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Superheroes of the New Age: Louise Hay

November 23, 2010

Cosmetic surgery is obviously a private matter, but I do think it’s reasonable to ask why Louise Hay, who has made millions teaching that even leprosy can be cured with positive thinking, should decide to get a face lift. Can cure leprosy; can’t get rid of — or even learn to accept — a few wrinkles!

Louise Hay: Affirmations can cure all known diseases…..but can’t cure wrinkles? 

Clearly, Hay decided to go under the knife because she didn’t believe that repeating a few words like

I love and accept my body and its aging processes

would lead to to a state of mind where she could live with herself as she is.

Ms Hay has made millions selling people the idea that positive thinking can cure every single illness there is, without so much as an asprin, to say nothing of surgical procedures. Yet when faced with simple straight forward issue that really can be effectively dealt with by muttering a few positive words at oneself, she instantly capitulated.


Louise was already selling people the idea that all illnesses are caused by thought patterns when she “was diagnosed with cancer”. I put that in quotation marks, as is the usual custom when repeating unsubstantiated information based entirely on hear-say from a party with obvious financial and emotional investments. She “doesn’t remember” which stage it was at, just that it was “incurable” (note quotation marks again). There are no doctors nor any medical records to confirm this story. “It was years ago“, (it was either 1977 or 78, she’s “doesn’t know which”) but luckily for her, her customers have been kind enough to assume she is telling the truth.

Hay “healed” her “cancer” within six months, as was “confirmed” by the “doctors” whose names she has “forgotten”. She claims she managed this feat by forgiving those who “raped” her as a child. Yes — quotation marks again, given the financial interests and dangerous quackery involved. It’s standard woo procedure to weave deeply personal and private details into the fabric of their supernatural claims, so that any expression doubt immediately looks like a sadistic personal attack.

So Louise Hay — who couldn’t use thoughts to come to terms with the fact that humans get older — has made millions telling others that they can use thoughts to cure conditions like leprosy, AIDS, cancer, seizures, stroke, and even being comatose, to name but a few from the 80 odd pages of Heal Your Body. (A book, incidentally, which contains no entry for face lift or aging.) 

She’s careful to tell people to see a doctor as well, so no legal difficulties for her there, but when telling her own story she bullishly explains how she rejected the advice of her “doctors” and went off to cure her “cancer” herself.

How many people have believed her teachings and died as a result? No one knows, and no one ever asks her about it.

All we know is that after the supposed healing miracle of her supposed cancer, her career took off. (As always, thanks, Oprah!) While there is plenty of information on the internet debunking claims like the ones Louise Hay makes, her name is almost never associated with them. That is New Age nirvana – she takes the credit and the cash, others take the rap.

So, in review, Louise Hay may well have invented her cancer scare story and used it to promote herself as living proof for a set of utterly preposterous and dangerous ideas for which there is no basis in human physiology. She received money from millions of people for telling them to avoid surgery, yet when faced with a problem for which her method was actually well suited, she chose to go under the knife rather than put up with any pesky emotions.

For her craven hypocrisy and culpable stupidity, Louise Hay can truly be called a Superhero of the New Age.

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150 comments

  1. That tale of the bout with cancer is amazing. It’s on the “list” of guru pre-requisites, isn’t it? Bob Proctor met financial devastation, Bill Bartmann was a street youth on drugs, Bret Treadwell had a “lump” on his back, and now Louise Hay had cancer. We know it’s true because she told someone who documented it. And as a powerhouse publisher, who better understands the power of the written word? (I think that was historically placed in the wrist, though modern technology might have shifted it to the fingertips.) Nice!!

    Interesting thing, it’s not really all that special. According to the Buddhists, the first noble truth is that life is suffering. Which means that each of us (and I mean every gosh-darned single one of us) can be a guru too. I certainly have my list of hurts from the past. I’ll be willing to bet you do too.

    So, Yakaru, when you find that special piece of paper that looks sort of like a guru-in-the-making contract, could you kindly shove it my way? And should you get a papercut, and should it fester, all yellow and bubbly, and then spread up your arm and render you unable to blog for a week or so, just remember to document it as a photo essay or something. Who knows, that might be your special ticket.

    And you can thank me later for asking.

    Take care, think happy thoughts, prosper, and live forever.


  2. Thanks, Britt!

    Yeh, these crazies see pain or suffering as some kind of failure – because good little boys and girls only get rewards from mummy and daddy. Think the right thoughts and the candy and lollypops will follow. Think the wrong thoughts (like “Hmm, I wonder if they’re bullshitting, I’ll check up on that”) and divine retribution is inevitable.

    …And yeh, basic honesty does seem to rule out any success in the field of gurudom. And for some reason the most useful ideas aren’t necessarily the ones best suited to marketing and turning a profit.


  3. Louise Hay not only had surgery…I think she has had more because I have seen an ad for a new seminar she is holding and the picture is positively hideous.! It’s frightening! I used to read and read Louise Hay….but not now. She has let me down.


  4. Strange isn’t it, that someone who claims all this wisdom is actually horrified and disgusted by something as elementally human as getting old.


  5. Dear Yakaru, I think u are playing too much attention to one side and not to others, more importants..
    I know something about her…
    Why don t u talk about the love message she gives? Love yourself, love and prosper everyone, let s make of this a better world, forgive everyone… wouldn t it be a better world if everyone would get just a little bit of these ideas? I think it would…
    I read her books, she does talk about surgeries, what she says is that it is ok to have surgeries, if it makes you feel happier about yourself, just don t do it thinking it will make u feel good about yourslef, when u actually are not, coz it won t works that way. if u hate yourself, a surgery will only makes look even more ugly… coz we have in experiencies what we have first in thoughts

    Anyway, sorry for my interruption, and for my bad English, but there are so many poeple out there, making money by so many horrendous things… that some people makes money by sharing love thoughts, is not that bad…

    Martin
    from Argentina


  6. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Martin, I appreciate it. (Your English is perfectly clear, by the way!)

    Actually I agree with some of your points:

    “wouldn t it be a better world if everyone would get just a little bit of these ideas? I think it would…”

    Yes, just a little bit of her ideas would be fine. The trouble is that she takes it too far. Worse, she’s happy to get money for telling people they can use thoughts to cure all diseases, but it’s not her own life she’s risking.

    And doesn’t even believe it herself, because otherwise she would not have have had any face lifts. In “You Can Heal Your Life” she claims thoughts can cure leprosy. Well what about a few wrinkles?

    To be completely honest, I will admit to having owned one of her books when I was in my mid twenties and I used some of her ideas. At that time I was only interested finding ideas that I could use and that were better than the poisonous thoughts prowling around inside my troubled head. It probably helped me become more aware of my thoughts and emotions, and may have helped me to accept myself a bit more.

    But I didn’t have cancer, or leprosy, or muscular dystrophy, or any of the other 100s of conditions she claims you can cure by making particular neurons fire in a particular sequence. It’s insane. And it’s dangerous if people who are really sick try it – and that’s her market – the chronically ill and desperate.

    Why can’t she spread a message of love without all this insane preaching about cancer cures?


  7. I’ve heard it said we are creatures of perception. It’s interesting to me your focus and perception of the L.H. message. I have been on a retreat with other women and L.H. and Cheryl R. It was a 4 day retreat and not once did I hear either one of them speak in the black and white language you so vehemently say she professes.

    In fact, one of the most profound and powerful messages was about self-acceptance. Not acceptance “when” I get to a certain level of awareness, but right now, without changing a thing. Personally, I believe in the paradox and power of this. I have experienced it myself and witnessed it in others. I do a lot of women’s work, and it is my experience that most of us have very negative internal messages. Now here you are with a passionate focus on the negative and a black and white message that I don’t even hear.

    When I was there at the retreat, the message I heard was one of love and acceptance. So I don’t give a shit if she’s had a facelift. I’ve had breast augmentation. I’ve also done a ton of emotional work around body image. Are you going to be so presumptuous about my personal journey and healing to say that if I loved myself, I wouldn’t have gotten the surgery? This whole thing is not as black and white for me as it is for you. And for that, I am infinitely grateful.


  8. Hello Julia, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. (I hope you don’t mind that I formatted your comment slightly to emphasize the points you make. The text is of course untouched.)

    I have no argument with idea of using unconditional self acceptance in a therapeutic setting. It’s one thing to set up a safe therapeutic space where no one is going to get criticized, and where we all agree to take full responsibility for what happens to us in that setting.

    But to extend such rules outside those boundaries and project them onto the entire world – as Louise Hay does – is a dangerous practice. It forces people to take risks that are entirely unnecessary for gaining the benefit from what would otherwise have been a healing experience within a safe space.

    The point of my post was to point out that in getting a face lift, Ms Hay has not only demonstrated that her healing techniques, which she claims (in black and white!) can cure cancer, AIDS, leprosy, etc, can’t even make a few wrinkles disappear!!! Her method even failed the simple task of helping her accept her own natural aging process. No miracles needed to do that, but it was too much for her. (As I say in the post, it’s her perfect right to have surgery, but it demonstrates her true evaluation of her own teachings.)

    She is happy to fool around with other peoples fates, but when it’s her own interests on the line, then a different set of rules suddenly apply. Such behavior is typical of famous New Age teachers. They know their teachings don’t work in the way they claim (in black and white) and expect that their fans will oblige by ignoring any cognitive dissonance, and attributing any successes to their teachings.

    The claims that Louise Hay makes are totally over blown. She claims to have cured her own cancer with a particular method, and then goes completely overboard, claiming that all cancer can be cured the same way. What does she bring to the table to back this up?

    Nothing at all.

    She produces no medical records or witnesses; she has mysteriously “forgotten” all the major details of her illness and treatment. She can’t even recall which stage the cancer was in. She can’t produce a shred of evidence that she even had cancer in the first place. Yet she is ready to profit from convincing others to risk a horrible death to use her methods. (In my book, claims don’t get much more black and white than that.)

    So it doesn’t surprise me at all that an essential part of her philosophy is that you shouldn’t criticize. Her dangerous claims don’t stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    As I note in the post, a favorite method of evading criticism is to link a general claim to a personal story, thereby making any criticism seem cruel and personal. (You play a similar trick, incidentally, implying that by criticizing Hay’s decision to undergo cosmetic surgery, I am also criticizing yours. See the second sentence of the post for my position on that.)

    And her teaching about not criticizing is thinly disguised manipulation. “Every thought we think is creating our future.” Criticize her and you create a negative reality for yourself. (I notice this injunction never applies to criticizing Ms Hay’s critics — does it!)

    I accept that people may have benefited from her teachings, but that doesn’t make any of the problems with Hay’s ideology disappear. Her lies and fantasies, and her manipulative ideology, is at best unnecessary to healing, at worst deadly and ruthlessly exploitative. So I repeat the question i ended my previous comment with:

    Why can’t she spread a message of love without all this insane preaching about cancer cures?


  9. wow. I hear a lot of emotion in your response. It sounds like it’s personal. I wonder what it would say about you if you made all of that an “I” statement.

    You wrote, “Why can’t she spread a message of love without all this insane preaching about cancer cures?” In my experience of her, that is what she does. What I was wanting to communicate is that my experience of her is very different from yours. And I am guessing that many others have a different experience.

    We are not victims. If I hear something that resonates for me from an author or speaker/presenter, I can choose to take that and leave whatever doesn’t fit for me. I don’t believe there are mindless droves of human sheep who are experiencing some kind of horrendous consequences from reading her books, AND if there are, that’s not about her, it’s about each person who chooses to disregard their own inner truth. My experience of L. Hay and some of the others who are associated with Hay House is that they do NOT profess to have the answers. They in fact, encourage the individual to find what works for them. I have heard Louise Hay say that on several occasions when asked a question. She responded with what worked for her and emphasized that everyone is different and you have to listen to your own body and find what works for you.

    I believe that everything we experience is filtered through our own personal filters. It is my responsibility to raise my level of awareness to know what my filters are and what they say. That’s why I am very curious what your response would look like if you made it an “I” statement.


  10. wow. I hear a lot of emotion in your response.

    And I hear a lot of emotion in your response too. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s no surprise, given that we’re discussing things we find important, with someone who has a very different perspective.

    But you also seem to be implying that my criticism is the product of emotionally clouded perceptions. Maybe, and maybe not. The best way to show that though would be to deal with the criticisms directly, rather than being concerned about my emotional state while writing them.

    It sounds like it’s personal.

    Whether it’s personal or not has nothing at all to do with the validity of my objections to Ms Hay’s teachings.

    I wonder what it would say about you if you made all of that an “I” statement.

    That’s irrelevant. You can actually find an “I” statement about my subjective response to Louise Hay’s work in the comment from me immediately before your first comment here. But it has nothing to do with the serious objections I am raising. I wonder if you will actually address any of them here.

    You wrote, “Why can’t she spread a message of love without all this insane preaching about cancer cures?” In my experience of her, that is what she does. What I was wanting to communicate is that my experience of her is very different from yours. And I am guessing that many others have a different experience.

    I’m not contesting the point that some of her message is loving. The problem I am referring to is the cancer quackery she writes in her books.

    We are not victims.

    There is a whole ideology behind that statement, if you mean it in the same way that Louise Hay teaches it. I’m not going to go into it (as I do that in almost every other post on this blog). But I will say that it’s an ideology that is not grounded in reality, and is dangerous. I’ll add that all the errors in it just happen, by some remarkable coincidence, to make it more appealing, easy to read, and therefore more easily marketable.

    If I hear something that resonates for me from an author or speaker/presenter, I can choose to take that and leave whatever doesn’t fit for me.

    Again, uncontested, and irrelevant to my criticism of Ms Hay.

    I don’t believe there are mindless droves of human sheep who are experiencing some kind of horrendous consequences from reading her books,

    I think that’s an unfair characterization of my argument. And it avoids the issue. Nowhere did I imply that her readers are stupid, nor that masses of people immediately suffer from them. Rather, that she’s possibly/probably lying, that what she presents as fact is actually fantasy, and that the dangers are real and not spelled out or even acknowledged anywhere in her work, or in the entire “New Age” culture which has grown up over the years.

    AND if there are, that’s not about her, it’s about each person who chooses to disregard their own inner truth.

    In other words, if someone follows Louise Hay’s teachings to the letter, and it turns out not to “work” for them (for example, they die) then you lay the fault with them, for not listening to their inner truth. Blaming the victim is what this is called (even if your ideology defines victims as the active party, and the fraudster as the innocent party). I’m often surprised how many apparently kind people wind up finding themselves advocating this ruthless and frankly abhorrent position, in order to defend a favored teacher. You are aware of the implications of this, aren’t you?

    And you don’t really believe it all, because you didn’t apply it to me. You should have read my blog post and thought “Well, that’s just his inner truth and that is right for him.” But you didn’t, because you are criticizing me for my statements, in exactly the same way that you object to me doing to Louise Hay. Why the double standard?

    My experience of L. Hay and some of the others who are associated with Hay House is that they do NOT profess to have the answers.

