“Abraham says this about relationships... Abraham says that about money...”
Devoted followers automatically mark anything that comes after "Abraham says" as truth and wisdom.
What's going on here, and how does it develop? This leads me to another installment where I compare known cult characteristics with the Abraham-Hicks Law of Attraction teachings.
Unquestioning Commitment to the Leader and the Ideology
According to the International Cultic Studies Association, the following are warning signs of a cult:
"The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law."
"Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished."
Let's examine this first bit.
- unquestioning commitment to the ideology
- the ideology is regarded as Truth and law
To a devoted Aber, the Abraham-Hicks material is Truth. There is no consideration that this might be a belief system that they are participating. Rather, it is presented and accepted as Law, quite literally.
Considered unfailing and applicable to ever area of life at all times, the Abraham-Hicks teachings might as well be called The Way the Entire Universe Absolutely Works. And if followers want to get it to work, they are also taught to strive for total conviction in it.
This is something I failed to see clearly when I myself followed Abraham-Hicks. There is a built-in requirement for Abers to have complete faith in this ideology.
Followers are taught that unwavering conviction is what it means be a "deliberate creator" that can consistently attract what they want in life. Therefore they actively strive for ever greater belief to supposedly become better creators.
When they continue to receive mixed results, they redouble their efforts to be as aligned as possible with the Abraham-Hicks ideology.
What Happens If Followers Question the Belief System?
So, is there unquestioning commitment? Abers actually do a lot of questioning. However, this only takes place from within a framework that assumes the Teachings are completely valid to begin with.
Law of Attraction material generates a lot of discussion because it is not, in fact, The Way the Entire Universe Absolutely Works. It cannot be stretched across every situation without a lot of effort, endless questions, and many extra corollaries supplied by Abraham-Hicks or other Law of Attraction gurus.
The serious believers will devote themselves to studying the fine points, all the ins and outs of what Abraham says, for they believe it will surely lead to extraordinary success.
If success does not come, it means that somewhere along the way they wavered from the fine line the material has them walking. They think, I must have allowed a contrary thought to sully my vibration. I can't attract what I want if I'm not lined up with it. It is Law!
We can check off YES to the cult warning sign of unquestioning commitment. Followers must constantly refer back to Abraham's words, suppress all doubt, and maintain a cult-like conviction in order to fulfill the requirements of the Law.
The Hidden Agreement: How a Faithful Devotee is Made
I’d like to point out one facet of how this unwavering commitment first starts. What happens when a charismatic, utterly confident leader offers you extraordinary knowledge and the keys to your heart's desire?
When the promise is intoxicating enough—like the impossible Law of Attraction promise of EVERYTHING—a person’s internal response may very well be, “I’m in.” This is the start of internal consent.
Like signing a contract, this internal consent gets the listener to step into the world drafted up by the authority figure. In order to redeem the tantalizing offer, they are now ready to comply with the rest of the package and its rules (no matter how ridiculous).
This hidden agreement that the listener makes isn't usually verbal or even conscious at all. But it creates a receptive state of mind where a person may drink down information uncritically, like a baby bird waiting with its mouth wide open for nourishment.
When you believe that a wise authority has all the information and is going to hand you the world on a platter, every word out of their mouth must be followed carefully and their rules embraced. You will likely not even notice the hoops they have you jumping through in return.
In the case of Abraham-Hicks, the authority figure is even easier for spiritual seekers to trust. Rather than a physical, fallible human being, the leader is presented as a collection of all-knowing energies being channeled through Esther Hicks.
Followers can put their trust in this "leading edge, universal intelligence" because the source of information is believed to be above corruption, above deception, and above regular human knowing.
Automatic Punishment for Doubt and Dissent
It is hard to guard against what you can't see happening. People do not realize they have made an agreement to play by The Rules of the guru in order to cash in on the promised results.
And if you don’t play by The Rules, you don’t get what you want.
This brings me to the second part of the cult characteristic being examined, as quoted at the beginning of this post:
"Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished."
An Aber would likely dismiss this cult sign right off the bat. The A-H material does not appear to punish doubt and dissent.
These feel-good Law of Attraction teachings do not sound dominating, authoritarian, or punishing in the slightest. Each sentiment is so positive, inspiring, and allowing! Ostensibly, it's all about joy and free will. Followers are quick to point out that even Abraham says you don’t need to accept or agree with everything!
Yet, doubt and dissent are punished.
Punishment is built right into the belief system as fear and failure: If you don’t believe, if you harbor doubt, then you are practicing a contrary vibration, holding away what you want, and drawing in what you don't want.
Heaven If You Comply, Hell If You Don't
Abers do not need to be obviously policed by their leader because the ideology requires that they police themselves.
Doubt, dissent, and questioning are not enemies to eliminate, rather they are friends that can serve a protective and empowering function. But Abers are insidiously taught not to tolerate any thought or feeling that will, according to this belief system, heap unwanted things upon their heads.
In the same way that the promise of Heaven and the threat of Hell might police a devout Christian, the ultimate prize and punishment looms in the Abraham-Hick ideology in the form of either attracting everything you could ever want in life, or blocking it and attracting unwanted things instead.