Canadian John Kehoe is a motivational coach, life guru and author of the multimillion selling book series Mind Power. For the past 40 years he’s toured the world hosting workshops based on the Mind Power principals that thoughts are real entities that not only attract like-minded energies, but can be harnessed to improve our lives. His 2018 tour is to be his swansong, and Verve caught up with him ahead of his Auckland seminar in March.
“When I first came out and starting teaching 40 years ago, people were incredulous,” recalls the author. “They thought I was from the moon. ‘How can thoughts be forces?’ Now, thanks to quantum physics, we have scientific proof that thoughts are real energy. That everything at its essence is vibrating energy.”
Quantum physics, continues John, has taught us that “there is another level of reality” and that “everything interacts with everything else”: “Once you understand this, then, working with my system, you begin to create images in your mind of what you want to happen — it’s not positive thinking, but actually working with thought forms.”
Forty years ago, John laughs that people were wondering whether or not he was right, mentally. “Nowadays, most people are open to that idea, of creating a reality by what you think,” he says. “I can’t think of anything more important than you learning the role that your thoughts play in your life.”
Such realities can be created by various contemplation exercises. “By contemplating each of the six laws of Mind Power [see box] for 3-5 minutes you will begin to get a deeper understanding of them,” John says. “And they won’t just remain in your mind.” If they did, it would all simply boil down to positive thinking, which John says in itself is fine (“It’s good to be confident and have an upbeat attitude”), if a somewhat superficial. “What you do find out is that it’s not just about being positive,” John goes on, “but interacting with your reality in an energetic way that no one has taught you before by way of visualisations and affirmations.”
I suggest there are similar philosophies in Buddhism.
“It’s very interesting, because I like to say that Zen Buddhism is the exact opposite of Mind Power! But because it’s polar opposite, they go well together. Mind Power is saying that thoughts are real forces and that we can use them to create our future. Zen Buddhism is not concerned with those thoughts, rather about living in the now.”
Like yin yang?
“Yes. Any system on its own can be dysfunctional. It was Jung who said that if you rely only on your strength then it becomes your weakness. In Western culture, we rely on our minds and logic, but we also have a heart, a subconscious, a soul. If you are too top heavy on just the mind, then you are missing out on these other aspects of yourself. So I like to take a holistic approach.”
Do you meditate?
“Not in the traditional way of sitting down and closing off my thoughts. My mediation is more in the Zen approach of drinking deeply from every moment, and letting it be exciting.”
Though John describes himself as spiritual, rather than religious, he does seek “nourishment” from Christian mysticism, Zen Buddhism, the Jewish Kabbalah and Shamanism. Religious followers often attend his workshops. “The bible and Jesus especially speaks often of the power of the mind,” says John. “One scripture says that whatever someone prays for they will receive — that’s visualisation!”
The author reveals that the most important part of his workshops to be the moment his guests exit because Mind Power is more than simply a philosophy, it’s a practice: “In much the same way as if you take a yoga class, you’re not going to be immediately flexible, but you will have the methods to become flexible over time. It’s the same principal. You will leave with the techniques and methods of how to harness the mind.”
Thanks in part to the mindfulness explosion in recent years, there is far greater appreciation for our abilities to rewire our brains to not just better understand ourselves and our potential, but as a means of fending off mental degeneration in later life. “I’m one of the early pioneers in the field of consciousness, and proud that my work, through my books and seminars, has reached millions of people,” says the author. “It has been an extraordinary journey. If you think life just randomly happens and you have no say in it, that’s a scary place to be. When you realise that you have a say in what happens, not that you can totally control your life — that’s the other extreme, and it’s naive — then you have another tool to work with.”
John, 71, describes himself as a “happily married romantic” but didn’t meet his soulmate until relatively late, and he puts that encounter down to Mind Power, too. “I didn’t need a wife until I was in my mid-40s,” he says. “I discovered that I had a subconscious blockage from my mother drowning when I was 13. I was so traumatised that my subconscious protected me by deciding that I’d never be hurt by a woman again. Whenever I was in a relationship, I would leave.”
John teaches that recurring patterns — that can be concerned with anything from relationships, to finances to health — are likely caused by a similar self-protection mechanism: “It’s not malicious, but misguided. Our subconscious has no will, but our conscious does. I call them the dark shadow and the light shadow. The dark hold us back, while the light points to potential and gifts that we haven’t yet discovered.
“I’m not trying to pretend that Mind Power is the answer to everything, the secret to the mystery of life. I present it as something extra in your toolkit. And it will bring you success.”
Mind Power at a Glance
John’s programme revolves around “the six laws of the mind”:
- The first law is simply that thoughts are real forces.
- The mind is a “receiving station of thought”.
- There are mental laws of attraction—emotions attract similar thoughts.
- Control: “We are forever experiencing thoughts and we have the power and ability to either retain or dismiss them.”
- The law of insertion. The notion that we may insert any type of thought into our own mind.
- The law of connection. Our inner and outer worlds are connected—the inner being concerned with thought, and the outer, the physical reality.
Word: Jamie Christian Desplaces