Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 15, 2009 01:22AM

Lets ignore anatta and the other disruptors.

They dont respect the terms of use have failed to earn our attention and respect.

Keep concentrating on the deep structure of how these set ups work.

Or we can always re-run our best older posts, the ones new visitors to the thread
are unlikely to have read, given how huge this has become.

Someone should pull up the material noting when BK changed the wording about depression and other such stuff. Re publish the waiver forms, too.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) / Staff, profit, unpaid labor?
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: July 15, 2009 04:04AM

The Byron Katie system can be complicated in certain areas, but in essense it is very simple.
It terms of the LGAT seminar business, and "Facilitation" for-profit, and products sales...
Its just a large private business.

What is the primary cost of any business?
Its those dang employees, with their salaries, OT, benefits, health insurance.
So what if some clever people, thought of a way to run a multimillion-dollar business, with very few employees?
Well, they have.

The LGAT seminars for many years, have figured out how to get people to work for 16 hrs a day, for literally no pay. For years, they have been able to get their own followers who have attended the LGAT seminar, to work at the LGAT for free, and even pay their own expenses, pay their own hotels, and transportation, everything.
Some even CHARGE people to work at the seminars.

What they do, is make it seem like a "reward" to get "picked" to work at a seminar for no pay. And the people who volunteer to do this, really do believe they are "helping" people, and even saving the planet, as that is how they indoctrinate them.
And they give them little cookies, like maybe a group photo with the Guru, and they give them a label, like "Crew" or "Staff".

Meanwhiles, the LGAT seminar could be grossing 2 million in ticket-sales, not even including all of the upselling, which can be thousands more per person. Its a cash bonanza.
So there is plenty of money to pay people to work, but if they did pay people, they would have to pay over-time, and give breaks, and it would eat into the profits of the seminar Guru.

What about the people Byron Katie calls "Staff" who work at the seminars, and don't get paid?
What's up with that?
And if so, is it even legal to call people "Staff" and not pay them to work? Someone at some point is going to check into that.

And they run their LGAT companies with as few employees as possible, all the money goes to the top.
And like Landmark, even their employees, end up running into trouble getting paid even the minimum.
"Landmark Education Labor Violations in California. Landmark pays $187000.00 in back wages to employees." []

Even Janaki talked about how Byron Katie cut down her pay.
QUOTE: " I asked for $ 2500 per month. Katie told me that she would expect me to work full time for this. Even though I was already doing this above and beyond the call of duty, I took her literally and for as long as I was on her pay roll, I took no weekends off and no vacations. The agreed salary only lasted a few months. Soon I received a phone call from the manager at the head quarters, telling me that BKI was almost bankrupt, and would I work for $ 1000 a month"
QUOTE: " came down to 12 to 14 hour work days, often 7 days a week. That I had worked for her for 7 years as a volunteer, then received a salary which was soon after cut down to less than half,..."

Notice how $2500 a month = $625 a week. Working 100 hrs a week = $6.25 an hour.
Many LGAT's use that exact same model. (Landmark does the same thing.)
And then, they even cut it back more, to $1000 a month, which even at a mere 80 hrs a week is about $3.00 an hr.
None of this is an accident, these are "labor" strategies the LGAT's use on people, as they know how to manipulate people using their techniques.
And every "cult" gets their followers to work all day everyday, for no pay. That is how they make so much profit.

This is common practice with these groups. They manipulate "volunteers" to do all the work. Then they groom a few to take jobs, which they give minimum pay for 100 hr weeks. They then even cut that down, using various tactics.

Anyone who understands business does the math at their first LGAT seminar, and then sees why the Guru's love them so much.
Its a massive money machine, as if they can get 400 people to pay $5,000, that is 2 million in ticket sales, plus product sales.
And if there are no labor costs, and they get discounts on the hotel ballroom as they have filled up the hotel rooms, its all pure profit.
On top of that is the upselling to the next seminar, and they sign them up on the spot.
And now they are adding the "cash gifts" night, where people hand over their valuables.

The people who run these seminars know most of their followers get caught up in the "Enlightenment" dream, or confused with the Non-Dual stuff, and don't think about where the millions are going.
Where are the vast amounts of cash going?
Have a look at the Guru's houses, assets, and holdings.
But no one will ever see the LGAT Guru's offshore accounts.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2009 04:09AM by The Anticult.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: July 15, 2009 04:48AM

So what is the problem, is there anything illegal in this? Or are they just good business-people.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: July 15, 2009 05:09AM

"How can anyone take anything you are saying seriously, when you SAY you have not attended a BK seminar, and you SAY you have not even read all of her books?
Is that credible? Of course not.
All of a sudden, you have a read a 200 page thread, and Janaki's blog, and then misrepresent the amount of MANY first hand complaints about Byron Katie.
And then this person magically seems to know everything about Byron Katie.
Not believable. Its BS. "

Is it possible to read the books, and be inspired, but not have attended a seminar? Just curious.

