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Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: December 21, 2011 01:36AM

I'm in the process of sorting myself out after years of experience with self-help and new age gurus. The last few days I've been camping out on the RR site doing research because I believe that knowledge is power. (A pity I didn't know about this site years ago and that I was naive and trusting for so long, but thankfully I now know better.)

During my time on this site I've come across all kinds of helpful info about mind altering techniques and think it would be a good idea if there was a thread devoted to it.

I have experience with the Silva Method (formerly known as Silva Mind Control), EFT (emotional freedom techniques), Reiki, qigong, visualization, self-talk/affirmations, self-hypnosis, yoga and meditation (mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation and a brief flirtation with New Kadampa Tradition). I've also exposed myself to New Thought through the writings of Emmet Fox and a few times tried his thought watching exercise.

I started doing some of this stuff more than 25 years ago, long before it became trendy. These days I am feeling very protective about what I expose myself to. I'm questioning whether there are any residual effects I should watch out for and can any of these methods be safely used to help me with health issues and insomnia.

Any info about these techniques would be appreciated.

Thank you for reading my post.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: December 21, 2011 02:03AM

Here's a list of some of the info I've come across that's been helpful during my journey.

The possible dangers of meditation:


The Silva method:




New Thought:


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2011 02:25AM by good enough.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: December 22, 2011 12:55AM

I never found repeating affirmations to be of any help. At the most, maybe a temporary high, but that's not what I was after. I actually felt rather silly when I would do it, like a well trained parrot. Better a bag of chips or a walk to the lake to watch the waves come in.

Here's an article from Psychology Today:

Psychology Today Editors Flood the Psych Zone
by Psychology Today Editors

The Danger of Self-Affirmation
Self-affirmation isn't a good idea for everyone.

Published on November 23, 2009 by Guest Blogger in Brainstorm

By William B. Swann, Jr.

All people want to think well of themselves. This is, at least, what many psychologists would have us believe. So too would hundreds of practitioners of the self-help movement. Indeed, in the US, a multi-billion dollar personal improvement industry is built on the premise that people have an insatiable hunger for positive self-views. To feed this hunger, all they need do is repeat a few positive affirmations such as "I am lovable and capable." With enough repetitions, the argument goes, people who suffer from low self-esteem will transform themselves into highly self-confident individuals who will discover that the world is their oyster.

Yet this fairy tale account of human nature now looks about as credible as, well, a fairy tale. For example, recent research suggests that the positive affirmations that are the stock in trade for the self-help industry are ineffective for the people who need them most. In fact, when people with low self-esteem recite positive affirmations, they actually feel worse (Wood, Perunovic, & Lee, 2009). Similarly, when others happen to evaluate people with negative self-views in a positive way, their initial feelings of exultation quickly vanish as they recognize that the praise rings hollow and inaccurate (Hixon & Swann, 1993) and they takes steps to avoid it (Swann, Hixon, Stein-Seroussi, & Gilbert, 1990). Moreover, when given a choice between interacting with evaluators who recognize their negative qualities versus those who entertain overly positive appraisals of them, people choose the partner who perceives them in a subjectively accurate manner (Swann, Stein-Seroussi, & Giesler, 1992). And if people wind up with spouses who persistently entertain positive evaluations of qualities they believe are negative, they withdraw, either emotionally or through divorce (e.g., Cast & Burke, 2002; Swann, Hixon, & De La Ronde, 1992). More generally, when researchers have compared the strength of the desire for positive evaluations to the strength of the desire for subjectively accurate evaluations, they encountered little support that people abandon concerns about accuracy in favor of positivity (Kwang & Swann, 2009; Shrauger, 1975).
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Why are people with negative self-views so reluctant to embrace positive evaluations? The reasons were spelled out over quarter of a century ago by self-verification theory (Swann, 1983; in press; Wikipedia, 2007). The theory begins with the proposition that people want others to see them as they see themselves. For example, just as those who see themselves as good athletes want others to see them as athletic, so too do those who see themselves as poor athletes want others to recognize them as un-athletic.

