Re: Guruphiliac: AN ABNORMAL ATTRACTION TO GURUS Programmed Confusion
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 17, 2010 04:59AM

Byron Katie is becoming more and more mainstream. I was at a bookstore yesterday in Salt Lake City that I hadn't been to in a while, just passing time because I was on-call for work in downtown SLC. It's a "metaphysical" bookstore and I don't frequent them like I used to anymore. There was a whole display on a wall with her products, books and CDs and her face everywhere. If I didn't know anything about her the impression I would get would be a compassionate, intelligent, insightful woman. The way she smiles, the way she holds her chin in her hand to convey "I'm listening to you" "tell me everything" "I care". (Blech!) There are also "The Work" facilitators and retreats advertising in Utah. I think Katie is as dissociated as a fox. She can't do what she does without being highly intelligent and manipulative and aware. I think narcissitic personality disorder or even sociopathic personality disorder fit her more.

In the bigger book chains like Borders and Barnes and Noble, she's also getting more visible and is doing collaborations with the even more popular authors like Wayne Dyer ("Making Your Thoughts Work For You") and Eckhhart Tolle. I don't understand how someone with such shady practices can pass into mainstream self-help field unnoticed for what she is. And I don't understand what the hell Oprah is thinking. After the James Ray incident you'd think she'd be a little more careful in who she promotes.

I think anyone who does what Katie does (uses mind control to gain followers and get their way and doesn't care who gets hurt), has NPD just by the evidence of what they're doing. If she didn't make up her enlightenment story involving the roach at the halfway house, and it was actually a dissociation episode, then the NPD is probably what caused her to interpret it the way she did afterwards. Most people who experience dissociation (that they didn't consciously cause) do NOT suddenly say "OMG that was AWESOME, now I have to find a way to live like that all the time because it felt so good!" Most people are bothered by it. But Katie jumped all over it and it's now become her ticket to power, control, money, security, adoration... all the things NPD people have to have.

As far as the mainstream, it seems like she probably got in so well because her surface teaching of "ask yourself the 4 questions whenever you have a thought that bothers you" is simple, harmless, effective, and done individually and voluntarily. If that was really all there is to it, then all would be fine. Where her empire gets evil is that she convinces people to go further and 'deeper' than that and attend her school, 'volunteer' for her, etc etc. And yes, it is very disappointing that Oprah would be such a big promoter for her; isn't Oprah first and foremost a journalist and therefore should be more skeptical and willing to research further? I wrote a letter to O magazine 2 days ago sharing JJ's post about what she experienced at the school. One thing's for sure, I now know not to read any book before researching the author further. I was going to read a BK book after reading about her in O magazine!

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Re: Byron Katie(the Work) sexual abuse, incest, denial, false memories FMS
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 19, 2010 03:44AM

The Anticult
If it hurts, you are lying.

I bow to the floor, kneel in praise, of those who discovered Truth before me and were kind enough to talk and write about it. Jesus, Siddhartha, Katie, ...

WOW Anticult... that is AWFUL. I take back what I said in my last post about the 4 questions in and of themselves being harmless!!

1 - "If it hurts, you are lying." That is one of the most ridiculous statements I've ever heard. And clearly an extremely damaging and destructive belief to have. And very different (I think) from Buddhism; the book I'm reading indicates that in Buddhism the first noble truth is the truth of suffering. Then you go on to learn how to be at peace with that truth. BK's way of dealing with it is to convince yourself it's not real!

2 - "I bow to the floor, kneel in praise, of... Katie" !!!!! words fail me.


Spiritual Recovery Resources: []

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Re: Byron Katie(the Work) sexual abuse, incest, denial, false memories FMS
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: May 19, 2010 05:19AM

Byron Katies so-called "Four Questions" are about as harmless as a spiderweb is to a fly.
Its a trick.

And Byron Katie even says...come into my parlor...said the spider to the fly...then she laughs...

Byron Katie (the Work) and The Work on The Web, The Spider and the Fly

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 09:44AM

I looked at her page on Wikipedia. I find it VERY odd that in the 'cricitism' section there is NO mention of her questionable cult-like practices. I can only assume that her cronies are always on that page every few seconds deleting anything like that..??!!? So I took the liberty of adding this, though I'd be surprised if it stays very long.

There are serious psychological implications with the four questions being used for trauma such abuse, especially child abuse. Victims are coached to turn it around so that they take responsibility for the abuse, even child abuse.<ref>[]; This can cause further psychological harm.

