The Sedona Method – A Review

Last Updated on Teachings

I’ve mentioned the Sedona Method more than a few times in past articles, so it feels like time to write a comprehensive review of it.

Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-Being!

If you go to you will see the above prominently displayed at the top of the page. So the question foremost in anyone’s mind who is exploring the Sedona Method is: does this program work? Will it really bring me lasting happiness, success, peace and emotional well-being? The short answer to that question, for me personally, is yes, it really did all that it claims. So read on to see the details of this review.

red rock crossing sedona
Sedona, AZ Creative Commons License credit: jmenard48

What Is the Sedona Method?

The Sedona Method is a program for teaching you how to let go of any emotion or belief. When you begin reading the book or doing the audio program, you are given the background for what the method terms releasing, i.e., letting go of emotions. The Sedona Method teaches that releasing is natural, and if you pay attention, you will notice that most feelings come and go quite easily if you do not repress them or attach to them in some way. The only reason a feeling sticks around is because we don’t allow it to be felt and then flow out.

Initially, the Sedona Method focuses on letting go of negative feelings, the ones that cause problems for us in life, like fear, anger and apathy. And you let go of feelings initially in the program by asking yourself 3 simple questions:

  1. Could you let this feeling go?
  2. Would you let this feeling go?
  3. When?

It is interesting that these 3 simple questions could be the catalyst for letting go of a painful emotion, but they do work. Since releasing is a natural process, since feelings want to be felt and then flow out of our awareness, the power behind these questions is that they invite you to let this natural process happen. In fact, releasing is less something you do and more something you allow to be done. It is a process more of allowing the emotions to leave than anything else.

Beyond the Basics

Sedona Vortex
Creative Commons License credit: iandeth

Once you’ve mastered the use of these 3 questions and have applied them to a few areas of your life, the Sedona Method gets a bit more involved with what it refers to as the wants that underlie all emotions. In its model, we are all being driven by 4 wants:

  1. Wanting control.
  2. Wanting approval.
  3. Wanting security or safety.
  4. Wanting separation and oneness.

While I initially found this focus on wants to be effective in going deeper with releasing and letting go of more and more difficult emotions, I found after a while that it was way too heady. Over time I became aware that all feelings were being driven by all the above. And at the core always seemed to be some sense of wanting either to survive or to be in control.

Interestingly, too, I began to see how almost every feeling I had could be reduced to anger or fear, and in most cases, anger seemed to be generated by a deep seated fear. And by seeing that it has become easier to release any emotion.

Welcoming and Allowing Feelings

In addition to the above, the Sedona Method uses other techniques for releasing. Probably the simplest, easiest to use, and most profound for me, though, was welcoming or allowing a feeling. Remember, the basic premise of the Sedona Method is that releasing is natural, that feelings merely want to be felt and then pass through. If you think about it, that is what ultimately happens with any feeling.

So, the process of welcoming a feeling is a conscious decision to feel, a conscious choice to allow what you are feeling to be exactly what it is. I had the most dramatic release one day by using this technique that permanently ended panic attacks that had plagued me off and on for almost 30 years. I woke-up one morning feeling extremely anxious, and then slipped into a full-blown panic attack. That familiar feeling of impending doom and death engulfed me. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you know what I mean.

I had released on panic attacks before, with some success, but never had been freed from them. So, I began releasing on this one, and this time I had no luck. I was deep in panic. And then I remembered something I had heard at one of the retreats I had been to, and so I let myself sink into the panic, going deeper and deeper with it, allowing the panic to completely engulf me and even, I remember thinking, to get stronger if it could. I fully allowed the panic attack and welcomed it. In a sense, I embraced it.

And then, like a fever breaking after the flu, it left, it released, it was gone. Not only was I no longer panicked, but I knew, I absolutely knew that I would never have another panic attack. And I didn’t. Now, as I look back on it, I can’t even conceive of how I ever had panic attacks. They seem an utter impossibility to me. Chalk one up for releasing!

Who Created the Sedona Method

Lester Levenson

The man who created the Sedona Method, Lester Levenson, was an interesting character. I’ve heard him described variously as a saint, a modern day mystic, an enlightened master, a miracle worker and a shyster businessman from New Jersey. From all that I can gather of the real life Lester, he was quite likely all of these. One man I know described him as “a black hole, so egoless that nothing really could attach to him.” He sounds like he was quite a character and a remarkable man.