The desire for self-verification presumably grows out of the fact that our self-views are crucial to our efforts to make sense of the world and guide behavior. Self views stabilize behavior by encouraging people to consistently see the world and behave in a particular way. Such stability makes them predictable to others and, in turn, facilitates smooth social interaction. Eventually, people become so accustomed to having others see them as they see themselves that these self-verifying reactions become reassuring and comforting-even if the self-view in question happens to be negative. By the same token, experiences that disconfirm people's self-views are troubling and anxiety provoking because they suggest that something is amiss with their knowledge of themselves, the world, or both (Wood, Heimpel, Newby-Clark, & Ross, 2005).
Of course, people will sometimes accept subjectively inaccurate evaluations. If the self-view is unimportant or weakly held, or if the relationship is fleeting or inconsequential, people may accept evaluations that they know are inaccurate. When the self-view is firmly held and the relationship is enduring, however, people will do whatever it takes to ensure that the evaluations they receive are self-verifying.
The fact that self-verification strivings trump the desire for positive evaluations when their negative self-views are firmly held does not mean that people with negative self-views are masochistic or have no desire to be loved. To the contrary, even people with very low self-esteem want to be loved. What sets such individuals apart is their ambivalence about praise and acceptance-although positive evaluations initially foster joy and warmth, these feelings are later chilled by incredulity.

It is easy to see how self-verification strivings might be adaptive for the majority of people, because roughly 70% of people have positive self-views (e.g., Diener & Diener, 1995). For these individuals, self-verification strivings bring stability to their lives, rendering their experiences more coherent, orderly, and comprehensible than they would be otherwise. Such coherence and predictability may not only enable people to achieve their relationship goals (e.g., raising children, coordinating careers), it may also be psychologically comforting and anxiety reducing. In fact, when members of work groups offer one another self-verification, the result is greater identification with the group and productivity (Swann, Milton, & Polzer, 2002), especially if the group is relatively diverse (Polzer, Milton, & Swann, 2002; Swann, Polzer, Seyle & Ko, 2003). Higher levels of self-verification in groups has also been linked to the erosion of social stereotypes (Swann, Kwan, Polzer, & Milton, 2003b).

But if people with positive self-views generally benefit from self-verification, for people with negative self-views, the process of self-verification strivings can produce mixed results. It is adaptive for people to seek verification for negative self-views that reflect immutable personal limitations (e.g., short stature). On the other hand, when people strive to verify inappropriately negative self-views-that is, self-views that exaggerate or misrepresent their limitations (e.g., erroneously believing that one is fat or dull witted), they may consign themselves to punishing life situations or needlessly foreclose highly desirable life possibilities. For instance, self-verification strivings may encourage people to remain in relationships with deflating or demeaning partners and flee from partners who think well of them (Swann, 1996). Once ensconced in such relationships, people may be unable to benefit from therapy because returning home to a self-verifying partner may undo the progress that was made in the therapist's office (Swann & Predmore, 1984). And the workplace may offer little solace, for self-verification strivings have been linked to a tendency to tolerate unjust treatment (Wiesenfeld, Swann, Brockner & Bartel, 2007). For those who develop erroneous negative self-views, it is therefore important to work to disrupt the self-verifying cycles in which they are often trapped (Swann, Chang-Schneider & McClarty, 2007).

—William B. Swann, Jr., is a Professor of Social and Personality Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. This essay was originally written for the Polish pop magazine Charaktery.

from: []

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: paperlane11 ()
Date: December 22, 2011 06:05AM

Interesting article. I agree. Self esteem is more complex than reciting affirmations. Maybe in addition to other interventions that consider background, how one was raised... etc...

I do think they have some short term uses- pep talks before playing sports, taking a test, and such.. There is research I believe that links prayer to having good effects.. but then that approaches the line. Religion can be a healthy part of a balanced life or unhealthy like a cult, perhaps same with affirmations?

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: February 28, 2012 12:52AM

I've been having difficulties sleeping through the night for much of my life, and despite two stays in sleep labs, doctors haven't been able to help me.

And so I borrowed the book I can make you sleep by Paul McKenna from the library.

I became suspicious after a few pages when I started to feel myself becoming sleepy as I read the book. Much to my utter joy (sarcasm intended), he later admits that he's using special techniques to create this effect. I signed up for ideas to help me sleep through the night, not to be lulled into a hypnotic state whilst reading his book.

I did a quick check on RR and sure enough McKenna is someone to avoid and oh yes, he is an NLP practitioner, as well as a hypnotist. Thank goodness I didn't listen to the accompanying hypnosis CD.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/2012 01:21AM by good enough.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: March 08, 2012 03:53AM

This piece covers all kinds of territory, including gurus and Transcendental Meditation.