    I am writing about the teachings as contained in her books. I suggest you go back and read her writings again and you will quickly see what I am referring to. Almost every sentence she writes is an upfront assertion presented as unequivocal fact. Yes, she throws in the odd rhetorical “I believe” but never follows it with any reason to justify it.

    Her clear intention is for her readers to come away with the idea that their thoughts affect their reality. Not just their experience, but the reality itself as well. As I say, dangerous and stupid.

    They in fact, encourage the individual to find what works for them. I have heard Louise Hay say that on several occasions when asked a question. She responded with what worked for her and emphasized that everyone is different and you have to listen to your own body and find what works for you.

    That’s all very nice, but her books don’t warn people that she doesn’t care if the view of reality she presents is fundamentally flawed. I do care about that point, and I make it my business to inform people who read my blog that this in fact seems to be the case.

    I believe that everything we experience is filtered through our own personal filters.

    But this post is about the implausibility of Ms Hay’s cancer claims. The question of whether or not she even had cancer, for example, is not a question of a perceptual filter. Her book presents it as fact, and her reputation is based on the assumption that it is fact.

    It is my responsibility to raise my level of awareness to know what my filters are and what they say.

    And by this, it looks like you imply that if I raised my awareness, I would realize that my filters are blocking out all the nice things about Louise Hay. Maybe, but as I say, it wouldn’t change the facts about the words she has written, the claims she makes about herself, or the truth or falsity of those claims.

    That’s why I am very curious what your response would look like if you made it an “I” statement.

    As I said earlier, “I” statements are irrelevant to questions of objective fact. If I ever create another blog focusing on my “positive” experiences with spirituality, it would use such formulations. But that’s not the purpose of this blog, which deals specifically with cases where spirituality is used as a cloak for deceptive and unethical practices.

    The dominant ideology of the spiritual community is directly opposed to the very notion that such a thing can even exists. This in itself is a dangerous situation.


  11. You say you are speaking facts, but I don’t agree. Everything you have written to me in response is a passionate opinion and belief. You say if I re-read her books I will see what you are talking about. I have her book You Can Heal Your Life right here in my lap. I do not see the absolutes you speak of. She tells her story and speaks of going to the library and health food stores to get everything she could read about cancer, nutrition, and holistic healing. She says, “I immediately took responsibility for my own healing. I read and investigated everything I could find on alternative ways to assist my healing.” The word that stands out to me is “assist”. So many people depend solely on what an MD prescribes without looking at their own unhealthy behaviors that may be contributing to their condition. I believe most people in our culture would rather take a pill. I personally admire that L. Hay inspires people to take responsibility for their own bodies. To love themselves enough to give themselves good self care.
    In her book, she speaks of her personal experience as her own personal experience and her beliefs as what she believes. Her story (in this particular book) is that she was diagnosed with cancer and then set about to change her life; studied nutrition, changed the way she ate, began to take better care of herself, exercise & nutrition being a part of it, and also exploring various healing touch modalities. Now I have heard of many people who have this kind of response when they are diagnosed with a disease or confront some sort of health issue. I have also heard that Asian cultures have been using specific nutrition (successfully, I might add) to address cancer for hundreds of years. I know a woman who herself developed cancer and has made a radical change in her eating. Many people choose a non-traditional holistic way to treat their bodies. Louise Hay’s story is not the only one I have heard where someone claims to have healed their cancer through non-traditional holistic means. I am certainly willing to believe that it works for some people.

    No where in her books and CDs, and I have a few, have I ever heard her say, “do this and you will be cured.”


  12. [...] has been some interesting comments appearing here on an earlier article about Louise Hay. Here is a link to it. I want to make some general comments here as well, in addition to the exchanges [...]


  13. I appreciate you taking the time to respond, Julia. There is a lot in all this, and you have been very civil so far. You may notice that I have quoted part of your previous comment in a new blog post. I say there that I chose it as representative of a common view point rather than a part of this discussion, but feel free to comment on what I’ve written there too.

    The facts that I am speaking of are her claims like resentment being a cause of cancer and that releasing it will cure it. She claimed that’s what happened to her, and these are factual claims. Those are not matters of opinion. Either it happened like that or it didn’t. If she cured her own cancer like that, then how about sharing the medical records or quoting from them at least. June 23 1979 second stage cervical cancer diagnosed. December 23 1979 cancer disappeared. But she offers nothing at all.

    It’s an important point, because she sells herself as living proof that the message she advocates – in this case forgiveness – works as a cure for cancer.

    These are factual claims about the nature of reality, and she has nothing to back them up. Or rather, she backs them up with her own story, but that itself is not backed up either.

    If she has such a loving message, then why does she dress it all this quackery?

    Surely forgiveness and sensitivity and everything can be promoted as intrinsically good things in themselves, without all this other nonsense. Would she be so rich and famous if she wasn’t claiming to be a miracle worker? I doubt it.

    If you are reading Heal Your Body, what do you think she means when she writes “Metaphysical causations”? and “Probable causes” of all those diseases. For me, these are factual statements concerning human physiology. And I see no reason to why leprosy should be caused by “not feeling clean enough”, nor how it could be cured or even affected in any way by thinking specific thoughts.

    The simple claim, or even the implication that it can, concerns matters of fact. Either they have an effect, or they don’t. We might argue about it, but regardless of our opinions either they or they don’t.

    And I say, she has not offered enough evidence to be making such factual claims. It’s fine for people to cherry pick from her teachings, and ignore her claims about the nature of reality, (as you seem to do) but I am calling her out on her claims. You choose not to.

    As an added point, irrelevant everything above, I also dispute that her teachings help people to become more sensitive to their bodies. It is actually the opposite. I’ve learned several different forms of body oriented psychotherapy, and they focus on tuning in to the body and maybe having a conversation with a body part. I imagine you’ve done similar things too. How different that is from looking up in a book to find out what Louise Hay imagines is going on in my own body.


  14. Give a direct quote. I still don’t see any direct quotes. I see fragments of what you say are her messages and then you tell the reader what she means and intends in these words or fragments. How can you, who do not inhabit her body and mind, know what she means or intends? You have chosen a few words and phrases in quotes, but I don’t see any absolute messages that harm readers as you say she does. In the chart of her book You Can Heal Your Life, she lists “Probable Cause”. She doesn’t say it as an absolute for everyone. She offers questions and journaling exercises for the person to go within and find their own answers.

    And I absolutely believe that deep self-contempt can and does have physical expression in the body. Christiane Northrup, an MD who wrote Women’s Bodies Women’s Wisdom, also writes about this. It makes perfect sense to me (for example) that if I am an incest survivor that later in life my emotional wounding may show up as endometriosis. I believe in the wisdom of our bodies.
    What I hear L.H. as saying is that there is more to us than our physiological bodies. There is a much broader picture to look at. I hear her saying that if we only focus on one thing, for example taking the prescribed pill without doing our own research, we will not be treating the whole problem, and it is very likely that it will return- Because our bodies are wise and they are trying to get our attention.

    I don’t understand where you get the messages you are getting, because when I read and listen to her, and even have spent days with her in person, live, the messages I heard were nothing of what you say she is about.

    And that is why I keep coming back, questioning your words.


  15. Direct quote from her well known “Life Story”
    “Then one day I was diagnosed with cancer.”

    I dispute that she had cancer. She offers no evidence and her lack of memory for the details makes it appear to me to be highly implausible. I don’t know for sure, but I see no reason to take her word for it. So I will look at the rest of her story and see how it stacks up. It’s important, as it’s the only evidence she offers to support her teachings.

    “With my background of being raped at five and having been a battered child, it was no wonder I manifested cancer in the Vaginal area.”

    There is a lot of assumptions there about the functioning of the human body. Not just her body, but every body. So it’s “no wonder” she “manifested” it. She is clearly implying a specific connection between the (reported) rape and a specific part of her body getting cancer. “No wonder” shows that she considers this connection to be normal or to be highly expected in such a case, generally.

    “Manifested” refers to her assertion (presented as fact) that the things we think “create our future” and will manifest in our physical condition, (From an interview: “Every thought we think and every word we speak is creating our future. So we have to be careful about we say and think….And going over and over past difficulties, that doesn’t do anything but attract more difficulties to you.”)

    She is not speaking metaphorically, is she. She is claiming that she “manifested” her cancer in her body through her resentment.

    She is not making the kind of claim that you do, that “deep self-contempt can and does have physical expression in the body”. Rather she claims specifically that she manifested her cancer in a particular area of her body, connected with with her thoughts and experience of rape. And as I pointed out, it is “no wonder” that happened. She is clearly referring to processes that she believes affect human physiology in a predictable way. That is a factual claim, as always, unsubstantiated by anything other than ideology but asserted as fact.

    “I did not have an operation; however, as a result of all the thorough mental and physical cleansing, six months after my diagnosis I was able to get the medical profession to agree with what I already knew–that I no longer had even a trace of cancer!”

    “As a result of….” That’s a factual claim.

    She got the medical profession to agree with “what she already knew” — again a specific factual claim, and again unsubstantiated, despite being easy to prove compellingly. She had already published “You Can Heal Your Life”, So why didn’t she keep the relevant documents? Or get some kind of confirmation from a doctor? Could it be that the whole story is a fabrication? I don’t know, but such an explanation is entirely plausible. She offers nothing to allay my doubts.

    From a NYT article:
    “There is, she says, no doctor left who can confirm this improbable story — “It was years ago!” — but she swears it is true.”

    So there is a long string of factual claims all of which are completely unsubstantiated, yet all of which have generated tens of millions of dollars in profit for Ms Hay. In itself that’s no proof of wrong doing, but it deserves an “uhuh”, I think.

    So she can produce CD’s of “Cancer Affirmations”
    “Louise discusses how resentment, criticism, and guilt create and maintain illness. She shows that forgiveness is the key to releasing resentment, and resolving diseases such as cancer.”

    “create and maintain illness” are two factual claims about human physiology and the nature of illness. Of course nowhere does she substantiate her claim that thoughts “create” specific illnesses, despite having devoted an entire book to describing which thoughts “create” which illnesses. And she doesn’t mean “maintain” in the way you interpret it, via stress or whatever. She means that as long as those thoughts are there, the illness won’t go away. That is what her narrow religious New Thought / Christian Science ideology holds to be true.

    “forgiveness is the key to…resolving diseases…”

    Again a factual claim. And again, she does not mean that forgiveness might make you feel better and the general relaxation and peace it brings can have a positive effect on health generally. Her ideology holds it as fact that thoughts create the condition of the body.

    And I disagree with that entire ideology, and I take issue with each of those factual claims. Right down to the simplest statements like “I had cancer”.

    I am not concerned with the particular meanings you have drawn from her work. Her work as she presents it in her books and other products is what I am calling unsubstantiated at best, and bogus at worst.

    And the best case scenario is already unacceptably dangerous, inaccurate and irresponsible.


  16. You wrote, “And she doesn’t mean “maintain” in the way you interpret it, via stress or whatever.” I think that’s exactly what she means. I will end here by saying that you and I read the very same words and see something different. It’s why I began with “we are creatures of perception.” You are so adamant that what you interpret is the truth, the whole truth, the only truth, and indisputable “fact”. I don’t agree. I read the same thing you do and see something quite different. Two people can have the very same physical experience and when they talk about it, it is very different for each of them. That is the point I wanted to make throughout this whole thing. I see and hear something quite different than you do.


  17. Thanks for sticking with it this long, Julia. I hope readers of this thread visit your site – your artwork and the other info and pictures there give a good feel for where you’re coming from.

    I hope that anyone who reads Louise Hay’s work interprets it the way you do and doesn’t take it the way MS Hay presents it in her written and spoken presentations.

    I disagree that I am making too much of her claims. Where is the room for interpretation in a statement like:

    “Every thought we think and every word we speak is creating our future. So we have to be careful about we say and think….And going over and over past difficulties, that doesn’t do anything but attract more difficulties to you.”

    It’s not me who’s the absolutist here.


  18. Ah, just now read this first post and follow-up comments.

    As I mentioned on the other post, I used to “follow” Abraham-Hicks. (Who gets in a few digs re: Louise Hay from time to time, oddly enough, considering the stuff is published by Hay House.) I also used to spend some time on the Abe Forum, a forum dedicated to the teachings of Abraham-Hicks.

    In my observation, it is not “droves” of people experiencing horrendous consequences. It is more like a small but significant percentage of people following this type of teaching are experiencing horrendous consequences. That’s enough for me.


  19. Interesting – what did the Hickses say about Louise Hay?

    Yeh, deadly illnesses is kind of an important topic, and claiming you know what causes and can cure every single one of them is a claim which I think should be taken seriously, especially if the claimant is promoting themselves world wide and profiting massively from it.

    Strangely, Julia, the commenter above, doesn’t seem to take it seriously at all, despite simultaneously defending it vigorously.


  20. In my observation, people who don’t take this stuff all that seriously aren’t really harmed by it. As for the dig, “Abraham” has said in workshops that Louise Hay herself has said that Louise teaches the “babies” who are learning about the law of attraction, while “Abraham” teaches the more advanced students of law of attraction.

    I don’t know if Louise Hay has actually said this or not.

    One of the people who comment on my blog remembers another “dig” but not the exact quote.


  21. ***by people who don’t take this stuff seriously I am not referring to the teachers, I’m referring to the lowly consumers***

    :)


  22. The way Julia, the commenter above, takes Louise Hay’s teachings (and the way I did too many years ago briefly) is to cherry pick the ideas we can use. But Ms Hay didn’t get famous by telling people just to become more sensitive to our thoughts and feelings and physical sensations. She got famous by making extravagant claims of miraculous powers that no one is allowed to check out.

    Good luck to anyone doing it like that, but why then attack someone who simply points out the dangers in following her instructions?

    I’m outside of the loop with a lot of this, but there does seem to be a bit of tension between different LoA groups, probably ever since the bust up between the Hickses and the Secreteers. I got the impression that the “LoA” is a remarketed New Thought concept, itself stolen from Hindu mythology, and prettied up with some terminology stolen from quantum physics and completely misunderstood.


  23. Yet somehow the Hickses thought they would be able to trademark the term “Law of Attraction”!!

    Here’s a fun story:

    http://abrahamhicksfraud.blogspot.com/p/trademarking-law-of-attraction.html

    Tension among LoA groups? How could that be? Their message is about love and acceptance. (eyes rolling about now)


  24. That’s funny. “…the phrase “Law of Attraction,” which dates back at least to 1904…”

    No surprise then that “Abe” had never heard of it. Going by all the channeled material I’ve read, the only reading material that ever seems to have filtered through to the spirit world is a bunch of crappy new age books from the 1970s!


  25. LOL


  26. I’ve got to agree with Julia on this one. If you think the (accepted) Western medical community is the be-all, end-all to curing what ails us, think again. There are SCIENTISTS with no woo-woo fairy tales to rely on who are being PERSECUTED by the US government because they’re not making chemotherapy part of their cancer treatment regime. Look up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be1ihuZNg84 to see the story of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski. His most stalwart fans are no woo-woo groupies, just families who have family members that were given little to no hope by doctors. Additionally, what about the manipulation of vaccines and GMO food products for not-so-healthy reasons?