Lester’s story is a fascinating one, as it is the story of the awakening of a modern day spiritual master. Others have told his story much better than I can. You can read more about Lester’s life Lester’s realization and awakening at The Sedona Method website.

Who Teaches the Sedona Method

After Lester passed away in 1994, there was a bit of the inevitable power struggle amongst the faithful. The clear winner was Hale Dwoskin, who was granted the rights to the name “The Sedona Method” by Lester and who probably is the most well known of those teaching some version of Lester Levenson’s technique. I’ve looked into most of them, and for me, Hale has proven to be the most interesting, the most helpful and the clearest, both as a person and as a teacher.

On the whole, I like Hale and his teaching style. He is a kind man, gentle with most people and truly interested in helping them. A popular question at Sedona Method retreats revolves around how enlightened Hale is, a question I know he personally laughs at. In my estimation, Hale has had a definite bit of dropping away of his ego, at least to some extent. He feels “clean” to me. He is fairly honest and straight forward. It feels good to be in his presence.

Hale is a former New York City businessman, so a bit of that shines through his personality, too. This aspect of him caused me problems at first, because the Sedona Method is a for profit endeavor, and Hale is not hurting financially. I know that this aspect of the method bothers others, too. Hale likes to hang-out with the big names in the personal and spiritual development arena, and Jack Canfield in particular is one of his buddies. Yes, Hale was in the Secret, and he knows a lot of those people quite well.

I eventually resolved all of these issues by realizing that he’s no saint and the Sedona Method isn’t perfect. And so what? It works, Hale’s an honest, delightful person, and I’ve benefited from all he does tremendously. I have learned a great deal about my own personal hang-ups about money and success in the process and gotten a fair amount of freedom going in those areas. On the whole, I like Hale a great deal.

Here is a short video of Hale discussing how to let go on the little annoyances of life, to give you a taste of his style and personality:

You can read Hale’s bio here at the Sedona Method web site.

How I Have Personally Benefited

If you go to the Sedona Method web site, you can read hundreds of testimonials from people who have benefited from using it. You can also read all the marketing material as well. But one of the most powerful things to me has been hearing how the Sedona Method has benefited people I know. So, here is how it has helped me:

  • A permanent end to panic attacks.
  • Less anxiety by an order of magnitude (in other words, a lot!).
  • Little if any concern about the future.
  • I survived a painful divorce. More importantly, my ex and I get along great, and I can honestly say I love her more now than I ever did when we were married because I’m now capable of really loving someone. Amazing.
  • I’m a much, much better father these days. My son and I have bonded to an extent I wouldn’t have thought possible a few years ago.
  • I don’t feel desperate about life the way I used to. I’m much happier to let life happen, to flow with life, to be a part of life rather than always fighting it.

Creative Commons License credit: blakespot
  • I had chronic fatigue for a number of years. My doctor said at one point that he thought the fatigue would resolve when the anxiety resolved. He was right.
  • I never was diagnosed with depression, but after a few years of working with the Sedona Method I felt a fog lifting from my mind. It was strange, like I had been living in a haze for at least a decade. And I never knew it.
  • I finally allowed myself to fully grieve the death of my father 16 years ago. At a Sedona Method retreat, I had a realization that I had been somehow expecting my father to come back to life. I shared this insight with the group, and almost immediately I start crying, sobbing actually, and couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop. I cried for 20 minutes. And then I was done. Done. And I knew it. A huge weight had lifted from me.
  • I finally have a sense of what I’m doing with my life. Writing, coaching, teaching, all these things are pointing me in a direction that I never had the will to move in. Now I do. I can’t say I know exactly what I’m doing, but I’m doing it, and it feels right.
  • And lastly, for all the years I’ve spent in spirituality, I never really took the idea of spiritual awakening seriously. That is, until Hale started discussing it, in his own way, at one of the retreats I attended. He introduced us to spiritual inquiry, and I took to it like a duck to water. The releasing that occurred from doing inquiry was tremendous. I dove into inquiry from that point, which lead me to all the wonderful teachings I’ve explored since then (and the retreats with Adyashanti). And “best” of all, it has lead to a fuller experience of what I truly am.

In case you can’t tell, I like the Sedona Method. I use it in some form with all my coaching clients. The techniques are quite powerful and supportive of you at just about every stage of your spiritual and personal journey.

