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 sedona.com 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.
Sedona, AZ 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:
- Could you let this feeling go?
- Would you let this feeling go?
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
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:
- Wanting control.
- Wanting approval.
- Wanting security or safety.
- 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
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.
- 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
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 Amazon.com 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.