    I was raised in a household where facts, figures and proof were prized (Yes, yes, you’re pretty but, more importantly, you are SMART!). I’m a voracious reader and when I discovered Whole Foods in my neighbourhood I was not attracted to their book section, whatsoever. The one book I ever purchased there was The Gerson Therapy for my mom after attending a Jay Kordich Juiceman seminar with her in 1990. Incidentally, juicing literally saved my mom’s life… per her Western medicine doctor who had been treating her worsening iron deficiency. At the time, I was working as a Med Tech in a hospital laboratory and a scoffer of feel-good philosophies.

    My first steps into exploring spirituality of a metaphysical flavor was with L.Hay’s book YCHYL in 2008. So, I feel confident in saying that I don’t just jump into the next flavor of feel-good mumbo-jumbo.

    I approached both L.Hay’s and the Abraham-Hicks message, scientifically. Fortunately, I heard the message early on that one can’t hedge their bets in belief-shifting and I decided to experiment full-on with the guidance they shared. What did I have to lose? (haha, I even used pdf copies of their books so it’s not like they made a dime off of me.) Within a month, my life was different EMOTIONALLY and I was a convert. Nope, I didn’t have an incredible drama that was resolved but I did have life-long questions answered in a way that made 100% more sense than what society, the government and religion were trying to force-feed me all my life.

    I suppose I, too, wonder why the tone of this post seems so personal. There are so many truly horrible things in this world to rant against and you choose L.Hay’s PERSONAL cancer cure claims. If a person is diagnosed with cancer (by doctors doing tests) and CHOOSES to use alternative methods, do you GENUINELY believe they would use YCHYL without doing any kind of soul-searching or thinking through of the implications? Do you REALLY believe the first place they go to after leaving the doctor’s office is the bookstore without having SOME kind of interest in belief shifting already?

    EVERY person on the planet has hunches or gut feelings at some point in their life. We choose to listen to them or ignore them. I believe, when it comes to life and death choices, people should have the right to choose the cure that makes sense to them whether I agree with it or not.


  27. Thanks for commenting Eva.

    First, I feel compelled to slightly reword one of your last sentences. You wrote:

    There are so many truly horrible things in this world to rant against and you choose L.Hay’s PERSONAL cancer cure claims.

    I’ll add a couple of words:
    There are so many truly horrible things in this world to rant against and you choose me ranting against L.Hay’s PERSONAL cancer cure claims.

    See any irony there?

    Would it be impolite to call it hypocrisy on your part? If I should not be ranting against a world famous author, why are you ranting against a very minor blogger?

    Why the double standard?

    I also refer you to the comment policy where I ask people not to analyze my motives instead of addressing my criticism.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/about-2/

    Also, I am not ranting against Ms Hay’s “PERSONAL” cancer claims. Had she kept her claims personal, I probably wouldn’t even have heard of them. My article very clearly deals with Hay’s claims that her “personal” cancer story reveals a general principle about human physiology and the healing of cancer. That is the essential point I was discussing in the post. She has done absolutely nothing to establish that claim, beyond asserting it repeatedly and insisting that people simply believe her unconditionally. Sorry, but I don’t feel obliged to fulfill that expectation.

    Louise Hay has built her career around a multitude of such claims, and I have chosen one and asked what evidence there is for it. I see none, and you also haven’t offered any.

    As I point out in the article, far from seeing any evidence in favor of her claims, I see in her behavior evidence that she does not even take her own claims seriously. She claims to know how to cure every known disease, but is helpless to prevent a few wrinkles appearing on her face, and despite her teachings about self acceptance, can’t bring herself to accept their presence either. Ironically, in an area where a few affirmations and self-love could be used effectively, she can’t bring herself to do it.

    If you think the (accepted) Western medical community is the be-all, end-all to curing what ails us, think again

    I don’t think that, nor did I suggest in the post that mainstream medicine is above criticism.

    Unlike you, however, I don’t think geography has anything to do with medicine. Medicine is not “Western” nor “Eastern” for that matter. I think human physiology is the correct basis for medicine.

    There are SCIENTISTS with no woo-woo fairy tales to rely on who are being PERSECUTED by the US government because they’re not making chemotherapy part of their cancer treatment regime. Look up https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be1ihuZNg84 to see the story of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski.

    This thread is about Louise Hay’s cancer quackery not Burzynski’s, so I’ll just make a few brief comments about some of the criticism of Burzynski’s work which you appear to be unaware of, and add a link or two.

    Burzynski has evaded medical standards and regulations by calling his treatment “research”. He’s been doing this since the late 70s and hasn’t published a single paper from his “research”. Not one. He charges massively inflated prices for his unverified “research/treatment”, and lives in a $5 million mansion while insisting that his desperate patients (or desperate parents of children with cancer) raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. If his treatment — which incidentally does indeed include chemotherapy — works, why don’t you think he’s published anything? Plenty of nice promotional movies though.

    http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=3158&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2011/11/a-look-at-the-burzynski-clinics-publications/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2011/11/more-damning-revelations-about-burzynskis-research/

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/12/what_dr_stanislaw_burzynski_doesnt_want.php

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/03/the-burzynski-millions.html

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/another_burzynski_patient_dies.php

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/01/burzynski-in-court-patient-treated-like-a-cash-machine.html

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2011/11/the-burzynski-clinic-threatens-my-family.html

    As for Gerson Therapy, which I’d never heard of, this is from one article:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-not-so-beautiful-untruth-about-the-gerson-therapy-and-cancer-quackery/

    “A naturopath who visited the Gerson Clinic in 1983 was able to track 21 patients over a 5-year period (or until death) through annual letters or phone calls. At the 5-year mark, only one was still alive (but not cancer-free); the rest had succumbed to their cancer.”

    And that one I guess was running around proclaiming that Gerson therapy “works for me”. I will post more on this soon in a separate post.

    EVERY person on the planet has hunches or gut feelings at some point in their life. We choose to listen to them or ignore them. I believe, when it comes to life and death choices, people should have the right to choose the cure that makes sense to them whether I agree with it or not.

    Where in the article did I suggest that people should not have the right to make their own decisions?

    Where did I even say that hunches or gut feelings should not be followed? What I will say though, is that hunches and gut feelings are not the only possible ways to make decisions, hence this post which you for mysterious reasons so strenuously oppose.

    You seem to think that people should make their decisions based only on Ms Hay’s version of the benefits they stand to gain, and not encounter any talk of the possible disadvantages and problems with Ms Hay’s teachings.

    Just like Julia, and despite writing at length, you have not addressed any of the serious criticisms that I raised against Ms Hay’s work.


  28. [...] Another commenter on my earlier post about Louise Hay’s cancer quackery has raised some issues concerning alternative medicine. I responded  to her criticisms (or lack of them as the case may be) over on that thread, but I want to take the opportunity to gather a few points about the way proponents of alternative medicine respond to criticism in general. [...]


  29. one of my closest friends, who had cancer, followed louise hay’s methods and declined conventional medicine. she lived less than a year.

    as for people “manifesting” their problems, does louise tell that to the starving kids in the third world? it’s their own fault, is it?

    if you look at child development literature, “magical thinking” is a very early stage of child development.

    of course positive thinking and love are good things because they make us happy, improve our relationships, help foster a cooperative, caring community and so on. few people would dispute that.

    but attributing magical effects to positive thinking and then selling the the idea to vulnerable, desperate people who give you their money and then die … hmm i don’t think that’s very loving.

    thank you for your original post.


  30. I’m sorry to hear about your friend, Abigail. How many more deaths Ms Hay has caused no one knows, and she is happy to blend out of “her reality” as long as the profits keep rolling.

    Yes, that’s a good point about magical thinking. And it is of course all too human to revert to it when powerless or vulnerable. Then you get vampires like Louise Hay ready to prey on the vulnerable and unsuspecting.


  31. wow, such negativity… I had a miscarriage when I was 32. I don’t remember the exact day. I blocked a lot out about it. I don’t remember the Doctor’s name. I can see his face. There is probably no proof, but I had a miscarriage. I do not give a dang who believes it or not. I don’t believe everything that Louise teacher but I love her message. Your message, I don’t like at all:(


  32. Dear Anonymous,

    You wrote: “wow, such negativity…”

    and

    “Your message, I don’t like at all:( ”

    Why do you think your negativity is better than my negativity? (Please see the comment policy!!!)

    And you have completely missed the point of the article. I don’t argue that Louise Hay should remember her medical history. Instead I argue that if she wants to claim that she knows how to cure cancer (and every other disease), she should be able to back that claim up. She has become a multimillionaire by risking or costing other people’s lives.

    And as I point out in the article, what evidence is there that she has discovered extraordinary healing powers? NONE. She can’t even get rid of a few wrinkles.

    Should you wish to comment again here, please address the topic.


  33. Anonymous, your story isn’t even relevant. What’s your point?

    I’ve had medical treatment where I don’t remember the name of the physician. But I do remember the facility where I had the treatment, and records can be obtained. Why wouldn’t Louise Hay be able to produce any proof of her former illness from which she had been healed?

    And why don’t more people demand to see proof?


  34. Louise Hay has helped me on many of occasions that were associated on various aspects of my life. Louise has taught me that I take responsibility for my own decisions and my own thoughts and also turn to myself when there was a positive or negative outcome. We are the painters of our own book of life and important we acknowledge that. If you are looking for that person to be perfect in your eyes start by looking in the mirror, as remember Louise always pointed to your own mirror not to her.
    Take care everyone and God Bless


  35. Hi Anony- re: your first sentence, I was wondering if you could possibly be a bit more vague?

    I personally don’t expect anyone to be perfect. Wonder where you got that idea? I DO expect my teachers to be honest.


  36. Dear Anonymous from NSW

    I have edited your comment by removing the first two words, “Dear Readers”. Before using my blog as a platform for addressing those who visit this site, please email me and explain why you think you have the right to do this.

    Trying to pull a stunt like that — anonymously!!! — is a new one. Ms Hay’s supporters always try and avoid dealing with my critique, but you’re the first one who’s tried to do it by simply talking past me….on my own blog! Where are your manners?

    PS I have reproduced your address to the readers and responded to it in a new post. Also, I add the location to anon comments for ID purposes. If you use name in future posts, I will change it to that.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/anonymous-lectures-you-about-louise-hay/


  37. [...] have been personally addressed by an anonymous commenter on my (comparatively popular) post on Louise [...]


  38. Is there any way of proving or checking whether an anonymous comment detailing anonymous experiences contains any verifiable facts ?
    Didn´t the Bush administration do something like this vis-a-vis the secret proof of WMD in Iraq ?
    I have a real name, but I do not have any proof of the effectiveness of Louise Hay´s recommendations.
    So can we please have some other people with real names come forward with verifiable evidence supporting the Hay contentions.


  39. @DonaldTelfer,

    I think Anon NSW’s comment is one of the lamest I’ve seen anywhere. I’ve seen plenty of anons saying their cancer was cured using Hay’s techniques, but this one just vaguely says they were helped “on many of occasions that were associated on various aspects of my life.”

    Jeez, don’t bury us in details, sir or madam!


  40. Hello Yakaru

    In my experience, when something gets up my nose about something someone else has said or done, it is because it is in some way true of me too. You object strongly to Louise Hay making grand unsbustantiated claims, or ‘probably lying’ as you put it in one of your posts.

    Could it be that you find it easier to focus on the lies you think she propogates, rather than looking at your own anger and discomfort about the liar in you? Have you never lied about anything?

    I have heard it said that ‘we can never say anything to anyone else that we are not already saying to ourselves’. What do you think?

    Warm regards

    Al


  41. Dear Al,

    Thank you for maintaining a civil tone during that comment. You have distinguished yourself from all of the commenters above who left exactly the same comment as you, but were nasty about it.

    Why do you assume that I am writing without awareness of my emotions?

    Also, you haven’t addressed any of the criticisms I made of Louise Hay’s teachings. Why not?

    Over the last 25 years or so of meditating, doing various forms of New Age and spiritual self awarenes and therapy groups, I have frequently used the technique you suggest, so I find it a bit presumptuous of you not to first ask about my personal experiences before offering advice.

    And the advice is bad, I’m afraid. In a therapy group or in a trusting honest relationship, that technique can be valuable, but it is ill-suited to investigating questions fact. And the post was about questions of fact. Do you notice how Louise Hay’s teachings have left you unequipped to examine questions like “Do all illnesses originate from thoughts?” or “Can all illnesses be healed in the manner Hay says they can?”

    These are important questions, I think. Louise Hay refuses to answer them, and she has taught you how to avoid asking them. It won’t work with me though.

    If you wish to comment again, please read the comment policy first, and please address the topic!


  42. Reading Al’s comment, two logical fallacies jump out immediately. The ever-so-common “ad hominem” (“Latin for “to the man.” An arguer who uses ad hominems attacks the person instead of the argument. Whenever an arguer cannot defend his position with evidence, facts or reason, he or she may resort to attacking an opponent either through: labeling, straw man arguments, name calling, offensive remarks and anger.”)

    and “two wrongs make a right”: “trying to justify what we did by accusing someone else of doing the same. (e.g. how can you judge my actions when you do exactly the same thing?) The guilt of the accuser has no relevance to the discussion.”

    The definitions are quoted directly from a list of common fallacies here:

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/fallacies.htm

    It would be most interesting to hear a logically sound argument in favor of Louise Hay and her practices.


  43. …following up on my comment. I’m not saying that I think Yakaru actually *is* angry when he’s blogging. I’m just saying that even making that suggestion is a logical fallacy, and even if it *were* the case, it would have nothing to do with Louise Hay and her lying to the masses.


  44. … actually, what I meant to say was whether or not Yakaru has lied before is irrelevant to the discussion. Sorry ’bout that!

    But drawing attention to a writer’s imagined emotional state is not a sound argument, either.


  45. Hello Yakaru!

    Another Abigail here who also had a good friend who also declined conventional treatment (which would have allowed her to live) also to pursue ‘alternative’ treatments. I have two Louise L. Hay books sitting on my bookshelf right now – both are from that friend who died, sadly, less than two years after she decided to fight cancer without conventional therapy.

    Like you I also used to read Hay’s books – they brought me comfort and (like you said) were better than the toxic thoughts in my own mind.

    There are a few things I wanted to say: firstly, I am thoroughly impressed with how you deal with such negative, attacking criticism here. It’s like Hay’s supporters aren’t even capable of a rational discussion, which is fine – but why try to incite attacks on someone else’s blog? They talk about kindness and love but I don’t see any trace of this love or kindness in their dealings with you. Good on you for pointing out the double standards! I found that very admirable :)

    Secondly – here’s my little theory about why these things work. Hay tells us things that we want to hear. Following people like Hay, we get the comfort of a simple system: if we act in a certain way we will get a certain result. Unfortunately modern life isn’t like this – we don’t exactly live in a just world. There is a demand for people like Hay to provide calmness and reassurance that everything will be okay – even when it won’t.

