A few years ago, I attended a free seminar offered by James Ray, a charismatic motivational speaker. I watched attentively as he moved the audience into a high state of optimism and a willingness to pay thousands for his retreats, books and CDs.
Being a student of esoteric study, I immediately recognized his sources of inspiration. The first being from a well known book called The Kybalion, Hermetic Philosophy. By adding Native American and Shamanistic principals and practices he created a modern day cookbook of life philosophy tasty to the western palate. He offered huge servings of axioms and charged exorbitant prices. Absolutely brilliant from a business perspective. Eh, not so much from a spiritual perspective.
Being completely aware of his offering and where it came from, I found myself wanting to reach for one of his books. In a split second, I took a deep breath, became aware of my body and realized there was a larger manipulation happening. In the days following, I began to study how motivational speakers engage their audience to sell goods and services to folks who had not planned on buying anything. In my research, I discovered mind control techniques were employed.
Here are a few for your consideration:
Keep the room at a temperature of around 68 degrees.
Create a sense of “family” through touch, thought and emotional sharing.
Suggest key phrases and words and use them repetitively.
Creating a chant and encourage everyone to participate.
Generating feelings of guilt / finger pointing: exaggerating former lifestyle choices.
Encouraging the destruction of the ego through confessions of personal weakness.
Denouncing old values and instilling new values in a group setting.
Prevent people from being able to think privately.
Burning bridges of the past by making a financial commitment today.
These are a sampling of common brainwashing methods. Its noteworthy, these same techniques are also used by religious zealots, cult leaders, military boot camps, schools and in political propaganda, just to name a few. James Ray used all the above ways in his free seminar.
My personal belief is that Mr. Ray started his journey with the best of intentions. The Secret worked in a positive way - wow - here comes the Mercedes! However, as his popularity grew so did the demands. Money, power and fame increased. One of “The Secrets” not shared by James Ray is that when you extract from the universe, you also receive the opposite in equal measure. The Law of Attraction, still working, began to attract the qualities of greed and lust Mr. Ray was radiating.
In October 2009, three people lost of their lives in a sweat lodge retreat James Ray was conducting. On June 22, 2011, James Ray was convicted on three counts of negligent homicide. As I write this, the sentencing phase is underway. The jury will decide Mr. Ray's fate, ranging from probation to eleven years. Sadly, Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman received a death sentence. Their family and friends, a life sentence.
Lets not allow this to happen again. Please educate yourself on brainwashing and mind control techniques.