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A brutal critique of Esther Hicks and the law of attraction

This article was first published in the issue “Cults and Gurus” in Tribe, our digital magazine. We profiled four other gurus. You can read Tribe now on Android or iPhone.

We’re relieved to say that our fifth and last guru has no criminal records. She’s still alive, and, so far, nobody has died or been killed following her. Compared to the other gurus on our list, she looks like an angel. However, sometimes, angels can be as harmful as the devil.

Esther Hicks was born in Coalville, Utah, on March 6, 1948. She was a 32-year-old divorced woman and mother of two daughters, living a calm and simple life until she met her second husband, Jerry Hicks.

Jerry was a successful Amway distributor.

For those who were never invited to an Amway meeting in the 1980s or 1990s, it’s a pyramid-based multinational sales company similar to some of the cults described before this issue. Amway was possibly the first company to actively profit from selling positive thinking motivational workshops, books, and cassette tapes to their own sellers’ network.

A passionate student of positive thinking and esoterism, Jerry introduced Esther to Napoleon Hill and Jane Roberts books.

The couple was also mentored by the psychic Sheila Gillette, who channeled a collective archangelic intelligence called Theo.

Esther’s spiritual journey opened her up to connect with her collection of light beings, known as Abraham. According to Esther, Abraham is a group of 100 entities, including Buddha and Jesus.

In 1988, the couple published their first book, A New Beginning I: Handbook for Joyous Survival.

They now have 13 published works. Their book Money and The Law of Attraction was number one on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

The couple was already traveling the US giving motivational lectures for Amway when they started selling their own ideas. Jerry’s marketing skills, Esther’s charisma, and the couple’s undeniable determination paved their way to success.

Esther was the central source of inspiration for the film, The Secret. She narrated and appeared in the film’s original version, although the footage featuring her was later removed.

Esther Hicks and her higher source, Abraham, are some of the most prominent names regarding the Positive Thinking Movement. Hicks has presented her workshops in more than 60 cities.

According to Hicks, “The basis of life is freedom; the purpose of life is joy; the result of life is growth.”

She taught that all desire can be fulfilled and that individuals are a part of the universe and are the very source of it.

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She described the Law of Attraction as a co-creational process:

“People are creators; they create with their thoughts and attention. Whatever people can imagine clearly with emotion, by creating a perfect vibrational match, is theirs to be, or do, or have.”

Hicks is living proof of the effectiveness of the Law of Attraction, given that it earned her a net worth of 10 million dollars.

She’s not alone in the mission of bringing positivity to the world. After its release in 2006, the book, The Secret, sold over 30 million copies, earning a fortune to its author, Rhonda Byrne. Even Oprah and Larry King wanted a slice of this cake, featuring The Secret’s cast several times.

Hicks’s teachings may have helped millions worldwide. The positive thinking books have been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedish, Czech, Croatian, Slovenian, Slovak, Serbian, Romanian, Russian, and Japanese.

Hicks’s spiritual teachings intend to help every human being co-create a better life, and the process starts by recognizing the beauty and abundance within and around us.

“Like the air you breathe, abundance in all things is available to you. Your life will simply be as good as you allow it to be.”

Hicks teaches us that we must be satisfied with our path while pursuing our goals. We must stick to every thought that brings happiness and fulfillment and reject every thought that brings pain or unease.

Her teachings are beautiful, but we must recognize their limitations. The human mind is just the tip of an iceberg and is mostly made of subjectivity. It’s naive to think we can control our mind, given that our mind is triggered by powers beyond our control that reside in our guts. Further, it’s absolutely impossible to choose how we feel because our emotions do not attend to our will.

The mechanism of ignoring unwanted thoughts and emotions was studied by Freud and is called suppression in psychology.

Renewed psychologists, like Werner, Herber, and Klein, have investigated suppression and its effects in-depth. Their research findings indicate that thought suppression directly leads the suppressed item to gain activation. Therefore, the attempt of suppressing a certain thought or feeling will make it stronger. The suppressed will insist on haunting you and become a much more powerful ghost.

Research conducted by Wegner and Ansfield and published in 1996 & 1997 studied people trying to use their mind to relax under stress and fall asleep quickly. The results proved that they took longer to sleep and became more anxious instead of relaxing.

Studies on the subject of suppression proceeded, with Werner giving a pendulum to participants asked to suppress the urge to move it in a certain direction. The results were impressive. They reliably moved the pendulum exactly in that precise direction.

There are many interesting research projects that prove the opposite of what Hicks claims. For example, research conducted by psychologists Erskine and Georgiou in 2010 demonstrated that thinking about smoking and chocolate didn’t lead the participants to increase their consumption of these items, whereas suppression did.

If suppressing our thoughts sounds like shooting ourselves in the foot, it gets even worse when it comes to the psychological conclusions of suppressing our emotions. A study by the University of Texas published in 2011 showed that people who suppress their emotions “are more likely to act aggressively afterwards.” Suppressing emotions is also proven to increase stress and affect memory, blood pressure, and self-esteem.

If positive thinking preached by Hicks is already a controversial method, things get much more problematic when she goes deeper into her philosophy. Hicks teaches us that we must be held accountable for everything we manifest in our lives.

Taking responsibility is certainly a path for self-improvement and a vital step in the process of taking control of our lives. So, what makes Hicks’ teachings on the subject so polemic? Let’s go straight to the facts:

When asked about the Holocaust, she stated that the murdered Jews were responsible for attracting violence upon them themselves.

“All of them were co-creators in the process. In other words, everyone that was involved in it did not die, many of them who were well connected with their inner beings were inspired to zig and zag. Many of them left the country.”