    I find this sad because after so many years of being immersed in self-help, I am finally realizing that I need to do deeper work. We can’t heal trauma through simple affirmations. Trauma takes courage, time and unconditional love to deal with. I wonder how many other people come to this particular flavour of self-help, like I did, hoping that they would be able to heal long-standing, serious problems? Hoping for a magic bullet.

    This is why I very much appreciate sites like yours. Because it’s not okay to take advantage of desperate people and to make unverifiable claims that have no basis in reality.


  46. I’m sorry to hear of your friend, Abigail.

    I hope everyone reads your comment.

    I agree with your analysis. It would be easy to have whatever advantages could be derived from an approach like Louise Hay’s, without all the lies and quackery. But it would be more difficult to market, and certainly impossible to build up into a global corporation with profits in the 100s of millions.

    I also hope people click through to your wonderful website (and project) too.

    http://vision.silentinfinite.com/


  47. Also sorry to hear of your loss, Abigail, but I’m glad you’re handling it rationally.

    The self-help industry is brimming with a lot of easy/comforting answer woo. Like you said, people do tend to look for magic/silver bullets to fix their problems, and that’s something gurus are happy to promise. If their silver bullet doesn’t work, it’s the user’s fault for not wanting it bad enough. There’s quite a lot of cultural subtext, interacting memes, and so forth that end up supporting old, bad ideas instead of finding useful answers.

    I’m going to read the earlier comments, now. Imagine I’m in store for some nice treats from Yakaru.


  48. Yakaru –

    Yes, so true. I am discovering that real healing does not have to cost an arm and a leg. But it’s also not going to be instantaneous. Healing takes time and effort. Also, I find that doing good work in this world does not require one to become a ‘superhero’. The thing many of us fail to see when we start following people like Hay (I sure made this mistake!) is the aggressive marketing, PR and brand management that goes into the whole thing. A lot goes into creating and maintaining that image.

    (Also, thanks for the kind comment about my site! :)

    Bronze Dog –

    I’m so glad you brought up victim-blaming. Certainly, Yakaru has a lot of excellent posts about the topic that I have been going through. You’re so right about cultural subtext and how this ‘New’ Age stuff really ends up supporting old ideas – like I think it supports corporate culture and incredibly irresponsible/unethical capitalism. For example, causing false beliefs in ‘abundance’ when resources really ARE scarce. Rather than giving people the tools to intelligently critique a broken economic system, they encourage magical thinking to make people think THEY are broken, when they’re really not entirely the problem at all.

    And all this magical thinking really serves to prevent people from actually seeing what’s going on. Victim-blaming is an excellent tool to prevent meaningful self-reflection. But why would you *really* want your followers to heal? Because then they wouldn’t be as easy to control or supportive of you anymore.

    I wanted to mention a really interesting book that I’ve been reading that’s related to this topic (though it talks more about cults) – Len Oakes’ ‘Prophetic Charisma’. He breaks down the narcissistic personalities of cult leaders. And I think it takes pathological levels of narcissism to pull off some of the things that these New Age/LOA folks do.

    I may differ from a lot of the folks who comment here, in that my real beef with people like Hay is that they pervert truths/states of being that can be accessed in experiences of unitive consciousness and mystical experiences. (This is where all the abundance nonsense comes from: yes, in mystical states there are incredible experiences of bliss/abundance etc, but these are profound and personal experiences not meant to be expressed so literally in terms of luxury and being able to take whatever you want. In fact the NEED for luxury and obsession with always wanting the best is the hallmark of a narcissistic personality).


  49. Oh, Abigail, that was GOOD!!!

    And I like your site, too!


  50. Well said, Abigail. The culture certainly is a can of worms with me, and narcissism/excessive self-esteem is another worm worth discussing. Sure, individuals have a lot of potential, but not everything pans out, and a lot of external circumstances can prevent someone from being all they can be. Growing up often means facing that you’re pretty ordinary and learning how to be happy living a humble life. Falsely giving people the idea that willpower alone will hurl them into superstardom or whatever tends to set them up for a long fall since they were hoping for the best without preparing for the worst.


  51. Abigail- That book looks very interesting! I may add it to the pile of books I’m reading!

    You wrote “You’re so right about cultural subtext and how this ‘New’ Age stuff really ends up supporting old ideas – like I think it supports corporate culture and incredibly irresponsible/unethical capitalism. For example, causing false beliefs in ‘abundance’ when resources really ARE scarce. Rather than giving people the tools to intelligently critique a broken economic system, they encourage magical thinking to make people think THEY are broken, when they’re really not entirely the problem at all.”

    And YOU are so right about this! I’ve been kind of caught up in one aspect of our broken system, and if I were still listening to the Abraham-Hicks nonsense, I probably would have ended up on the streets! But hoping to manifest at least a couch to sleep on…!!! I may have to quote you some day.

    And Bronze Dog, your point is so right on also. Part of growing up sometimes means discovering that you’re just an average Joe or Josephine, and being ok with it!


  52. What being aware has meant for me is that I am aware when yet another positive thing happens for me and around me. The more I am aware of the positive, momentum takes over and presents even more abundance..the more it happens the more I have faith, believe in it; perception or not, what appears or seems to me and you it is that experience that really matters and true for you..inner happiness is all that matters. Inner happiness regardless of how it got you or gets you there, facelift, helping someone across the street, sending a postcard, speaking good of someone, going to a park or concert, walking your dog, getting a massage, feeling the sun on the beach, being on a swing, pushing a swing, which ever it is, just make your self happy by not concerning your self with the outside or what you cannot control (and why would you want to) including another person, if it does not produce good feelings, do not go there, if it causes pain for you or to someone else (you do not need to add more) do not go there, just love and laugh..forget and forgive what you were told by those who also were told, if it does not serve you, just go with what makes you happy, what ever it takes and start being in the moment to take in good feelings (meditation really works by the way). When something not so happy happens, know that it is a lesson that shows you the contrast (get on this happiness cycle) in order to recognize what it is to be happy (it is wanting to show you and serve you) and allow you to feel gratitude, which is the key to and is where happiness lies and when you are happy, you give of yourself only gladly and it automatically helps others to be happy… you can also choose to believe this is all sugar coating with cream on the top, happiness is your perception, your choice, love and light.


  53. I would like to suggest to you, Summer, that you try out a spiritual perspective instead.

    Instead of dividing experiences up into positive and negative, just try to experience things deeply and with sensitivity to your actual feelings. Your feelings reveal themselves primarily as bodily sensations, and as your sensitivity grows, learn to get a little distance from them, like watching them from afar.

    This is a key to the practice of meditation: watch the body — simply put awareness on the sensations. When thoughts and desires distract you, just come back to watching the body.

    Desires and egotistical valuing of things as positive and negative pull you out of your center and make you emotionally dependent on processes you can’t control and probably don’t understand. Hopes and desires are a fine and normal part of every day life, but you don’t need to be such a slave to them.

    If you are interested in commenting on the actual post to which this comment thread is attached, I would invite you to address the specific criticisms of Ms Hay that I raised. I also invite you to read the comment policy beforehand, though.


  54. Yakaru- I thought this was RIGHT ON!! “Desires and egotistical valuing of things as positive and negative pull you out of your center and make you emotionally dependent on processes you can’t control and probably don’t understand. Hopes and desires are a fine and normal part of every day life, but you don’t need to be such a slave to them.”

    I’ve been trying to express that sentiment for some time, and you really nailed it!

    Additionally, in my experience, the process that Summer describes is a crazy-maker!


  55. Yeah, Yakaru! I have to second what Mariah said above – I *really* loved your response to Summer. Truly wise!

    Summer – I’m glad this sort of philosophy/belief system seems to work for you, but I am honestly skeptical as it actually had adverse effects for me and others I’ve known.

    Like what Mariah said, the process you’re describing doesn’t seem very psychologically healthy. Why should we avoid ‘negative’ thoughts? I agree with Yakaru that the division of all life experience into positive and negative is really ego-based and not very spiritual. In that, it doesn’t give you a very wide perspective of the possibilities of human existence. Furthermore, habitually avoiding ANY negative thought seems like such a paranoid and repressive way to live – at least that’s how it was for me.

    I believe embracing pain and understanding it is a more healthy approach. This year I finally stopped taking the repressive/dogmatic ‘advice’ of LOA ‘gurus’ and went deeply into my pain, felt it without judgment of ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. And I discovered a great deal about life and the healing process. Life isn’t just about feeling good and getting what you want… It’s so much more vast than that :)


  56. I think the whole “positive/negative” thing is also unhealthy as an idea because it reinforces black-and-white thinking when we live in a world dominated by grays and colors. It grossly oversimplifies and leaves people unprepared to deal with opposition rationally. It leads people to the idea that The Other is inherently evil, damaged, inferior, or whatever, instead of treating them like people.

    On “negative” emotions, I often get angry (“negative”) precisely because I care (“positive”) about something. I get angry at quacks and gurus because I care about people’s well being and don’t want them to be harmed by bad advice. If I didn’t care, why would I get angry? Getting angry can provide additional motivation to so something productive.

    One thing I find annoying in a lot of “spiritual” talk about happiness is that it often seems more like apathy to me, especially since it’s often directed toward a skeptic who’s writing to expose wrongdoing. I have a hard time imagining holding that position in the skeptical discussion context. Sometime it reads like a mindless repetition of a thought-stopping cliche; other times it reads like a cartoon villain chiding the hero, “your emotions make you weak.”

    If it was in the context of morally neutral hobbies or something, it’d be okay with me. Some people enjoy doing one thing while others enjoy doing something else, and we don’t need haters spoiling the fun. The problem is that we’re not talking about morally neutral personal tastes, we’re usually talking about truth and about people potentially getting hurt, exploited, or deceived. Rationality and morality shouldn’t be treated like mere hobbies.


  57. I was reviewing some things I’d written on the subject of emotions, and I recalled that some spiritual teachers teach that to manipulate one’s emotional state is unnatural! I found that an interesting perspective, in light of teachings such as Louise Hay’s, Abraham-Hicks, The Secret, etc.

    Sure, it is more fun to feel secure and safe and confident and happy, but the other emotions are really not that big a deal! Abigail, I’ve had similar experiences, where I just experience whatever “negative” emotion and I discovered that it just plain isn’t necessary to “choose a better feeling thought” all the time.

    Bronze Dog- Perfectly stated!


  58. One of the things that helped me snap out of the Abrahaze was watching a tv series that elicited quite a range of emotions in the viewer. I remember thinking, “wow, I haven’t felt this emotion in a long time, I like it!”


  59. @Mariah, According to Rudolf Steiner’s (-entirely unconnected to reality-) teachings, the LoA would count as black magic. Others who believe in higher powers would argue that it’s utterly trivializing and disrespectful to use the great mythological forces for things like buying a new car.

    @BD, what also pisses me off about the way Hay’s teachings, as you put it, “leaves people unprepared to deal with opposition rationally” is that they all assume exactly the same motives and personality for anyone who criticizes them. It’s a bit like racial profiling only more narrow-minded.

    @Abigail, “paranoid and repressive” are words I’d like to hear used a lot more in relation to these kinds of teachings. It’s strange to see such adjectives being so applicable to such a vapid attempt at hedonism.


  60. And there are people who believe Esther Hicks is channeling evil spirits, or spirits who simply have disdain for humans. All kinds of ideas out there! I think for me, after listening to all this focus on emotion emotion emotion for about a year and a half, it was a surprise to hear someone say it’s unnatural to manipulate emotions like that!! I think that idea resonated at the time, because after awhile it did feel unnatural to be shifting away from bad feeling emotions whenever they occurred.

    And those thought-stopping cliches you mentioned, Bronze Dog… what a cruel thing to teach people! These people aren’t just making money from worthless teachings, they are messing with people’s minds and teaching them the opposite of critical thinking!


  61. The idea that it’s unnatural and unhealthy to manipulate your emotions resonates with me. Growing up, I got the lesson that it’s how you handle them that really counts. If you’re angry, do something to fix the problem. If you can’t do anything, find non-destructive ways to express your anger and let people know why you’re angry, since they might be able to help. Sometimes you need to learn more about what’s making you angry, and sometimes that means discovering it isn’t as bad as you originally thought. Getting angry isn’t a character flaw, but blindly lashing out is. Using anger constructively can be quite rewarding to experience.

    In a way, it’s like sex education. There’s always going to be teenagers who will have sex, and it’s for the best if they’re well-informed so they can be responsible and safe in how they go about it. Suppressing emotion instead of handling it is like abstinence-only sex ed. Like it or not, you’re going to have a “negative” emotion sooner or later, and without lessons on how to handle it, you’re going to end up hurting yourself and others.

    I think that plays a part in the typical screeds I see from some woos, as Yakaru elaborated on. They’re more interested in rehearsing their prejudices about skeptics than actually engaging the argument and trying to come to an understanding. By failing to engage, they’re trapped in a loop where the slightest opposition from a skeptic gets them raging against the same straw man over and over again with no hope of progress or growth. Those straw men are also thought-stopping cliches to maintain their mental status quo. That’s handy for the gurus who don’t want customers questioning their authoritarian “wisdom.”

    Thinking about it, I think one of the enthymemes behind the cliches is the notion that there’s an ideal state of mind, and thus change is bad for someone who’s allegedly in that state. A lot of people also seem to think there’s some point in your life where everything is supposed to just gel together and you just coast from there. The reality is, however, that life is best experienced as a perpetual learning exercise with relatively few easy answers.

    Side thing, since I’m talking about anger a lot: I like the “unstoppable rage” and “beware the nice ones” tropes mixed together, where the kind-hearted hero turns into an engine of destruction after the villain threatens his friends or insults the memory of loved ones who died for a good cause.


  62. Excellent points, Bronze Dog! Yes, some of these teachers imply (or outright state) that after practicing these thought processes for awhile, you will eventually be made in the shade in all areas of your life!

    I don’t think most following these kind of teachings would be capable of significant discussion, or even interested in doing so. When I was an Aber and came across the random criticism of an Abraham-Hicks product, I just figured that person hadn’t practiced long enough! I’ve heard people say you have to REALLY live the teachings for it to work, as if the rest of the poor schmucks were somehow doing it wrong. As we know, people are capable of believing all kinds of things, and finding evidence for their beliefs!

    Another thing I see among followers of various teachings is the concept of “look at me, look how well I’m keeping the faith, even when everything sucks!” depending on who their teacher is, they either do or don’t say what’s wrong, but they let you know something is wrong and they’re keeping the faith. In Abe-speak they say they’re “dealing with contrast” or “having a step one moment”. What I have discovered, though, is that when one leaves out the various processes of prayer or vibrational tuning or the teaching du jour, it’s a lot easier to take life as it comes! Much easier NOT to be dividing life into positive/negative, wanted/unwanted.


