August 23, 2015

Wasting a Whole Lot of Time with Abraham-Hicks

How I (mis)spent my time as an Aber

When I was an Aber, I spent my time in foolish ways. I was taught to primarily concern myself with feeling good, taking it easy, soothing negative emotion, and tending to my "vibration."

I filled endless notebooks with Abraham-Hicks quotes, “virtual reality” fantasies, gratitude lists, and other feel-good, Abraham-approved exercises.

I didn't do much in the way of fruitful action, because my energy had to be "lined up." I had to be inspired. This was the Art of Allowing.

Remember, according to Abraham-Hicks (A-H), how you feel is of utmost importance: "Your purpose is to feel good and watch what happens, feel good and watch what happens..."

Who wouldn't prefer the route of "vibrational alignment" where all things you want are drawn to you versus "resistance" and "pinching yourself off from Source?"

So I made Feeling Good my job.

  • I shifted my emotional states by working my way up the emotional scale
  • I napped or meditated or distracted myself when I wasn't feeling good
  • I basked in feelings of appreciation, inspiration, joy, power
  • I dreamed up new goals and let my virtual reality become the most important reality
  • I uncovered and transformed old limiting beliefs
  • I lived for insights and emotional breakthroughs

I believed this would change my vibration and my point of attraction. And therefore my outer reality would also change to match my vibration.

A fool's errand

A-H regularly weaves big promises about how life will change for those that practice the Art of Allowing. In fact, no interaction with A-H is complete without hyping up the hopes, dreams, and expectations of followers.

Not only can we supposedly be, have, and do ANYTHING, but the circumstances will align themselves, effortlessly. The Universe will deliver all that we dreamed up. The journey will be exhilarating. And the mouths of people around us will fall open as they see us thriving in our magical lives.

It is Law! Says Abraham.

But wait.

There are a few finicky parts you need to get just right. It's quite the delicate balance.

  • Be careful not to mess up your vibration by noticing that what was promised is not in fact happening.
  • You probably thought you were focusing on what you wanted, but it didn't show up, so clearly you were focusing on what you didn't want.
  • You probably thought you were feeling good, but you weren't. Otherwise your results would be here. (Oh no, no. That's not circular reasoning. It is Law.)
  • Try again. And yet don't try at all.
  • Jeez, don't make so much of all this. Just relax already.
  • It's actually the FEELINGS you're after anyway. So let's just allow nice feelings to replace the actual progress we erroneously thought we wanted.

The futility of all this "vibrational work"

Eventually my powers of denial eluded me, and I noticed that all this vibrational work did not in fact WORK.

It is hard to notice this deception when you are taught to stubbornly accept only ideas that feel good to you.

Abers know for sure that I must have been improperly focused or not truly feeling good like I thought I was. How do they know this? "Because if you had really shifted your vibration, you’d have different results! The universe shows you what you are vibrating, every single time! It is law!"

The only acceptable explanation to a believer is that their perfect belief system is being performed imperfectly.

But the blame really rests with the unworkable ideas of vibration and A-H's spin on Law of Attraction.

There is enough truth and wisdom provided within the A-H Teachings to see benefits. But the presence of benefits is not proof that the far-fetched premises are also valid.

Often the pay-off is in the positive emotions Abers themselves are taught to conjure. Law of Attraction teachings have us chasing, manipulating, and exaggerating emotional states. Moods. In real life, a mood can be defined as “a temporary state of mind or feeling.”

I was spending my precious time, not aligning with the core of the universe's creative power like I believed, but overindulging my temporary inner states. Making a mood.

I took the stipulated emotional journey. But it was akin to drawing images in the sand or painting with water.

Over-emphasizing emotional states: a counterproductive practice

I shake my head now at how I misused my own time. Like countless others, I thought I had discovered "The Secret" to happiness and uncommon success.

But I have improved my life so much more in the years away from A-H than in my 5 years in it. When devoted to Law of Attraction, I stagnated or even moved backwards in some areas of my life. Is that any wonder, considering my misguided emotional priorities?

Granted, many people do not pay enough attention to their inner states. Of course it's important to care about how you feel. It's the gateway to mental and emotional health, healing, personal development, and so much else.

But excessive, singular attention to mood can become a huge, unnecessary distraction--and obsession. It leads to LESS harmony because of the constant monitoring and pressure to feel just right, or else.

Furthermore, I no longer consider manipulating emotions to be healthy or wise. For many, it can be a workaround, a band-aid, escapism, and/or a substitute for deeper healing.

