Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and hypnotic eyes, false intimacy
Date: June 19, 2010 01:22AM
I'm replying to a couple of your posts here.
I am sorry you've been going through a painful time. I understand that anything that helps you relieve that pain is hard to see being criticized. Please bear with me as I reply because the reason I post here at all is that I don't want people to suffer needlessly, even at the hands of someone who says she's doing what she does for the same reason!
If you have had a traumatic experience, and you want to know more what I'm talking about when I refer to psychology in my post below, I HIGHLY recommend reading Trauma and Recovery by Dr. Judith Herman. It is one of the most highly acclaimed books on trauma; it helped me recover and it covers all these topics in detail and will answer all your questions on why I say BK's turnarounds can be so harmful (even if its users don't realize consciously that it's harming them or how).
[We suffer when we believe thoughts that are stressful. It is a very simple concept. Not at all complicated or manipulative.]
I have read and seen a lot of examples of people doing the Work, and I tested it out for myself as well. Yes, some of our stressful thoughts may be false, but not all of them. Of course, if I am riddling myself with stressful thoughts all day long, worrying about things that might never happen, like "my daughter will die today", the question "Is that true?" is a very good question to ask. I can tell myself, well, it's statistically very unlikely, and let it go. It's why I wanted to read her new book in the first place when I read about it in Oprah, because I tend to struggle with anxiety and her solution sounded helpful. (BTW, why does she have to write so many books if the concept is so simple?) But in many cases, such as "I hate my job," or "I'm angry at my mom for being nitpicky of me growing up," or "I'm sad that grandmother died," I will answer YES to the question "Is that true?" and stop there, because they ARE true statements. So I will find other ways to relieve the stress of those thoughts, such as: find another job, think about the money I'm earning that supports our family, forgive my mom, and just accept that sometimes in life, I will suffer and I will feel stress and pain, and THAT'S OKAY and NORMAL. I don't know if you've realized this yet, but Katie doesn't ever allow people to answer "Yes" and stop there. They have to come to believe that the answer is "No." That's what I have a problem with in that area. Even people who are simply grieving over the recent loss of a loved one are not supposed to feel grief according to her. But grief is normal and natural and should not be shunned or frowned upon or rushed through or 'waved away.'
In addition, the statement that "We suffer when we believe thoughts that are stressful" is in itself based on a belief system that isn't necessarily true.
[I have never heard of anyone being harmed by inquiring and questioning the thoughts that continually cause them to suffer. In my experience, it only serves to help; the pain ceases.]
Even just by continuing to read this thread (although there are other testimonies on other websites), you'll realize that there are people who did the Work on their own, unrelated to the School, whose lives were made MORE stressful and painful as a result, because they were trying to live a lie. People who follow her methods incompletely (like maybe they do allow themselves to answer 'yes') are not as at risk of being harmed by them. But if you're a die-hard do-everything-she-says-to-the-letter follower, you're at great risk indeed of experiencing MORE suffering and stress sooner or later because you're operating against reality. I don't know which camp you fall into; I hope it's the former.
Did you see my post where I asked a question about the Work, and can you answer that for me? I'll post it again here: Why is it that once people have done the Work on something, they don't then do the Work AGAIN on the conclusion they come to as a result of having done the Work the first time? If you are supposed to question every thought, shouldn't this include the thoughts you have as a result of doing the Work?
[Question, question, question! That doesn't say 'mind-control' to me! (as in someone else controlling my mind!) It means 'get in touch with your truth, your reality.' and the way to do that is to simply question.]
On the surface that sounds perfectly fine and wonderful. There are two problems with this though:
1) In her interviews, Katie gets people to come to KATIE'S truth/reality, NOT their own. SHE tells them what to believe, and they are expected to agree with her in front of thousands of people in a matter of minutes. She doesn't just keep having them ask themselves questions and come to their own conclusions. She TELLS them what to believe.
2) Notice that it's not 'get in touch with truth or reality,' it's "get in touch with YOUR truth, YOUR reality." That's not necessarily the same thing. It opens the door to believing that reality is subjective, it's all in your head... which is EXACTLY what Katie teaches - although maybe you haven't read or watched enough by her to realize that yet. And yes, of course, we can never PROVE that any reality exists outside of our own minds; that's an age-old philosophical question. So Katie runs with it and tells people they don't have to suffer because what they're suffering about is all in their heads. She also believes that everything outside ourselves, including other people, is really just what we've made up in our own heads and they are really all just part of us, which is one way she gets abuse victims to believe that 'they abused themselves.' So when she talks about accepting and loving what is (which is a great concept), that's only a 'hook' to get people interested, because then she goes on to say that the way you come to accept and love it, is to realize that it's just in your head anyway and nothing is really real. That's why she can speak so unemotionally about horrific events.
[She is a lover of reality. She is a lover of 'what is'.]
