Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gullible 'Til the Cows Come Home


This afternoon, I went to a gazing. I had no idea what to expect but since I had never been to one before, it seemed like a good idea.

A friend had sent me an email about Braco, a Croatian man who heals with his gaze, although he does not call himself a healer. He travels the world gazing over rooms full of people who are encouraged to open their hearts and gaze back into his eyes. There was a long line of pilgrims in expensive designer hippie clothing, angel tees, glittery shoes and even a white woman in traditional African garb, many of them snacking from greasy paper bags while hoisting soda cans. There was the obligatory woman on crutches and others pushed in wheelchairs. I was jostled rudely by two men who didn't apologize while cutting the line.

Many people were there for all the sessions, running all day and evening, but I went for only one because I can't sit still that long, do not have a groupie mentality and have never wanted to join a cult. But I am curious. The session consisted of a lot of cheerleading, testimonials both in person and on a movie screen, a great deal of hype and instructions to be open to whatever came and to gaze back at Braco during his 7-8 minutes before us. When he finally made his appearance, he stood on a platform but since everyone in the room was standing and I am 5'1", I only briefly glimpsed his eyes. If there was anything genuine going on, I'm sure the energy reached me anyway.

Braco looks like a peaceable man. His hair is long like Jesus, and his face, which never changed expression, seemed kind. I thought of holy icon paintings with eyes that follow you around the room. The website had recommended that we bring photos of those for whom we seek help as the power of Braco’s gaze can reach people through photos, and the same level of healing and transformation occurs as if they were there in person. I held my loved ones' photos over my heart as directed so they could receive the blessings I silently asked for them.

His website says, "Some call Braco a healer. Some call Braco a Conduit of Divine Energy. Some call Braco a Gazer, a Lightworker, a Miracle Master, or even a Vibrational Healing Artist who is somehow able to silently and instantly heal or peacefully massage the consciousness of tens of thousands around the world for years into feeling better or embracing more joy. We just call Braco a beautiful man ... with an extraordinary gift to share." Also available are Braco DVDs, books and jewelry. He has a worldwide following so you would think there is something real happening.

The peppy hostess asked that pregnant women past their first trimester and children under the age of eighteen leave the room as the energy is too powerful for them. They are allowed to stand outside the door, though. The website claims that Braco does not accept any payment for his work, and the charge per session is only $8.00. However, thousands of people attend his sessions every day, many of them for the entire day at $8.00 a pop, so he is not hurting. He also offers a line of Sunce (sun) jewelry that displays a symbolic golden sun with 13 rays. The price of the jewelry ranges from $190 for a pair of earrings to $2395 for a diamond pendant. Testimonials claim these talismans bring good luck to the wearer.

A woman sitting next to me, giggling incessantly, said that she had been to many Braco sessions and could hear his voice inside her head as if it were originating there. It was impossible to tell if she was euphoric or merely neurotic. Another woman claimed that she had heard his voice saying "Hello, Yes!" to her and knew that he was taking care of her creative difficulties and dispelling negativity. We were told to be YES by the handlers, who suggested that we would feel heat, tingling or other healing sensations or find ourselves laughing or crying as the energy reached us. New Age music played while members of his team roamed the audience with microphones to take testimonials. We were assured that we would experience the deepest love we had ever known. We were also told that healing changes might not occur instantly, but would definitely occur. It seemed that he was taking credit for anything good that might befall us for the rest of our lives while officially claiming not to be a healer.

I would like to believe. I sent him my kindest thoughts while he was in the room and thanked him for any help he could give. I want to think I am not so cynical that such things are lost on me, so unspiritual that I cannot open my heart enough, and yet I would also like not to be thrilled by the Emperor's beautiful robes if he is really naked. We will see. The physical pains from which I seek relief have taken a long time to develop - it's unlikely that they can be vanquished in seven minutes. I'll be paying attention.