Emotional awareness and emotional self-care is so valuable. But trying to feel good all the time, becoming a mood perfectionist, can have nasty consequences:

  • avoidance, denial
  • repression, numbing
  • incongruence
  • hyper-vigilance
  • warped emotional and psychological functioning
  • fear and panic when not feeling the "right" way
  • and more subconscious pressure and strife than there was to begin with

This is arguably the most damaging Abraham-Hicks lie of them all, the lie that negative emotion indicates being "pinched off" from Source, pinched off from your own Inner Being, and attracting negative manifestations while delaying the positive ones.

The message at the heart of this, no matter what's explicitly stated, is that some emotions are good and other emotions are bad or to be feared. As a result, the majority of emotional states feel unsafe and become intolerable. Feeling less-than-great becomes a signal to distract yourself or push thoughts and feelings around until you're happy again. The entire process of "deliberate creation" hinges on this.

You do not have to manipulate your emotions. You do not have to fear how you feel. You do not have to constantly monitor, control, and fix-fix-fix.

Some of it was helpful. An important note on benefits

As already stated, of course emotional care and inner work are valuable. Not just valuable, life-changing. Much of my Aber life was spent in goal-setting and psychological exploration. I was enjoying insights and inner breakthroughs all the time.

It gave me permission to dive into the work of examining my psyche, overhauling my life from the inside out, and taking charge of my mind and emotions.

With or without the Law of Attraction package, the following will always be powerful, invaluable undertakings:

  • Introspection and connecting with yourself (Know Thyself)
  • Getting in touch with your spirituality
  • Defining goals and directing your life
  • Increasing self-efficacy and belief in your capabilities
  • Choosing your attitude toward your circumstances
  • Becoming conscious of old beliefs that were ruling you
  • Recognizing and re-framing counterproductive thinking

Abraham-Hicks provides many psychological tips and tools, though they aren't labelled so plainly. Law of Attraction is essentially self-help, and the job of self-help IS to provide tools and beliefs that empower.

You could say that where Law of Attraction teachings really shine is in providing a compelling reason to apply self-help tools faithfully. I imagine providers would see improved compliance in therapy if they too started promising patients unlimited life success in return.

These tools, plus a vigorous can-do attitude, are the reason for much of the magic that convinces, excites, and hooks many Abers.

But A-H comes with an extra helping of ideology, which is when a self-help movement starts to blur into dogmatic and cult-like.

Help and harm can be bundled together in a single package

The helpful content within A-H does not neutralize the harmful content. Truth, half-truths, and lies can co-exist in one package, having a mixed effect on the consumer.

As soon as I accepted the Abraham-Hicks concept of vibration and Law of Attraction, I was set on a course that had me, more often than not, misunderstanding how the world works, spinning my wheels, and grossly misusing my own time.

When disillusionment set in, I regretted my involvement with Abraham-Hicks. I wonder what I would have accomplished in that 5-year period if I had avoided this deceptive "shortcut" and lived a more balanced, effective, and reality-based life.


  1. Gigi/GailyAugust 26, 2015

    I am so creeped out. I just read, and it does appear that abeforum and that Abraham Hicks stuff is indeed cult like.

    I feel like I wasted more than just my time. I made choices that were heavily influenced by Esther Hicks and her allegedly unaffiliated abeforum. The choices may have caused some unnecessary pain to others. I'm still upset that I ever submitted myself to their brain numbing approach. I thought "LOA" and assumed it was something similar to what I'd practiced on my own, only deeper and with more support.

    I guess the transition from helpful forum of friendly people to strange oppressive place was slow. I'd felt free there at one time, but as I learned to value my emotions, and validate my self and judgement, it became more difficult to express myself and I felt a kind of tension like... I can't even explain. Now I've gone so far as to look over who exactly is Abraham. Esther does not claim that she channels Abraham.

    The way they describe who Abraham is on their site is unusual. First, Abraham does the describing and then Esther, then Jerry. I'll just share Abraham's and Esther's description. You know, a lot of people do not know that Jerry passed away.

    Here is the quote that describes who or what Abraham actually is: (Quote)
    "Jerry and Esther never used the word channeling," Abraham reflects. "It is used when applied to them, but they have never used it, because it means many things of which they are not, you see."

    "You could leave the channeling out of it. Call it inspiration; that's all it is. You don't call the basketball player a channeler, but he is; he's an extension of Source Energy. You don't call the surgeon a channeler, but he is. You don't call the musician, the magnificent master musician, you don't call him a channeler, but he is. He's channeling the broader essence of who he is into the specifics of what he is about."

