Since my decision to speak out publicly regarding my experience with Teal Swan, I've had some fairly in-depth private discussions with people who have taken it upon themselves to message me over the past couple of years. My goal with this blog is to (a) highlight some of the central issues I have with Teal Swan's "work," (b) challenge some of the popularly held attitudes and philosophies found in the spiritual community in general, (c) clear up some of the misconceptions many people seem to have about me, and (d) eliminate redundant messages from people who may try to contact me in blind defense of Teal in the future. To serve public interest, what follows is a compilation of paraphrased excerpts from back and forth exchanges with various people:
What is your motivation to build your life around the mission to destroy the person Teal Swan? Is it malevolent intention, or is it for a good cause?
It is in no way my “life’s mission” to destroy Teal Swan or anybody else. My intention, and I’ve stated this repeatedly, has been to tell my own story and let people make up their own minds from an informed place. My objective in making my experience with Teal public has always and only been to inform the public. It’s my hope that when people make decisions about whether or not to work with or follow her, they have as much information as possible, not just the spin she and Blake provide.
I am motivated to speak out of concern. I am concerned about Doc’s safety, I am concerned about the state of our world, and I’m concerned about the way humans have been programmed to blindly follow authority. I am motivated by my desire to one day live in a world with fewer followers, and more rational, independent thinkers. I think Teal’s audience is only one small example of the ways people around the world are being manipulated, fed false hope, and led astray by “leaders,” every day. In the US, one doesn’t need to look hard to see the same issues being mirrored in our political system; we have Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as our next presidential candidates. Enough said. I am very concerned about the deleterious effects gurus and celebrity idol worship have on people’s minds.
I’m motivated to speak out, because I don’t believe we are born to follow others, who position themselves as authorities, like Teal. It seems to me that humans may have just been conditioned for so long to follow, that we have forgotten how to think for ourselves, along the way. I do realize this is a very widespread issue, which in no way begins or ends with Teal. I know that I don't have the answers to all the world’s problems, and I've learned to run from anyone who claims that they do. I am not so naïve that I think that the issues or the problems of our world can be solved with an interview of Teal’s alleged abuser. Simply exposing the inconsistencies in Teal’s backstory solves nothing, without educating her followers. The goal in exposing the truth about Teal’s alleged abuser, Doc is not only to wake up Teal’s followers to the ways they are being deceived by Teal, but also to the ways they are deceiving themselves. In doing so, my hope is that they won’t just keep jumping from guru to guru, picking and choosing from a smorgasbord of recycled misinformation in the new age community.
My whole goal in speaking out is to encourage people to think for themselves, question authority, and not follow or worship any living guru or spiritual teacher, including Teal Swan. I have stated before that I view Teal as a microcosm of a much larger issue. Even if Teal were to quit her “career” as a “spiritual teacher” tomorrow, the problems of the world would not be solved. There will always be a steady supply of gurus ready to take Teal’s place, as long as there are people willing to follow them. The issue I see is that humans are conditioned to follow authority, without question, from the time we are born. I do include myself in this category, which is why I have felt a strong need to raise awareness on this issue. I have used my own personal experience with Teal to do so. I believe that questioning and holding ours leaders accountable is paramount for our future, and the place I’ve chosen to start dismantling the deceptions from, seems about as good a place to start as any.
True, if you destroy one cult leader, another will follow. I see no need to demonize spiritual teachers. In my eyes cult awareness starts with educating the sheep not killing the shepherd. I’m a grown-up, and I can discern what feels right for me to learn from Teal. I like Teal very much. She is an inspiration to me. I also like to learn from nearly anyone who crosses my path. I enjoy hearing from many different perspectives, so I follow the work of many spiritual teachers on many different subjects. Why not follow a spiritual leader?
It should be an integral component of any true spiritual teacher's message to encourage people to think for themselves, do research for themselves, listen to other people, etc. And Teal certainly does this.
I agree that it's integral for a true spiritual teacher not to foster dependence in their followers. Unfortunately, it's not clear at all that Teal’s teachings encourage people to question or think for themselves. Teal might occasionally give lip service to that idea, but it's undermined constantly by phrasing like: "what people need to understand is...," "what most people don't know is...," and her constant claims to speak exclusively from "universal perspective." If we're all one, we all speak from a universal perspective, but that's not how Teal conveys it. She uses that "universal perspective" of hers to bully people into agreeing with her.
Not to mention that in order for people to be a member of her Teal Tribe community (online and in person), they must be a sycophantic worshipper who essentially enables Teal. In the event that members express doubt, question Teal's authenticity, or dare to mention material written by her critics (let alone read it), they are banned from Teal Tribe and labeled "haters." Any Facebook posts or comments containing information that is critical of Teal are automatically referred to by Teal as "Anti-Teal" "hate" speech. Teal has made it clear on numerous occasions that critical content of her will to be tolerated in her tribe. She trains her other sycophants to demonstrate their blind loyalty to her by keeping her followers in-line. In efforts to gain favor with Teal, her flying monkeys ostracize, attack, and report any members who dare to say that Teal is anything short of miraculous.