  63. The ideas keep bouncing off each other. The idea that faith is a virtue is a big one. It’s shown in popular media a lot where someone keeps the faith despite overwhelming adversity or contradicting evidence and turns out to be right in the end. Thankfully, its opposite shows up decently often: Someone of mistaken faith ultimately paying the price for being blind to the evidence.

    Of course, black and white melodramas tend to minimize the lesson: The person with the correct faith is portrayed sympathetically and the mistaken fanatic is given dog-kicking moments. Most people view themselves sympathetically, therefore they’re the hero with the correct faith.

    I’m suddenly reminded of a post one of my old blog friends, Don/Akusai wrote, making an important distinction: There’s the desire to be right, and there’s the desire to have been right. Someone who wants to be right is willing to face the possibility he might currently be wrong, and if shown enough good evidence, will change his mind accordingly. Being mistaken isn’t a character flaw so long as you can acknowledge it and correct yourself. In contrast, someone who desires to have been right doesn’t want to admit being mistaken because it conflicts with that desire. We’ve certainly got a lot of politicians in that category.

    Back on black and white thinking, yeah, life shouldn’t be divided into stark positive/negative, good/bad categories. There’s no perfect solution, just tradeoffs, compromises, risks, context, and circumstantial factors. Something can be good or bad depending on circumstantial and subjective factors, not just objectively good. You have to adapt your thinking and your methods to the problems at hand. That’s pretty much the undercurrent of all the science writing I’ve been exposed to. Solutions to complex problems vary with the particulars of that problem. It’s sadly ironic that woos who fall into black-and-white thinking are often quick to call us skeptics and scientifically-minded people rigid in our thinking.


  64. That’s a good distinction from good old Akusai.

    Learning how to admit and retract an error is a rarely displayed and undervalued skill. One might even describe it as “transcending egotism” and dedicating oneself to a greater cause, but for some reason gurus and New Agers don’t go in for it all that much.

    The other thing with black and white thinking is that not only is it easier/lazier than judicious use of qualifiers, but its better for marketing. It’s in Louise Hay’s financial interests, of course, to present things black and white like that, but not in her customers’ interests. So we all know who’s going to lose that one.

    Those who have argued in the thread above that one should provide ones own qualifiers to Hay’s teachings (i.e. pick and choose that which “works for them”), would realize very quickly why Hay doesn’t present it like that if they imagined how it would read: “thoughts may sometimes improve some aspects of your health in some circumstances” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “this always heals every illness, every time”.


  65. I have recently read a couple of Louise Hay books. I agree with the positive thinking and self-responsibility aspects. It’s been very interesting, dare I say enlightening. If I had cancer I would be dashing to my nearest doctor to start me on chemo ASAP. I suppose what I’m trying to say is I take the things that make sense to me and work with them and the rest I tend to either ignore or take with a grain of salt, such as with most things I read. Does that make sense? Perhaps I’m not spiritually enlightened enough to think I can cure cancer with the power of thought, to be honest I don’t think I ever will be. I do like what she says though that ‘certain ideas will leap out at you. Work with those ideas first. If I say anything that you disagree with, ignore it. If you can get just one good idea out of this book and use it to improve the quality of your life, then I feel complete in writing it’. So I’m taking the good out of it and looking for a few good ideas :)


  66. Perhaps I’m not spiritually enlightened enough to think I can cure cancer with the power of thought, to be honest I don’t think I ever will be

    Reality check: you will never be spiritually enlightened enough to prevent the common cold, nettle rash nor bee stings.

    Magical thinking is something that I outgrew a long time ago BECAUSE IT DOESN’T WORK. What’s your excuse?

    The spontaneous remission rate for cancer is something like 4%. You’ll hear all sorts of fantastical reasons why someone’s cancer spontaneously stopped from that 4% but from the 96% nothing because dead men tell no tales.

    As someone pointed out further up this post, pretending that you had [insert terminal disease here] and you healed it by [insert bullshit woo-woo therapy here] is a standard lie given by spiritual snake-oil salesmen (and women) like Louise Hay.

    When Bernie Madoff finally got exposed, most of the investors blamed themselves for being conned and trusting someone so prominent on Wall Street without independent audit and review, not the conman who pilfered their savings.


  67. Calm down Arthur. I just said I didn’t think I could cure cancer through the mind or that I would ever be able to didn’t I?. You asked me what my excuse is? What’s yours for being so astonishingly rude as to reply to someone like that? Don’t speak to me about reality checks, Reality check this, you rude, judgemental prat. Do not reply to any of my posts again.


  68. Joanne, I just don’t get the cherry picking I’ve heard from a lot of people about Hay and other positive thinking gurus.

    Yes, a positive attitude is helpful in a lot of circumstances, and for well understood reasons. A cancer patient who thinks he can recover is more likely to stick to his prescribed medication and thus optimize its chance of working, for example. This sort of thing seems pretty obvious to me, which makes me wonder why some people would bother involving Hay in the issue. Adding Hay’s writing means adding unnecessary falsehoods because they’re artificially packaged along with some good stuff.

    I’ve heard the term “complete breakfast fallacy” to describe some of it. Some quack treatments happen to be packaged with diet and exercise, which they’ll point to if we object to the quackery. Just because juice, milk, toast, and half a grapefruit are good for you doesn’t mean I should take a bowl of Chocolate Coated Sugar Bombs alongside it. Giving me the sugary cereal adds in the unnecessary step of throwing it away so I can focus on the healthy parts.

    Giving someone falsehood mixed with truth sows confusion. Just because there are people sensible enough to recognize the falsehood doesn’t mean that no one will be deceived. Often the most effective lies are those that fit alongside truths or have a grain of truth.


  69. Very well-stated, Bronze Dog. Anything “true” and “of value” coming from Louise Hay and the like is stuff people already know. And the falsehoods that make up the majority of the message are potentially quite dangerous. “Followers” (as I formerly was, not of Louise Hay but Abraham-Hicks) end up anywhere from stupid to dead.


  70. I totally get what you are saying which is why I’m not buying into all of the book. I guess I have been pretty negative in the past and changing my attitude has helped me a lot lately even though I guess I knew that was always the case the book helped me do it practically as well as taking responsibility for my life and not blaming others. I’m not interested in the whole I was cured by cancer thing with positive thinking, as I said, I don’t believe it. A couple of my friends who were the most positive and together people I know have died from cancer (with every possible medical treatment thrown at them i.e. they weren’t stupid enough to ever think they could do it on there own) However one of them did do a lot of spiritual work and change of diet etc in combination with chemo but she still died so I believe that those types of things can contribute to try and heal and she did as well but in the end she still died so? In that vain is there anything you can recommend in terms of literature that has helped you on a more spiritual and positive path?

    Many thanks.


  71. Thanks for sharing and commenting, Joanne, and thanks to others above too. I’ve been traveling and not able to get into the internet. You were asking about recommendations of spiritual literature, so my recommendation, as a long time meditator and former (very low scale) alt med practitioner, would be to further familiarize yourself with the criticism of the field. There are a few books recommended heree on the blog roll page, linked in the side bar on the right. A book called Trick or Treatment might interest you. There’s a short description of it there.


  72. after all Louise Hay is only human: her teachings of loving yourself and positive affirmations, did help a lot of people including myself and I do believe that being positive will attract positive in our lives…if she took it too far? maybe….I think that if we filter and manage to keep the realistic positive parts we will still do ourselves a favour


  73. @alisa,

    ….And Louise Hay doesn’t teach that because if you put it like that there’s no money in it. She prefers instead to risk her customers’ health and lives in order to make her teachings more marketable.

    Personally, I think that’s disgraceful. Or, if you prefer, she’s doing something extremely negative.


  74. @yakaru: it is true that it is taken too far but it leaves a lot of space for interpretation: although it is true that there are cases (which I personally also know) of people who did manage to “imagine” and heal their body, it is certainly not the majority; but it is known, even accepted in medicine today, that a positive attitude will help the healing process. that this area became a multibillion dollar business is obvious: books like the secret and after that the why the secret does not work, are pure scam! but there is a lot of truth in louise hay philosophy: we, as intelligent human beings, should maybe learn how to sift. one thing i can tell you is that me, it certainly helped and so it did to my sister.


  75. …although it is true that there are cases (which I personally also know) of people who did manage to “imagine” and heal their body, it is certainly not the majority; but it is known, even accepted in medicine today, that a positive attitude will help the healing process.

    1. Anecdotes aren’t data. There’s alternative explanations such as natural healing, spontaneous remission, confirmation bias on your part, misdiagnosis, and so on. These have to be accounted for, and I haven’t seen any research that does that, only urban lore that claims such research has been done and reached that conclusion.

    2. The benefits are indirect and plausible, not the magical process posited by the positive thinking crowd. An optimistic patient is more likely to follow his doctor’s advice and take his medicine, while a pessimist might not see the point. Of course, the opposite can be true: An optimist might think he can get away with not taking his pills regularly, while a pessimist might take them regularly because he expects things to go badly if he doesn’t follow his doctor’s instructions to the letter.

    3. The people who ascribe such wonders to positive thinking have a habit of blaming the victim for anything that goes wrong. People who suffer from depression get treated like dirt because they can’t just flip a switch in their heads. Humans are more than a set of toggle switches.

    4. I think it’s unhealthy and unnatural to force yourself to think “positively.” Hoping for the best is good for morale, but thinking “negatively” is how we prepare for the worst. A lot of positive thinkers have allowed themselves to fall to disaster because they were told not to worry about the risk of failure and thus they were caught unprepared without an exit strategy or backup plan.


  76. @alisa,
    Thanks for your reply… I’m glad you agree that LH has taken it too far, and I also agree that it is possible to use her work as a starting point as long as one is careful how one interprets it. (Bronze Dog has pointed out some of the difficulties in this respect.)

    But usually the idea is that a teacher is supposed to know more about the subject than the students. In Louise Hay’s case, her students need to ignore and reject almost the whole of her teaching.

    For example, her CD on healing cancer claims that “resentment, criticism, and guilt create and maintain illness. She shows that forgiveness is the key to releasing resentment, and resolving diseases such as cancer.”

    That’s what I’m objecting to. She presents things in a black and white manner, were “negative” thoughts cause disease and “positive” thoughts heal them. It’s ridiculous! But she sells it to people who feel powerless, who have suffered abuse or who have had their lives ruined by cancer, and she takes their money for a fake promise of hope. It’s no good.


  77. I disagree with bronze dog: thinking paths are still something you learn, they are a habit and it can be changed…nobody says it is easy and also, it takes time and a lot of work but it is possible and forcing yourself to think positively is certainly an advantage and possible: nothing unnatural about it; it does not change a person but it changes the attitude of a person; for example: someone in a negative environment will not try to develop his potential while if he keeps being positive and having positive affirmations in his/her mind, he/she will dare to accomplish much more. kind of “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”.

    And I do believe that resentment and negative thoughts which are not expressed, cause body harm: depressions, cancers etc. if you want scientific proof, I think that all the experiments with placebos are a good enough proof don’t you think? to the point where even when the doctor didn’t know it is a placebo, it had a positive effect. as for “anecdotes aren’t data: I am not sure what makes you think these are not true stories: I have witnessed it in first person, try maybe to believe you don’t know it all….

    Louise Hay has made a big mistake we all agree but still: taken with some common sense, they are a reminder of what positive attitudes and a healthy life style can do. she is not perfect and, even if she is the teacher, she herself says that she cannot be positive all the time! lets just accept that “the teacher” has her faults as well….and accept the parts that are good for us


  78. I disagree with bronze dog: thinking paths are still something you learn, they are a habit and it can be changed…nobody says it is easy and also, it takes time and a lot of work but it is possible and forcing yourself to think positively is certainly an advantage and possible: nothing unnatural about it; it does not change a person but it changes the attitude of a person; for example: someone in a negative environment will not try to develop his potential while if he keeps being positive and having positive affirmations in his/her mind, he/she will dare to accomplish much more. kind of “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”.

    You completely missed my point. We need to think BOTH positively and negatively, and not to force it to the degree that these self-help gurus typically propose. Yes, people can change their ways, but a big part of it is getting into a good environment. To be clear, I don’t think a wholly “positive” environment is any better than a wholly negative one. If anything, a wholly positive environment is dangerous in far more insidious ways that are harder to counteract.

    if you want scientific proof, I think that all the experiments with placebos are a good enough proof don’t you think?

    You don’t understand what the placebo effect is. It’s what happens when you do nothing but create the illusion of doing something. It includes spontaneous remission, natural healing, and the altered perception of subjective symptoms like pain though cognitive biases like the regressive fallacy. Medicines are tested against placebo to make sure they’re doing something at all. Placebo is the baseline normal consequences combined with psychological exploits. You’re speaking as if the human body is an inert object instead of a living organism.

    as for “anecdotes aren’t data: I am not sure what makes you think these are not true stories: I have witnessed it in first person, try maybe to believe you don’t know it all….

    Don’t put words into my mouth. I didn’t say the base events weren’t true. What I’m objecting to is leaping to your unjustified conclusions from the raw facts. You can’t just take things at face value. Things aren’t always as they seem, which is why we use science to make sense of events, not just our flawed, biased brains.


  79. @alisa,

    Thanks again for your comment, and for remaining civil, and for expressing your arguments clearly, and also for acknowledging that LH’s teachings are more or less mistaken.

    (I formatted your comment slightly, BTW, by adding a couple of paragraph breaks for greater readability. The text is of course untouched.)

    I confess to having carried a Louise Hay affirmation around with me in my wallet many years ago. Something like “I trust in the process of life. I am safe.” I think it helped me feel a bit better and reminded me of a loved one who gave it to me. In the situation I was inn that was quite an appropriate message, I think.

    But that was for someone (i.e. me) with low self esteem and deep distrust and fear of other people. It was not for someone with cancer, or leprosy or god-knows-what.

    What kind of a teacher is it where the students ignore 90% of what she says because it’s a bunch of lies, it’s anti-educational propaganda, it’s wrong, and it’s deadly? And what kind of student ignores that stuff and basically makes up their own lessons, but still puts the “Louise Hay” brand name on those completely different teachings?

    …And then publicly defends Louise Hay!

    I wish Louise Hay was as honest as you, in conceding where her teachings are mistaken. And I wish that Louise Hay’s customers would consider her teachings with the same critical attitude that you have taken to my blog post and, Bronze Dog’s comments.

    All the commenters in this thread who have defended LH, have been far more critical towards me than towards Ms Hay — and I’m just a small time blogger. She’s a cancer quack with an audience of tens of millions.

    Why is she granted such special status?