How to Learn the Sedona Method

Sedona Method Course

The best way to learn it is to purchase the audio program. The audio program is quite complete, consisting of 20 CDs of recordings at a live class (I was in the audience for the recording). Hale teaches releasing from the basics to the advanced exercises. Moreover, he applies a lot of the material to the three areas of life that concern most people: money and success, relationships and health and well being.

You can also buy the book, The Sedona Method, by following this link to or heading to your local bookstore. The book is where I began, but soon after I started I bought the audio program. It helped tremendously.

Once you’ve gone through the book or audio program and learned the method, you can head out to Sedona, Arizona, for a 7 day retreat with Hale. He also offers a 9 day advanced retreat and a coaching course. I’ve loved the retreats I’ve been on (I’ve been to 6 retreats, 3 coaching trainings and 2 other weekend courses with Hale). And I’m heading back to Sedona in June for 2 weeks of retreat and additional coaching training. I can’t say enough good things about them.

In conclusion, if you want to dive into a personal and spiritual development program that is as good, if not better, than anything out there, and lives up to its hype and claims, then go grab the Sedona Method.

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  • RJ

    Thanks for the review Tom, I’ve heard about the Sedona Method for a while now but didn’t know what to make of it. Looks like it worked great for you. I’ll be adding the Sedona Method to my list to try out.

    RJ’s last blog post..Keep Your Pecker Up!

  • Per Jonsson

    All I can say about the Sedona Method is… wow! Try it, it works..

  • Davidya

    Wow, Tom. A powerful post. In some ways, it says more about you than Sedona. In a really good way ;-)

    Like RJ, I’ve heard of Sedona for years but never really knew what it was. From my perspective, awakening is easier with a meditation but a process of emotional release is also something meditation alone doesn’t cover. The experience of allowing is learned but the habits of resistance may mean we need to make this process conscious.

    I learned this process myself, through observation and others comments. The principles you outline are key. For me, it was a practice of gratitude. This cultured an emotional allowing that would occasionally create an opening in which huge forgiveness occurred. First the obvious things, like ex relationships and parents. In the end though, I found stuff with every relationship I’d ever had. And under all that, forgiveness of myself. And then you find there was nothing to forgive. (laughs)

    As Adya concurs, the survive aspect is the core identity, the control aspect is the ego wanting to protect itself.

    “In Depression is Anger, In Anger is Fear, In Fear is a Hurt.”
    — Rev. Austin Hennessey
    I have found that there are small expressions of anger that are not rooted in fear but invested anger is all rooted in fear.

    I have also found that there is only fullness and resistance to fullness. Nothing else. So its a simple question to ask which anything is. (sometimes there’s a mixture, you have to filter out the resistance) All of life then comes down to a process of allowing. If we are opening or if we are releasing, both are a process of allowing.

    You didn’t mention how Hawkins developed Power vs Force based on Levenson’s table of same.

    Your comments about Hale being “clean” is interesting. We tend to think that awakening means some kind of individual perfection. Certainly, the ego passes, but the mind sticks around and the ego has planted so many stories, it takes time to clear them. Adya talks about this process. Ego shrapnel, I call it. What remains rather depends on the work we’ve done prior. The more of this stuff we’ve done, the easier and faster progress can be after.

    I also wanted to congratulate your for finding purpose and doing it, even though the path is not known. That is so huge. Wholeness expresses in doing.

    Davidya’s last blog post..History

  • Tom Stine

    @RJ Glad you liked the review. The Sedona Method is pretty useful, I must admit. There are other systems that are effective, but for some reason I landed upon Sedona. Good stuff, obviously.

    @Per Glad you like the method, too. :-)

  • Tom Stine

    @Mags You are welcome. Glad you enjoyed it. Give it a try.

    @Davidya I really have to say that even though Lester Levenson packaged the techniques and called it “The Sedona Method” it really isn’t a whole lot different from what a lot of people have invented on their own as they go about the journey. The nice thing about systems like this and Byron Katie’s The Work is that they are ready made and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

    I’m glad you noticed my comment about Hale being “clean.” So many gurus and wanna-be’s just don’t feel clean to me. Hale is Hale, with all his quirky character traits, but that honesty of spirit and heart is very present. Clean, in other words. He’s dived deep into his own stuff and seen through a lot of it. He talks the talk and walks the walk.