"How many thousands of hours have you spent learning about LGAT's? Zero?
Why are you trying to deflect away from the specific LGAT techniques Byron Katie is using?"

So the issue is that you've spent thousands of hours reading about LGATS and anatta hasn't?

This is what wikipedia had on LGATS: It is noticeable what the APA did.
Lorne Dawson stated in his book on cults and new religious movements that both cults and Large Group Awareness Training use similar thought-reform techniques.[27]
The American Psychological Association bureaucracy commissioned and subsequently decided not to endorse[28] and strongly criticized[29] a report by the APA Task Force on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control, in which the so-called "anti-cult" psychologist Margaret Singer included large group awareness trainings as one example of what she called "coercive persuasion". The APA characterized Singer's hypotheses as "uninformed speculations based on skewed data"[29][verification needed] and stated that the report "lacked scientific rigor and an evenhanded critical approach to carry the imprimatur of the APA." The APA also claimed that "the specific methods by which Drs. Singer and Benson have arrived at their conclusions have also been rejected by all serious scholars in the field."[30] Singer sued the APA, and lost on June 17, 1994[31] After the APA spurned the report, Singer remained in good standing in the psychological research community.[32] She reworked much of the report material into the book Cults in our Midst: The Hidden Menace in Our Everyday Lives (1995, second edition: 2003), which she co-authored with Janja Lalich.
Singer and Lalich claimed "large group awareness trainings" tend to last at least four days and usually five. The book mentions Erhard Seminars Training and its derivatives such as the Forum, "Lifespring, Actualizations, MSIA/Insight and PSI Seminars.[33]
In her book, Singer differentiated between the usage of the terms cult and Large Group Awareness Training.[33] Singer also writes that employees taking part in a company-wide Large Group Awareness Training program not only complained about attempted religious conversion, but also objected to the specific techniques used.[17]

"1) Byron Katie is a sleazy New Wage guru. Really, that has been more than established 100x over.
2) aggressive Marketing, that is the same pitch the BK people always say. but they usually blame in on one of the employees. Oh please, its the standard hard sell.
3) Money: oh please!! Its a private company, and everyone knows damn well no one will EVER know where that money went. Its PRIVATE, PERIOD. (The "non-profit" has been debunked in this thread.)
4) dishonest? Why give BK the benefit of the doubt, where there are 100 facts on the table already? You don't give mutimillionaire salespeople the benefit of the doubt, unless you are a sucker. "

So? We do live in a capitalist society if you haven't noticed. On point number 3, why is it my business what they spend their money on, as you, say it's PRIVATE, PERIOD! Maybe that suggests I should mind my business. As long as she's not supporting the Democrats or left wing 'freedom fighters', she can spend it on anything she wants. And even if she is... On point number 4, so you don't buy anything from people who have over a million dollars, if not, why not?

"But regardless, this is the kind of nonsense the BK people try on people involved with BK. That is one of the reason's its so hard for some people to get out of the grip of Byron Katie.
Here is how you do it. "

So I suppose well reasoned arguments such as those evidenced by anatta are the "coercive persuasion" technique used by Byron Katie. Terrifying!!!

"This stuff being pushed by "anatta" would not last 5 minutes in the real world, with someone with proper training in these areas.
But its not a total waste of time.
People can use it for mental practice, for dealing with some of the BS that LGAT salespeople try to shove at people. Its amazing what they will try to say to people, to keep them involved in the seminar sales-process. They will spend hours on the phone with some people.
So its good practice to learn how to dispute what they say. "

Sounds fun!

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: July 15, 2009 05:14AM

On Margaret Singer, of which these accusations against Byron Katie are based (from wikipedia)
"Her expert testimony was no longer accepted after the report of the APA taskforce on Deceptive and Indirect Techniques of Persuasion and Control, of which she was chair, was rejected by the Board of Social and Ethical Responsibility for Psychology (BSERP) of the American Psychological Association. Thereafter, courts shifted to accepting the position or the great majority of scholars studying new religious movements, moving away from the perspective of Singer and others sympathetic to her brainwashing thesis.[13] This had significant consequences later on, since it meant that brainwashing could no longer be used a defence for the practice of deprogramming.[1"

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 15, 2009 07:18AM


Wikipedia is not a reliable source to quote.