I've made it a practice to listen to the perspectives of countless different spiritual teachers over the years, so I would recognize if Teal is teaching something that is way off base. She offers self-help videos for free to assist people in their daily lives, and I find her spiritual insights compelling and inspirational. So far, she is batting a thousand on nearly every topic I've encountered. It seems she is facilitating our expansion/evolution. How is Teal categorically imbalanced, off course, and a danger to society with what she is teaching?
I have to disagree with you. I recognize Teal's teachings as WAY off base. Teal is repackaging old ideas that promote the glorification of selfishness, consumerism, and celebrity idol worship, and selling them as “self-love,” “self-worth,” and “positive world change.” Gurus like Teal, who proffer superficial ideologies, appear inspirational, in the short-term. It’s because they act like drug dealers, targeting miserable and vulnerable people at their low points, providing temporary relief and distraction from a person’s discontent.
Many people are convinced she is helping them because they find comfort in "feeling good." Unfortunately, convincing a bunch of spoiled westerners to focus on feeling good in the short-term, doesn’t mean that something is beneficial for humanity’s long-term evolution. Many people feel good when they take drugs, but the long-term effects are usually detrimental. Unfortunately, I see the ideas Teal proffers acting more like a virus to human intelligence, and keeping people from waking up in the long run. I’ve also seen Teal’s tendency to urge people (like me) toward suicide, when she is angry with them, so her pro-suicide messages, along with her admitted suicidal ideation, is also extremely alarming.
Teal would lead you to believe that our life's purpose is to be happy. Happiness is ephemeral, not some end state to spend your life striving for. I believe humanity is discontent for a reason. Rather than trying to constantly control our thoughts and emotions to escape our discontent, why don’t we try to clearly and rationally understand why we are unhappy in the first place?
Following your joy is not a new concept, and it's actually the foundation of hedonism. Teal seems to think it's okay to follow her joy no matter who she steps on and uses to achieve that. I think that chasing your joy to the expense of all else seems to be exactly why we are in the predicament we are in as a species. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Isn't this what humanity has been doing over and over again for millennia? I would encourage you to think more historically about this. Spirituality isn't new, and the teachings of real complex thinkers like Confucius and Socrates have been around for thousands of years. Even still, where are we now?
You've stated you have made it a practice to listen to many different spiritual teachers over the years, so I am curious as to what positive world change you believe someone like Teal is really offering us?
Personally, I see more materialism, consumerism, and superficial phony gimmicks like frequency paintings, jewelry, clothing lines, and abundance meditations to be purchased online. I see Teal encouraging us all to fall in love with money. I see her encouraging people to dedicate their lives to seeking fame and recognition. I see her saying that outward beauty is a reflection of spiritual attainment. I see a woman claiming that she will one day be rich enough to buy countries, and I am concerned about what living in a world or even a Teal owned country based on Teal's vision would be like. I see Teal as a woman playing the same exploitative game of capitalism and calling it positive world change.
I personally know Teal has a knowledge base of economy and finance that begins and ends with Robert Kiyosaki's books like: Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant, and Rich Dad's Guide to Investing. Robert Kiyosaki is a man who has dedicated his life to ensuring that capitalism survives and thrives. I also happen to know that Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow 101 and 201 board games are among Teal's prized game collection.
In my opinion, this enlightened perspective that Teal is peddling seems like a carrot and the stick tactic. There is nothing Teal teaches that hasn't been said better and elsewhere from other sources. I see Teal promoting hedonism, narcissism, and solipsism while throwing phrases like "shadow work" and "spiritual enlightenment" into the mix. I do see a shift happening, but it's a shift into more delusion, materialism and consumerism. It's not the awakening that people in the New Age community are hoping for.
It is my belief that Teal and her teachings are leading people off the rails. She offers quick pick-me-ups, and uses many theosophical buzzwords to placate lost and desperate people. Her teachings don’t empower, because they foster dependence on and addiction to her as a person. "her teachings” are not free. People pay her dearly with their time, attention, and money. She is eating up their energy and adoration, and altering their thought processes.
The direction Teal is leading people feels very misleading. I believe that committing to life means more than just learning to justify manipulating everyone and everything around us in order to feel good. I believe committing to life means more than chasing money, chasing fame, master manifesting a successful relationship, and doing “shadow work” in order to find someone to blame for attracting the things you don't like into your experience.
I happen to think that our purpose might be to try to truly observe and understand the world in which we live. If we all made a sincere attempt to do that without following the deluded advice of confused and disempowering gurus like Teal, who strive to control and move everyone around them like chess pieces, then perhaps we could start working together to collectively make some different decisions. Maybe then we might begin to see positive world change. I don't see progress when we just continue to play follow-the-leader in attempts to get better at the same old games of hierarchy, consumerism and materialism. I think seeing the world for what it is, instead of what we would like it to be is the best place to start a change.
How can we ever expect to see things change if we are deluding ourselves? How is it progress when we listen to people like Teal telling us to lie to ourselves and others as long as it "feels good"? How is it helping to stick our heads in the sand and refusing to see where we actually are as a species? What about trying to understand our own minds and learning how to think for ourselves, instead of listening to people like Teal telling us what to believe, what to focus on, and what to think?