Afterward, while passing a restaurant on the bus, I heard a woman say, "Five dollars and you can eat roast beef until the cows come home." Lady, if those cows are already roast beef, they are not coming home. I had opted for public transportation to avoid parking hassles, but that may have been the highlight of my day.

20 comments:

e said...

He's a money-maker...And making it off of others' vulnerabilities, apparently. I hope your dreams come true; those that do come to fruition will do so because of your own pluck and motivation, both of which you have in spades!

Maria said...

I tend to be skeptical as you are. I did tarot in college and was amazed at how gullible people were, how they would often exclaim that I was brilliant, so intuitive, etc. and all I did was read some cards that I had memorized.

I have seen a few psychics, mostly didn't believe a word said. What would really piss me off was when they would say things like, "Is your mother named Mary, Martha, Margaret, something with an M?" I'd say no, but her middle name was Marie and they'd snap their fingers like THERE IT IS! It wasn't anything. I was also told that the name "Ed" was meaningful to me. When I said that I didn't know anyone named Ed, they said, "Well, maybe you haven't met him yet!" I still haven't met any Eds but honestly, it is a common name. The odds are in their favor.

It was mostly poppycock. I know nothing about this man you saw, so can't comment...but yes, I think I agree with you that the bus ride held the most insight!!

mischief said...

And yet... I really like that you were willing to part with the $8.00 just in case. Because... what if. Sometimes it feels good to stretch the imagination and the spirit, just on the off chance. I hope you will be blessed in every way possible.

Paula said...

I had never heard of this person. A google search provided the tidbit that he had a master's degree in economics. I would bet this is a scam, if not worse. I take my prayers straight to the TOP, no fooling around with New Age gurus and such. When our gut feeling is skepticism, it usually pays to pay attention. But I hope good things happen to you, anyway.

lgsquirrel said...

Sorry but this squirrel smells a rat and he is not referring to himself. It's not that I do not believe that some might have the power of healing but they are few and lost in a sea of dirty rotten scoundrels. But I do hope you will find what you are searching for.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

e,

I am astounded at how little he offers, and how worshiped he seems to be. People are truly gullible.

Maria,

I believe that everyone has innate psychic abilities, but they are more developed in some than in others. Much of what passes for clairvoyance is simple psychology, body language reading, and the law of averages. But as a student of human nature, I had to check it out, especially since the price tag was so nominal.

Lisa,

I am blessed in many ways. I really didn't expect anything so my expectations were fulfilled. And today was really cheap entertainment.

Paula,

It's always amusing that everything New Age from the 60s is back in full force. A lot of the attendees were older people who should have done all this the first time around. Or maybe they took time out to grow prosperous before returning to the fold. The folks who look like authentic 60s hippies now are usually homeless.

Calvin,

I did find what I was looking for - a new experience. So about 5% of my brain is staying open to the possibility while the other 95% thinks it's a lot of bunk.

martine said...

the best blog post i have read in weeks, but what a lovely face, who could not be entranced;-)
thanks for sharing
martine

rachel said...

Wow.

I dont know whether to laugh or facepalm.

The things people find comfort in! And always someone willing to provide that comfort....for a price, of course!

Wow.

TechnoBabe said...

The best thing so far about your attending the gazing was that you stepped out and did something different. You have an open mind so if there are benefits derived from your attending, you are ready to welcome them. If not, you have already been blessed.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Martine,

He does have a lovely, even angelic face. And maybe what he does is real, but I am too cloddish to accept it. I would probably be better off if I ran more on instinct, but my logical mind keeps getting in the way.

Thanks for your visit!

Rachel,

I'm looking for Mary on my refrigerator door. I'm sure she'll be weeping.

Babe,

I would so like to believe that Braco is a pure channel, but I'm not even sure what I believe about the source.

Last night I felt a repeated stinging sensation on my chronically stiff neck and thought maybe something was happening. But it still hurts just as much today. I guess you don't get much healing for eight bucks.

nick said...