And per its disclaimer information there has not "necessarily been reviewed by professionals with the expertise necessary to provide you with complete, accurate or reliable information". Wikipedia therefore makes "no guarantee of validity." If you follow the linked discussion section you can see that this popular place on the Worldwide Web can become a venue for cranks and cultists who want to rant about someone or something they don't like. Wikipedia began as a good idea, but at times this would-be high concept place can become a bit confusing. The entry about me includes a collection of quotes and references from well-known cult apologists which means at times it may read more like a polemic than an encyclopedia entry. To better understand the problems at Wikipedia see the following link to Wikipedia Watch.

Case in point Margaret Singer, who was a greatly respected psychologist, professor of psychology and probably the most prominent cult expert of the 20th Century.

Singer testified in may court cases and the only case in which her testimony was rejected on a rather narrow basis, was the Fishman case.

That rejection was essentially based upon the lack of scientific evidence to support "mind control."

However, her testimony was otherwise consistently accepted and greatly valued.

Having addressed this misstatement on your part, I want to remind you that this thread is about Byron Katie, not Margaret Singer, politics, etc.

Please stay on topic, or start another thread about another topic, which is pertinent to this site.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: July 15, 2009 08:46AM

Fair enough, however, LGATS seems to be the main objection to Byron Katie. The critique of LGATS as far as I can tell comes from Margaret Sanger alone. So if there are other sources that deal with LGATS that are unbiased, or in depth, please point me to them. Otherwise, in the discussion pertaining to Byron Katie, if your arguments are based on a faulty premise then the faulty premise has to be investigated. The main objection to Byron Katie as far as I can gather from Anticult, yours and others statements is that her organization is LGAT-like in nature. Is there anything problematic about LGATS I was attempting to look into that myself. My son is interested in Byron Katie. I want to know if there are any dangers to this. So far the worse I've read here is that she is a slick marketing scam. That's simply a money issue. But if she were a cult, in the abusive, manipulative, violent sense, like Jim Jones and Aum that is another matter entirely. Would you guys say that is an accurate assessment, like Byron Katie is a potentially dangerous terrorist?

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 15, 2009 08:55AM

LGATs have a long history.

Note Landmark Education, EST, Sterling, Asiaworks, CBJ/People Forever, Lifespring, etc.

See []

Basically its group therapy without proper training, licensing and/or accountability.

See []

Note the liabilities and warning signs cited by a psychologist who studied LGATs and Lifespring specifically.

Also see []

This article reviews some of the techniques typically used by LGATs.

Probably potentially unsafe for your son.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: solea13 ()
Date: July 15, 2009 11:35AM

But if she [Byron Katie] were a cult, in the abusive, manipulative, violent sense, like Jim Jones and Aum that is another matter entirely. Would you guys say that is an accurate assessment, like Byron Katie is a potentially dangerous terrorist?

Well skepticalrepublican, cults and high-demand groups come in many different flavors. It's not about whether Byron Katie is a 'potentially dangerous terrorist'. It's more helpful to think about such groups as being on a 'spectrum', with the People's Temple for example, being the one of the most tragic outcomes of unquestioning obedience to a leader. Most cults don't make dramatic headlines because of mass suicides; they don't go down in a blaze of heavenly 'glory' as David Koresh's group did.

But that doesn't mean to say that people are not harmed or that their lives are not deeply affected when they become involved in such groups. When you turn your personal power over to someone who you view as almost a 'divine personage', you essentially abdicate personal responsibility for your own life. You accept that Father or in Byron Katie's case 'Mother' knows what's best for you ... even though he or she may not know you personally!

All of your life's goals risk become subordinate to the whims of the leader and the goals of the group. Everything that you have accomplished in life can seem totally irrelevant. All your future hopes for a career or family suddenly seem so ... petty, compared to the lofty goals of saving humanity through the specific teachings and techniques of the group leader.

At first it feels great! You're part of this amazing movement to heal the world! Then slowly over time, you start feeling the pressure to be perfect weighing on you. The demands of the leader and the group as a whole begin to increase. You start to feel kind of tired but there is pressure not to take a break because it means you don't care enough about the 'mission'. Certain demands seem unreasonable to you but you think it's your own faulty thinking to blame ... not that the leader really is demanding and unreasonable.

It's an insidious process. Quietly over time, living in a constant state of uncertainty, confusion and exhaustion starts to seem normal. You no longer trust your own instincts. You try to get back the initial 'high' of being with the group by attending more seminars. It's the only way to fix what's wrong with you for having doubts!

Then before you know it ... five, ten years or more is gone! Despite all the 'Work' you've done to improve yourself and the seminars you attended, you feel depressed - mildly at best or severely at worst. The demands of the group become pretty much a ball and chain holding you down. You're exhausted, broke, if you've given up your career you can't imagine what you will do with the rest of your life. You need a job but how do you explain the last ten years of your life to a potential employer!