Lorin Roche, Ph.D.
a zesty, life-affirming approach to meditation

"All power corrupts, absolute power is even more fun"- Simon Travaglia, The Bastard Operator From Hell

Power Corrupts

Gurus have immense power over their disciples, just by the definition of what a guru is – greater than God. Or if you want to say the guru is a Master, then Masters have slaves. They do not have equals. Meditation multiplies the power dynamics because then the guru is inside your head.

Keep in mind that I personally have never had a negative experience with a guru. I am entertained by gurus, by the whole archetype, and I have had many great teachings from gurus. I am just reporting here on what actually happens to people, my friends and students, in their interactions.

Most gurus have a circle of attending lackeys, bureaucrats, bankers, devotees, and thugs around them, who wield power in the Guru's name. The power dynamics get extremely complicated, as each person is on their own unique arc in terms of seizing power, using it, abusing it, and then learning from their mistakes or blaming others for their mistakes. It is a major problem in guru-dom that the "enlightened" cannot admit to any mistakes. By definition, the Master has to be perfect. But who then gets blamed for all the mistakes that inevitably happen in any organization? The disciples, either the ones closest to the guru, or low-ranking ones, have to get blamed. There is a transference of shame along with the shaktipat.

The guru's entire circle of lackeys is in your head, spanking you while you meditate.

A guru's ashram can change almost overnight from a loving group of meditators to a kinky cult, as the guru and his disciples start to believe literally in the fantasies they are attracting, and as they wallow in all the power, money, fame and sex they have. This is just basic group dynamics, same as anywhere.

Here is a benign example. The Transcendental Meditation movement, which I was a part of from 1968 to 1975, changed dramatically over the course of several years in the mid 1970's. In the early 70's, there was great good humor in the movement. Jerry Jarvis was the head of the organization I taught for, called the Student's International Meditation Society, or SIMS. Jerry, as I have described elsewhere, was one of the most relaxed people I have ever seen in action. He was often surrounded by a dozen people trying to get his attention as he walked into the lecture hall, and he would just stand there at ease and deal with each person fairly, and if he had to walk on, he would glance at you with an "I see you," look and would make sure to talk to you at the next opportunity.

Somewhere in the middle 70's, Jerry was sacked. I don't know what happened, but suddenly he was in disfavor. Simultaneously, the tone of the language of TM began to change and become darker, more fearful. People were constantly beginning sentences with the phrase, "Maharishi says . . . " and then completing the sentence with something cruel, disguised in spiritual language. There was a continual fear that if you spoke out of turn, that you would be "kicked out" of the movement, no matter how long you had been a member.

The TM movement went from being a collection of quite creative, lively individuals, to a herd of people who agreed to be tyrannized. Simultaneously, the TM movement went from a lively, dynamic, growing national organization with a center in every major city in the United States, to a shrinking organization that no one was interested in anymore. The number of people starting TM dropped dramatically.

An old friend of mine, who started meditating around the same time I did in 1968, has given millions of dollars to the movement, and labored on their behalf for years. He is as pure as the driven snow, just a fantastic guy. And he has a house in Fairfield, Iowa, near the campus of Maharishi International University. One day some people visited his house who were not obeying the dress code - from what I gathered they were wearing jeans and rock band t-shirts - and so my friend was berated for hours and was threatened with being banned because of this. Someone at the TM world headquarters in Europe called my friend for several days in a row, scolding, threatening, dumping on him. My friend groveled and apologized over and over and over. I have seen this happen many times, in different ways, and it breaks the spirit of the person doing the groveling. They are never quite the same once they agree to be dominated and humiliated in this way.

I am picking on the TM movement here because I know it the best. I lost my entire circle of friends when I left TM in 1975 – and because it is safe to criticize TM. They don't send thugs to beat up people who point out their flaws. In TM-think, the worst possible thing that could happen to you, ever, is to not be part of TM. There is no worse punishment that could befall you. And if you are criticizing TM, then you are by definition damned. Everyone knows that Maharishi is the Master of the Age, and if you even imply, by attitude, gesture, or noncompliance, that anything his henchmen or lackeys do is less than perfect, then, well, see you in a billion years, when you get finished working off your karma. The TM teachers of the middle 1970’s are some of the most thoroughly fearful and superstitious people I have ever met. But in a unique way - a combination of relaxation, passivity and fear.

The TM organization is amazingly benign, kind of like Quakers. (Basically, all their destructive energy is directed at suppressing the lively essence of Transcendental Meditation, which is by nature spontaneous, surprising, and revolutionary.)

