Note: I wrote this on a Cult Awareness board elsewhere. If you do not feel like reading the whole thing (it is very long), then my nutshell review of the technique is to approach it with caution. It is a low-level brainwashing technique. It is effective at reducing stress and emotional management, but does NOT deliver on it's promises to make you wealthy or happier. I did the technique for 10 years so I know how it works and what is possible with it. Steer clear of any system that promises vast wealth by doing nothing as this system claims to do.
I'm going to attempt to be as honest and impartial as I can regarding the Release Technique, although that will prove to be a challenge, as my life has been affected in different ways by the method, both positive and negative. I'll share how it's affected me and why I decided to leave the methodology behind. I believe it is important for people to know what it is before getting involved in it, why there haven't been nearly as many complaints about it compared with glowing testimonials, and how it ultimately fails to deliver on what it promises.
First, a brief history of me and where I was coming from. This is a very long post, but I hope you'll be patient and stick it out for the read.
I've always been into self-improvement, because I believe if you improve yourself, you improve the world. I learned about the release technique towards the beginning of the year 2000 through an email which led me to one of the earlier discussion groups on the subject on Usenet. I went to the website (not nearly as sophisticated as it is now) and read the information they presented. Whomever was the owner of this site was promising that you could have it all "easily" and "effortlessly" - it was the lazy man's way to riches. At the time, I was very interested in wealth and abundance. Since I was into self-improvement and wanting to gain more financial security, the website's message naturally attracted me.
After searching the site, I found a man by the name of Larry Crane.There was just one solitary picture of him and his phone number was beneath it. In that day, I was curious, but not nearly as cautious or skeptical as I have become. I gave the number a call to ask how the technique worked, thinking I would reach some generic customer service rep. I wanted to ask some questions in order to gauge what it was all about.
To my surprise, Larry himself answered. I don't remember the exact conversation, but he convinced me to buy the course and try it out. I ordered the Abundance Course and it came about 10 days later. As a small side note - I called him into about day 5 of waiting for it to arrive and was met with a very aggressive "IT TAKES 5 TO 10 BUSINESS DAYS to arrive." I didn't know it at the time, but his aggressive (and sometimes outright rude) behavior would confound me as I became immersed in the Release Technique products and jargon. The whole point of the method is to become "imperturbable", yet Mr. Crane has demonstrated many times that he is not. I'll get back to that later.
Back to the short history. I received it and listened to the tapes. By the time I was done with tape 4, I was confused. Essentially, all of the tapes were Larry speaking about feeling a "clutching" in your stomach or your chest (which I didn't feel) and letting it go... and more... and more... and more. He repeated the same thing over and over with little variation over 10 tapes. And that was the technique in a nutshell. You feel a feeling and imagine a tube or door over your chest or stomach. You open up the door or tube and "allow the feelings to leave." That's pretty much it. Or, you can get your feeling under one of the "three wants" - the want (lacking feeling) of approval, control or security, and let those feelings go. That was the gist of the technique. And this was the fast way to riches.
I didn't understand it at all. Since I was puzzled (I thought there had to be more to it), I called Larry. When I asked my questions or raised objections, he would immediately interrupt and tell me I was into "wanting to figure it out", which was just another feeling I had to release. It made sense to me at the time, since I WAS feeling stressed out about not being able to release. I can see with great clarity now that this is where the mind-numbing effects of releasing come into play. It's a low-level technique for brainwashing and spacing people out. It has a deleterious effect on your ability to REASON. In the release technique circle, reasoning (and even thinking) are the minions of the #1 enemy - the mind - which I now see is a bad thing to teach.
It was a bit hard for me to type that out - admitting that it is a mind control device. I had to go back and re-edit and rewrite that a few times. But there it is in all it's glory. I confess it after 10 years. The release technique is largely a brainwashing regimen that takes your money and leaves you on a cloud, and not necessarily cloud 9.
I mentioned I would attempt to be impartial - or at the very least, fair - in this post and I'd like to honor that. The release technique DID have some major benefits to me and others, and to this day, it still has given me some measure of "freedom", if you want to call it that. Here are some of the benefits I've gained from using it:
1) More efficiency
2) Better able to handle my emotions
3) Can see things more objectively
4) Not as reactive as before
6) Can relax, usually at will
7) In the past I've had some very blissful experiences after releasing, all of them unforgettable. There was one moment where I felt like everything was simply perfect. I can't really describe that feeling because it was so beyond the intellect (not to sound presumptuous, please don't take it that way). It was just this magnanimous feeling of deep peace and "being okay". It was like everything was where it needed to be. When I hit that state, I knew that that was what I was looking for. It was those experiences that kept me going. I'll get to what got me OUT of releasing later.