  • Mark


    I’ve found for myself that anxiety and fatigue do indeed go hand in hand. Just yesterday I was highly agitated and anxious. (A lot going on). I was able to just let a lot of things go and just relax. I got the best sleep I’ve gotten in a long time. I credit you and some of your commenter’s with helping me get to that point where I could just “Let go”. Thanks.

    Mark’s last blog post..Not justa nother basket!

  • Raymond Chua

    Wow! That’s a very complete explanation. A while ago, I thought that I was surfing the Wikipedia. :)

    I first heard about this method from Bob Doyle but I didn’t really dig deeper into it.

    Thanks for sharing the about the sedona method in such a great detail.

    Raymond Chua’s last blog post..Evolve or Dissolve

  • Tom Stine

    @Mark Good for you! Letting go is where it is at. You just keep letting go, letting go. All the negativity can just drain away. Glad I could be of help to you, Mark.

    @Raymond Glad you liked it. Yeah, I got to writing the review, and I kept writing and writing, and then I looked down at the word count: I was over 2000 words and still had more to say! Oh, well, some subjects require more words, don’t they?

  • Dot

    Whenever I arrive at a site where someone offers to teach, guide, share their wisdom, or even claims to be a sage, I always want to know what makes them feel qualified to offer such things. So I first went to your About page and then here.

    I must say your photo shows you looking very authentic. I look at photos because often you can tell whether the person’s basically phony in approaching others or not. Your writing confirmed that you’re very open about yourself.

    Parts of the Sedona Method sound a lot like good old-fashioned psychology — psychotherapy, in fact. Other parts of it I find difficult to fit into my life view. I’ll continue taking a look around, but I wanted to thank you for the clear description of the Sedona Method and your honesty about yourself.

  • Tom Stine

    @Dot Welcome! I’m glad to have you visiting and reading. And thank you for the compliments. I’m glad to have you looking around and enjoying what you find. Namaste.

  • Karin

    Hi! I’m from Sweden and we are use to people being honest (That’s my oppinion anyway) and when I came in contact with the Sedona Method and read all the good things about it sounded great. But then I noticed that Hale Dwoskin is “buying” people to write good things about the method on his webbsite and let people sell in the method on their webbsites and get a provision from it… That disappionts me. Hale looked so honest and now I know that he is “manipulating” people to buy his course. He is letting his ego want more money? Can’t he just release on the want to have more money? In that case he is not a living example on what he is teaching, is he? Otherwise I think it’s great but why is he trying so hard? Why not doing as Byron Katie, give the work out for free, money will come anyway… Or just sell the cds and not be so eager to sell more. Any opinions about that?

  • Tom Stine


    You know, I understand your complaint. What you are referring to is an affiliate program, where you can earn a commission for selling someone’s products. There is always an issue as to whether someone like me is recommending the Sedona Method to make a buck, or because they are being paid to make sales. And, then there is the issue of why Hale has money tied up so thoroughly into the process.

    Well, let me address Hale. Hale is a wonderful human being, very honest, very helpful, quite loving in fact. He really cares about people. I’ve been at so many retreats now, I can tell you that my BS meter has never gone off with Hale. He is the real deal.

    And yet, even as we all journey along the path, we carry with us some of our unique personality. We can open tremendously, and still be a lot like what we were in the beginning. And thus we have Hale: a businessman and real estate broker from New York City. You can take the man out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of the man. A lot of Hale’s life has been focused on money. And so, he does his spiritual thing with a money bias to it.

    I’m like you, Karin. I prefer my spirituality to be a little (or a lot) less commercial. But I have to say, the money aspect doesn’t invalidate the work. The Sedona Method is still an effective too. It’s just one you have to pay for.

    I hope these thoughts help. And for the record, I do make a commission if you buy the Sedona Method via my website. In my mind, a few sales help pay for the cost of my website. In the end, you have to sense the integrity of the person doing the selling, whether it is me or Hale or anyone. Do they feel clean to you? If so, go with that. Don’t let the presence or absence of money persuade you that something or someone is coming from a high place or not.

  • Per Jonsson

    Hej Karin,

    I’m from Sweden too. I think in general, people are more business oriented in the US than we are used to in Sweden. “Commercializing spirituality” is not as natural to us Swedes I think. I am OK with it though, I have released a lot on money so it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to do, and have got so much out of the method – I hope you will give the SM a try too (if you haven’t already)!


