ACCESS: The incredible lightness of boinking
Well, Dear Ones, I think it's high time for us to revisit one of the best-kept secrets in New-Wage cultdom (or should that be "cultdumb"?): ACCESS Consciousness, formerly known as ACCESS Energy Transformation.* I've written about this relatively obscure but nevertheless steadily expanding group a few times previously: on June 6 and June 12 of 2007; in May of 2008 (scroll down to the second item, "Warning: ACCESSories on the loose"); and then again the following July (scroll down to second item, "ACCESS: It just gets worse").
For those of you who aren't familiar with ACCESS or simply want a brief refresher, and don't feel like following all of those links above, allow me to quote from my own May 2008 blog post:
ACCESS, according to a tale that seems to be strangely absent from the current official ACCESS sites (but can be found here and here), was founded in the early 1990s. It all started when a "being of light" (or, alternatively, "beings of light") called Novian used the late Russian faux-monk/Whirled-class charlatan Grigori Rasputin to channel an "energy transformation technique" to a Santa Barbara, California realtor named Gary Douglas. Gary decided to call the technique ACCESS, and it now has followers all over the world. But he seems to be concentrating on the US, Australia, and New Zealand. And what's really scary, in my view, is that Gary and gang want to ACCESSorize the younger generation with their ACCESS kids' camps...
A few years ago Gary Douglas took Cali chiropractor Dain Heer under his wing, and now ACCESS is, for all practical purposes, The Gary & Dain Show. Actually, to hear some disgruntled followers tell it, it's more like The Gary & Dain Get Laid Show, but apparently Gary and Dain are not the only ones using ACCESS to get a lot of "free" sex. We'll get into that more in a moment.
From time to time I receive emails from people who say they have firsthand information about the damage that ACCESS's wacky teachings can do. Some have experienced ACCESS themselves and became disgruntled, but more often I've heard from people worried about siblings, in-laws, cousins, and colleagues who have been sucked into the ACCESS vortex and whose family lives are now in shambles. "Well, jeez, Cosmic Connie, isn't that what transformation (or elevated consciousness, or salvation, for that matter) is supposed to be all about?" you may be asking. "Isn't it all about being shaken up and spit out as a brand new person with a brand new way of looking at things? Isn't it all about escaping the same-old same-old and re-creating your life?"
Yeah, well, it can be, and maybe it should be, if your life completely sucks. But what if you're living a fairly happy life that, hey, could stand some improvements here and there, but doesn't really suck? Perhaps more importantly, what if there are people in your life who love and depend upon you, and then, after just one "life-changing" weekend, you just suddenly decide to dump them, or you try to make them agree to outrageous new terms for your relationship?
Or, to look at it from the other side of the situation... What if, for example, you're a baffled husband, struggling with the normal problems of a midlife marriage, and your wife suddenly goes off the deep end?
Last week I heard from a man who wants to shield his identity but said he wants his story told here. "Stephen"** is in his forties and has been married for twenty years. He says that overall, his has been a solid marriage with a limited number of truly difficult times, and the usual types of fights – money problems, in-laws, and the like. "Like many people at this age, mid-life can be a tough transition," he wrote. "My wife and I had some problems in the marriage develop after many many good years."
Then, Stephen says, his wife went to an ACCESS workshop last January. When she came home she was beyond excited, and of course Stephen was interested in knowing what had gone on in the class. "She proceeded to tell me that the presenter was this older woman who looked so much younger than her real age, and was married, but had had sex with hundreds of people over the years," Stephen wrote. According to his wife, the presenter told the class that having sex just one time with a new partner was perfectly okay because it "expanded" you and made you a "lighter being." When Stephen wanted to know what the rationale was for the just-one-time bit, his wife explained that if you do it more than once, you create a relationship, and that can cause problems.
Indeed, this would seem to be in keeping with one of Gary and Dain's many books, Sex Is Not A Four-Letter Word, But Relationship Often Times Is.
My wife than asked me curiously what I thought about an "open marriage." At that very moment a huge red flag went up for me. This was...not like her at all. I knew at this moment that my wife was at a pivotal point in her life, that something had developed in her and that a serious change [in] her was likely coming down the pike. I said I didn't think that open marriage was a good idea and that it would complicate our marriage. Besides, if I liked someone that much, I wouldn't just want to sleep with them one time. I said, " We aren't that type of people; we care about people, not use them."
