Interview with Larry Crane
by Pamela Gerloff
Larry Crane, formerly an advertising
executive and president of Dynamic House, a pioneer in the
direct mail industry, has been teaching The Release Technique
to executives of Fortune 500 companies for 20 years. He
has personally trained people in all walks of life in the
art of letting go of problems, emotions, stress, and subconscious
blocks that are holding them back from having total abundance
and joy in their lives.
Research on The Release Technique has been conducted by
Dr. Richard J. Davidson of the State University of New York
in collaboration with Dr. David C. McClelland of Harvard
University, and by Roger Brock, senior partner of the accounting
firm Touche-Ross. A summary of the research findings is
Let's start with your own personal experience of money and
happiness. You didn't always have a lot of money, did you?
No, I grew up in a poor family in the Bronx. We never missed
a meal, but the way I saw it, the rich guy lived on the
sixth floor and I lived in the basement. My father, who
worked six and a half days a week to put food on our table,
told me that if I could ever make $100 a week, I'd have
died and gone to heaven.
myself through school, graduating from the Leonard Stern
School of Business at New York University. When I graduated,
I saw that some of my friends were making lots of money
and I thought to myself, "I'm just as smart as they are.
I can do that." So I became a very aggressive guy. My attitude
was, "Get outta my way, I'm gonna knock you down and take
what I want." I climbed my way to the top and accumulated
millions of dollars. Then, one day,
wrote an article about me. When I came home to my penthouse
that week-it was a Friday night about 9:00 p.m.-the doorman
said, "Mr. Crane, what an honor it is for me to have you
in my building and to take you to your penthouse." I went
inside, walked over to the terrace, and thought about jumping-for
two hours. Here I had everything that the world said was
going to make me happy-money, success, status, a beautiful
wife, an expensive expensive home-and still I was miserable.
It was very confusing. I had thought all these things would
make me happy, but they didn't.
And that experience is what eventually led you to find your
own happiness, and to the work you do now: helping others
find happiness and abundance for themselves?
Yes. That night I asked myself, "What's life about? And,
"What am I doing on the planet?" Those are two very important
questions that I had never asked myself before.
answer came that I
know what life was about,
and what I was doing on the planet was making money. And
I didn't even enjoy it!
What did you do then?
I decided that I was going to find an answer. What that
answer was, I didn't know. I wasn't open to psychiatric
work or meditation or yoga or any of those things. I stumbled
into a couple of New Age courses, but didn't find an answer.
Then, one day, someone came into my office and told me about
The Release Technique and introduced me to its originator,
was a physicist and an engineer. In 1952, at the age of
43, he had his second massive heart attack. His doctor told
him he had a couple of weeks to live and sent him home from
the hospital because there was nothing more the doctors
could do for him.
went home and thought, "Here I am with all this intelligence,
and where has it gotten me? Almost dead!"
started to examine his life. He noticed that the times in
his life when he was feeling positive, he was not sick;
and the times when he was feeling negative, he was sick.
He asked himself, "If I could get rid of my negative feelings,
could I get better?" He figured out a way to release his
negative feelings, and within one month's time he totally
got rid of his negativity. (The Release Technique, which
he had stumbled onto, is a natural ability to get rid of
our negativity. Each of us has this ability, but it usually
has to be relearned because most of us have forgotten it.)
Lester said, "If I could fix my health, could I fix my pocketbook
using the same technique?" He applied the same technique
to his finances and, within a short time, became a multi-millionaire.
Then he spent the rest of his life helping others find what
he had found. When I met him, we became friends, and he
showed me what he knew.
Could you say more precisely what Lester's key discovery
His key discovery was that the negativity that was blocking
health, financial success, and the attainment of other things
he desired, was accumulated by him, and that he-and each
one of us-could actually release it.
By negativity, do you mean feelings that we don't generally
enjoy-like anger, frustration, worry, or anxiety?
Yes. Any uncomfortable feeling can be considered a negativity
that is blocking the attainment of what we desire.
You say that those negativities are like viruses, and they're
what keep us from happiness.
That's right. Most people are looking for their happiness
in money, things, accomplishments, relationships, and so
on-and it's never there. Take a look at the people we put
up on a pedestal. If you watch the Biography channel on
TV, you'll see that, in reality, those people often lived
miserable lives. Why? Because many of them were caught up
in having things. It's not that having things is bad, but
they don't bring you happiness.
people don't understand is that the mind works like a computer.