8) I had a windfall of $6,000 after making a releasing goal that I would have $5,000 by releasing only. It is easy to chalk this up to coincidence now, yet it is still a bit interesting.
9) Was generally happier for short stretches of time.
So I have to admit that it did benefit me in the emotional arena in some ways. In other ways, it seemed to kill parts of me that were resounding with wit and charm. If I visited myself 10 years ago, I would be greeted with a much funnier person who didn't take life so seriously. Now, I'm recovering to get back to that caring, charming person.
After releasing for so long, I feel like a woolen cloth has been pulled over my awareness and that the better parts of me have been grayed out. Any releaser would immediately tell me it's just a feeling and to "let it leave". I'm only recently seeing how much of a trick I've played on myself. The liabilities of the release technique (in my experience, and in much higher magnitude than it's benefits) are as follows:
1) It doesn't deliver on the financial front as it advertises. I haven't become a millionaire or increased my net worth by even $10 ever since I started it in 2000. In fact, any money I allegedly earned "by releasing only" (as they say you should do in the course) was spent on more books, tapes, and seminars. I essentially broke even.
2) I've become callous, uncaring, stoic and prideful. I feel almost "stale" or vacant at times.
3) I wasted 10 years of my life believing in grandiose dreams that I'd hoped would materialize "simply by releasing only" as they teach in the courses. They actually teach you to use the "Butt System" (another set of CDs I bought from Larry), whereby you sit on your butt, release your "I can'ts" and just "allow it to happen", whether it's becoming a millionaire, getting a new car, etc. Essentially, you THINK your goals into existence without any action whatsoever on your part. It's a sophisticated form of WISHING. And these wishes never came to fruition.
4) I've become too clinical with emotions. Whenever someone had a problem, I would tell them to "just let it go." I now see that this isn't always appropriate or even desirable.
5) I would look down on people and disassociate from their dramas. While I still think most dramas are ridiculous, I no longer tell people to "Just let it go." Sometimes these things need to be processed in order to be released.
I've realized that the prior 5 liabilities are much more far-reaching and have deeper implications on a psychological and financial scale than the first 9 benefits I've listed.
One major thing that really nagged at me over the years was Larry himself. He's essentially the protege of Lester Levenson, the man who "invented" the RT, and someone who supposedly found total inner peace. The whole point of the release technique is to become loving and peaceful like Lester claimed to have done, or "imperturbable" as the course teaches. I can't count the number of times I've heard Larry yell, be rude or domineering to people who are raising questions in learning the technique.
I was once a target of his wrath when I asked a simple question about what Lester Levenson proposed regarding reality and the mind. I pointed out on a conference call something Lester had said. He said "Every thought materializes in the physical world." To anyone with a brain, that's a huge claim to make. I saw plenty of proof to the contrary, so I asked Larry "If that's true, then why can't I materialize pink panthers dancing on my ceiling?"
I wasn't attempting to be cheeky or dry. It was an honest question. Larry's response? He immediately flew into a rage on the phone. I don't know how many people were on the call that night, but there had to be hundreds. Not only that, but it was being recorded for sale later, which was highly embarassing for me at the time. "Why are you asking me dumb questions that have nothing to do with anything?" he roared. "It's a jerkoff question. I'm not going to waste the time on it! Who's next?"
So much for questioning wild, unverified claims. Even though I was pretty deep into releasing at the time, it's something I wasn't able to "let go" of after all these years, but not due to being hurt, but because I have a very, very low tolerance for hypocrisy. Larry, the student of the imperturbable Lester Levenson calls himself a "Master Teacher". If he's a master teacher, it means he's mastered releasing. If he has and is so imperturbable, why would he need to scream at people to get what he wants?
That wasn't the only incident. There were countless others (not all targeted to me) on other recordings they have on their website. He's teaching everyone how to be "hootless" yet gets his hair in a knot when someone asks him a question steeped in common sense. I was puzzled at the time, but since I was supposed to be able to let go of whatever was bothering me, I dismissed it. I now see his rapacious yelling as a subtle form of instilling compliance in releasers so there IS no disagreement. If he can't get you to do what he suggests, he'll just intimidate. Total hypocrisy. The scary thing is not one fellow releaser ever mentioned this one puzzling habit of his - yelling to get what he wants, yet telling everyone else to "release".
I'm not trying to make Larry look bad. I'm just telling you what I've witnessed first hand. To his credit, he did answer some questions that seemed ridiculous, but for the most part, he gets cranky and cantankerous if someone persists in asking a question that doesn't help someone "release". In other words, no analysis or thinking allowed, only "releasing".