  80. Yakaru: the fact is that Louise Hay started a thread during times where these new age believes were not known…but she is not the first! many currents or religions claim that being grateful, happy, have faith are the path to follow: to me, she did not teach anything new, she only stated some things and facts in such a way that it made more sense than the dogmatic way I was brought up with and it convinced me it actually made sense: when i was pulled into negativity, I, like you, kept telling myself that I am Divinely guided and protected and that the Universe wants the best for me….and that everything is for the best. which is what my religion actually tells me as well (I am Jewish). and it did help: tremendously so! having said that, I am not someone that acts in a “kabalistic” mistycal way: i believe in science very much so but I am not so arrogant as to think that we, as human beings, know it all! the opposite is true: we are limited, we know what we know and in this I agree with Louise Hay: incurable means that science hasn’t found a way to cure it yet. therefore, Bronze Dog, when i talk about placebo, i claim that these people cured themselves because they believed they were taking tha actual medicine: the mind has the power to cure and rigenerate and the fact that we don’t know yet how it happens, does not mean it doesn’t! having said that, NOBODY is the depositary of universal knowledge! I do wonder why Bronze dog gets so defensive and aggressive about what i say and believe; you are entitled to disagree but not because you do, it means yours is “the truth”. as for telling me what I do understand or don’t, I think you are a bit too arrogant: you don’t know much about me and for all you know, I could be a neuro surgeon! happens to be that I was involved in clinical trials and so I know what the placebo (effect) is….and if you believe in science only this is your choice: i for one, am not so arrogant; after all, we as human beings, with all our achievements, have miserably failed in many fields. Louise Hay is only human: she probabely had a rotten childhood….she made mistakes but she helped a lot of people! lets not judge her but try to keep the good in her teachings


  81. Alisa,
    In the post, I pointed out that Louise Hay’s use of cosmetic surgery demonstrates that she knows her teachings are useless and doesn’t follow them herself.

    Her teachings can’t even get rid of a few wrinkles! But she claims that she cured her own cancer using those same methods, and takes money from customers who hope it will work for them. That is not just “negative” according to my value system; it is evil.

    She failed to show any evidence that she even had cancer; “couldn’t remember” the simplest details about what stage it was at; claimed that all the doctors who treated her and later proclaimed her cured have since died…. and turned that into a $100+ million business teaching people to risk their health, livelihood, and lives.

    She is a cancer quack, and a quack for every other illness that exists.

    Those are extremely serious criticisms, and the only response from any of Hay’s fans so far has been to argue that she “has helped people”. And how many did she kill? No one knows, because her teachings already have an escape clause built into them: those who died attempting to use her methods (and they exist — read the earlier comments!) brought it on themselves by failing to clear their “negativity”.

    I find these teachings evil, and I ask you to address the criticisms that I raised in the post and in these comments, rather than attempting to blame science. Science could be every bit as bad as you claim it is, but that wouldn’t rescue Louise Hay from the charges that she is the worst kind of quack, who blames her victims (I repeat, HER victims), and probably lied about her cancer, and maybe even her childhood rape, in order to get sympathy and get her hands on other people’s money.

    She is making incredibly grand claims, but has given absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe her…. And nor have you.


  82. @Alisa- It is not arrogant to say, “you have failed to show any proof for your claim.” “Science” is not claiming to have all the answers, rather a way of thinking and testing hypotheses. As Bronze Dog says, anecdotes do not equal data. As humans, we DO like to rely on stories shared by others, but it gets us in trouble when we fail to adequately test our theories. When one examines one’s own critical thinking (and acknowledges flaws therein) and reads even the tiniest bit of how scientists work, Loise Hay style “teachings” quickly fall apart.

    Having a positive attitude is one thing, and most people who graduated pre-school know about being an optimist vs being a pessimist. But believing that your thoughts cause a certain event is called superstition and magical thinking.


  83. I know someone who had her lips and all face done after reading this book. She always appeared so self-confident to me… now she looks frightening. She keeps recommending this book to everyone and yes, the book has some good points, and I do agree that positive thoughts are very good for body and soul. But the Author doesn’t seem to want to grow older… Is she using positive thoughts to grow old gracefully? Not at all, she is using silicone and the knife…


  84. That’s one thing I see in a fair number of gurus: They put extra effort in trying to cover up the effects of age. It’s like they’re trying to trick others (and possibly themselves) into thinking they’re immortal by way of their magicalness. Of course, a lot of them, especially health gurus, are pretty much confirmed cases since they spouted off about their alleged longevity/anti-aging miracle early on and apparently didn’t expect they’d still be doing their scam over the course of decades.


  85. It’s ironic, given that there ARE people who look really good as they age.


  86. @Natural Mistic, yeh, it’s a rather obvious demonstration of how seriously she takes her own teachings. As I say in the post, dealing with the processes of aging is one area where one could experiment happily and to ones heart’s content without much danger of anyone getting killed or endangering others. But not for the black hearted Ms Hay.

    @BD & Mariah,

    This will be mentioned in coming posts, but James Ray was on testosterone, human growth hormone, anti-hairloss supplements, herpes meds, and a long list of other drugs. Ironically, he has the same PR guy as Lance Armstrong, too. (Rhonda Byrne, incidentally mentioned Armstrong as inspirational proof of the power of the LoA.) These guys make Hollywood soap operas look like gritty realism.


  87. It’s ironic, given that there ARE people who look really good as they age.

    I’m reminded of an episode of DS9 where Dr. Bashir was self-conscious about his aging on his birthday. Garak commented that he didn’t understand this great desire for the appearance of youthfulness since, in Cardassian culture, age is seen as a sign of power, experience, and wisdom.


  88. That’s the main problem I have with Louise Hay…I have seen no documented PROOF that she had and then cured her own cancer. I almost went down that trail of alternative cures and I am a stage 3 cancer patient diagnosed in March 2013 who can prove my diagnosis should I want to write a book later about how I became a millionaire while being treated for cancer. (lol-wink, could happen…we’ll see)…..thankfully I reached out to an ethical naturopathic who honestly told me that all the people she knew who had cancer and relied on alternative cures are dead while all the people who took allopathic treatment are alive…she said that there are so many alternative protocols because people are preying on vulnerable people to make a buck. Thank goodness I came to my senses. I don’t know what my outcome will be for certain and I will do my best to thrive through treatment and live a great life in whatever time I am given…but I cannot believe Ms. Hay when she offers no proof. I am not saying that miracle cures haven’t happened etc., I am just saying they are the exception, not the rule.


  89. There was a another Hay House author who claims to have cured her breast cancer using energy medicine, her name is Gill Edwards. She published a book in November 2010 called Conscious Medicine; a story of how she cured her cancer. By November 2011 she was dead as a result of breast cancer.

    Here’s a link to the kind of woo that she promoted:

    http://www.isbourne.org/index.php/news/92-gill-edwards-extolling-the-new-consciois-medicine

    Her death , going on what I can see, has not been put down to failure of her hypothesis but more to a greater calling form the angels. It really s interesting to see how many followers of the Hay philosophy go into denial when the evidence against it is staring them in the face.


  90. @Nj P,
    Thanks for commenting, and I wish you the best of luck, and the best of treatment with it all.

    There’s certainly plenty that should be changed in mainstream medicine, and certainly many horrendous abuses. But when such abuses occur, it’s because protocols haven’t been followed and there are means for redress. With quackery, horrendous abuses occur when the instructions are followed to the letter.

    Hay fans in this thread have repeatedly claimed you’re not supposed to actually believe Hay, just “choose what resonates”. But, apart from the obvious silliness of that, what’s going to “resonate” with someone in a desperate situation is the bit that says “this will cure you”.

    You might be aware that Jerry Hicks, (famous for the Abraham/Hicks scam), after claiming that negative thoughts cause cancer and positive thoughts cure it, went scurrying of to chemo when he found out he had leukemia. He claimed a spider bite had caused his hair loss & illness. Of course his death was to “fulfill a higher duty” etc.

    @wtf,
    From the link.
    “bodymind is an undivided whole” — so far so good!!!
    “our body is always our friend” — um, I thought it was an “undivided whole” – how can it be “my friend”? I am it, aren’t I?
    “symptom or dis-ease is a meaningful wake-up call” — here’s where ideology takes over completely from medicine
    “It is a call from our future self: ‘Come hither! Come towards me!'” — Here’s where denial takes over completely and turns into full blown medieval religion.
    ” we are stuck in old patterns or negative habits of thought” — utter denial of all that biology has learned in the last 200 years.
    “By seeing the body as a bag of biochemistry and genes, it fails to honour our wholeness – and comes from a scientific model which is a hundred years out of date.” — and with that, a war on science has been declared.

    Try this instead, Conscious Medicine quacks :: science can always be our friend if we use it properly. Sometimes our friends have bad news for us.


  91. @wtf,
    From the link.
    “bodymind is an undivided whole” — so far so good!!!
    …..I think pregnancy and organ transplantation need careful consideration here. I expect there are a lot of relationships between organisms that we do not fully understand yet. (I don´t agree with organ transplants, nor abortion, but I raise the issue.)

    “our body is always our friend” — um, I thought it was an “undivided whole” – how can it be “my friend”? I am it, aren’t I?
    …..She (Gill) is talking in the plural first person pronoun “our”, shouldn´t an undivided whole use a singular pronoun ?

    “symptom or dis-ease is a meaningful wake-up call” — here’s where ideology takes over completely from medicine
    …..In some cases I agree, lung cancer, emphysema and heart disease are nature´s way of telling smokers they are making a mistake.

    “It is a call from our future self: ‘Come hither! Come towards me!’” — Here’s where denial takes over completely and turns into full blown medieval religion.
    …..No, it is not a call from one´s (not our) future self (sic, selves ?), there is no “Come hither”, it might be a silent call from nature in some cases.

    ” we are stuck in old patterns or negative habits of thought” — utter denial of all that biology has learned in the last 200 years.
    “By seeing the body as a bag of biochemistry and genes, it fails to honour our wholeness – and comes from a scientific model which is a hundred years out of date.” — and with that, a war on science has been declared.
    …..I am not sure what she means by a scientific model which is 100 years out of date. The models and theories gradually evolve in the light of further experimentation, knowledge will expand, and scientific understanding will increase.


  92. @Nj P: I wish you the best in this difficult time. Even reasonable people can fall prey to the siren song of quackery when their lives or those of their loved ones are on the line, so major kudos for pulling yourself back together.

    One quibble, though I suppose you were indirectly quoting the naturopath, and probably wouldn’t use it yourself: I hate the word “allopathy” when used to mean science-based medicine. It’s a relic of homeopathy railing against what was once mainstream pre-scientific medicine and Hanneman’s oversimplification of things into symptomatic “opposites” and “likes.” Homeopathy and the straw man of allopathy share the same bunkum core that symptoms alone determine the treatment.


  93. Late on the thread. This thread has really helped clear my head . I’m 26 and am having a difficult time with my parents. My mother and i have a strained, messy, painful relationship and i think about it a lot. Many times I’ve felt even suicidal. I read the Louise Hay book “Heal Your Life” a few years ago. Then i ran into a particularly vampiric guy who told me that every painful family relationship is due to a curse that runs in families.

    My grandmother died of breast cancer before my mom turned 3.

    My mom never had any experience of cancer. I’ve been experiencing pains in my breasts since i was 15 due to growth around the beginning of each menstrual cycle. And until recently i didn’t have much of an issue with these pains, just assumed them to be a normal part of growing as many women experience these pains around the same times i do.

    But recently the psychic stress of accepting Hays ideas as “true” is catching up with me. Now every time i feel an ache or twitch in my breast tissue i think about my relationship with my mother and if I’m still holding onto resentment (which will cause my ultimate cancerous demise).

    Sad to say i still haven’t gotten to the bottom of that question and never will. In other words i don’t think I ever could forgive my mother enough or fully rid myself of “resentment” because it isn’t actually there.

    By throwing arbitrary labels at people and leaving it up to them to incorporate the labels into their lives, Hay is able to sit back and let people work for her. Her key trick is that she defines herself as a spiritual medium without saying so by spouting sexy ideas about how we choose everything and are really powerful. And she’s really powerful with all her money and cache so why wouldn’t we believe her?

    It’s very circular.


  94. @Bizzolizzo, perfectly stated! I commented under the blog post highlighting this comment.


  95. Thank you for this article..finally someone who can see the forest from the trees.

    Let me tell you my own experience with this. I am headed to a biopsy today of my thyroid for several large growths. A friend of mine called me last night and basically said, “This is cancer and I know it is because of the anger you hold. You did this to yourself let go.” First of all, we have to understand that the human condition is one of aging, of times of illness, and that we are not living in perfect bodies.

    Secondly when any theory New Age or not leads to such shame and blame due to an illness, well Houston we have a problem. I’m sure emotions can factor in any illness. There is some proof that state of mind has an effect. However to say that you are the author of your suffering due to emotions goes too far. It’s a form of pseudo psychology that leads to a harmful faith system. How can faith be harmful? When it invalidates, blames, shames, or in any way put the bat of self loathing or self hatred on one’s hand, then it becomes harmful.

    Faith edifies, builds up, gives hope. How does shame or blame do this? And when this does not cure, (and in spite of Ms Hay’s claims I’m betting most do not receive a cure), how do we justify the emotional angst that someone goes through wondering what they “did wrong?”


  96. Thank you for your comment,@robinlittlefeather. I wish you all the best.

    When I wrote this post, I wasn’t expecting to get so many comments that vividly highlight the dangers and underlying nastiness involved in Louise Hay’s work.


  97. According to the warnings printed on cigarette packets in Australia:

    Smoking causes lung cancer
    Smoking causes emphysema
    Smoking causes heart disease
    Smoking when pregnant harms your baby
    Smoking damages your teeth (Not sure if this is one of the messages)
    Smoking is addictive

    The cigarette manufacturers (= corporations) only print these messages because it is now against the Australian law to omit the warnings. They are still laughing all the way to the bank however.

    If you adopt the line that anger causes cancer, that lets the cigarette manufacturers off the hook.

    As far as I know, the cigarette manufacturers have used the characteristic that nicotine is addictive to enhance & protect sales for decades. And also, as far as I know, the cigarette manufacturers have known (but denied) that smoking causes lung cancer since the 1950s. It seems to me a lot of executives and employees were lying all along. It is not against the law to lie, unless you are giving evidence, making legal statements, swearing oaths, making affidavits etc.

    The Nazis figured out (i.e. medically tested) that cigarettes cause lung cancer during the 1930s. I suspect that German research was driven by abeisance to a notorious non-smoker who had control of the country at the time. It is one of history´s ironies that it took US doctors another 20 years (I think) to reach the same conclusion. And it took another 30 or 40 years after that for the truth to be printed on cigarette packets.

    One of my favourite quotes is from Gore Vidal:

    “The true facts must be erased from history.”


  98. @Donald,
    Yeh — according to LH’s philosophy it’s the health warnings themselves that cause cancer.


  99. That philosophy is pure nonsense, and what is scary is so many believe it!


  100. If you expect your teachers to be perfect or even consistent you will be disappointed. The truth is, what Hay and others write are mental ideals which they may believe on an intellectual level but not fully on a deeper emotional level.

    If you look to other’s experiences to understand life you will be mistaken because we don’t know what is going on in another person’s mind. Indeed, most people are poorly aware of the contents of their own thoughts.

    The only mind we have full access to is our own and it is this we need to understand. If we choose to believe as Hay and others have written or if we believe as the dualists do, that we are at the mercy of our body, it should be as a result of studying our own experience.


