really want to believe the world works this way.
Short-cuts, effortlessness, everything you could ever want, a perfect world, no pain, no reason to ever feel bad... This book is full of sweet lies made to sound like the deepest wisdom. It's made to resonate with the parts of us that wish it could be so.
Believing harder does not make it so. Having a large, brainwashed fan-base also does not make it so.
Having come out the other side, I can see how this ideology stays afloat despite its falsehoods.
It's a panacea. It's intoxicating to us.
It gives peace. Hope. Relief.
It provides something we felt was missing, incorporating spiritual truths that profoundly resonate.
But it also incorporates pleasing lies that lead us deeper and deeper.
We are told that the more we believe, the better things will be for us. So we indoctrinate ourselves into believing more fully.
We squash our own "resistance" (and thus our critical thinking and natural warning system) so we don't inhibit our positive manifestations.
We are taught we can improve our results by seeking confirming evidence everywhere. So we start to count everything that occurs as proof of our own "point of attraction." We are not actually controlling the circumstances that we're observing, but we fall into a bias called the illusion of control.
If we don’t get the results, our recourse is to focus more, hype ourselves up more, reinforce the false beliefs more, and repeatedly return to our guru(s) for the key to making this unworkable system work.
Abraham-Hicks will talk circles around every question, repeat the same unworkable concepts, and fool us into believing that feeling happy is the real success anyway.
There is so much manipulation here, but it goes unseen. Critical thinking is surrendered in exchange for a bigger, better promise: the life of our dreams.
As for life after A-H, suffice it to say that reality is always better than lies in the end.
My life has improved on the inside AND the outside.
- The inner tension from living in such an unnatural state has lifted.
- I don't manipulate my mood or dream up fantasies and mistake it for accomplishment.
- My personal evolution is faster and more authentic without distorted spiritual beliefs.
- I don't have to push away reality!
- And I'm not handicapping my success in life by over-emphasizing emotional energy in a world that is so much more than that.
Not the path to an effective relationship with yourself and the world
I can't say that Abraham-Hicks can't be useful for some, for a time. And I do not object to every concept taught.
I also acknowledge that spiritual beliefs are a personal, often sacred choice.
But make sure you really are choosing, not just caught up in a manipulation.
Despite potential for value, there is also potential for addiction and departure from reality. I do not believe this is a responsible movement overall, and I would avoid serious commitment to this material.
These are not just books, they are an entire belief system. If you subscribe to this belief system, you will feel all-powerful and tapped into great wisdom. But in hindsight, you may see how misled you were, like many disillusioned ex-followers.
It's one thing to agree with and incorporate some Law-of-Attraction-flavored wisdom into your personal beliefs.
But do not surrender your mind to one simplified ideology.
Success requires reinforcing different circuits inside than the ones that A-H helps you reinforce. A-H reinforces some circuits that will make you less effective, not more.
And for anyone reading this who is currently a committed Aber, I eventually had to accept the simplest explanation for why my big dreams weren't materializing. You should consider the simplest explanation as well.
If reading this makes you feel bad, it's not because you're separating yourself from the knowledge of your inner being. It's not because you're pinching yourself off from Source Energy. It's because sometimes the truth doesn't feel good. And that's OK.
We are living on Earth, after all, not in heaven.