Blog Post

Is the Sedona Method New Age?

We have had several questions recently about the Sedona Method and if it’s okay for Catholics to use it. Few may want to do so after learning about its origins.

For those who have never heard of it, the Sedona Method is advertised as being “a unique, simple, powerful, easy-to-learn and duplicate technique that shows you how to uncover your natural ability to let go of any painful or unwanted feeling in the moment.”

Also known as The Release Technique, it was the invention of Lester Levenson, a man who suffered a heart attack at the age of 42 in 1952 and was sent home to die. After considering suicide, he began to reflect on his life and what he’d learned and noticed that he felt happiest when recalling times in his life when he was loving others.

He began to reflect on past relationships and realized that he was loving others because he wanted them to love him back, which was selfish.

“I kept reviewing incidents from the past, and where I saw that I was not loving, I would change that feeling to loving that person. Instead of wanting them to do something for me, I would change it to my wanting to do something for them. I kept this up until I couldn't find any more incidents to work on.”

Thus far, it all sounds like a person who is looking to achieve the Christ-like agape love of Jesus, but Levenson’s further reflections reveal that he wasn't trying to imitate Christ. Instead, he began musing about what is the mind, what is intelligence. One day, an image of bumper-cars at an amusement park popped into his mind. He noticed all the cars received their electrical energy from a pole that came down from the ceiling above the cars.

He surmised: “The power above was symbolic of the overall intelligence and energy of the universe coming down the pole to me and everyone else, and to the degree we step on the gas do we use it. Each driver of the cars is taking the amount of energy and intelligence that he wants from that wire, but he steers his car blindly and bumps into other cars, and bumps and bumps. I saw that if I chose to, I could take more and more of that overall intelligence.”

Taking it a step further, he realized there was a prior thought to everything that happened and if he could “grab hold” of that thought he could consciously determine everything that would happen to him.

“This was a tremendous piece of freedom, to think that I was not a victim of this world, that it lay within my power to arrange the world the way I wanted it to be, that rather than being an effect of it, I could now be at cause over it and arrange it the way I would like it to be!”

These “discoveries” eventually became known as releasing, which bills itself as being an “effective system for discovering the way to success, health, peace, happiness, and abundance . . .”

Proponents claim that these techniques give a person unlimited abilities. Once employed, a person will have “no limits except those you hold on to in your mind and when you let go of these limits you can have, do or be whatever you desire.”

After Levenson’s death in 1994, his movement split into branches. Larry Crane, a student of Levenson’s, set up his branch in Southern California and called it The Release Technique. Another Levenson disciple, Hal Dwoskin, set up his version in Sedona, Arizona, and called it The Sedona Method.

Regardless of the branch, releasing is founded upon the New Age principle that man is in complete control of his destiny. Known as the Human Potential Movement, it’s hallmark is the elevation of the Self to god-like status, positing that whatever the mind can conceive, a person can achieve. Because there is no recognition of God, there is no need to rely on His providence or be directed by His will for one’s life.

As stated in the Pontifical document, Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life, “The Human Potential movement is the clearest example of the conviction that humans are divine, or contain a divine spark within themselves.”

The Sedona Method is very much like other New Age “thought control” techniques such as those proposed in The Secret and the Law of Attraction, as well as the philosophies put forth by motivational speakers such as the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra.

Even though these techniques may seem to be innocent, employing them on a daily basis can slowly detach a Christian from the need to trust in God for help to overcome the difficulties of life. If used persistently, they will eventually erode all faith in God.

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