    Esther herself calls Abraham "infinite intelligence," and to Jerry they are "the purest form of love I've ever experienced." (end quote from site)

    So, this sounds like Abraham is the kind of skillful performance you would expect from a surgeon, or a basketball player, or a master musician. I can't believe I over looked this. I still am in shock, probably because I didn't understand what I was into, and because I thought it was something else, and this is only like a week since I've started realizing all this stuff.

    Sounds like Esther is really saying she is channeling the broader essence of who she is into the specifics of what she is about.

  2. Thanks for the link. A-H manages to avoid the typical cult mold, especially by being ostensibly about freedom and joy, but so many of these warning signs in the link apply. The unquestioning acceptance of everything out of Esther's mouth is one that has become so apparent to me now that I'm on the other side.

    I don't think their movement would work as well without the story that "Abraham is over 100 different teachers." People are fooled into believing this information is coming from pure, unadulterated nonphysical wisdom flowing through Esther. So there is never any reason to use your own brain when listening to Esther, except in service of aligning more perfectly with her words.

    Also a great catch on their website re channeling. It's a perfectly vague, open-ended, uncommitted explanation. Although the official website statement doesn't include the many times they have explained it differently. They've also said that different nonphysical teachers (including Jerry, now) are summoned depending on the question being asked, then Esther translates those "blocks of thought" to relay them to us. Seems like the real story they sell is that all-knowing intelligence is coming through Esther, not from Esther.

  3. The circular mind process you described is the very difficulty I have in practising Abraham Hicks, this article is spot on. I had also started wondering the other day the approach on feelings, is this not similar to the way addicts work: looking to feel good, then get stuck when the not-so-good reality is yet to be addressed for true inner peace and happiness, thereby feeling bad again and then reaching to feel good etc?

    There is also a contradiction on getting what you want similar to how you described in this article, saying you can without a doubt get anything you want but then saying you shouldn't want these conditions to make you happy is just confusing.

  4. AM, thank you for your valuable input based on your experience trying to practice these teachings.

    "Addict" is a word that comes to my mind as well, and you described the cycle so well. It is a curse to be taught that the outcomes in your life depend on how happy you are in this moment! There can be no real ease or peace in that belief, just endless striving to feel a certain way.

    "Saying you can without a doubt get anything you want but then saying you shouldn’t want these conditions to make you happy is just confusing." I wholeheartedly agree. So much tension and confusion is created by teaching people to have out-of-this-world expectations while also trying to teach them to not want anything but to feel good. In my opinion, the goal is not actually for followers to be happy or else it would not be structured in this impossible way.

    Thank you again for your perspective.

  5. I commented on Amazon, but wanted to here as well.

    I had suspected something was not right myself lately. This was after about two years of trying to live a "feel good" life in order to get the things I want.

    I do believe one should feel good and do what they can to live a good life but now I'm in agreement that inevitably you will force "feeling good" and that it does more harm than good. I can't tell you the sense of relief I felt the next day once my eyes were opened. That I had been subjecting myself to a mental prison where I needed to feel good at all costs or things wouldn't happen. I feel free again. Instead, I rather enjoy meditating (focusing on the breath) if I feel that the hard knocks of life are getting me down. That's it. And move on, keep your life moving. Engage. It's true that if I take a look at my life and review the differences between before and after AH, I see no real difference. I still would get what I wanted before. And I wasn't thinking so dang hard about it to get it.

    I just wanted to thank you for writing this honest review and blog. There may be others that see you as a hater or giving in to negative thinking but I see you as bringing a balance and very much needed.

  6. Mimi, thanks so much for your comment and very wise words here, plus on Amazon where potential book buyers can be exposed to more of this minority opinion. And thank you also for your positive feedback, which is encouraging for me!

    Can I ever relate to that feeling of mental prison, as well as that relief and freedom you described upon opening your eyes. Abraham followers become accustomed to a new normal: Subjecting themselves to constant mental and emotional acrobatics in order to be "aligned" and to supposedly give themselves the best possible outcomes in life. It may give a convincing sense of control and peace for a time...but long-term, that very UNnatural strain is so damaging to a person's natural inner functioning.

  7. wow... how easy it seems to put Abraham in a corner of manipulation and wrong teacher.