Two weeks later my wife had a mysterious new person in her life. A patient of hers. My wife is in the health field, is licensed and touches people to heal their bodies. I could be more specific but let's just leave it at that.
At that point Stephen's wife became more insistent with her inquiries about the open-marriage idea, and Stephen knew she had someone specific in mind; otherwise she wouldn't have been so persistent. Stephen let her know there was no way he would even consider an open-marriage arrangement.
And that, he said, was the beginning of the breakdown of their marriage. His wife got angry, and before he knew it, the two were sleeping in separate bedrooms. Stephen's wife asked him to start reading her ACCESS books so he could try to understand. She wanted to reassure him that he too could also enjoy expanding as a person with new sex partners. So he began reading one of the books and "quickly realized it was totally crazy," as he put it. "The sentence structure of much of the key writing is designed to be inaccessible." (Which is a bit ironic, considering the name, ACCESS.)
To Stephen, the writing actually made no sense at all, but his wife explained that it was meant to be that way because it was intended to bypass the part of our minds that puts limitations on us.
For my own part, I have to say that what I've read and heard from Gary and Dain and various ACCESS enthusiasts has certainly bypassed the part of my mind dedicated to logic, sense, and anything remotely resembling comprehension. (Be sure to follow the video links in the PS below, and read the PPS for additional insight on ACCESS wackiness.)
Stephen wrote that from late spring to the present, his marriage has slowly been disintegrating.
My wife not only seems to have a new sex partner (whom she also got into Access) but she no longer wants to be constrained by marriage. She wants to be like Gary and Dain, she says. She believes they are truly happy infinite beings and she wants hideous amounts of money too because Access teaches you that if you cannot accept money the Universe will never give you money. If you cannot accept abundance of money you will have problems getting abundance of love, joy and ease in your life.
In Access everything is suppose to come with ease, joy and glory.
In just six short months there is a new being possessing my wife's body. She is a totally different person. We have two kids and it seems divorce is going to follow a separation that she feels she really needs so she can pursue her Access teachings. Apparently my reaction to her falling for another person, leaving our marriage bedroom, and wanting to sleep with multiple people has made me "heavy" and she wants to be a "light being" in full awareness and consciousness so that the Universe can provide her infinite possibilities. She wants to be BIG she says, truly conscious like Gary and Dain.
Stephen says his heart is completely broken and that his life has been "semi-destroyed" by Access. He qualifies: "I say 'semi' because it takes a hurt or struggling person to get snared in these scams in the first place, and our mid-life woes are partly to blame for that." I think that what sets Stephen apart from many other disillusioned followers, or loved ones of followers, of New-Wage scams is that he doesn't completely blame the scam. He realizes that it takes two (or more) to tango, as it were.
Stephen wrote that he believes his wife is actually just confused and depressed about her life, but that instead of facing her pain and disappointments honestly, she is, as he put it, "reconstructing a new type of reality to live by. One where she needs nobody to make her happy and complete. One where the model of Access is the way to a life of abundant joy and love."
His own heartbreak would be bad enough, but it seems that Stephen's wife also wants to get their preteen son involved with ACCESS (as mentioned above, they do have numerous programs for kids, and are apparently even setting up ACCESS-based schools). Stephen writes that the prospect of his son getting involved with ACCESS "just terrifies me."
I would love to help you in any way to bring to light what a scam ACCESS really is. My wife has really gone off the deep end with this. Access gave my wife the justification to explore, which led to another person who happens to be into New Age stuff as well. This person turned my wife against me in a very slow and methodical way. I had a honeymoon like experience with my wife (which she planned and paid for) back in February, and by late May my marriage was in shambles and I never did anything different as a person between those times.
I am trying my best to save it but Access-based thinking is making it pretty much impossible. They don't believe in relationships unless they are based on complete "allowance." Everything about Access has to based around complete allowance for yourself. Otherwise you cannot be open to the "infinite" possibilities which the Universe may send to you based on your consciousness. My wife and her new lover are all into this now, together. The other person is also destroying their marriage. So my story is one about two marriages linked together, each with kids, being destroyed because two vulnerable people found each other around new age thinking and Access Consciousness thought.
