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The Dangers Of Gurus

The Dangers Of Gurus
The Dangers Of Gurus
The Dangers Of Gurus

“The deaths of three people and the trial of The Secret’s New Age Guru, James Arthur Ray, is an example of the dangers of creating gurus” warns Los Angeles based therapist and Human Behavior Expert, Patrick Wanis PhD.

“When you create a guru you become a worshiper of the person rather than a student of the message, and this, in turn, can lead to a cult or a situation where you give away your power or control such as the case with James Ray and the sweat lodge deaths or the Jonestown Massacre from 33 years ago when 909 Americans were led to their death by the Rev. Jim Jones in a mass murder-suicide pact” says Dr. Wanis.  Prosecutors in the James Ray trial claim that Ray piled dozens of people into a hot, poorly ventilated sweat tent and then discouraged them from leaving.

“Contrary to public opinion, it’s not only the weak-minded people that get drawn into a cult or get brainwashed” warns Dr. Wanis. “Anyone experiencing a vulnerable phase in their life can fall victim to a cult or a guru. Maybe you have been conned in the past and wondered: ‘How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been conned like that?’ Humans have emotional needs such as significance, attention, a safe, secure environment to mature and develop; an emotional connection to other people; acceptance, a connection to the wider community, and meaning & purpose. When these needs are not met or if we feel lost, are searching for meaning or an answer, we become highly vulnerable, and then when along comes someone who claims, ‘I can help you. I can give you what you need’, he appeals to our missing needs and it’s very easy to persuade us or brainwash us. Our grave mistake is that we too often look for someone else to solve our problems. We don’t just look for hope; we look to a God-like kind of person – the person that has the secret to what we need” says Dr. Wanis.

“We need to remember that when we create gurus we also falsely believe that they are perfect and God-like, but no one is perfect:

  1. Anthony Robbins, one of the world’s greatest speakers and motivators, has taught relationship courses but has been married twice
  2. Billy Graham, the Evangelist, number seven on Gallup’s list of admired people for the 21st century, apologized for anti-Semitic comments decades after it was revealed he called the Jews, ‘the synagogue of Satan’
  3. James Arthur Ray, NY Times bestselling author, a teacher in “The Secret” who promotes the Law of Attraction and claims he can teach you to ‘Create Harmonic Wealth in all areas of your life’ is now on trial for three counts of manslaughter

According to Wanis there are five key things we can each learn from the tragic sweat lodge deaths and from James Ray:

  1. Don’t fall in love with the person or their image
  2. Fall in love with the message but always question the message and keep seeking the truth
  3. Beware of people who make outrageous claims such as ‘I have the Secret’ or I can solve all of your problems
  4. You can learn from everyone; anyone can be your teacher if you look for the lesson
  5. Beware of giving your power away to anyone; don’t let anyone decide for you how you will feel today or what you should do

Read the transcript of the full interview Patrick Wanis PhD gives to Jim Peake of “Beware of gurus” here:


To listen to the audio interview “Beware of gurus” click here:

Originally from Australia, Patrick Wanis PhD, is a Celebrity Life-Coach, Author, Expert in Human Behavior & Relationships and creator of SRTT Therapy with a PhD in Health Psychology. Wanis has appeared on FOX News, MSNBC, Extra, the Montel Williams Show, Mike and Juliet, Cosmo, Rolling Stone, InTouch Weekly, Women’s Health, Dating on Demand, E! TV, Vh1,,,,, NY Daily Mail, NY Post, Vogue Australia, FHM, etc. WGN Chicago and Syndicated TV show, “The Daily Buzz” anointed him “The Woman Expert” and FOX News pronounced him “A voice for women.” turned to Wanis for expert insights and analysis when Michael Jackson died. Over five million people have read Wanis’ books in English and Spanish.

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