    I am an aber since 2011 and I love it
    but I only use it my own way... I became a great appreciator of life and everything changed.
    I love to love and feelings are more about the right side of the brain... emotions
    accusing Abraham is left side brain.... critical mind and allways searching for errors in others
    allways the other is the manipulator the wrong-doier the dangerous mind highjacking monster?

    LOA comes from the Hunas of Hawaii and it is the best method ever: You only can get what you are....
    So first of all it means discernement about myself and loving myself as much as I can.

    I come from Buddhism which I practised over eight years and in Buddhism is compassion.

    To become a loving compassionate being is the key to everything.... to love and be loved to abundance and experience abundance cause all is a mirror what is inside is outside.

    I never was an aber follower with all this techniques.... for me it is only LOVE the answer to everything.

  8. Responsible SpiritualityMay 15, 2017

    Hi Astrid. Great that you practice the law of attraction your own way and are loving it! You do your thing--I mean that sincerely.

    We also use the left sides of our brain for language and logical analysis and mathematics. Where would humanity be if we all tried to be "single-lobed" people? I wouldn't strive for an experience of only being right-brained. Is it good to strive to be all emotional? Or all logical? Same thing with being all "yin" or all "yang." Do both exist so we can try to make one dominate the other? Or do we perhaps need both? I think we grow faster as people when we utilize both and are balanced.

    Also, doesn't Buddhism teach us to look reality square in the eye, neither trying to insert emotions or disguise emotions, but just to plainly see?

    I very, very much relate to your views on love being the answer to everything. But over time my understanding of the world has changed and (to me) matured. Love is important to me, as is integrity, clarity, pragmatism, and truth.

    With those ideals in mind, it shouldn't be seen as wrong or taboo to point out problems, false prophets, potentially harmful ideologies, and so on.

    In fact, speaking up and being "critical" can be a loving thing to do. For example, I keep this blog because I care about people and want this information available to those who need it.

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more! During all the years I spent in my abra-coma, my life stagnated. I ignored issues that would have best benefited from my attention, I ate unhealthy foods as ‘I can eat anything as long as I’m in vibration!!!’ I also because an ass when it came to others ‘ you attracted that!!’

    I appreciate that the teachings made me aware of my inner landscape and how my thoughts and reactions can affect my life, however that’s where it ends. Having integrity, honesty, resilience and compassion are more importantly than ‘feeling good!!!!’

    I love your honesty thank you ☺️

  10. Responsible SpiritualityFebruary 19, 2018

    Thank you Natalie, I am really enjoying your comments. I could not agree more about how other qualities are more worthwhile than "feeling good." Sometimes I look back and wonder how I swallowed the whole thing when clearly there is MUCH more to life, success, and being a well-adjusted, contributing human being.

  11. Dear writer,

    I can completely relate to what you’re writing. I have messed up 2 years as well, lost in my innermind and not focused on the real word. It resulted in depression and never truly feeling good, but also feeling guilty about this because the not feeling good would attract les good.. Ugh. I really do not know what to think of it but do know it confused and fucked me up good.

    All the best wishes x

  12. Responsible SpiritualityApril 24, 2018

    Feather, thanks so much for commenting with your experience. Even as time passes, I continue to shake my head at how this completely misleads earnest people who truly want to improve their lives. Following this belief system does lead to so much confusion and inner friction, not to mention lost time that can never be regained. But we can become better and wiser for it! Best wishes to you as well.

  13. Getting psychological help always depends on the personality type that person shows. For example as a person schizoid personality that find it hard to get interested in anything. I found Abraham hicks very helpful but i could understand if you thought its waste of time as your personality might be different and therefore needs a different approach.

  14. Responsible SpiritualityJuly 19, 2018

    Hi Mike, thanks for commenting. I am willing to bet that what you found helpful about Abraham Hicks is the techniques/strategies that are already utilized in self help (or therapy) that increase emotional management and feelings of empowerment and efficacy. Or maybe you see it differently. I'm interested to hear.

    Though these varied useful techniques and guidelines may be contained in the AH teachings, it is not all that they teach. And as I have said elsewhere, even false information can lead to beneficial changes (for example, if I decide that I am the centre of the universe, that thought may "help" me with self-esteem and other things, whether or not it's true).

    The dangerous part of AH are all the insidious parts that aren't true that followers accept along with the helpful parts (this happens in other cult-like groups as well-- the mix of beneficial self-help and not-so beneficial ideas). You might find this new blog post interesting, because it details just how badly things can go in practice when a false belief system is accepted over a responsible and reasonable approach to life.

