January 3, 2016

Cult Parallels: Abraham-Hicks and the Language of Non-Thought

Is the Law of Attraction philosophy known as Abraham-Hicks a cult? I would like readers to decide for themselves, so I have begun a series comparing components of Abraham-Hicks with known cult tactics.

Next up: Loading the Language.

It's a given that you will come across new ideas and terminology when you explore a new subject area. In self help and spirituality, you will certainly encounter new terms and definitions.

We need shared language to exchange ideas and communicate with each other.

But when does language enter into the domain of brainwashing and indoctrination? That line can be imperceptible if you don't know where it is.

Loading the Language

Loading the language as it relates to mind-control cults and brainwashing can be defined as:

When everyday words are given new meanings, group members are given a new vocabulary, and members learn cliches that are easy-to-memorize and readily expressed.
"A cultic group often uses its own complex vocabulary. Words carry with them entire packages of implications, emotions, metaphors, and even past experiences. Cults invent new words and phrases that carry with them much more complicated understandings, or they manipulate existing words to change their meanings subtly or dramatically."


This may be sounding familiar already if you follow Abraham-Hicks or similar Law of Attraction teachings.

Abraham-Hicks is FULL of complex vocabulary and invented phrases that must be learned in order to sync up with the ideology.

  • Manifestation, contrast, source, inner being
  • In the vortex, out of the vortex
  • High flying disc
  • Leading edge of thought
  • Vibrational alignment, vibrational journey, action journey
  • Observing what-is
  • Pinching yourself off
  • Filling in your own grid
  • Upstream, downstream, path of least resistance, emotional guidance scale
  • Line up with it, pivot, tell a new story
  • Get in the vortex and then...

Everyday words like "appreciation," "resistance," "momentum," and even "selfishness" are also imbued with more complex meanings.

What Does Loaded Language Do?

So what's the big deal?

Back in my Law of Attraction days/daze, I certainly wouldn't have seen a problem with all the language. In fact, followers feel they have access to specialized knowledge through their terminology.

They feel they have the code-book that defines and elucidates the true nature of reality.

However, loaded language does not elucidate reality; it confines, restricts, and obscures it.

Loaded language serves several purposes:

1. Relabels or redefines meanings

2. Shuts down critical thinking ability

3. Further isolates the group, making it difficult to communicate with outsiders

Concepts can be relabeled with emotionally charged words which carry preconceived notions. These can be used to make something seem automatically positive and impossible to argue against, or inherently negative -- impossible to argue for.

When Words Take Over

Kelly Martin addresses Abraham-Hicks terminology in her video, Are You Addicted to the Teachings?

She says, "I noticed that my own vocabulary was an Abraham-Hicks vocabulary. I was no longer speaking from Kelly Martin, I was speaking from Abraham-Hicks. And it was quite horrifying to me."

I noticed the same thing. Other Abers speak the language. Check out the Abe Forum and that's all you'll get. I spoke the language too.

In fact, it became a struggle to express myself without the language. It became difficult and unsatisfying to hold a conversation with the uninitiated.

Not only did I speak fluent Abraham-Hicks, I conceived of my whole world from an Abraham-Hicks perspective. Words actually shape how we think and how we see the world.

At a certain point, followers lose original thought outside of the Law of Attraction world.

The Language of Non-Thought

Loaded language can also include "thought-terminating cliches," language designed to stop dissent or justify fallacious logic.

The following passage says it all:
Thought terminating cliches

Everything is compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorised and easily expressed.

There are “good” terms which represents the groups ideology and “evil” terms to represent everything outside which is to be rejected... To those outside the group this language is tedious - the language of non-thought.

This effectively isolates members from outside world. The only people who understand you are other members. Other members can tell if you are really one of them by how you talk.

This narrowness of the language is constricting. The individual is linguistically deprived because language is central to the human experience and his capacities for thinking and feeling are immensely restricted.