I listened to this video Teal released on suicide. I didn't hear her urging anyone to commit suicide. She stated that people who commit suicide will oftentimes reincarnate to face the same struggles over again. She said that it was preferable to choose life. I agree with her that suicide isn't something that's "wrong." It's a person’s prerogative to decide for themselves whether they want to live or die. It’s a matter of choice and their own freedom of existence. I sensed a lot of compassion from her coming through on the issue.
What's stranger about the video you watched, is that it was released six days after her own client, Leslie Wangsgaard, committed suicide. By Teal’s own admission she had pressured this depressed woman to decide whether or not she wanted to "commit to life." She also urged Fallon and myself to kill ourselves when she was frustrated that we weren't responding to her manipulations in the way she hoped.
That being said, I encourage you to take a look at this video: https://youtu.be/d770X_6BadM (53:26- 54:22). Teal relays the following:
I actually-- interestingly enough, lost my first client to suicide this last year. And this was a woman who was absolutely miserable. I'm talking every moment of her life was a nightmare. And so we had that very serious sit-down talk where we had to say, alright, we're either committing or not committing to life because every time I gave her a suggestion she'd stop in two days doing the suggestion. So then we have to ask the question do we really want this to work? And what's interesting is that when she asked herself that question the answer was, "No. I'm done." There's nothing that any healer could ever do for that type of vibration which is totally fine. From source energy there's nothing wrong with death from that perspective. So, she chose to commit suicide. Interestingly enough it took her about two days before she was reincarnated again. (audience laughter) Yeah. Not only that-- two days before she was reincarnated to another family situation that mirrored the one that she had already chosen.Teal is categorically wrong in saying that no healer that could ever do anything with a suicidal person's vibration. Just because Teal became frustrated in helping that woman, doesn't mean that somebody more qualified than Teal shouldn’t have been recommended to help her. Teal has a major god complex, she gave reckless and irresponsible advice to a clinically depressed client here, and it may have cost a woman her life.
Somehow this doesn’t appear to be a mistake to Teal. I felt no remorse from Teal in that story. Her demeanor during her narrative leads me to believe she actually thinks that scenario made her look good. I find it terribly sick and sadistic that Teal advised a client that the best answer for her was suicide and then laughed along with her audience about the irony of that poor woman incarnating into the exact same life situation that she was in before. According to Teal, her client died confused and miserable, and she came back to an equally painful situation. Why is Teal grinning? How is that funny? How is any of this funny? A woman died! Why wouldn’t the woman have been better off sticking around and at least trying to understand why she was so unhappy instead of just trying to escape it and starting all over from the beginning? I didn't sense a bit of compassion coming from Teal during that story. It sounded like a cruel joke on Teal's part at her former client’s expense. It actually nauseates me a little to think that Teal is still out there “counseling” people in this cold and cavalier manner.
I think that what she is teaching is absolutely right on. She isn't teaching "just focus on the positive", ignore what is unpleasant or inconvenient, quite the opposite. Teal teaches people to have more love and patience for themselves. She's teaching that ultimately people have control over their reality through their own thoughts and emotions. Whether people believe the Law of Attraction (LOA) to be sacrosanct or not, I think it's important for people to become more aware of and conscious of what they are thinking about and feeling. It’s important to honor the truth of those thoughts and emotions. These changes in people are what the world needs right now.
I do not see a possibility of positive world change by creating a new age wave of narcissism the way Teal is trying to do. We're spoiled in the Western world. I really don't see any depth or authenticity to what Teal is offering. She’s encouraging people to nurture their narcissistic, solipsistic, and hedonistic tendencies. Teal doesn’t teach people to have more love and patience for themselves. She teaches the virtues of selfishness. Many of the tenets Teal propagates can actually be found in Anton Lavey's Satanic Bible, which is also known as Ayn Rand’s objectivism.
I wonder how effective a Teal workshop would be in Afghanistan. Teal would have to sit and tell the families of the people being beheaded and children being raped that they have law of attracted their realities. I'm sorry, but I happen to believe we are collectively responsible for our actions as human beings. We are all connected, and our world experience doesn't begin and end with the comfortably western cultures we were born into. I would love to see her explain how her spirituality 101, 2.0, and 3.0 is going to bring about enlightenment and peace in the middle east. Are these people supposed to all just sit in dirt trenches doing shadow work in the midst of bombs and gunfire going off around them?
Am I to believe that if only these unfortunate souls had internet connection, then Teal could really help them? Do you really believe that all the ills of the world would be solved if only people could just learn to do Teal's shadow work, where they fall into their feelings and revisit the traumas of mom making them get their own juice when they were two years old? Do you expect me to believe that by doing this, they can miraculously go back in time and never have been a match to being born in the middle of a third world, war torn country?
Rather than even addressing the impracticality of this, I have heard Teal suggest you just withdraw your focus from those atrocities. She suggests that people choose better thoughts to think. Don't watch TV or the news, because it's negative. Focus only on yourself and what feels good to you instead. Teal would lead you to believe that paying attention to how you feel is the most important thing to do on this planet. She teaches that your focus should be on your own internal reality. Just do Teal's version of shadow work, and sit around following your feelings, as if YOUR feelings are the only feelings that matter. By doing this, she claims your external reality will miraculously change. I see this as deluded. I believe this LOA idea is promoting moral callousness and apathy toward the plight of others. Especially when she’s saying that the souls of people are choosing to experience their suffering, and they are all law of attracting their reality. To me this is as ridiculous as saying that we are all heading off a cliff as a species, but the privileged souls who choose to focus on “feeling good,” while remaining apathetic to the suffering of their fellow man, will be among chosen few who survive the impact of the crash.