I'm sorry this is long, but that's a more average description of what it feels like to be in a cult or group. It's not always about dramatic mass suicides and subway poisonings. There are lots of other descriptions in books and people on this website. You say your son is 'interested' in Byron Katie. Fair enough. But if I were you, I would advise him to read this thread, (and Janaki's story) before he ever set foot in one of her seminars. It might save him ten years of his life being derailed in service to Byron Katie International - a company in which a few people at the top are making a helluva lot of cash while their minions are volunteering for free to staff their seminars!!!

Byron Katie may not be Jim Jones ... but make no bones about it - people have and will sacrifice their lives to serve her as a female Christ incarnate. That is what she either truly believes or cynically wants from people. A dramatic death may simply not be on her agenda. I mean, who wants to give up the fabbie Ojai mansion and glamorous celebrity life, honey?

Just make sure your son is fully informed before he goes deeper into this ... it's really not that big a leap from a book to a seminar.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2009 11:40AM by solea13.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: July 15, 2009 12:03PM

On point one, obviously groups like Heaven's Gate and Scientology are pretty bad. I've heard Scientology actually has imprisoned people. And Heaven's Gate needs no retelling. Now, pardon me if I'm a little skeptical, are you saying that Byron Katie's group are in the same league as the likes of Heaven's Gate and Scientology? And if so, in what ways, be specific? Some obvious differences immediately come to the fore, Byron Katie has been on shows like Oprah, I happened to be flipping through the channels during an ESPN commercial and watched about 5 minutes of it. I thought she was a little obnoxious, but I would not put her in the same class as a David Koresh, an Aum Shrikyo, a Bin Ladin, or a J.Jones. She struck me full of herself, not dangerous.

Interesting, on point 2 you say about LGATS, "Basically its group therapy without proper training, licensing and/or accountability." This seems to invalidate any form of spirituality or religion. Spirituality and religion claim to have something to offer as far as helping people with their personal problems. Priests, and pastors do infact counsel. In Catholicism when you go to confession, you get counseled. So in a sense what you are saying, what you are requiring for someone to be a valid psychological counselor is that not only they come from a secular background, but that they be state sanctioned. Taking this to an extreme, it might be said that people go to their friends or parents for advise at their own peril because of a lack of a pHD.

It seems self-evident that certain people and philosophies are wiser or more endowed with wisdom then others. Several people on the "other side" (who believe Byron Katie to be one of them) have brought up sages such as in a Hindu or Indian context. Certain folks such as Ramakrishna, Shankara, and the Buddha were considered to be "enlightened". Religious founders such as Jesus and Mohammed as well. If they wanted the blessings of Cult Education Forum and Rick Ross I suppose they should have gotten that license. This discussion here atleast to me seems relevent to Byron Katie since on point 2 this is where she falls short and is central to many of the criticisms that seem to be directed at her. If only licensed counselors could give personal, emotional advise on a systematic basis, and any kind of non-state sanctioned support was disallowed, that would seem gravely totalitarian and undercut social community.

From the thing on LGATS
"a focused attack on the stability of a person's sense of self; reliance on peer group interaction; the development of interpersonal bonds between targets and their controllers and peers; and an ability to control communication among participants. Edgar Schein captured the essential similarity between the types of programs in his definition of the coercive-persuasion phenomenon. Schein noted that even for prisoners, what happened was a subjection to "unusually intense and prolonged persuasion" that they could not avoid; thus, "they were coerced into allowing themselves to be persuaded" (Schein 1961, p. 18)."

How can someone attack someone's sense of self? Is this talking about emotional abuse, such as name-calling, ridicule (which attack self-worth)? Or is it referring to teachings with the goal of reaching a no-self state? (which are often benign). The issue I have with this, is even an emotionally abusive relationship as deplorable as it is, is subjective, based on someone's interpretation of events, is consensual, and legal. If someone consents to be a part of a group or an LGAT that does control communication among participants (or for that matter a marriage where the husband forbids the wife from talking to certain friends) there is nothing illegal about it but yet it is abusive. But on the other hand what about for instance Vipassana meditation events (I don't know if they qualify as an LGAT) everyone takes a vow of silence and is silent with the other participants for 10 days. Is Byron Katie's organization like that which seems fine, or is there something more malicious going on? In what ways are communication being controlled? I want facts, not impressions. Yeah, if it's anything like what I saw in the German movie the Experiment about prisoners, then of course I wouldn't want my son involved. If it's more like Vipassana events or some kind of spiritual retreat where they "commune" with their new-age non-self it seems more benign. Well, at the very least I have your opinion, thank you for listening.

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