The School for the Work uses coercive mind control techniques such as food deprivation (36 hour fast that participants are not told about and then told if they don't do it they will fail at the Work), no contact with the outside world (cell phones confiscated), trance-inducements, no form of media other than Byron's own works allowed to be read/watched, etc. <ref>[];

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 11:54AM

I fleshed out the Wikipedia entry a bit more than what I posted above. We'll see if it sticks!

I also watched a few videos on YouTube. part 1 of the Israeli woman's fear of war, and also one about someone's father dying. My off-the-bat reactions:

1) She made a few good points in each, which of course any guru will do so that you say, 'well that sounds ok' and then keep following them further down the rabbit hole.

2) What is UP with her hand gestures? It was like she was doing sign language the whole time. And her two fingers, like in the Jesus paintings. Weird.

3) She's soooo condescending. You can almost see the impatience and arrogance emanating out her pores. "Let's see if you can follow this one." Um, yea, you really aren't that hard to follow. She clearly believes she's living on some higher plane of existence than the poor unenlightened saps she's interviewing.

4) Her humor in the face of these very serious issues really bothered me. She kept acting like these people's concerns were a big joke, kept making them (and the audience) laugh, kept smiling about the things they came to her about. I guess it's one of her ways of communicating her message of 'reality isn't really real' nonverbally too. She really doesn't believe any of it's real, so hey, why shouldn't she have a good laugh about their problems?

I read a bit from "Loving What Is" about the child incest victim. UGGGGHHH. How horrible. AND in front of an audience!! It gave me chills. []

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2010 11:58AM by Splash90.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: May 21, 2010 06:29PM

Hi Splash90,

I haven't been to this thread of conversation for a while...... welcome, and thanks for your input. :-)


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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 09:19PM

Thanks, HM2X! I know I'm replying to all this 2 years late, but since I just heard about her, it's all new and fascinating to me. I've always been very interested in social issues, even as a teen, and even after I worked through my own cult recovery, the whole concept of how cults work still continues to interest me... it's such a bizarre thing. Sometimes I have to step away, because I get easily depressed, but when something like this pops up I'm always curious about it.

And I just hate to know that people are getting hurt by this kind of stuff and I like to try to help spread awareness if I can, and in order to do that I have to know what I'm talking about.

As of this morning the info I added to Wikipedia is still there.. woo hoo!! []

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 10:08PM

I reached a point where the obvious turnarounds didn't feel true anymore... and I had to look deeper for what was true. By doing the Worksheets, I started to see things that I hadn't seen before... like the fact that BK was an "anti-Christ". Yep, that came about in my turnarounds. I also started to see how manipulative my in-laws were, and how what they were doing to me was breaking down my sense of self. I realized that The Work isn't supposed to work this way... but I had to find what was TRUE. And, this was obviously what was true. There were times when nothing even turned around.

It was around this time when I discovered that if I tried to turnaround a stressful thought like, "My mother-in-law is evil" to myself... I would break down into tears, and feel nauseated. I came to realize that this was my own way of letting myself know that... well, that my mother-in-law IS evil... and the fact that she was constantly tearing me down is what caused my stress. It had nothing to do with my thoughts. It was my body's way of saying, "Hey, JJ... this stuff is not in your best interest."

BK says that until you get to the point where you can see your enemy as your friend, you're not done with your Work.

Wrong. When you get to the point where you can see that your enemies really are your enemies and the cause of your stress, you're done with The Work.

I realized that if I were to see my in-laws as friends, I would lose my marriage, my home, and everything that is sacred and valuable to me. It's just not smart to call your enemies friends... and to fail to see how they are hurting you... and to let them keep doing it. It's pretty dumb, actually... unrealistic, and potentially harmful to your own well-being. (However, I realize how this belief could be valuable for BK among her followers.) I came to understand that what The Work was doing to people... was really messed up in this way.

JJ - thanks for sharing your story. I have to say it is so cool that you ended up doing the Work ON the Work!! If everyone did that, BK'd soon be out of business. It's so ironic how people rave about the Work, they find so many solutions from it, but they only question the original thought, and stop there; they don't go on to question that NEW 'truth.' They don't do the Work ON the Work. So it's an incomplete (and hypocritical) process.

It seems to me like two big problems with the theology of the Work itself (not even taking into account the cult methodologies) are:

1) you are never allowed to answer "Yes" to the question "Is that true?" BK always takes you to the point where you decide that it's not true. If it were truly a benign method of inquiry and simply TESTING your thoughts, finding some of them are true and some aren't, it would be a helpful practice. But you aren't allowed to ever stop at question 1 or 2 with a "yes" answer. You have to come to a point of believing that the thought is not true. So looking at your examples of your in-laws, you had to convince yourself that they really aren't toxic -- when in fact they really are. And you found that trying to believe a lie caused you and your family much more stress and problems than you'd had before doing the Work. (But in the end, it did get you to the point of being able to cut off ties with them altogether because of what you learned about cults and even by trying to live by the opposite of what your gut told you. So some good did come out of it, at least.)