It all built up over time, but becoming more financially secure was the #1 reason I left the releasing crowd and the hypocrisy was #2. The promise of the course is that you can become rich if you just release your feelings that you can't be rich. Well, I felt I did and I gave it a fair shot of 10 years. I hope people are letting that sink in. TEN YEARS. And the only person who benefited financially was Larry. I'm not rich after using the technique and that's all the proof I need. If there is any one thing releasing has shown me it's how to be much more skeptical when any system comes along and claims that you can be rich simply by sitting in a chair and letting go of feelings. What nonsense. Why did I fall for such tripe for so long?
I'll tell you - the testimonials I was getting from other people. There were dozens of people on the conference calls and in seminars detailing how they'd gotten $30,000, $100,000 and more "by releasing only". Those testimonials made me salivate and hunger to achieve the same, honestly.
What I refused to see was that these people who were earning those amounts of money were ALREADY IN POSITION TO RECEIVE IT. In other words, they had real estate deals going, were doctors, lawyers, successful business people. Naturally, big money comes to them! How many homeless people do you think could materialize $600,000 overnight by releasing only? If we are unlimited as the course claims, why can't I materialize a suitcase full of $100 bills right before my eyes? If the technique worked consistently and effectively, why aren't most of the releasers millionaires? Nothing metaphysical about it. It's just a crock.
I don't mean to sound harsh. And perhaps there are some releasers reading this right now who still believe it can benefit you financially in the long term. If so, understand that I'm not judging you, nor condemning you. I'm not coming from my "ego" nor am I trying to limit you in any way. Heck, the technique is very effective on some emotional issues if you embrace it and do it correctly. I'm only condemning the hypocrisy and lack of results. I know if you are a releaser you'd say I'm holding in mind lack of results or I'm "wanting". Well, that may be, but don't you think giving the technique 10 years of practice would yield some more tangible or lasting results than the ones I've experienced?
Also, releasers - I'd just invite you to think - have you truly gotten what you wanted from releasing? Are you a millionaire? Can you materialize things at will just by a "mere effortless thought" as Lester puts it? How much money is in the bank? Look at the proof - "take it for checking" as the course states. This is what I did and is why I've left releasing behind forever. I've finally realized for myself that it isn't what it is cracked up to be in the least. If it were, I'd be a billionaire by now and floating around with the greatest of spiritual masters.
I've spent countless hours releasing. Tallied up, I'd guess it sums to several months of pure non-stop "releasing". I've purchased nearly all of Larry's products, gone to 4 weekend seminars and 2 week long retreats. I even helped find two locations for some of the seminars. When I asked Larry if I could go to one of the events for free in exchange, I was denied. Wow. So much for abundance.
The thing that puzzled me for a while was why weren't more people noticing the inconsistency and non-efficacy of the technique and posting about it? I looked it up on Google many times, but found little to nothing but glowing testimonials (until I found this forum). So how could it have such a low-profile?
I have a theory - there aren't many complaints showing up because it's a LOW LEVEL cult. I hate to use the word "cult", because there really isn't a "release technique crowd." There aren't any members, expectations or beliefs that you need to adhere to. The only expectation is that you release when you are at the seminars or on conference calls. There is no allegiance and everything is voluntary. That's what makes it so hard to classify it as a cult.
As I've said, "cult" would be too strong a word. It's not so much a cult as the technique is deceptively presented as a magic bullet to end all problems without taking any action. If Scientology were the most nefarious cult with a 10 on the 1-10 scale, then releasing would be probably about a 2. But that 2 can be a 10 to the most trusting (or gullible, if you will). That is what makes it deadly in the long term. It locks you in with promises of a blissful existence, but doesn't create enough immediate and consistent pain for you to want to leave it. When you are releasing, you are convinced you are creating your reality and mastership is just a matter of "letting go", that the abundance is right around the corner, even with plenty of evidence to the contrary staring you straight in the face.
I'm glad I have finally woken up. I feel more like myself now. I am unashamed and feel liberated now that I have dropped it. Ironic, don't you think? I've let go of releasing itself and I feel freer than ever before.
I've attempted to be fair, balanced and honest in sharing my experience. I may not have come off that way. Please note that the technique is not ALL rotten and that Lester's original message of loving others and yourself is a good one. It is apparently working for some people. And some of the events I experienced were unforgettable as I listed above. I have also gained a great measure of emotional control that genuinely helps me in many areas of life. But all in all, it does NOT deliver on what it promises in the financial or happiness realm, and if it does, it does so in a highly inconsistent manner. I will NEVER spend one cent more on any of Larry's materials and will caution (but not stop altogether) anyone who is thinking of buying any of his products.
I hope this has helped someone to see things a bit more clearly. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to write me or update this thread with a response. I will respond uncritically.