  101. Hi Sharka,

    I don’t understand your first paragraph would you be kind enough to explain what you mean by “a deeper emotional level” in respect of Hay’s beliefs.

    The second paragraph seems self contradictory, you rightly say that we cannot have another person’s experience but you then go on to say that “most people are poorly aware aware of the content of their own thoughts.” if your first sentence is true how do you know what most people are aware of – or not aware of.

    Your final paragraph also seems a little confused, surely it is Hay and her fellow authors at her corporation who are dualists, and Cartesian dualists at that,


  102. Sharka Todd, what’s the point you’re trying to get to? Some of the arguments you make are true, but they’re part of why we criticize woos and embrace critical thinking. We don’t have full access to our own minds, but those of us who pay honest attention to ourselves have self-knowledge that we’re subject to various cognitive biases. We also have indirect but strong evidence that other humans are also subject to these same cognitive biases by observing their behavior.

    The thing that worries me about your comment is that it sounds like a “special snowflake” trope I often hear when dealing with woos. It’s often used to defend self-appointed authorities by moving their experiences, or more accurately, the conclusions they draw from them beyond questioning. When I peer down that rabbit hole, I see shades of solipsism.


  103. @Sharka Todd,,

    In the post I’m not accusing Louise Hay of inconsistency; I’m accusing her of lying and selling a quack cancer cure. Do her “Cancer Healing” CDs have a warning on them saying “For entertainment purposes only”? According to your comment, they should.

    How about this:

    Louise Hay doesn’t “’know what is going on in another person’s mind” and she shouldn’t be trying to cure anyones cancer but her own.


  104. I could care less about any plastic surgery she does, but when she uses this quack pseudo psychological nonsense it is harmful faith. When faith does not uplift, when it blames or shames, or invalidates anyone by insisting an illness is somehow their fault, THAT is an issue.


  105. @robinlittlefeather,

    Hay’s fans often try to sidestep the issue of Hay’s blatant quackery by trying to say it’s all in the eye of the beholder and we should just look for what resonates. Well that’s fine for some issues in life, but every day or two I see from my site stats that people have landed on this post after googling something like “louise hay cervical cancer cause” or “what does louise hay say about breast cancer”.

    Obviously it’s by accident that they land on this post, but I hope they read through the comments and realize that it’s not just “cynical” and “negative” people like me who aren’t impressed with what Hay is doing.


  106. I am a Reiki Master and Practitioner so I am very open minded and spiritually based. However there is a difference between harmful faith and faith that uplifts and builds. I do not see you as cynical and negative. I see you pointing out valid concerns about Louise Hay and the impact she is having. As to it’s in the eye of the beholder, fine…if this is what people chose to believe, and enjoy flagellating themselves and others, they are the sorts to avoid all together.


  107. @robinlittlefeather- you may choose to avoid altogether those who blindly follow someone like Louise Hay, your choice of course. Some of us do speak out and blog about cancer quacks, etc. because we can’t stand to see people “flagellating themselves” because we (I) believe they are doing it unwittingly. It is really not a fun thing to watch a loved one suffer and forego medical treatment for practicing some kind of woo. Ultimately I agree it is their choice to believe in quackery, but if I can shine a light out of that murkiness, I will.


  108. I agree. When I say avoid them, I’m talking about people who will insist on it, hang on to it, and refuse to admit the damage it can do. Once I say something once, I am not going to waste my breath arguing. I have given a compelling argument myself against this sort of thing. I am with you though that you should speak out.


  109. @robinlittlefeather,

    I expressed my last comment poorly. I didn’t mean it to sound like I think you find me negative. Rather that those who find me negative should take note of commenters like you, and a few others in this thread. (I knew of spiritual background!)

    I appreciate your speaking out here. Marketeers have a vested interest in disabling criticism. We obviously agree that there’s no reason why spirituality should require the abandonment of all ethical standards.


  110. @Robin- yes, there is a point when one is wasting one’s breath.


  111. @Andy,

    what I meant about “at a deeper emotional level” is that (as I understand it) the beliefs people hold that really affect their lives are often not those they profess or would wish to believe at a conscious level. One would assume a teacher such as Hay has looked deeply into the nature of her own mind and done some belief “archeology” to get to the root of her own belief system. However, this may not be the case. I neither support nor condemn her own promotion of the thought creates reality paradigm. Everyone must decide for themselves what works for them.

    You are right about my contradiction in the second paragraph. But I would say one does not have to know someone too well to be aware of areas of blindness they may have about acknowledging some of their thought patterns (made clear through speech) that they choose to deny in their definition of self.

    My mention of duality refers to those who see the mind and body are largely separate as opposed to those who believe the mind programs the body resulting in physical symptoms that reflect the mind. If this does not accord with the conventional philosophical view of duality or non-duality, I apologize. I am not schooled in academic philosophy.

    Thanks for your response.

    S.T.


  112. @Yakuru You are right. Louise Hay’s teachings are dangerous for some people. Even if we believe (as I do) that many illnesses are caused by mental processes this does not mean that the “average person” is able to use this knowledge to heal themselves. Many beliefs we hold go too deep to be readily accessed by any but those with the most serious intent.

    I would advise people with a serious illness to consult a qualified GP, particularly when time is of the essence.

    I don’t know anything about Hay’s Cancer CD so I cannot comment on this. Here in Australia it is illegal to treat cancer unless you are a qualified oncologist.


  113. @ Bronze Dog, thanks for your reply. I am no solipsist, I’m just trying to say the human mind is life a iceberg with only a small portion above the surface.

    I think the aim for all of us is to bring the light of awareness to our complete nature. Whether this helps us to cure any ailments we have or not, we will have to see. No doubt some problems will have a physical cure and others may require a change in thought pattern or just a letting go of fears/tensions we hold.


  114. @ Sharka, Thanks for the reply it doe clarify a few things. I agree that the mind can influence the body, for example the affect that chronic stress has on the immune system and the heart. However I would not agree with Hay’s idea that we are embodied minds but rather minded bodies,

    I would suggest that the mind is a brain process that manages, and regulates ,life process and maintains homeostatic regulation of the body; in the case of humans this would include social and cultural homeostasis. Any “programming” that takes place is genetic with reproduction of these genes being the evolutionary outcome.

    No idealism or quantum mysticism required.


  115. @Sharka,

    I’m still not sure if you are defending Hay or not.

    In any case the subtleties you point to in this area are not shared by Louise Hay. Her approach here is extraordinarily simplistic and I would even have to say crassly mechanistic and deterministic.

    In the post I asked why she is selling a cure for all known diseases when she knows that this same cure is powerless against wrinkles — the physiology of which is far less complicated than multiple sclerosis, for example.

    I cite MS because someone landed on this page a few hours ago having googled “Louise Hay multiple sclerosis”. Such people think Hay has a cure for them, because that’s what Hay herself claims, and backs up with her spurious story of having cured her own “cancer”.

    Louise Hay is the world’s most famous cancer quack. I see no reason why anyone should make excuses for her or try to find speculative gray areas for her teachings to hide in, when she herself denies the existence of such subtleties.


  116. @yakuru

    I think you are probably right that Hay over simplifies health related matters. I am reminded of dream interpretation books which give a one size fits all explanation for dream events. Though in some cases this may be valid in other cases it may not. I would suggest anyone to read her work with a healthy dose of scepticism and to examine their own health complaints with an open mind rather than rushing to a conclusion of what it means.

    For those who believe health conditions say nothing about the mind, fair enough, work such as hers are therefore meaningless to them.

    Whether such works represent a danger to vulnerable minds, that may be so, but to such people the whole world becomes a danger and it’s impossible to protect people from other’s thoughts, even Communist China can’t do that.

    As for Hay’s inability to control wrinkles though her mental approach, this doesn’t negate her teachings- just her ability to employ them. I don’t believe she’s ever claimed to be a master of her own mind.

    Does this mean she shouldn’t present these teachings? I leave that for the individual to decide, but the same could be said for all the preachers of the world, they all struggle to live up to their teachings.


  117. ***Please Note: Comment was held up in moderation. Was actually posted before Andy’s comment below. Apologies. -Site owner***

    @Andy
    Thanks for sharing your view about the mind. It is interesting to consider whether the mind serves the body or whether the body is a servant of the mind. People’s view seem to depend on whether an evolutionary view is taken or a “spiritist” view. What the limits of the mind are, I am still trying to understand.


  118. @S.T. (aka Sharka Todd)

    I’m not sure why your “name” keeps appearing as “g2-6bab1366104c4a0e4a4138567f2b2f9f”. I have changed it to to make it a bit more manageable.

    Thank you for being a bit clearer about what you actually think of LH. I appreciate you sharing your criticisms of my post here so clearly.

    HOWEVER….. you don’t acknowledge that you are radically misrepresenting Hay’s teachings and presenting a completely different message to what she presents. She is claiming certain knowledge that her teachings work. You are adding qualifiers to the effect that “well maybe these teachings will kill you, but it will be your own fault for believing it.” But Hay clearly and repeatedly claims her teachings work and does not add any of your disclaimers. I would like you to acknowledge your disagreement with Hay on this point.

    Also, I disagree that it’s only “those with vulnerable minds” who might be in danger of believing her.

    First, what kind of a useless and stupid set of teachings is it, when following them as they are presented immediately places you in lethal danger?

    Second, when people have cancer they act differently; and when people are receiving advice from a trusted authority they act differently. This is not vulnerability, it’s human nature. And Hay exploits this by presenting herself as a trusted authority on cancer and all other illnesses. She’s a confidence trickster who hides behind a veneer of spirituality.

    As I say, I hope you remember to add all those disclaimers you have added here, if you ever promote her deadly and useless to others.

    Of course there are good reasons to become sensitive to the effects of ones emotions, thoughts and feelings. Of course these thins affect health. There is are masses of research into that field. And Louise Hay has contributed absolutely nothing to it. Instead, she presents a bunch of assertions as if they are fact. If she presented them with all the disclaimers that her defenders in this thread have presented, she wouldn’t sell any books. Quacks like her have to make extreme claims because they have nothing of value to offer.


  119. To me the point is missed with the last comments. The problem with Hay’s beliefs is the shame and blame mentality that results from them, not to mention that these claims are not just fraudulent but dangerous. Case in point, I had a large growth in my thyroid that needed a biopsy. They were concerned it was cancer. The day before the biopsy a “friend” called me who is a Hay fan. She basically said that my problem was due to my “unresolved anger”. She then said You need to let go of your *#$@ anger. You deserve what you get otherwise.” I replied very simply that I refused this negativity from her, and she could take her shame and blame elsewhere. Furthermore she suffered from diabetes and according to Hay (lol) my friend suffers from lack of sweetness. Well case in point…turn around is fair play, that sort of attack was anything but sweet. When faith becomes harmful, or a doctrine invalidates, or blames the person who is ill, there is a fundamental issue at hand, and that is the crux right there.


  120. @S.T. – George Bernard Shaw coined the phrase “Those that can’t do teach” you have applied the maxim to Ms Hay. From this I infer that you believe that there is a Hay “Can Do” somewhere. Are you able to provide examples? And drawing on the examples can you demonstrate how you have reached the conclusion that mind heals the body.

    It would be useful if you would also give us your version of what mind is as you seem t be suggesting that it is neither something physical nor something supervenient on the physical.


  121. NOTE: please see the comment from S.T. above which was held up in moderation.

    Apologies to all. There seems to be some kind of glitch that keeps sending Sharka’s comments into moderation.

    Here’s the text of S.T.’s comment:
    —————————-
    by S.T. August 29, 2013 at 06:03
    @Andy
    Thanks for sharing your view about the mind. It is interesting to consider whether the mind serves the body or whether the body is a servant of the mind. People’s view seem to depend on whether an evolutionary view is taken or a “spiritist” view. What the limits of the mind are, I am still trying to understand.

    —————————-


  122. Thanks for sharing all of this. This is exactly where I am at with Mrs Hay, Hay house, Mrs Moorjani etc. No medical evidences. The whole thing is built on “moving sand”.
    Kind regards
    Caroline Care


  123. Hi Caroline,

    One could say a Hay “House of cards”, built on moving sand.


  124. Yes — Hay House is a house of cards built on moving sand, in a prime real estate area.


  125. My experience: I had a daughter and 2 lovely grandchildren. My daughter got involved with a Louise Hay life coach. She was taught that she had to eliminate all negativity in her life. She considered me and later her husband negative influences but never explained why. She announced 4 years ago that she could not tolerate me. 2 years ago she threw her husband out. I contacted her several times and asked her to explain what I had done to deserve this treatment. She has never answered. In the meantime she professes to practice love, forgiveness, and compassion via the internet.

    I heartily disagree with Louise Hay’s teachings. I had a very tough life but I never blamed outside influences.. Taking personal responsibility always saw me through. I never felt it necessary to eliminate people from my life that did not see eye to eye with me.


  126. That’s sad….

    This idea of pronouncing certain things positive or negative is a disaster. It’s completely narcissistic, and self-fulfilling, and make it easy to condemn anyone or anything one doesn’t like or doesn’t want to deal with. And it’s based on that poisonous mix of fear and hope that teachers like Hay use to coax and frighten their customers into submission.

    I wish I could offer some suggestion for dealing with a loved one stuck behind that wall, but I’m afraid I’ve never found any. Maybe with time whatever the real cause of your daughter’s problems will heal or change, and she’ll be capable of relating again.


  127. Thank you for your heartening words.


  128. […] de la televiziune, se poate vedea că societatea americană a fost modelată de aceste concepte (promovare, publicitate, celebritate) de zeci de […]


  129. On page 140 of her book “You Can Heal Your Life”, Hay says: “SURGERY has its place. It is good for broken bones and accidents and for conditions beyond the abilities of a beginner to dissolve. It may be easier under these conditions to have the operation, and concentrate all the mental healing work on seeing that the condition is not recreated.” [All caps are the author's]

    I don’t see anything she’s doing as being necessarily contradictory. All I see as contradictory is someone who runs a blog designed to destroy other people’s works instead of focusing on their own creations.

    But I suppose breaking someone else’s argument down is infinitely easier than writing one’s own argument, isn’t it?


  130. Your pointless negativity and insulting tone have been noted. Beyond that, you didn’t say anything that I can respond to. No substance.

    And that quote from Hay is even more stupid, arrogant and poisonous than the rest of your comment.

    “conditions beyond the abilities of a beginner to dissolve”???

    And what might these be? Which conditions can advanced practitioners like Hay “dissolve” but “beginners” need surgery for?

    Well???


  131. At the risk of getting a reputation for quoting Bertrand Russell here’s a quote from Bertrand Russell. He puts it so much better than ever I could.

    This one’s for Cass.

