After reading a recent 3HO newsletter titled "Keeping Up" there is no doubt in my mind that the organization is continuing to try and convince its people that Yogi Bhajan has all the answers to their (and the world's) problems.
3HO has a history of promoting Yogi Bhajan as its primary "all-in-one product." Marketing Yogi Bhajan is the First Commandment of the organization. That is, "Thou shall take Bhajanism and spread it all over the world." This appears to be the sole purpose of 3HO. Every product that the organization offers has its roots in Bhajanism. and each product loops back to the same source, which is of course Yogi Bhajan.
Recently, the 3HO think tank seems to have dreamed up yet another way to con its students. Now they claim you can "overflow with energy" by recording your own voice and then use it to put yourself into your very own state of spiritual bliss (trance induction). The Yogi Bhajan merchandising department calls this attempt at motivational revivalism, "The Self-Sensory Man."
But actually the so-called "Self-Sensory Man" appears to be little more than a borrowed concept of "the power of positive thinking" (e.g. Norman Vincent Peale, Anthony Robbins) with 3HO devotional homilies and Bhajan's supposed personal charisma liberally sprinkled over the top. This is not a new technology nor is it even a genuine expression of individual spirituality--it's just the same old tired self promotion through yet another twisted ritual. Though it may help some 3HO members feel special.
This apparent ritual programming is filled with loaded language and/or trigger words, such as grace, nobility, energy, feelings, humanity, projection, heart, commitment, fulfillment and great, all of which appear designed to trigger responses, which subsequently may condition the brain. Such words may fit like a condom over the brain of many of Bhajan's devotees preventing the permeation and/or penetration of critical thinking. They can then sit back and take a vacuous mental vacation. This process of loading the language through ritualized communication can act like a hypnotic tranquilizer. The same words used over and over again in patterned speech, which often precludes independent thought and expression and instead conditions or programs people through "thought terminating" phrases.
This is not ecstasy, a peak experience or for that matter a very healthy vacation, but rather more like the "mystical manipulation" of an individual's natural aptitude for objective assessment, genuine reflection and perception based upon individual intuition and/or reason.
The subtle power and misdirection here is that if it's your own voice that you are listening to, so you are less likely to question it! But again, don't expect some sort of spiritual bliss, but instead you should recognize this as a clever trick to achieve a planned conditioned response. Beware--because this may neutralize your critical thinking.
The basis of the "The Self-Sensory Man" is not unlike the premise Pavlov proved through his famous experiments conditioning dogs. That is, after excessive repetition the subject becomes bored, the brain then shuts down and may be drawn into a seemingly hypnotic state. Pavlov used bells, but the brain can likewise be conditioned through the repetition of clichés/phrases in ritualized repetitive patterns. Eventually the brain adjusts--causing an individual's critical thinking capacity to shut down and enter a state of suspension. Bhajan defines and then redefines (loads) the same old trigger words, year in and year out, apparently as a way of keeping his product seemingly fresh and his devotees conditioned. He has a virtual catalogue of rehashed phrases. But it is the same old tired con of keeping his people hooked.
There is nothing original, inspiring, or thought-provoking in 3HO's loaded language or Bhajan's speeches. It is sad that the students who listen to this same verbiage over and over are so conditioned they believe it is somehow new each time Bhajan redefines his well worn trigger words and phrases. His followers are reacting like Pavlov's dogs--likewise responding to a stimulus (Bhajanism), which triggers their imagination and disrupts their brain processes.
If you doubt that "mystical manipulation" is taking place--note how many times Yogi Bhajan starts his lectures by asking his people to remember the past, to recall certain unique words of his from the past, or create mental pictures of the "old days" of 3HO. A perfect example of this can be found in the latest 3HO video entitled "Mile After Mile."
Now through 3HO's latest product ("The Self-Sensory Man") followers are convinced to repeat loaded language clichés using their own voices as a means to "purify." But this is nothing more than the latest way to manipulate followers and distract them from critically thinking and/or scrutinizing Bhajanism more clearly and objectively.
After all, if you doubt his words or the 3HO organization, you essentially doubt God. As any good Bhajanite knows--Yogi Bhajan is just a whisper away from God.
Recent literature and research studies are exploring the effects of mantras promoted by guru-groups or charismatic leaders. Subsequently, they are not selling like they used to. This research seems to indicate that different types of mediation such as TM, various mantras, chants, etc. are less effective that plain old self-talk, or should I say "Self-Sensory."
3HO leaders should acknowledge that their latest product, "The Self-Sensory Man," not unlike "Kundalini Yoga" (another Bhajan product) is dubious regarding both its origin and substance. However, admitting that the teachings of Yogi Bhajan are so questionable and that their new product may be nothing more than loaded language, trigger words and unfounded truths--would essentially be admitting to a kind of fraud, but seemingly deliberate mental manipulation.
Perhaps such admissions might cause the 3HO Foundation to lose its non-profit status. This might lead to Yogi Bhajan then losing his ability to live so lavishly. And I suspect that many 3HO people might also become unemployed. It is therefore perhaps not in their best interest to let the public in on the real "technology" (i.e. "thought reform") that seems to form the foundation for much of their programs (e.g. "The Self-Sensory Man").
Ritualized communications products are as powerful as any physical force in their potential to disrupt or impair the mind. By popularizing such practices amongst his 3HO faithful Yogi Bhajan is promoting an apparent systematic formula to tamper with the past, present and future of these unquestioning devotees who buy Bhajanism. Bhajan devotees often don't appear to have any clear understanding of the actual product and its effects. They may actually undermine their individual autonomy through such cult like control mechanisms.
Again always remember the sole mission and/or purpose of 3HO appears to be the marketing of Bhajanism throughout the world. It seems that the entire 3HO product line is simply a thinly disguised effort to recruit, indoctrinate and/or control followers--ultimately cementing them into lifelong captive consumers of Bhajanism.
Note: Terry MIchelle Kurtz (1952-2021), received her undergraduate degree from Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri and her Masters in Psychology from Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona. She worked with child protective services in Phoenix and was an advocate for those victimized by cults. Ms. Kurtz was also a yoga teacher and a former member of 3HO known as "Kartar Khalsa."