  15. The base of self steem is the believe that I’m good, you are good and the relationship is good. The understanding of holiness of human and that all people do the best as they know to do at any point of time. That means God or any other entity that one could believe in as a belief are smaller than the believer.

  16. totally an ex-AH/ LOA addict here. it took about 4 years of my life. I noticed it all began when i was at my lowest, when a 6 year relationship ended and i desperately wanted to manifest myself out of feeling so low. after all these years i noticed that I was the least concerned with LOA and manifestation/ abraham when I was happy, genuinely. when i had stopped caring about how i felt and monitoring it all I never once reviewed the material. then when something went wrong and I had something to want to control, I would fall back into addictively reading LOA and hicks material. i was the most susceptible to their teachings when i was vulnerable and low. Which should’ve been a dead giveaway. i was ravenous for more information to validate the idea that I could play god and magick away any undesirable circumstances. it was an endless fruitless cycle and took away my own power and my own ability to think for myself. I was dependent and totally unfocused on present day affairs, always daydreaming instead. It really sucks to see this trend getting bigger for millennials my age but i do believe truth will prevail. Thanks for writing this!

  17. I know I'm so late to the game in commenting here but I have to say this.

    A-H was introduced to me at a particularly difficult time in my life, when I was only 17 and trying to figure myself out. I latched onto A-H and took it as gospel for absolutely every area of my life. It took me until around the age of 21/22 to realise that something didn't sit well with me. Looking back, I'm probably still undoing some psychological damage that that belief system (at such a pivotal developmental stage) caused. But I was smart and followed my instinct, which was to take a break from Abe and live life without thinking of all of the teachings. I haven't gone back.

    At the time I started having doubts, I was entering into a new relationship with my now husband, and following Abe's teachings almost cost me the relationship, and cost me a wonderful husband. Thankfully, when faced with the dilemma between A-H's ideas and my instincts about my relationship, I chose my instincts every time (and believed I was doing something wrong every time, too - it was a long and doubtful fight).

    I was never quite able to put into many words what I didn't like about A-H. I was always confused about the teachings but couldn't accept that it was just my lack of understanding. And although I was fully ready to 'accept' that everything bad that happened to me was of my own manifestation, I hated living life feeling like everything was my fault, or borne of my lack of focus, or my this or my that.

    I also began to feel like everything was not manifested but that it was just how life worked (e.g. I didn't study properly for a test but "let go of resistance and manifested" a good grade? Maybe I was just good at the subject and had studied more than I thought, and maybe my fear and panic made me feel like I wasn't studying enough). I started to see the illusion of control in my life, as you say. Selective reinforcement of my ideas - or confirmation bias, or whatever they call it.

    A final nail in the coffin was a miscarriage I suffered. I could find ways to say "how on earth could I have caused this" and I could also find ways to justify that I had caused it - retracing every single thought I had and action in the several months leading up to it, but ultimately it made me realise/believe that a) I CAN make things happen - through sensible choices and actions, and hard work; b) horrible things will always happen because that's just what happens in life - and it can't always be my fault. I can't live like that. Even if A-H is totally right and I've misunderstood - I can't live like that. I'm still re-teaching myself how to think now. And for now, it's damaged my spirituality to the point where I can't meaningfully connect with any idea of God or spirituality. I'm working on that too. Thanks for your articles on this - it's helped to validate what I believed but felt alone in.

  18. barbara arnouldSeptember 03, 2019

    Hello, I just found your blog and website as I searched in Google if "the law of attraction was actually a lie". Your website was on the first page so I clicked on it and found all this. I find it very interesting. I've had this on and off relationship with LOA since 2008 when I first read "the secret". Then I read "the power". Years went by and I tried several techniques. I never tried or read anything by Esther Hicks. I just started to be interested in her this year in 2019. I knew her work existed before but never got interested in her work. A week ago I decided that maybe I should give it a shot, her book "ask and it is given". I was a bit hesitant, I'm still unsure whether or not I should buy it. Lately I felt like you, what you explain here in this post, I felt like I should just live my life and stop this whole LOA thing. I read the comments about the book. I felt like i should not buy it but at the same before saying goodbye to the LAO I'd like to quickly read through the book "ask and it is given". Thanks for your great articles, I'm happy I found your blog, it resonates with who I am today. All the best.

  19. […] taught that the world inside their heads is the one that really matters, so group members may spend an inordinate amount of time doing mental and emotional exercises in order to create a perfect […]

  20. Responsible SpiritualityNovember 18, 2019

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