Hicks also explained that people were creating future holocausts with the vibration of their thoughts. She comforted her audience letting them know that the countries that were being bombed by President Bush were “attracting it to themselves” due to the negative emotions of their citizens.

Maybe this is what the psychologists were talking about. While suppressing her cruelty, Hicks ended up empowering it. Her statement may lead a believer to think of President Bush as an instrument of the universe to fulfill Iraqi killed children’s deepest desires.

Hicks also delivered messages sent by Abraham about rape, such as the “pearl of wisdom” below:

“It is less than 1% of the actual rape cases that are true violations, the rest of them are attractions and then a changing of intention later…”

“As this man is raping it is our promise to you this is a disconnected being, it is also our promise to you is the one he rapes is a disconnected being…”

“We believe that this subject [of rape] is really talking about the mixed intentions of the individual, in other words, she was wanting the attention, she was wanting the attraction, she was really wanting all of it and attracted more than she bargained for and then as it is occurring or even after feeling differently about it…”

While Hicks’ statement on the Jewish victims and war may have sounded cruel, they become criminal. Millions of teenagers have been abused and violated. They are completely broken inside, making a profound effort to get over their assaults.

For any of them, hearing those words from the mouth of a prominent individual like Hicks, one who claims to be a spiritual guide channeling the cosmic truth, can be devastating.

But according to Hicks, we shouldn’t be talking about it at risk of being raped, too. It’s safer to let our society fix itself without our interference. These are her words:

“Attention to people being raped and a feeling of irritation and irateness or anger at such injustice is the very vibration that causes you to attract it into your own experience.”

Fortunately, our courts, judges, prosecutors, and cops are not disciples of Hicks. Otherwise, we would live in a world where the rapists walk free while their victims blame themselves for having co-created their misfortune. This is how she finished her statement on the matter:

“Do you have the right to eradicate a rascal? Can you understand his motives? And if you can’t understand his motives, do you have any plausible right or ability to tell him what to do or what not to do?”

Hicks goes on, providing her contribution to the subject of racism:

“No matter what the reason is that he feels that he is being discriminated against — it is his attention to the subject of the prejudice that attracts his trouble.”

If judge Peter Cahill thinks like Hicks, the murderer Derek Chauvin would be set free while George Floyd would be condemned in the afterlife for having attracted the cop’s knee to his throat.

Life becomes clear under the shiny light of Hicks and her Abraham. There’s no unfairness in the world. We co-create everything, even our end.

“Every death is suicide because every death is self-created. No exceptions. Even if someone comes up and puts a gun to you and kills you. You have been a vibrational match to that.”

Esther Hicks teaches us that we have the power to heal from every sort of disease:

“The ultimate health insurance is ‘just get in the vortex’ but so many people don’t even know about the vortex.”

The words may sound beautiful, but death continues independently from our beliefs and thoughts. Despite all his knowledge and closeness to the “source,” her husband, Jerry, co-created cancer and died in 2011.

Positive thinking has already been described as a self-hypnotic process, where people deny every aspect of themselves and of their lives that they consider negative. The risk is that, while bypassing your wounds and avoiding your problems, you never get the chance to heal and solve them.

The suppression of our emotions and the constant effort to feel good and think positively leads to emotional exhaustion and depression in the long run.

Those who profit from selling positive thinking can get away with its ineffectiveness, making you accountable for your failure. If you can’t co-create the life you want, it’s not because this load of bullshit is ineffective. Instead, it’s that you aren’t positive enough, and you should buy more books and attend more workshops.

After investigating Hicks’s universe, we can see much more serious damage inflicted by her archangelic doctrine. Once you start believing that you’re responsible for everything that happens in your life, you’ll blame yourself when something goes wrong.

If someone crashes your car, your boyfriend cheats you, or you’re robbed on the street, you’ll not only have to face the natural pain brought by the situation. Indeed, you’ll also face moral pain for having co-created that experience.

Of course, you’ll feel angry. Actually, you’ll feel twice as angry. You’ll feel angry at the situation and angry at yourself for having co-created it. Your anger will make you feel anxious and even more guilty. You’ll feel that you may be co-creating some event even more negative in your future for feeling that negative emotion. It’s like having a Jim Jones inside your mind!

Before you make any judgment of Esther Hicks, please remember that she is just the deliverer of a message. And before thinking that Abraham, her source, is an evil, racist, pro-rape, and pro-genocide cosmic pretending to be an angel, Esther Hicks is just its well-paid toy. Let’s think of other alternatives.

Perhaps Abraham, as the cosmic intelligence she is, is full of good intentions but unaware of the complex minutiae of the human mind.

Our understanding is basic. We can only discern the implications of Hicks’ philosophy. However, we are not in a position to judge the intentions behind it. We can’t even affirm whose intentions are behind her philosophy as we’ll never know whether Abraham genuinely exists.

Attributing your words to a higher source is a very good manipulation strategy, especially when you have no solid background to back up your knowledge.

Even if Hicks’ knowledge has no scientific base and is illogical, we can trust it since it comes from a higher source. The higher source also says that we can trust and worship its deliverer.

“That which Jesus was, Esther is” – Abraham

Although Esther’s mouth delivered these words, they’re not her words. You should trust them because they’re coming from a higher source.

After hearing such a revelation, we feel almost guilty for writing this article.

Are we criticizing Jesus? What if the psychologists are lying and positive thinking really works?

Perhaps it’s all an unfortunate misunderstanding. However, if we were going to follow Hicks’ teachings, we shouldn’t be concerned.

According to her philosophy, if she’s being featured here, it’s because she co-created this article.

What do you think?

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