2) It seems that often when people do the Work, they are trading one stress for another... like you did with the situation with your family.

For another example, there is a troubling thought I have every single morning: "I have to go to work." What would happen if I did The Work on that thought?

Is it true? Yes, if I want to keep my job and my family to be able to afford a house. No, if I want to end my career and not have as much money.

Can you absolutely know that it's true? No, for the reasons stated above.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I get depressed and feel stressed. And then I get up and go to work.

Who would you be without the thought? Well, I'd be a person who didn't work, whose family depended only on one income so our lifestyle would radically change. I'd leave behind the stress of working, but my husband and I would pick up the stress of financial difficulty.

Turnaround: I don't have to go to work.

I did this tongue-in-cheek - although it is true that I really don't want to work; I would rather be a stay-at-home mom. But I weigh the pros and cons of it and right now it's the best thing to do. And yes, the thought "I have to go to work today" DOES depress me and stress me out every weekday morning! But that's life on this planet. The vast majority of us get up every day and do things we don't want to do and that cause us stress. If we tried to live in such a way that we never had negative stress in our lives, we would abscond all responsibility to ourselves and others and we'd probably end up in a halfway house like Katie did. If I really tried to live in a completely non-stressful way, I'd have to find a shack on some land somewhere and live by myself and grow a garden for food. But then not being around others would make me lonely, which is stressful. Maybe some rabbits would get into my garden, which would be stressful. And so on. I don't think there's any way to avoid trouble; you're only trading one kind for another.

I was noticing something about all the statements that I've read BK or people doing the Work on. It seems like they are always a certain kind of statement, that starts with feelings. "I'm afraid of," "I'm mad at", etc. So are there rules about the certain kinds of statements you can use to do the Work on?

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 11:02PM

My section about the School on Wikipedia just got deleted. I don't know if it was because I quoted content from this page (JJ's story) or some BK supporter deleted it.

5 minutes later... I just added a truncated version of the information on the School with no quoted text and it also got deleted immediately.

OK now everything i added has been deleted. It's either a BK supporter or I'm violating some Wikipedia rule. I do know that this happens constantly with other pages dealing with questionable groups -- on the ICOC page (the group I was in), criticisms constantly got deleted. Here's what I posted:

There are serious psychological implications with the four questions being used for trauma such as abuse, especially child abuse. Victims are coached to turn it around so that they take responsibility for the abuse, even child abuse.<ref>[]; This can cause further psychological harm.

The School for the Work uses unethical [[mind control ]] techniques such as food deprivation, no contact with the outside world (cell phones confiscated), and much more. The things done at the School are said to be voluntary, but participants are told that if they don't do them, they will fail the School.<ref>[]; <ref>[];

Katie uses the methods of [[Ericksonian Hypnosis ]], [[neuro-linguistic programming]] and [[Large Group Awareness Training ]] to effect "the Work". These methods include the use of hypnosis and patterned language to override the objections of your conscious mind. Ericksonian Hypnosis is an acceptable form of psychotherapy when used by a licensed practicioner with the knowledge and consent of the subject. However, in The Work of Byron Katie, these methods are used without the knowledge or consent of the subjects. Neither Katie nor the staff have licenses to practice psychotherapy or hypnosis at the School. The staff are volunteers and pay the School's tuition fee.<ref>[];

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2010 11:17PM by Splash90.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Splash90 ()
Date: May 21, 2010 11:33PM

I read through Wikipedia's content guidelines. I'm going to wait a day and then try again with this version, unless anyone has a better suggestion:

There is documentation of rape and incest victims taking partial or full blame for what happened to them.

The School for the Work has been accused of using unethical [[mind control ]] techniques.

I got a message explaining the deletion:

You are required to follow Wikipedia policies in your editing of this article. All comments regarding living people - especially serious allegations - must only include verifiable information from reliable sources. Blogs and discussion forums aren't acceptable for such such information. If you continue to edit the article as you have been doing you are likely to be blocked.

I replied with this:
Hi - thank you for the explanation. Two of my sources were published books: Byron Katie's book Loving What Is, and Margaret Singer's book Cults in Our Mist. Are those acceptable sources? If there were a separate page on the School for the Work rather than on Katie herself I would post this there.

Anticult - is there a way to find a 'reliable source' for the fact that BK is not licensed to practice psychotherapy or hypnosis?

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/21/2010 11:46PM by Splash90.

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