Teal’s main emphasis is shadow work, and she's walking the talk in terms of turning the focus onto herself and looking into her own patterns.
She's not teaching shadow work. Debbie Ford taught shadow work. Jungian psychologists teach shadow work. What Teal does is actually what Jung called "shadow projection." She never takes responsibility for her own toxic behavior. She just excuses it all by using the word "shadow," and her shadow stuff always turns out to be someone else's fault -- usually her parents, the Mormons from her hometown, her alleged "abuser," or the hospital where she was born. Real shadow work involves taking personal responsibility, and Teal never does.
It is gravely concerning that Teal claimed she has counseled soldiers with PTSD through their traumas using her version of shadow work in one of her Tea Time with Teal episodes. The prospect of Teal actually working with severe trauma victims is worrisome to me. Soldiers with PTSD have a very high suicide rate as it is, and it’s disturbing to hear that Teal is being allowed to play out her egomaniacal mind games on vulnerable people who may already be exhibiting signs of depression.
For what it’s worth, this is just more performance art for the camera. I personally witnessed Teal plugging in her blow dryer, phone charger, and Fallon’s laptop many times, without so much as a pause while I was living with her. Aside from that, I find it puzzling that after all of this shadow work on herself, Teal still claims to suffer from conveniently unpredictable PTSD seizures, and she has never been left alone with her own son. This doesn’t look like “walking the talk" to me, and it certainly doesn’t attest to the effectiveness of her shadow work. I could go on and on about the insane logic, inconsistencies, lies, and lack of authenticity here, but for the sake of brevity, I'll move on.
How are Teal’s processes dangerous? Teal is helping people tap into their emotions and real feelings below the surface. She teaches that by doing this, people can tune into their subconscious, bringing subconscious patterns more to light. Why isn’t this a positive thing?
If you haven't already, I want to encourage you again to check out LaVaughn's blog posts about Teal. Specifically, I recommend the noncasts in the comment section of this post.
I am going to include concerns here that have already been noted there by LaVaughn in regards to Teal's practices prescribed in her Spirituality 101, 2.0, and 3.0. Lavaughn writes:
After a few years of regurgitating LOA, positive thinking stuff, Teal did an about face this past summer. By her own admission this was a 180. But rather than simply admit that she'd bought into a faulty premise, she just rolled out a new product.I would also like to mention that concerned family members have reached out to me for advice on how to extract their family and friends from Teal's “tribe.” I have heard countless stories from people who are alone, struggling, jobless, and homeless after taking Teal's advice to quit their jobs and separate themselves from their families to follow their passions. One concerned mother reached out after her twenty something daughter dropped out of college, abandoned her fiancé and two year old child to move hours away into a communal house with two other girls she met at Teal's workshop. Teal has personally counseled at least two men I know of convincing them to divorce their wives and break up their families when their wives were not fans of Teal. Both of these marriages had children involved. One man had a two year old child and pregnant wife he left devastated when he decided to abandon his family and spend all his money continuing to follow Teal and her tribe around the country to her various workshops.
It goes something like this: You've tried feeling good. Now try feeling bad.
I have long been critical of LOA vehicles like The Secret because they encourage active, willful denial. This is, to my way of thinking, antithetical to authenticity and presence. So, at first blush, I liked Teal's support of the honest expression of darker emotional states. But it quickly became apparent that it was another extreme and emotionally manipulative practice. Neither approach, steering people into manufactured positive feelings or having people drudge up painful memories, facilitates presence. None of it simply meets and supports people where they are.
Worse, she's giving "shadow work" a bad name. This is not shadow work. It's a witch hunt through the psyche to unearth trauma, real and imagined, for which people can find whole new reasons to blame their parents. Where I come from, that's just another form of shadow projection. To approach it as she has with her 2.0 is positively obsessional. Immersing people in perpetually "negative" emotional states is no better than endorsing constant "positive focus." Neither approach is supporting their simply being in the present moment.
This ignores the fact that you can't actually be in the now and be in denial of your emotions. Emotions aren't time stamped. They're always in the present moment. When we shut down our emotions, we're actually distracting ourselves out of the now. But intentionally drudging up the past isn't being present or in the now either. Relentlessly focusing on painful emotions is no more honest or authentic than relentlessly focusing on "positive" emotions.
This is why I say I'm more of a "round table of emotions" person. It's not about whether what you're feeling is pleasant or unpleasant. It's about feeling what you're feeling without judgment, or putting it on any damned scale, and allowing yourself to be fully present.
Obviously people will try to pull themselves out of painful emotions and whatever painful memories come up are associated with them. We can provide support for those authentic emotional experiences. We can and, I think, should stop shaming people for feeling unhappy. But this is different from guiding people directly into emotional storms. It's different from having people drudge up painful memories. If there is real buried trauma there -- as opposed to the juice-related variety -- this can cause psychological harm. If this is done at all, it should be with a qualified therapist who can provide the proper kind of support. A self-ordained "spiritual teacher" is just not qualified to oversee such a process. It's arguably practicing therapy without a license.