It is totally ridiculous and destructive.
Stephen has tried to reach a popular news-magazine TV show to try to persuade them to do an expose on ACCESS, but he hasn't had any luck so far. And he may have a challenge ahead of him there, since awareness of ACCESS hasn't yet reached critical mass. Unlike celebrity-infested Scientology, ACCESS so far appears to be just another pale imitation of Scientology and other higher-profile groups. But Stephen firmly believes a prime-time story on Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer is in order. "Pushing people to believe this sh-t about multiple sex partners, about relationships being limited and bad unless they're based on complete 'allowance,' is personally and socially destructive," he says.
And I have to agree. In an earlier post on ACCESS I speculated that perhaps some of the free-sex stuff supposedly being taught was open to interpretation. But the more I hear from people who have more "inside" information, the more I'm inclined to believe that ACCESS is little more than a glorified moneymaking and seduction scheme by a couple of two-bit California hustlers who have somehow convinced thousands of gullible people that their crap actually makes sense.
And it's people such as Stephen who really pay the price.***
* * * * *
PS ~ If you want to "experience" a little bit o'ACCESS for yourself, here is some bloody marvelous video entertainment:
First, here's Dain with some gorgeous blonde babes, Rikka and Summer (it really starts to get good at about 6:53, when chiro Dain has one of the girls on his table for what looks like a little quasi-orgasmic "bars"**** action, while the other watches lustfully in the background):
And here's the link to the main page of one of the ACCESS YouTube Channels:
And there's plenty more where that came from. Just don't expect any of it to make sense. It's not supposed to, you see.
PPS ~ If you think you'd like to take the next step with sex expert Dr. Dain, there's always the 7 Steps To Orgasm teleclass:
This 6 week teleclass will cover the 7 steps to orgasm and an orgasmic life. What if you were willing to ask anything? What if your life could be a walking, talking orgasm? Would you like to uncover the possibilities of full body orgasm? Have you always known so much more was possible with sex? "Dain Heer creates an environment on the phone where nothing is too personal to ask." "My life and has expanded a thousand time beyond what I thought was possible." "My body is so grateful we took this course!"
And this group phone sex will only set you back $485 USD. No word on whether or not Rikka and Summer will be participating.
PPPS ~ Regarding ACCESS-followers' beliefs, or lack thereof, as well as their penchant for obscurantism, another correspondent of mine has written to me on several occasions about ACCESS. This person, who also wishes to remain anonymous and whom I shall simply call "R," has a close relative who is deeply into ACCESS, as is the relative's spouse and child. "R" shared these thoughts with me:
You wrote that it is not clear what, exactly, [ACCESS followers] believe, and in fact they make it particularly difficult to figure that out. (One of their sayings is that they can't explain it and when they can, they will quit. 'Every class is different depending on who shows up,' etc. etc. Much of it does appear to be basically Scientology Lite, using many, but not all, new names for familiar concepts. Some terms are Scientology hold overs like "clearing.")
If you want to take the really long view of it, and I generally do, this is essentially a support group for narcissists; i.e., You really ARE special. People don't like you because you ARE so special and talented and extraordinary. (It can't be because you are an interminably self-centered pain in the ass who uses people every chance you get....)
Well, not being one to be so quickly put off about the core beliefs/concepts of this group I have been trying nevertheless to figure that out. [Gary Douglas and various ACCESS followers] have appeared for several years as guests on a [local] radio program and I have collected the broadcasts as they appear (briefly) in their archives. Much of this has been numbingly repetitive and vague but eventually you do get a handle on the core concepts, which are often more bizarre than anything suggested so far on your blog, with the exception of the Rasputin business that they seem to be burying pretty deep these days. Beyond that, there are threads of a political/revolutionary aspect to the movement, which is supposed to transform the world when they hit a certain round number (of course) of adherents...