If you watch Abraham interactions with audience members in the "hot-seat," or read through the Abe Forum, you will notice many non-answers to questions rather than truly thoughtful discussion or critical thinking.

All highways of thought must lead back to the rules already defined by the ideology.

When an Aber comes across situations that contradict the teachings, they receive explanations that are really just thought-terminating cliches.

Group members can pull these cliches out of their back pocket to remind themselves and each other of the supposed correct answers. For example, check out these answers that group members parrot back to each other to explain away common problems:

"How is it that this out-of-the-vortex, non-Aber has better results when I'm the one that understands and works with the laws of the universe?"

  • Abraham-Hicks Approved Answer: "You can't know what anyone else is vibrating."

"I've been at this so long, but I still get mixed results."

  • Abraham-Hicks Approved Answer: "You haven't shifted your vibration. You have to do the work."

"Why am I still receiving unwanted manifestations even though I've been feeling so good about this subject?"

  • Abraham-Hicks Approved Answer: "You only thought you were aligned. Your manifestations show you what your point of attraction really was."

With a single thought-terminating cliche, the questioner is reminded that they don't need to think any new thoughts, for their ideology has already determined which interpretations of reality should be accepted or rejected.

Redefining the World Through Language

There is certainly a sense of security in familiar buzzwords and mottos. There is a comfort in having all the answers simplified into a compilation of oft-repeated words and phrases.

Initially, faith in such a clearly defined system boosts a person's self-confidence and reduces their worry and anxiety. Followers also feel profound and enlightened when they "get it," when they attain understanding of the vocab and the supposed wisdom it represents.

But the language of Abraham-Hicks is not a neutral or objective collection of terms and definitions. It is a redefinition of reality, a filter coloring how the follower understands the entire world around them.

Thus the language of Law of Attraction becomes all-consuming, replacing individual thought and expression.

Loading the language is a way to exert control over how group members speak AND how they think. This is a marker of a mind-control cult.

What Do You Think?

Does Abraham-Hicks fit the criteria for "loading the language?" Do you think it is a cult? Why or why not?

Have you noticed "the language of non-thought" used anywhere else?


  1. cocreationcoachingMay 28, 2016

    Interesting blog.

    My question would be: have you actually tried the law of attraction, or are you just criticizing Abraham-Hicks with no experience in it yourself?

    I find a lot of people just don't understand how the law of attraction works. I've been applying it in my own life for a while now, and consistently getting better and better results.

  2. I criticize it because of the experience I had after being involved for 5 years. I am not out to disprove that the Law of Attraction exists in some form, but I believe the way it is taught by many modern day gurus is irresponsible and problematic. With great relief I no longer design my life around LOA as if it is the only concept that matters.

    And when it comes to Abraham-Hicks specifically, I would not recommend their teachings to anyone and say proceed with caution. If you are interested in knowing more about my perspective, you'll definitely find it on this blog, specifically the post called "Ultimately more harmful than helpful" gives a really long overview.

  3. I think that the language developed from Abraham Hicks is their way of trademarking their product. They are in the market to sell their product and the language is unmistakably theirs. Certainly things like this can get out of hand and as long as they aren't causing harm to the followers, I find them less cult-like. Just my opinion. I specifically looked up the language of AH because I find myself getting lost in what the hell is being said! It certainly is questionable enough that I looked it up to understand the dialogue.

  4. Responsible SpiritualityFebruary 22, 2017

    Hi Alicia, thanks so much for chiming in with your perspective.

    Yes, great point, and there are certainly a lot of teachers out there creating their own terminology to set their system apart from others. And the best teachers may even have a knack for creating terms that elucidate concepts, give insight, and make learning easier.

    What I found alarming about Abraham-Hicks is that it shaped and constricted my thoughts to adhere to this one system, as described in the post.

    I have heard similar "beef" around followers of Landmark Education-- followers talking the talk, as if there are no other words available to speak about life. Though I have no comment on that particular system, I'm just illustrating that to be submerged in terminology can be a danger sign that one's world is being narrowly represented and defined by the ideology that gave you the terms.