... This is potentially dangerous. She's already lost at least one client, that we know of, to suicide, and here she is advising people to overwhelm themselves with painful emotions and memories without permitting themselves any kind of relief. The assumption seems to be that being authentic means being miserable and more pleasant emotional states are forced. That may well be true for some people, but it strikes me that such people might need a little more help than Teal and her ever-changing methods can provide.
It's worth it, though. Why? Because 3.0 is, according to Teal, "like the classic definition of heaven." What Teal is offering is nothing short of enlightenment in three steps. That's the carrot she's using to guide her rickety cart.
In the Ask Teal vid she actually says, ‘I have whittled awakening down to these three primary steps, like the Holy Trinity.’
Step One: You buy into some LOA stuff about how you can have whatever you want and despite the fact that this works out just fine -- because, as we all know, law of attracting whatever we want in life works really well -- there's a problem. You're still "thirsty" because your "wants" are really just the flip side of what you don't want.
Step Two: You decide to face your shadow so that you are no longer being dogged by all those feelings about things you don't want. So you delve into unrelenting misery completely for as long as it takes.
Step Three: Heaven. Enlightenment. You can create whatever you desire, which, as we know, is different from thirst or want.
So there you have it. Easy peasy. Three steps and she is doing what the Buddha really failed to do -- actually guiding others into enlightenment.
There are three major areas of concern here. Concern 101: She seems to be breaking people down psychologically. Concern 2.0: She's driving wedges between people and their parents in the process, interfering with family relationships. Concern 3.0: She's making grandiose claims about what her methods can accomplish. She's promising enlightenment for Christ's sake. As we know, Teal claims to be enlightened. She had that Malkovichian enlightenment some time ago: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich... (must see art exhibit)
So is her life just like heaven? Is she free from all want? Is she manifesting effortlessly? Is she beyond suffering? Not if her blog is any indication.
If anything, we think she's projecting her own suffering onto the Malkovichian faces of her followers. She seems to want to enlist everyone in her psychological drama. She's split from her own parents -- something to do with being expected to get her own juice when she was a toddler -- and now she's convinced herself that everyone's problems in life stem from such "traumas" during ages 0-8. The problem is that her advice may be convincing other troubled souls to separate from their families and enmesh themselves in her "tribe."
We're concerned that her guidance is destructive, obsessively negative, and really all about her.
I don’t see Teal saying her truth is the one real truth (which some, including infamous cult leaders and various religious institutions have said).
Teal isn't a very big fan of truth period. She especially isn't a fan of truth if it doesn't make you “feel good.” It sets off alarm bells for me when a self proclaimed spiritual leader says something like this:
"To us it's all about truth. And we have an addiction to it. We have this absolute addiction-- worldwide addiction to the idea that we have to know what is true-- which is just ridiculous. Because most of us are killing ourselves with what we think is true. So the question is why do you want truth to begin with? I want truth 'cause I think I will be happier if I have truth. Okay, well what if the truth is this and that makes you feel like crap. Does that really make you feel better? Why are we going about it the long way? Why not just decide that what matters is that you feel good? It's the only reason you want truth anyway-- and most of the time when people realize that-- life becomes a bit more soft. You know? It becomes a bit more about does this benefit me, not is it true." (https://youtu.be/tLNf_6UQWyM, 51:27- 52:10)
My spiritual path started over two decades ago. I've been meditating since high school. I have a B.A. In World Religions. I've read nearly every spiritual book that crossed my path including: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Gandhi's autobiography, Autobiography of a Yogi, The New Path: My Life with Paramhansa Yogananda, by Swami Kriyananda (Yogananda's direct disciple), and The Right Use of Will (series of 8 books). I've read all of Carlos Castaneda's work. I've lived in spiritual communities that were founded by spiritual authors, including Swami Kriyananda, Solara, and Chris Griscom. I've done Buddhist workshops, yoga workshops and could list countless other spiritual explorations. Point being, I resonate with Teal's spiritual insights, because I think they complement many of the established ancient spiritual and religious traditions. She also takes them a step further, and I find her extremely accurate.
I really don’t play the I’m so much more spiritual and conscious than you, because I’ve studied under this guru, meditated for years, mastered a yoga pose, or read that book. Frankly, your assertion that Teal is complementing ancient spiritual and religious traditions only serves to prove my point that she is offering the masses nothing new. She is offering more of the same deception and delusion we have seen for thousands of years in religion and politics. She offers lies and flashy distractions, keeping the disempowered followers caught up in the same old game of hierarchy and celebrity idol worship. It’s all part of the old design meant to pacify the masses, and we have been caught up in the same cycle for millennia.
Billions of people have spent their lives for thousands of years following the very same spiritual practices or religious paths that have been traveled by others. Where is humanity now? Personally, I think these gurus and swamis that place themselves above others and claim to know the way to some imaginary pie in the sky are not extremely helpful to human evolution. As long as people continue to dedicate their lives to following and adopting the beliefs and perspectives of people who came before them, I don't see how a person can evolve past the disempowered position of being someone’s follower. Placing your faith in some yogi, swami, or religious institution, doesn't strike me as allowing for much forward progress or independent thought; rather, it seems it has been serving to maintain the status quo.