If you have a virus on your computer and you don't remove
the virus, no matter how much information you put into the
computer, the virus is going to interfere with the way the
of us are suppressing our negativity. When we suppress it,
we push it into our subconscious mind and it remains there,
like a virus, interfering with our health, happiness, success,
relationships, and the like.
we need to do is
the negativity, not talk
about it. Therapeutic approaches have you talk about it.
Motivational tapes say things like, "When you're negative,
be positive. When you're stressed out, relax." But that's
like moving the computer from room to room when you have
a virus, instead of deleting it. We change jobs, we change
relationships, we change hair-dos, cars, houses-instead
of removing the negativity. Worse than that, we take a vacation!
That's like turning off the computer; when you come back
and turn on the computer, the virus is still there.
need to take out the virus
. The Release Technique, which
Lester taught-and which I now teach, because he asked me
to carry on his work-is not an intellectual approach; it's
a technique to release negativity.
What I find particularly interesting about your work is
how you talk about the nature and the problem of desire.
Would you say a little about that?
First, to desire something- say, an experience, or an object-means
we feel we don't have it. We may feel empty, lonely, lacking,
or deprived; and we believe that if we possessed that object
or had that experience, we'd feel filled up and we would
be happy. So behind all desiring and seeking is a motivation
to be happy and a belief that happiness lies in the desire's
is normally taken as human happiness is getting something
we want, so that the wanting, empty feeling goes away; and
we feel happy for a moment- until the next desire arises.
But this ordinary, human-style happiness does not come from
attaining the object; it comes from no longer desiring something.
Would you give an example?
Let's say we desperately want a new Bentley, BMW, or Lexus.
We read all the brochures, check our anticipated future
income, cross-check anticipated expenses, et cetera, and
then we buy the car. After a few days of buyer's remorse,
we happily drive our new car for all to see. We seek nothing
now, and we are happy.
happiness from getting the car, or from stopping the lusting?
We typically think it's from getting the car, but you're
saying it's because we're no longer wanting it.
Exactly. When we stop seeking, we are satisfied.
So, in your view, wanting something is always the problem?
40 years ago, with my back to the wall and with only
three months to live, I was forced to search for the
answers to life. I decided to ask myself what it is
we all want, and the answer came to me. We all want
to be happy!"
-Lester Levinson, originator of
The Release Technique
I say that wanting is the source of all misery. It's what
the Buddha said centuries ago: Life is suffering. The cause
of suffering is desire. Ending desire ends suffering.
But you also say that, paradoxically, by releasing desire,
you allow yourself to actually have what you want.
The mind is a creative instrument of the universe; if you
put a wrong idea or feeling into the mind, it will create
that wrong idea for you because it creates whatever you
put into it. If you put the feeling of wanting in-which
comes from a feeling of lack-you are creating lack for yourself,
and therefore you get lack in your life. But if you let
go of wanting, paradoxically, you move into having.
old expression, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer"
is easy to explain. A rich person is holding in mind the
idea, "I have money"-he's not wanting it. The feeling is,
"I have it." A poor person who wants more money is begging,
praying, trying to win the lottery, and on and on, and is
constantly holding in mind the idea of lack. Therefore,
a poor person is creating lack for himself. Most of the
planet is into wanting and is therefore creating lack. People
are not getting what they want.
having. The problem is
get your negativity out of the way, your mind naturally
becomes quiet, and you reach a place where you don't want
And what happens then?
Then you are free either to have or not have something,
either to do or not do something. Then you can
which is different from wanting.
You once wrote: "This understanding [that when we stop seeking
or desiring, we are satisfied] goes against the grain of
all our beliefs. The ultimate conclusion of this viewpoint
is that we are happiest when we do nothing, accomplish nothing,
dream nothing, and are content to just rest in our own being."
When you release your wanting, you come to a place of rest
within your own being, where you feel you already have everything.
Then you get peace of mind.
Is that what you meant when you wrote, "Continuous releasing
becomes constant love"? That when you release enough, you
get to a place within yourself where you feel a sense of
peace and love-what you have also called a state of imperturbability?
When you're feeling loving, successful, happy, and positive,
it's all the same energy. We have different words for that
energy, but really, it's all love. That's the energy that
everybody is looking to be in. We say, "I'm really feeling
good today." Or "I'm on a roll. I'm in the zone." By releasing
negativity, we fall into a natural zone. And then performance
levels increase, happiness increases, and our relationships
with other people transform -because what everybody's looking
for on the whole planet is love. .
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