That is what she claims, but look closer. As I mentioned above, she has said many times that there is no reality, that nothing is real, that you can create whatever reality you want, and that reality is really 'nothing.' She has also spoken of her desire to 'become nothing' and that the more people do the Work the closer she will be to that goal. This is almost (if not exactly) the same belief as Buddhism and non-dualism. And those beliefs in themselves aren't necessarily harmful or psychologically damaging. I may not agree (I do think there is a solid objective reality outside myself), but that doesn't mean it's a wrong belief. It's only when coupled with all of her other teachings and methods that it becomes something that concerns me as far as the damage it can do to people.
[I think it is sad that people take what they have heard, second-hand, and run with it and repeat it, as if it were fact.]
I said "IF what people are saying is true." There are several testimonies on it which all corroborate with each other. What they describe is extremely similar to other LGATs and cults, including the cult in which I personally experienced these same things... so yes, I tend to believe that they are true. All of these methods are as old as the hills; nothing new. I posted those links about mind control because you can't insist that she's not using it if you don't even know what it is. So now hopefully you know what it is. And you have no way of knowing for sure that she's NOT using it at her School any more than I have of knowing for sure that she IS, since as you pointed out, neither of us have been there. So all we have to go by are the testimonies as far as what goes on at the School, since BK keeps it very private and secret. Have you read people's testimonies on their experiences? What motive would they have for making up those stories? Her seminars like the one you attended are videotaped and publicly accessible, but the School is not, which in itself is interesting.
But regardless of what goes on at the School, and even if people writing about it are bald-faced liars... As I said, my biggest problem with BK is what she teaches people who have suffered trauma, especially child-rape. If you have trouble understanding why it's harmful, study basic psychology. But it seems to me that one doesn't need to study psychology to know that "telling a woman who has survived child rape that she is abusing herself, has abused the abuser and was involved in this to get the love/attention/approval she was after, that this is a GREAT BIG RED FLAG. It's very obvious and I don't know how anyone could miss it." That's quoted from someone else's post just so I don't have to re-word it, but I have read the section in Loving What Is where she does this, and watched some videos of her interviews. It is horrifying to me. But as I said in an earlier post, "if people who read her books aren't bothered by her interviews or her basic beliefs about reality and Godhood etc, then nothing they read about her online would be likely to change their minds about her."
[But the turnaround, instead, serves to ease the 'victim mentality' that causes so much suffering. Personally, when I feel the 'victim', it's the most painful state imaginable.]
As far as easing the 'victim mentality,' again that is covered in basic psychology. Let's take me for example. I have no problem at all stating that I was a 15-year victim of a cult. Yes, I was a victim. I am fine with that statement now; it doesn't cause me ANY suffering or stress to think that thought. Why? Not because I turned it around onto myself, but because I went to counseling for two years, read tons of literature, did lots of journaling, and worked very hard to forgive the cult leader and everything involved in that experience that was hurtful. And after 4 years, I could say for sure that I was fully healed from my PTSD. I no longer had daily suicidal thoughts, nightmares, anxiety attacks, or flashbacks. I could actually recognize some good things that came out of my experience, such as meeting my husband, and I could recall some good times. I no longer needed medication, and I was no longer in any emotional pain. (And if you're wondering, the only reason I'm posting here is that I googled "Byron Katie" before reading her book and this site came up.) Another example: one of my best friends was raped at knifepoint as a teen. Counseling didn't work for her, but doing sessions for 6 months with me and another friend who had been raped, and working through it with detailed journaling, did. She was able to work through it, and move on, and is no longer pained by it. There are many ways to 'ease the victim mentality' that don't involve TELLING YOURSELF LIES. And yes, for a victim of child-rape (or any rape), to believe that THEY ABUSED THEIR ABUSER or that THEY ABUSED THEMSELVES and they allowed or wanted it "for the love/attention" or what-have-you means they are believing very sick and very harmful LIES that are not conducive to true healing and recovery. Yes, psychologically healthy healing methods DO take longer; we're all about the quick-Fix these days which is one of the reasons BK's way is so enticing -- it only takes "minutes!" But it is NOT healthy, and is very sick and twisted. The real reason people feel pain or suffering or stress when they talk about being a victim of something, is that they haven't recovered from the pain of the event. Once they've recovered, they can say without stress, "I was a victim of XYZ." That doesn't mean they'll never feel any pain if they recall it, but it's no longer distressing. And I'm okay with feeling sad sometimes when I think about my experience. I doubt there is one adult in the world who has not gone through something very painful in their lives. It makes me feel more connected to the human race, and more aware of things, and wiser.
I was wondering, how do you feel about the quotes posted here from her book Losing the Moon?
Christa's post had some great points that I hope you'll think about too. :)
All the best,
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 06/19/2010 01:49AM by Splash90.