Consider how many gurus, yogis, Zen masters, and other spiritual leaders have been discovered to have been abusing and molesting their followers and been ultimately dragged down in scandal. Consider how many of them got away with these things because they were enabled by their followers and inner circle. Maybe you believe the ones you have followed are the good and honest ones, but these problems are endemic. Well, actually, if you’re including Castaneda in your list of influences, his abuses of his followers, his plagiarism, his fraudulent research, are all well documented. All these situations are just ripe for abuse of power.
When I first discovered Teal, I was blown away by how absolutely correct she was on every issue. I already had well established opinions of my own that differed from many of the mainstream views.
In other words, you think Teal is right because she validates your opinions. I think that’s common with her followers, however many of them have wildly different ideas about what she’s saying, which is interesting.
LaVaughn has already drawn up a very relevant analysis of this subject by comparing Teal to columnist, Tom Friedman, in one of her noncasts titled, Messiah Complex. It can be found in the comments section of her blog by clicking here and page searching the word “messiah.” LaVaughn writes:
What I initially found mystifying about the Friedman columns people sent me was that so many otherwise intelligent people were completely misreading them. For instance, in the build-up to the war in Iraq, many of my friends sent me his columns because they argued so effectively against the looming war. But when I read them, that didn't seem clear at all. In fact, it seemed like he was arguing for war in Iraq. Then I heard him on a Sunday chat show and any ambiguity about his position melted away. He was most definitely in the let's bomb the crap out of Iraq camp. He stated it quite plainly. So why were his columns so confusing that college educated people had no idea what he was actually saying? I think that this is Friedman's true gift and the secret of his success. That he's such a bad writer saves him. No one knows what he's saying or what a pedestrian thinker he really is.Teal contradicts herself constantly in her videos from one week to the next, because she plagiarizes video content from many different sources. This ensures her videos are (a) riddled with familiar buzzwords and confusing contradictions, (b) securing future listeners by creating dependence on her for further clarifications, while (c) simultaneously invoking cognitive dissonance in her audience. She's keeping people stuck watching her hypnotic videos, in which she delivers stolen information in an authoritative, robotic tone, while dazzling her audience with nonsensical word salads. This allows for people to hear what they want and project their ideals onto Teal, most often without even questioning the mendacity or inconsistency of what she is saying.
A Friedman column is like a Rorschach blot, a thi[c]k tangle of mixed metaphors and physically impossible imagery that overwhelms the reader and actually shuts down the intellectual process. Every reader sees something different. They see a reflection of their own preconceptions. The person who doesn't want war in Iraq sees something that seems to support that position in paragraph three. The reader who does sees something else entirely in paragraph six. Both walk away thinking Friedman is a genius for so brilliantly articulating their own position. Or they annoy me by emailing me the column.
I think teal is the Tom Friedman of the New Age fembot circuit. She is, to borrow a descriptor from [Matt] Taibbi, "the perfect symbol of our culture of emboldened stupidity." Of course where Friedman is merely porn-stached, teal has never really strayed far from her porn model roots and isn't afraid to trade on sex appeal that Friedman lacks. This gives her an even greater advantage when it comes to bypassing her viewers' higher reasoning. But like Friedman, she uses words like rubble masonry, building thick, impenetrable walls of mismatched ideas, mortared together with inexplicable confidence. She closes strong and the more nonsensical and convoluted her explanations are, the more emphatically she pronounces them. In this teacast, for instance, after a particularly incomprehensible bit, she exclaims ‘a hundred percent!’ There are always those phrases like ‘this is super-important, guys,’ after some meandering bit of nonsense….
In all her presentations, teal makes sure to include enough buzzwords to appeal to a range of views: blah, blah, blah, oneness, blah, blah, blah, law of attraction, blah, blah, blah, shadow work, blah, blah, blah... And, just as Friedman readers do, tealers latch onto the odd bits of stone that support their own beliefs and pronounce her brilliant.
If you want to know where someone stands on spiritual matters, don't ask them about love, kindness, compassion, or service to others. Ask them about their views on things like suicide, drugs, money, racism, Hitler, other religions, and the Illuminati. Teal has offered views on these controversial subjects that don't sound mainstream, or like she could have just read them in a book somewhere.
I disagree here, I don’t think that she differs on so many mainstream views of controversial topics at all. Perhaps she differs from many of the political and religious views found on FOX News or CNN, but she’s hardly straying from well known philosophies in her rhetoric. In fact, so many of her views on the controversial topics you mentioned above are similar to Ayn Rand’s objectivism. Ayn Rand has been reported by some, as a sociopath and a cult leader. My research has indicated that Ayn Rand's philosophies have had an insidious political and social influence for quite some time (notably within the GOP in the U.S.), and Teal squarely lines up with so many of Rand's "virtue of selfishness” principles.
You're claiming that she has created an inspirational spiritual outlook based on other people's books, videos and searching the internet. Are you really suggesting that all of her teachings are just the result of her regurgitating that?