  • Karin

    Thank you, Tom, for your answer. It was a good one. I agree with you that it shouldn’t matter if Hale has a greeding way to market his products. I don’t let it be in the way of a good method. It’s just sad I think that he gives discounts to the people who writes positiv feedbacks on his webbsite… but thats the way it is with a lot of american sites. I guess that you are so use to it and see through it, I will try to do the same.
    And thanks Per, it’s nice to find a swede using the Sedona Method.

  • Davidya

    Frank and open, very nice. This also touches on a sore point for many people. They see money as bad and spirituality as good so never the twain shall meet.
    Poor Albert raised the question over on and is still getting feedback months later.

    What I’ve found is that if it seems to be more about money, that is a flag to be careful of. But you also have to be considering your own relationship with money. Is money itself an issue that would be good to look into? Does it trigger an emotional response?

  • Karin

    Davidya, In my case it is more a case of honesty and trustworthy. I don’t like to be fooled. I read that Larry Crane on “the release technique” is saying that you should not use cds from other family members, you should by your own set, it’s not useful if you do…
    It would be so much easier for me if they were just fare and honest. But as you say, Tom, I can use my sense. And release on my ego want that people have to be honest…

  • Davidya

    Agreed. There are lots of snake oil salesmen around. Its a challenge just to find the real deal sometimes and when sales dominate message, its certainly a flag to note.

    Perhaps I should have been clearer – I was not meaning you personally, just making the general point.

  • Tom Stine

    @Karin, Per and Davidya You know, on the whole, I think you each are making good points. If there is an issue with money, it is almost always within us. I find it interesting how even me, someone who loves to invest in all manner of stocks, bonds, you name, used to have an issue with Hale and his money. I mean, it is okay to make money on Wall St, but not on Awakening Avenue! Make no mistake: there is a clear profit motive in the Sedona Method, and the majority of people you meet at retreats are looking to see an improvement in their financial lives. It is the first gain that Hale always emphasizes. It wasn’t until I really saw Hale clearly, and really reconciled my issues with money, that I then became free on it.

    Okay, a bit off topic, but here is something to consider: I’ve been to any number of spiritual retreats, activities, etc, and USUALLY you find a slightly or even larger number of women at these types of things. And the men are typically (I’m badly generalizing) are often more alternative types, rarely the Wall St kind of guy. But at a Sedona Method retreat? Men, lots of men. Lots of businessmen. Why? Because Hale and Lester went straight to an issue that is foremost in the minds of lots of men: money. Earning a living. While money and finance are NOT just a man’s issue, in our society there is still a greater emphasis placed upon men to have a career and earn a nice salary. Hale is meeting a need of a segment of the population that is not going to show up at a Zen temple or meditation retreat. Ordinary folks hoping to have a better life and getting introduced to some profound spiritual teachings as a bonus. Interestingly, I’ve met a large number of women at retreats who have been business oriented, small business owners, etc. Coo, huh?

  • Per Jonsson

    I agree here, when I first tried the Method, I was after the money big time, and look at me now – a “spiritual junkie” :) Who would have known? We all get introduced at different starting points ..

  • Davidya

    few women? Count me out. (laughs)
    I had several spiritually well read friends recommend the book “Busting Loose from the Money Game” – it plays to this card too. It actually has little to do with money as it turns out.

    It’s very curious how some people come to the path. Who would have known, indeed.

  • drdurham

    Thank you for your review on the Sedona Method. Recently I have been searching for a more full-filling life. One of true joy and peace. Believe it or not, I was just introduced to “The Secret” just a few months ago. I had never heard of it. After reading it, I knew this was the right path for me. Then I came across a book by Jerry and Esther Hicks, “Money, and the Law of Attraction” which I started reading recently. As I was reading this book I realized that a commom phrase that had been used in “The Secret” was being used in this book as well. The phrase was, “letting go”. Once I made that connection I realized that this must be the key to unlock “The Secret”. I started doing some research through online search engines for “letting go” just to see if anything came up. Well, of course it did and that is what lead me to “The Sedona Method”. I wanted the CD’s but the system was far too expensive for me at this time so I purchased the book for $17. I am just 80 pages into it but I can see that with diligence I will be able to apply “The Sedona Method” in my life, for life. One last note, do you have any feed back on Hale Dwoskins’ new pilot program for Sedona Method Coaching?

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