It is not safe to criticize some gurus, cults, and meditation schools. The people are very touchy and irritable. You’ll notice that I do not mention ANY specific guru on this site. That is partly because the information I get from my students is confidential and partly because the principles at work are universal and there is no need to pick on anyone specific.

When you are checking out groups online, be especially wary of any group that has no negative information about them. This may mean that they hire lawyers, private detectives, and thugs to sue, harass, gaslight and bankrupt people who post critical feedback or comments about them. Some groups scrub the web of any critiques. Other cults will set up their own fake "anti-cult" sites to attract disgruntled ex-followers, then gather dossiers on each person in the name of "counseling."

Power Attracts the Corruptible

"Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end...liberty is the only object which benefits all alike, and provokes no sincere opposition...The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to to govern. Every class is unfit to govern...Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton. link

There as also a saying, "Power attracts the corruptible." (I think this thought comes from Paul Herbert's DUNE series of science fiction novels.)

Wikipedia on Power:

"POWER: The ability to make our fellow humans squirm, sweat and stammer on command. Often regarded as an aphrodisiac; actually a potent laxative that, whenever ingested by people in high places, causes everyone below to run for cover."
- Rick Bayan, The Cynic's Dictionary

Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.
- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

"All power corrupts, absolute power is even more fun"
- Simon Travaglia, The Bastard Operator From Hell, 1997 Part 2, "The PFY scores top marks in the all important 'how to be a Bastard Operator From Hell' test"

"Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely."
- Ed Tufte, "Wired Magazine 11:09 September 2003"

Frank Herbert Quotes - link.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 09, 2012 12:51AM

hen running searches select "all dates" this message board is almost 10 years old (!)

The Anticult's analyses of trance inducing stories using the nested loop technique. The Anticult has superb essays scattered throughout the message board. Plug in The Anticult and all dates in an author search and you'll get a continuing education right there.


Walter1963 observed the early days of the NLP (neurolinguistic programming scene)

Do a search on anything written by Walter 1963



Trance Induction "The Handshake Induction"


Trance Induction "Yes Set" "No Set" how trance induction can be incorporated into satsang



Common stories used on the ashram circuit

Snake and Rope

The Clay Pot


Flowers and Flowers in a Vase story


Common and Repetitive Stories


(The top of the page has another goodie "Western Converts as Trophies for Indian Gurus)

The 'sparkly eyes' technique


Disclaimer and a warning:

This information is for emancipation and to assist the reader to become a citizen, a human person with agency and dignity.

Anyone using this information to market themselves, reduce the agency and conscious awareness, who exploits the vulnerable, hides out behind a fictional public personal and who uses this information to tilt the poker table of life to their own undue advantage will become a monster in human form.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: March 10, 2012 03:49AM

Thanks corboy, when I have more time I will definitely check out the information you have provided.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 13, 2012 10:57PM

Trance Inducing Effects of Mantra

This was described by persons discussing Sokka Gokkai Buddhism.

The effects discussed here and on other pages of the Sokka Gokkai thread may apply to other groups in which practitioners are told to use intensive chanting

The Hare Krishnas

Transcendental Meditation and all groups which derive from TM

Lineages of Vajrayana Buddhism in which practitioners at advanced levels must do at least a 100 thousand chants and prostrations as penance or as part of preparation for advanced level practices in tantra

Badly run dhikr groups

Here are discussions by former members of Sokka Gokkai

From Hitch:


A brilliant post by tsukimoto:


And the chanting -- leaders will often recommend that you do hours a day, especially if you have some problem that you're trying to change. We chanted at the beginning of meetings -- which made us more inclined to accept what was said at the meeting. And then we chanted at home too. I knew that chanting made me feel more relaxed; I underestimated how suggestible it made me! Now that I'm chanting less, I find I'm also more inclined to question things that other people tell me. One of my co-workers commented on this last week when we were at the same meeting. She said "You asked some great questions about the new proposal -- you were shyer a few years ago, you didn't do that." Well -- WAS I "shyer" in the past --- or maybe TOO tranquilized from chanting?

The whole chanting business has always been too much hocus-pocus and magic wand waving for my tastes. The only thing, perhaps, that I disliked more than chanting, was sitting on the floor, (as per my previous post - literally on your knees) to do it, too.

In the following quote, I placed my comments in bolded blue (below):


felt very angry for about a year after I left SGI (I was not chanting at all for awhile.) Other members have mentioned feeling very angry too after leaving SGI. (Rothaus, you mentioned "detoxing.") I do think that part of it is just recognizing how badly we were treated in SGI...and connecting with the anger that we may have repressed for years. Definitely, that was part of it for me. And if you're chanting less, as I was, that may also be part of it.