Well, clearly he didn't do much for you at the time. Whether you feel any better in the weeks to come remains to be seen. But as you say, then he takes credit for anything good that ever befalls you, even if it's entirely coincidental. Indeed, he has a lovely face, but I suspect he's no better at healing than you, me or the gatepost.

neora chana said...

As long as you don't take it too seriously, in my opinion, you can be entertained and maybe even benefit some other way. Just need to keep a sense of balance, which it seems you did. Wishing you and Flip a happy, sweet New Year full of light and healing as we head into Rosh Hashana tonight.

Jo said...

"Also available are Braco DVDs, books and jewelry."

Ah ... yes.

Does anyone remember Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? His therapy was based on the "Human Potential Movement". He also had 93 Rolls Royce automobiles.

These *cough* healers sure know how to heal their own pocket books, don't they?

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

I just got back from another trip to Santa Fe.

There is a church hidden away in the hills there called Santuario de Chimayo (here's the website: http://www.elsantuariodechimayo.us/)

I have made 2 trips to this church because I like the story of it so much. I'm sentimental like that.

It is believed that there is healing earth at this simple old church, in a hole that is kept filled with dirt from the surrounding hills.

The pastor fills the hole every day and blesses the dirt. People come from all over the world to find this little hole in a little room in a little church, to take a few tablespoons of dirt and be healed.

There is a wall of crutches/braces/walkers et al left behind by people who are healed.

The pastor says that it isn't the dirt that heals. It's faith.
People keep coming for the dirt.
People are healed because they have faith that they will be.

I'm wondering if Braco is selling faith in the form of a gaze like Chimayo 'sells' faith in the form of dirt.

Give me something to believe in... faith the size of a mustard seed.


XOXO
Scarlett & Viaggiatore

PS - Happy New Year.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

Are you saying that the gatepost has no healing powers? I'm shocked at your lack of faith. Please tell me you didn't mean it.

Neora,

L'shana tova to you! (I only recently learned how to say that.:)

Yes, balance. So necessary in all things and so very hard to create. I'll try harder.

Jo,

93 Rolls Royces? Who needs 93 Rolls Royces? That's obscene, especially when so many of his followers were impoverished.

Scarlett,

That little church sounds incredibly lovely, and I do believe that faith can accomplish miracles. Not necessarily faith in a Creator, but faith in ones own abilities, and faith in a just universe. Yet I can't help wondering if maybe all those crutches lining the walls are stage props to lend validity to the claims. At the very least, it must be very picturesque in that tiny, old church. I'm sure that Braco is selling faith, and maybe it does work for some. I'd like to think so.

the walking man said...

Poppycock!

secret agent woman said...

Okay. Well, I don't want to comment on the guy's sincerity, because I have no idea. However, I am extremely skeptical of anyone who rake sin that kind of money. And I am skeptical of any spiritual experience that can be had while eating greasy food and sodas. And I am skeptical of mass healing. And I am skeptical of followers of anyone. And, well... I guess I'm just skeptical.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mark,

:)

Agent,

I'm skeptical, too. I would like to be less so in case my own faith could actually effect some kind of healing. But then, with that kind of faith I could heal myself w/o the middle man, couldn't I?

To clarify the eating, though, it was while waiting in line that I saw people scarfing junk food. I doubt they took it into the holy sanctuary. I would have smelled it even from across the room.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Faith very often works for those who have it, no matter what the faith is in.

I suspect you may be right about the stage props... it struck me as uncanny how many of those crutches were *identical*. ;D

Still, it's a nice idea, and it is truly a lovely little countryside church.

I think you'd love it. I know I do; but as I said, I love the story. Such a romantic.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

I agree that faith can work miracles just because people believe they will happen.

The church sounds very lovely and so appealing. I love such places. Sorry to interject a bit of cynicism about the crutches, though. Santa Fe is beautiful and magical. I'm a romantic, too.