Yes, that is what I know to be true. The ideas Teal proffers are nothing new, and they can all be traced back to their original sources. But I don't expect you to just take my word for it.
In his blog post entitled, My relationship with Teal Swan, Fallon writes:
Where does she get the information for her videos?
Everyday life and google. She will write down ideas, and then she gets on the computer and googles for things and changes them up. She would be on the computer wednesday or thursday morning writing and googling things for several hours. I was convinced that this was no secret among Tealers, apparently i was wrong.
|Following his online post, these screenshots were taken. When he was barraged by disenfranchised Tealers, it got to be too much for him, so he took down his blogs and other commentary and stopped dealing with the public on this issue.|
Teal’s books are based on teaching spoiled westerners how to live a happy life, by learning how to love themselves using a process for shadow work that is actually shadow projection. She repeatedly makes it a practice to cherry pick, hybridize, and poorly regurgitate other people’s ideas and philosophies in her work. Occasionally she tweaks the information, but her tweaks distort the original meanings in significant ways. Teal's hybridizations are not only cheapening, they often have dangerous implications.
I think it’s worth noting that she’s been caught repeatedly quoting sources like Wikipedia and Abraham-Hicks nearly word for word, and without ever citing her sources. See LaVaughn's blog post here , for many documented instances of Teal's blatant plagiarism. It was recently brought to my attention that Teal's new book called, The Completion Process: The Practice of Putting Yourself Back Together Again, looks to be largely borrowed from Michael Brown's, The Presence Process. Teal is courting legal repercussions, and so is her publisher, Hay House.
Teal is more than just a pretty face using her physical beauty and sex appeal to manipulate and charm her way to success. Sure it helps, but physical beauty only takes you so far. You also have to have good ideas in order for people to listen. There are beautiful women on the Miss America pageants for instance that don't hold my attention for long. To really engage most audiences, you need to demonstrate: intelligence, thoughtfulness, cohesiveness, and depth of thinking. That's why I listen to Teal.
It’s Teal herself that argues that people only pay attention to what is pretty. With all her infinite wisdom, she has deduced that people who are “wrinkly and gray,” “African,” or otherwise physically unattractive, will not be heard on a global scale. She literally said in her BATGAP interview with Rick Archer that “sex sells,” and that’s why she is so popular. She admits to promoting superficial sleaze as spirituality. She made it pretty obvious in that interview that she's racing against the clock to be secure as a guru before her looks totally go. She repeatedly claims that the reason she was intentionally designed to be so “attractive” was so that people will pay attention.
Teal fails to take into account our current President or nearly every other world leader and politician who is running the show. The fact that they seem to be in positions of power, holding the attention of billions of people with their words and ideas, despite their ethnicities or “wrinkly and gray” appearances, seems to be lost on Teal. Teal doesn’t take into account the fact that many people have written books, captivated audiences, and changed the world with their ideas without being physically attractive. What about Stephen Hawking? Einstein? Tesla? Ghandi? Oprah has also achieved a global reach. As if women aren’t already objectified enough, it’s Teal herself who reduces her success to her physical appearance and sex appeal.
So, it would be interesting to see you take your point up with her. Maybe you yourself should explain to her why you actually pay attention to people. It does certainly raise the question; how many people would actually resonate with Teal's message if she didn’t have a dramatic but unverifiable backstory and wasn't leveraging her model looks and sexuality to market herself? It also makes one wonder whether people would still believe her stories and resonate with her message if she looked like say, Eckart Tolle.
I wouldn't agree at all that what Teal is teaching is, as you say, all about celebrating physical beauty, seeking fame, money, and other superficial pursuits. I agree that nobody should place looks, money, or fame above love itself, their relationships, or providing a service to the world. But that doesn’t look to me like what Teal is doing.
Looks matter, they matter to us all. So what do we do to stop being caused so much pain by that fact?....It often worries people that they are being narcissistic if they appreciate their physical appearance. Narcissists are not people who love themselves; they are people who cannot currently connect with others. There is nothing narcissistic about self-celebration. Celebrating and displaying your looks doesn't make you a narcissist, it makes you an artist... The body does not distract from the soul. The body is not separate from the soul. The body is the souls' expression.Teal writes:
The truth is: We’re making money an enemy again. We’d do much better to fall in love with it. Falling in love with money is the opposite of greed.
I am successful…I am technicolor… I am an accomplished athlete… I have incredible ‘star presence’... I have a captivating personality... I am regal and elegant… I am very talented[,] I am sensual and mystical[,] I am mesmerizing[,] I draw both fame and money to me[,] I am physically beautiful to look at[.]
I was a performer. I knew that I wanted to be famous and be on people’s television screens and be on stage. At a cellular level, I knew that I was destined to be a star performer… I was overcome by this feeling that on some deeply suppressed level, for the sake of my mother’s core, I am meant to give my family permission to break the highly catholic spell of the ‘moral issue with stardom’. I saw for the first time that my mother did not do this to hurt me; she was trying to prevent me from badness and therefore secure my goodness and ensure that I would be loved. She was also trying to avoid the pain and shadow within her that came up when she watched my desire to be the center of attention…. Now, she is convinced that the only acceptable way to get famous is to do something good for the world, namely help people; and that wanting fame for fame’s sake is nothing short of shameful.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Google search “site:tealswan.com/teals-blog fame", and 35 blog posts are listed where she describes life as her “fame increases.” I’d say she’s more than a little preoccupied with “fame for fame’s sake.” Let’s not forget she entertained fantasies of being an Olympic skier/skater and international supermodel before she settled on the career of an extraterrestrial, extrasensory, spiritual speaker, author, and “THE poster child” for Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors. Is she about becoming famous because she’s accomplished something, or is she just trying to accomplish things so she can become famous? It looks more like the latter to me.