I think that being angry at SGI, and how we were manipulated, is healthy. People have had horrible experiences: Check!
--Manipulated into giving their last dollars to SGI and ending up homeless. (and no support from SGI once that happened.)
--Pushed to give money to SGI, as a child. Check!
--Selling valued possessions to give money to SGI.
--Being berated harshly when a family member is dying
--Telling an abused wife that she should just chant and try to be a better wife!
--Verbal abuse and humiliation. Triple Check!
--Being told to chant more rather than seek medication and therapy for mental illness. (by someone with no training in health or psychiatry.)
--Discouraged from going to school and pursuing career/personal goals. Check!
--Forced to work in the hot sun with insufficient food and water Check! , and then humiliated Check! for fainting.

Many common threads with my time in the organization, too. It's amazing at how similar it all is.

[[quote]b]tsukimoto[/b]These things are just wrong -- decent people don't do things like that! And no, the leaders who did these things will never apologize for them.
I don't want to be bitter my whole life -- but I also don't want to forget that many SGI leaders are liars, manipulators, exploiters of the vulnerable. I think that the answer is not repressing the anger, but channelling it-- warning others of these users, and being more aware of how people can manipulate me -- and more assertive if someone tries to.
Maybe the anger is a sign of waking up from the SGI trance.


Findingmyway, who was trying to leave Sokka Gokkai had described fears and painful emotions. Hitch gave advice that applies to anyone trying to leave a mantra using group.


Thank you for your support. I go through phases where I am really doubting the SGI. I don"t feel like talking about the benefits right now, but I will say that everything was so perfect in the beginning. People were so nice, and I enjoyed the community. If I break away, I want it to be a clean break.

I feel like my head has been brainwashed, and I am going to be really honest about it. Part of me feels like any benefit I am receive in life, the SGI would want me to be thankful to them, and to Ikeda. I feel if I were to leave, it might seem crazy to others, as if hard work and benefit only belong to SGI members.

Upon receiving Gohonzon, I moved to an ugly neighborhood, and I developed a fear of something. I developed a fear of driving. I am afraid to write about it for fear of being identified. So, life before Gohonzon felt carefree, and I was able to drive, and I remember being peaceful. Then, I was introduced to the practice, and things were okay. Once I agreed to get Gohonzon, it was like things got worse. Maybe I am paranoid, or at least that is what I have been told by other SGI members.

I was told that getting Gohonzon is no big deal. I wish I hadn't listened to that rubbish. I am much more paranoid now because I am afraid that if I give it back, I would regret it one day, or bad things would happen.

There is this feeling like: why would you want to give it back. I have never investigated it. I was at this meeting recently, and I think I mentioned it in my previous post: some lady said we are so lucky to share the planet with President Ikeda. I felt sick hearing that, and I do feel I should trust my body telling me things.

Let's see what else...hmmm...I am wondering if someone can please send me a private message if they know of any books, or types of counseling that can help one take one's life back after having an experience such as being in the SGI.

I want to take my life back, and I am not referring to the practice. Thanks so much for listening. I also hope to go through all the threads one day to learn more about other people's experience.

I also feel like if I were to be honest with the other members, they would chant for me, and because a small part of me likes chanting, I am liable to go back. I don't know. I want to make a clean break with them.

Hitch wrote:


Findingmywaytoday, you stated that you were happier before you joined. Therein lies your answer. Time to get out. I can tell you that absolutely, positively, you have been brainwashed. All the fear and talk of sansho shima is manifestations of that. People (potentially) chanting for you? Well, in my view, that's entirely their problem, not yours. Don't worry about it. The only way you'll ever get out is to be strong. It's not a bad thing to think about yourself and FOR yourself. The cult manipulation's goal is exactly the opposite.

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Re: Mind altering techniques -- hypnosis, NLP, EFT, etc.
Posted by: broadman ()
Date: March 29, 2012 07:07PM

Hi All

This is what was recently given to me to look at and its dead right in my opinion. This is exactly what has happened to a very dear family member of mine, they are lost to us and themselves
we don't know how to get them back. This person was from a very close and loving family, was adored and had so much love and respect . Was a truly beautiful person!!
Now its the complete opposite. This person is suffering from paranoia, psychosis, fear, guilt and so much more, we can't get close to them at all any more.

All because of this.

Take a look please.

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