They believe that Gary D. can control the weather, for example, which makes [his] horse whispering look pretty tame.They believe that their adherents will (by staying in the group, of course) live to be oh, say, 800 years old or older. (But if you leave, you throw all that away, of course. And it does appear that [my relative who is into ACCESS] is aging at the usual rate, based on the photos on the website).
[ACCESS adherents] claim to cure diseases like cancer, though the statements are unsupported and artfully phrased. He "turned that around," for example. Or "there were no signs of cancer," with no explanation of what the previous "signs" were or how someone looked for them to establish the cure. My relative's vagueness in such boasts is surprising given how much science s/he had to study in order to become a [health care professional].
[ACCESS followers also] believe that the earth is populated by two "species," humans and humanoids, in a ratio of 49% to 51%, with all of business and government being controlled by the boring, non-creative species...
...And Gary and Dain claim they can perform essentially what is alchemy, using the energy of the universe to transform one object into another. This is supported by anecdotes that are pretty lame and unconvincing, naturally.
Wow. The things people will believe (or, as I suspect is the case with some, will pretend they believe just to get laid)...*****
* As of July 2009, Access is no longer officially Access Energy Transformation; it is now Access Consciousness, since they now deem that more descriptive of what they are about.
** Not his real name, of course.
*** Some critics might point out that I am only presenting one side of the story, and I acknowledge this. If this were a piece of "real" journalism, I would certainly attempt to contact the other parties and get their viewpoints, as Steve Salerno (to name but one example) tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to do when writing his "collateral damage" series on SHAMblog a couple of years ago. (Here's a link to the first post in the series.) That said, I welcome comments from people who are fans of ACCESS and who feel it has enriched their lives, and/or who feel their spouses or other loved ones just don't "get it."
**** If you're curious about ACCESS "bars," here's a page that 'splains it all. The site on which this page appears is not ACCESS's official site but apparently belongs to an ACCESS facilitator. The "bars" session, normally free for newcomers, is most people's initial introduction to ACCESS; as my correspondent "R" wrote, "I think they use 'the bars' as a not-too-crazy way to get people in the door, kind of like the free 'personality' or 'IQ Test' offered by Scientology for the same purpose."
"R" also points out the similarity to Scientology terminology such as "implants." There's no denying ACCESS is derivative; of course, ACCESS is far from the only New-Wage scheme to draw inspiration from Scientology. By the way, the site I linked to above makes reference to another site, accessraz.com, which no longer seems to be valid. "R" speculates that this was an old site making a sly reference to Rasputin (hence, "Raz"), whom ACCESS founder Gary Douglas once claimed was instrumental in revealing the secret of "the bars" and other ACCESS info to him back in the early 1990s. As mentioned above, however, ACCESS principals seem to have distanced themselves from the Rasputin connection, perhaps thinking it sounded a little too crazy for everyday folks. Actually, though, I would think Rasputin could add a bit of color and historical flavor to the ACCESS scam. Besides, New-Wage followers have shown their willingness to embrace imaginary friends such as Esther and Jerry Hicks' "Abraham"; why wouldn't they be equally willing to embrace a departed historical figure, particularly a mystic such as "Raz"?
***** Enlightened promiscuity isn't just an ACCESS phenomenon, of course. Consider, for example, Steve Pavlina of the "Personal Development for Smart People" site and forum. (Steve, as you may recall, made an appearance on my Whirled last July while he was hobnobbing with the big-name hustledorks in Bermuda.) My new friend, and fellow blogger, Duff McDuffee, who runs the excellent Beyond Growth blog, wrote an interesting post mentioning Steve in September of this year, "The Unquestioned Gurus of the Religion of the Self." At the time Duff wrote this post, Steve had recently announced his own affiliation with and promotion of a fairly pricey DVD set, Eben Pagan's "Man Transformation," which pretty much seems to be one of those pseudo-sophisticated how-to-pick-up-and-pork-as-many-wimmin-as-possible guides for the horny but enlightened male consumer. Duff writes, "Pavlina seems to have become interested in dating advice right around the time he announced that he and his wife decided to have an open marriage and explore polyamory." Here's the link to Steve's first blog post on the polyamory experiment. And here's his follow-up post. Perhaps the Pavlinas should look into ACCESS Consciousness.