    “I admire especially a certain prophetess who lived beside a lake in northern New York State about the year 1820. She announced to her numerous followers that she possessed the power of walking on water, and that she proposed to do so at 11 o’clock on a certain morning. At the stated time, the faithful assembled in their thousands beside the lake. She spoke to them saying: ‘Are you all entirely persuaded that I can walk on water?’ With one voice they replied: ‘We are.’ ‘In that case’, she announced, ‘there is no need for me to do so.’ And they all went home much edified.”

    -Bertrand Russell “Unpopular Essays (1950)

    There’s nothing new in Hay’s philosophy but it’s still fun to discredit it. And who knows such ridicule might just save somebody’s life.


  132. “Your Thoughts Create Your Tomorrows” My daughter fell into the trap of “Positive Thinking.” Who determines what is positive and especially who makes the judgment that something is negative ? My daughter considered her husband and me as negatives in her life. She eliminated both of us from her life, took her 2 children far away from their father and now sits on rocks in Sedona, Arfizona proclaiming love, compassion and forgiveness. Any wonder I have no use at all for Louise Hay’s “positive thinking” theories? By what measure does she determine what is positive and what is negative ?
    Her philosophy is completely self-centered.


  133. @Cass,

    And don’t tell me that Louise Hay says you can have surgery. Get on the New Age forums and tell the people who have landed here on this site using the following search terms in the past week or so:

    what does louise hay say about miscarriage
    louise hayes meditation for breast cancer
    louise hay cervical cancer
    louis hays take on sick children
    loise hay skin cancer cause
    breast cancer louise hay heal your body
    louis hay credible
    preventing cancer louise hay
    louise l hay cervix

    If a small amateur site like mine gets so many hits from people who believe Hay can cure them, imagine how much traffic her site gets.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/louise-hay-is-a-dangerous-quack/


  134. @ Cass
    You wrote « But I suppose breaking someone else’s argument down is infinitely easier than writing one’s own argument, isn’t it? « 

    I would say. going through the lies, emerge to what is, needs much courage. And science can heal sometimes, more and more, while positive thinking will bring good feelings. And what emerges also in the discovery behind the lies is the need to do real work for a better knowledge, to begin with. And I think, that’s what Yakaru does here.

    @ Andy, nice quote.


  135. I feel for your situation Helga and have some concerns for my own daughter who has a young child and M-I-L who lives the Louise Hay lifestyle and runs workshops in this area – “Heal your Life”
    On one occasion I saw a placard up in my daughters home which stated “one needs to rid their lives of negative people” and so I followed up with a discussion with my daughter on why I felt this was not sound advice.
    My daughter is vulnerable being a young mother and living hundreds of miles from me and her M-I-L is close by and I can already see the changes in her person from the information she is being fed – I find this troubling.

    I was also given a Calender with 365 Daily affirmations by Louise Hay by the M-I-L – someone I have only met a handful of times and hence I found myself on this site and an unopened box of 365 Daily Affirmations!
    This person also suggested I get some of these self help books for another child of mine to read who has a long standing mental illness – I asked her what knowledge does she have of mental illness and what is her understanding of a mental illness and its affect on the brain – she could not answer however clearly gave the impression that somehow my child could be cured by reading ‘Heal your Life ” – this is such dangerous thinking!
    Thankyou Yakura & robinlittlefeather for your comments


  136. Thank you RBH for your comments. I found the same type of affirmation about ridding your life of negative people in my daughter’s house 4 years ago, shortly before she rejected me as her mother. Very dangerous indeed !


  137. @RHB

    It’s difficult to find a way to talk to people once they start biting on this stuff, isn’t it… And worrying.

    I suspect that fear is behind much of the popularity of affirmations. When I was in my mid 20s I used a few of Hay affirmations for a while, eg., “I trust in the process of life. I am safe.” On the one hand it was ok. I was actually safe, and it helped me relax a bit. But it did nothing at all to address my fears. Instead, it merely covered them up, and left me no chance of dealing with them. I could haver looked at them, perhaps with some professional help, and realized they were largely unfounded for my situation at that time.

    But even worse, the belief behind it is that the affirmation would itself make my life safer, by attracting “positive” things to me. That is a dumb and dangerous strategy.

    And worst of all, the belief behind it is that if I did consciously look at my fears, I would be “attracting” the events I was afraid of. That actually heightens fear as well suppressing it, and it’s exactly that paranoia that Hay exploits — motivating people to buy her products to avoid making their fears real, and in avoiding criticism. Criticism falls strictly in the “negative” category (unless they’re criticizing one of Hay’s critics — that’s fine!)


  138. Perhaps my dear friends, when dealing with such a controversial matter, one has to note that everyone can only speak from their own ‘filter’ of perceptions and projections.

    I can certainly understand the judgments and valid statements from everyone on both sides of the fence here, and it seems everyone is right based on how THEY filter information. Reading the thread felt like I was experiencing a tennis game, it was good reading for me and I especially enjoyed how everyone served each others views with their own contrast.

    It showed me when someone believes they are right, they seldom waiver from that belief. This is what makes us human, our ability to exercise free will and thinking and ofcourse to want to get OUR message across.

    i commend you Yakaru, for having the courage to speak what was your truth, what you believed was true for you and that was that Louise Hay could be exploiting millions of people.

    I choose to believe that there is some good in your need to ‘save’ people from buying into what you believe is a ‘hoax’ and yes you have every right to express your view of how you see Louise Hay with regard to the face lift.

    Perhaps you could (if it is your desire) write a book that can inspire people to be realistic, and also share your own experience with the ‘new age’ process which you have found challenging. Your message to the world can be a positive one, influencing people to take positive approaches to their wellness, as I am assuming this is the purpose of your blog, to create awareness and wake people up.

    Perhaps even write to LH directly to share your disappointments, so you can understand her choice. Even let her know how radical her message is and that that you feel passionate about your belief that she is misleading people by preaching that affirmations can cure disease, also ask her why she didn’t take her own teachings into practice for herself.

    I am certain the direct response you both could share; would have brought to you some closure, and offered you some ideas on how to move forward in your own service to people. You seem like someone who means well, is passionate and holds integrity very close. Those are wonderful qualities to have as a person. Be blessed for that.

    Truth is that many people buy into the belief that if you say a pretty affirmation, then somehow you will magically manifest anything you desire, like a cure for something, or money or a relationship.

    I recall reading LH states ‘an affirmation is a good step to start with, because it opens the doorway to the next step’….

    we must also see that LH has not been ‘selling’ a new, unknown concept about the power of changing ones thoughts, can change their reality.

    Many more ‘new age’ authors claim to have healed cancer, or broken knees, etc through non-medical means. The secret movie gave us this raving encouragement to believe that ‘wow i can see it and i can have it’….. and today an entire industry of self development has been created built upon these very same philosophies.

    I am well read, and I have found their is a common method used by all authors and that is to have their reader relate to them on a human every day level. LH didn’t have many authors in her time writing books about such philosophies, she merely wrote from her own experience , be it a true or untrue story it is nonetheless a book that has served many people in positive ways.

    This is my subtle view on LH and how I have filtered her story.

    She learnt all these tools and ideas from a school, and that school got its ideas from teachers way before them, going back to Napolean Hill and some much older teachers…..

    LH does make clear in her books and movies that she started with 3 years at this school, I would imagine in 3 years a person could master mind power skills quite well. At that stage she was just happy to be a counselor, and teach people about what she was learning.

    She was an ordinary person who didn’t eat well, or rest well ,etc.. she was just doing what all good students do… teach…. and live. At that stage she didn’t have any claim of manifesting anything but a positive new mind, peace with herself.

    It was when she was diagnosed with cancer, she went to her teacher and said “I have cancer”.. it is her teacher who replied “well Louise, you cant have been doing all that positive work in vain, so now let’s take a POSITIVE approach’…….

    So she started with research about cancer, detoxing her body, learning about gentle fitness, eating different kinds of health diets, going for every king of massage, healing, studies, talks, doing emotional work like hitting pillows, dealing with her angers, fears, guilt and grief, meditating, trying all sorts of meditations and visualizations… COMBINED with AFFIRMATIONS.

    so YES just saying an affirmation and expecting cancer to dissolve is a rather radical idea!!! Anyone who buys into that is highly misinformed. Medical intervention is key to healing one’s body from disease, be it diagnostically or for treatments.

    I do however support the idea that if you are diagnosed with a disease you do the research, connect with support groups with other people who have experience, see someone about nutrition (a major cause of disease is poor diet), mind and body relaxing (stress reduction), start with a positive mindset, affirmations work well, and also consider that you can use any spiritual and emotional work to support you during this time.

    Please forgive the long essay, I am also passionate about peace, love and order and I believe that we all have a voice, and that through each other we can learn about ourselves so much better. I neither agree nor disagree with anyone, i admire you all for speaking what you think and what you feel.

    My final message is, as much as it takes courage to share and make public our views, it would also be an idea to speak to, write to or address matters like these directly with the people you have a challenge of opinion about. Its a kind of integrity on a different level. Then again, I go back to…we all have choice…. free will and free thinking… we can use it for the higher good…. or just the good.

    September 2010 till February 2014…. is a long time to carry a conversation with no closure and peace in the end. I affirm that we all accept each others opinions, that we respect the good intent of each other, and we find peace knowing that only ‘love is real’.

    Namaste.


  139. Thanks for your thoughtful and sincere comment… (Even if it was about ten times as long as the original article!) A brief response —

    I won’t write to LH because she slammed down the steel doors of non-perception ages ago and doesn’t care how many people die because of her idiotic and dangerous teachings.

    Her ideas are utterly idiotic and stupid — human physiology exists, as does medical science and progress in medical science. But Hay’s ideas are less sophisticated than the medicine of biblical times. It should be shocking to people hearing someone talk like that today.

    But those who believe her are not stupid — they are merely trusting and ill-informed. Certainly nothing in New Age literature would set them straight. Hay promises she knows how to help them. She’s lying. She doesn’t have a cure and she takes their money and abandons them to their fate. The dead ones won’t come back and say “Hey, your ideas killed me!”

    It’s nice of the dozens of LH fans who have come here to explain to me that I should filter her teachings or “take only that which resonates”, but I don’t need to hear that. I know her ideas don’t work. The people who need to hear are those who trust her.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/louise-hay-is-a-dangerous-quack/

    And there’s no need to believe her personal cancer story. She didn’t bother keeping any evidence or even remembering details like what stage the cancer was in. No one should be repeating it to others when there’s not the slightest shred of evidence she didn’t make the whole thing up to support her equally made up teachings.


  140. Four years ago my daughter came under the influence of 2 Louise Hay “educated” life coaches. Since then my daughter threw out her husband and refuses any contact with me. I wrote to both life coaches. One responded by un-befriending me from her Facebook page. The other one did not respond at all. It’s all about money I My daughter spend a fortune with them.


  141. Notify me of all responses


  142. @ Sparkles

    You wrote « Perhaps even write to LH directly to share your disappointments, »

    Your paternalistic introduction followed by this incredible guidance-flood makes me wonder how you not even realise the perspective from where you seek out your « dear friends ».

    Louise Hay doesn’t receive such mails ? I wrote her (not to share my disappointment, but looking for what is behind the stage), why we do not have access to medical reports in the case of one of her writer. I didn’t get any answer. Usual reaction.

    I discovered over many years, some healers do really believe in their stuff for intimate reasons. But sometimes change their talk when they become older/or ill. Then they realise, beeing sick is a whole other reality. Life is eloquent.

    And it can also be a cold and cruel business.

    You wrote « Please forgive the essay » Have to say, there is nothing in your message, but common sheep-language.


  143. LH and her following, the “Life Coaches” , don’t respond to any questions or criticism. . It’s all about the money ! I feel sorry for those who fall into her trap.


  144. Well said, Caroline!


  145. Very well-said, Caroline!

    @Sparles, your “filter” causes you to see an old conversation with no closure. That’s not what is going on here at all. Many of us here have no doubt that Louise Hay and her kind are promoting quack cancer cures. The ongoingness that you observe is people defending Louise Hay (generally by claiming things she does not say at all) and others responding. No gaping holes requiring closure here.

    @Helga, I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope it’s just a phase!!


  146. Yeh, actually there’s plenty of closure on this thread. Hay’s fans have been going in circles from start to finish, trying to avoid the fact that Hay is a dangerous quack.


  147. My client had the same qualms about Louise, saying she felt betrayed Louise had plastic surgery. I asked her “do you know this to be true, a fact?” No, but she looks like she has. I said if she has why does this make you look at her as less than what she was before? Reply – It’s so vain to have plastic surgery. I said, wouldn’t it also be vain to not have surgery because of some rule saying it is vain? I then asked her – do you respect me and the work I do in the world? My clients said, “oh my god, your work has helped me so much!” I replied, if I chose to have plastic surgery would you think less of the work that has helped you? Would you think less of me? Reply – well, of course not! So what is the difference between Louise and me or anyone else? She said, really nothing we are all the same. I said, we all have ideas, perceptions and beliefs about who we and others should be and when someone does something we think is wrong or triggers some kind of emotion we forget about love, compassion and acceptance. When others judge us we do everything in our power to defend ourselves because a part of us demands love, compassion and acceptance no matter what. If we have surgery or not, if we are a saint or not, if we live a perfect life or not, we all deserve love and respect for underneath our human ego’s we are spiritual beings from the same place. Walking this earth in human form is simply for one thing…experience. The Universe does not give a shit how you experience it, all experience is an opportunity for spirit to express itself through each individual. The purpose of us experiencing life on earth is for the opportunity to grow, understand and to become aware of who we truly are… Now knowing this, do any of us have a right to put rules on another spiritual beings experience? The only reason we do this is to continue living in unconsciousness of who we, and others are and the tool we use is fear. So my question to you is, “what is the fear behind your judgment?”


  148. @D.H.B.

    I’m afraid I’ll have to throw your presumptuous hypocritical insults straight back at you.

    After all your lecturing and assertions, you wrote:
    So my question to you is, “what is the fear behind your judgment?”

    Well, what’s the fear behind your judgments about me?

    You know nothing about me, yet you assume that I wrote that post because of fears of which I am unconscious, yet by some magic you are aware of on my behalf. How presumptuous, impolite and ignorant of you.

    And you didn’t understand the post. If you had have read it properly you would have realized that my fear is that people die because of Hay’s quackery. It’s clearly written, yet you failed to address the point.

    More worryingly, you seem more upset the mere fact that someone has criticized Louise Hay, than by the serious accusations of deadly quackery that I raised against her. You have no answer at all to that, and have merely repeated exactly what a dozen or more other commenters before you wrote on this thread. I assume you are too arrogant to bother asking yourself why you behaved exactly the same as all the others.

    And please read and respect the comment policy before commenting here again — you’ve gone point for point through the list of stupid and predictable things I specifically asked people not to write. Go and look at it.


  149. The entire theory that positive thinking can heal your life is so dangerous and flawed that it has ruined many lives. After all, who determines what is positive or negative? It is all so subjective. And so incredibly self-centered. And based on what? Certainly not the bible. Louise Hay preaches that we can pick and chose between the 10 commandments. For example, according to Louise Hay “honor thy father and mother” only when you like them. .



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