    You clearly don't have a problem, just being at the point of trying to understand what's being said in the first place! :) But, I personally think the higher the adherence to this system, the higher the vulnerability to this "language of non-thought."

  5. Thank you for so clearly expressing the undoubtedly irresponsible nature of the teachings. I, too, practised with full commitment for 5 years and woke up from the spell the day I asked to see the truth. The Abe filter fell off and MY full voice came through again, revealling the BS of these teachings. I know many Abers (and even non-Abers brainwashed into passivity by other programmes) will just defend the teachings, rather than allow themselves to be open-minded and to REALLY feel what's going on at the deepest level. I look forward to more of your sharings on your brilliant site. Keep going. This spiritual BS and bypassing NEEDS to be exposed as it is highly immoral and irresponsible. There is more of us coming out with it too, having gone through the Abecraze! We have a right to speak it and support others to wake up too. Beyond the droves who are in denial and resistance. Of course part of the teachings conveniently teach passivity and to only look after our own energy as that is all that matters. Ummm. No. I actually care about people. Spiritual narcissism is not ok.


  6. Responsible SpiritualityFebruary 25, 2017

    Your words are so heartening to me, Izabella! Thank you for taking the time to post a comment.

    Criticism can be so taboo in spiritual circles, as if we must speak in hushed tones about how beautiful and perfect everything is, otherwise risk being labeled as "un-enlightened" or "just not getting it." I want people to understand that an ideology can have actual consequences to a person's functioning, behavior, and growth in life.

    And I find it interesting that you described it as waking up from a spell and the Abe filter falling off. That was my experience exactly, just popping out of the illusion. And I've heard others describe it in similar, "waking up" terms.

    And it was my drive for *truth* as well that allowed healthy disillusionment to occur. Some LOAers have internalized the dominant goal in their life as just: "be happy." I wish joy to be a big part of everyone's life. But having the ultimate and supreme goal of just wanting to FEEL a certain way certainly makes it harder to wake up from nice-sounding illusions.

    Thank you again for your words here. It's not that we are "out of the vortex" or spiritually shutdown. It is as you said, we CARE about people.

  7. Sounds like you became obsessed with Abraham’s teachings, didn’t have the ability to formulate your own thoughts and beliefs about the information Abraham shared and are now blaming Abraham because of how your obsession negatively affected your life. Abraham is not forcing you to read or listen to their material nor to act and behave in any certain way, they are just sharing their perspective and it is up to the reader what they do with the information shared. If anyone is guilty of cult like behavior it is the people who blindly follow without their own independent thought. I’m not an ‘Aber’ but I do believe their intention is to give people a new perspective on things and open peoples minds to new possibilities. Of course you are not supposed to believe any and everything you read in a book or hear on youtube, but there are some nuggets of insight within their teachings that are worth taking into consideration.

  8. Responsible SpiritualityJuly 19, 2018

    Hi Cici. You've made a common assumption which is that when someone is experiencing a problem with Abraham-Hicks, it is their own fault. This is called blaming the victim. Victim-blaming happens in many areas of life and is prevalent within Law of Attraction because LOA fails to analyze any factor besides: "What did that individual person attract with their individual vibration?"

    I challenge you to think of this as a top down problem and not the failing of individuals, considering how many people have commented here (or elsewhere online) experiencing similar problems. AH is designed to be persuasive and intoxicating. When a guru gains people's trust and then manipulates them, it is not the fault of the people who followed the philosophy as it was presented to them.

    I suggest reading through some of these other posts and reading the comment sections as well to consider if this is a single person's problem or a problem with the intentionally-persuasive, money-making BUSINESS of Law of Attraction.

  9. Responsible SpiritualityNovember 18, 2019

    Comments are closed, but please check out RethinkingNewAge on Reddit and join the discussion there