Teal’s ex-husband, Sarbdeep Swan, also seems to be of the opinion that Teal’s “teachings” are motivated by shallow, trivial pursuits like fame and money, rather than altruism. In his blog post about Teal titled, The Black Swan, Sarbdeep writes:
But here is the sting for her: The very ‘fame’ Black Swan uses to attack and vilify others will turn on her, it already is doing so…….fame is a very disloyal friend. Black Swan has been open about her quest for fame, riches and celebrity, but then again she couldn’t hide it if she tried. Those that seek it are seeking to fill a void in themselves that they believe will give them the recognition and respect they desperately seek, and in her case a false sense of security. The more fame they get, the more the cavernous void in their chest opens up into their being, and the more they seek to fill that hole, it never ends. It’s a Gollum type of existence and not pretty to observe close up.
….I enjoyed working with her, loved the deal making and was preparing her for the world stage. She needed to clean up her act first though and I tried to help her understand that it is not about Fame, Money and being a Celebrity, but about helping people. Help the people and the fame, status and money will automatically come, should you desire it that badly…but don’t make it solely about that….in the long term it’s a recipe for disaster.
Yes, she has expressed that money, and fame are not wrong. Many spiritual paths also do teach this. I happen to agree. There's nothing wrong with money at all. Money is currently inescapable element in human society right now. Other than reverting back to a hunter-gatherer, tribalist society, what alternative is there? If money is here to stay, and we have to use it, what's wrong with loving it? What is wrong with wanting to use it to gain more freedom, greater possibilities, or to do something to leave the world better off than you found it?
Just because you can’t envision a world where people don’t compete for finite resources and power using money, doesn’t mean that there aren’t visionaries and innovative thinkers out there who can. I think it’s telling that you accept what currently is, because you can’t imagine any other alternatives aside from defaulting back to hunter-gatherer tribalist societies. I feel like this type of thinking is exactly why humanity seems to be stuck in the same self-destructive loops we see today. You really believe our only options are to maintain the status quo or repeat history? This is disheartening to say the least.
The problem I see here is that we’ve already all but made money our religion as it is. I don’t see how glorifying the pursuit of money and power is causing positive world change the way you and Teal are trying to frame this. Your philosophy above reminds me of the saying, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” "If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em." That’s fine, but call a spade a spade. That’s not positive world change. You remember what they say about doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results, right? Personally, I think we are in a steep decline as a species, and it doesn’t appear that our current model of living is sustainable nor in harmony with the planet. I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest that our current government or monetary system is here to stay. Look at what is happening in Greece. It seems to me, Teal is simply calling for more of the same consumerist/capitalist agenda we have now. Only her plan enacts capitalism at an accelerated rate, ending with her taking over the world governments, buying countries, and ending up being solely in control. Her vision is the epitome of megalomania. We already live on a planet run by psychopathic corporations. Do we really need another psychopath vying for power? If I felt that Teal were truly capable of using money to leave the world better off than when she found it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. With Teal being as deceptive, polarizing, volatile, unstable, reckless, impulsive, and sadistic as I have personally experienced her to be, she is the last person I would ever hope would rise into a position of power.
Teal states that her goal on this planet is to find happiness. In order for Teal to find happiness, she said she must create a non-profit company that single-handedly raises enough money to change the way we raise children, compete with and dissolve governments, buy countries, and rebuild societies to her specifications. The following is a transcript of her public statements to this effect:
An interviewer asks Teal: What’s your goal… on this planet?Then there is this to consider:
Teal responds: To find happiness. But it just so happens that for me to find happiness means a great many things—means I want to, first and foremost, create a company—a non-profit company, that—um—implements many world changes…
Interviewer: What’s the most important changes?
Teal: I want to implement changes in how we raise children. I want to implement changes in—um—government especially, because I would love it if this government just dissolved, and the new one came that was more in alignment… But working with the existing government—right now everything is run by corporations. Our world is not run by governments. Governments are in the pocket of big companies that make money off of people. So, essentially, what I want to do is create a company that competes the same way that they do. So, I want this—this company—I want it to invest in ideas that will make a lot of money like new technologies—for example. And if it benefits people, I wanna invest in the company, and then, like any investment company, earn that passive income. But that money is not gonna go out to people; it’s gonna sit there, and be invested in something else; then that earns income; then that gets invested in something else; then that earns income. Pretty soon, this company does nothing but earn passive income. Huge amounts. But because it’s a non-profit, it doesn’t get to be paid to people. It has to keep investing. So then it has so much money that that the investments can be used to lobby, or to buy countries. And then we can start doing these new societies. (https://youtu.be/0pwTM_Jcz_c, 1:19:51–1:23:26)