Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: quackdave ()
Date: January 11, 2009 01:14AM

Thanks, corboy; I suspect you're right. I just shared in that depth for the benefit of others in the same boat. I've had that sort of thing in this forum help me, although it is risky. Because of my recent experience, I suppose I should err more on the side of caution, though, so I appreciate your candor. Thanks, also, for the technique at jettisoning some of the flotsam. I see the potential in that exercise, and intend to use it.


I did the research on the Walsch fiasco prior to my reference, and actually added the quotation marks to denote the sarcasm in my 'voice' and try and show my contempt. Thanks for being so frank and encouraging, in your posts to me. Your (and others') support and advice is why I keep coming back to this thread and this forum.


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Going to Work Naked: My Journey to Byron Katie, Carol L. Skolnick
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: January 11, 2009 08:44AM

Did anyone find access to the primary article about Byron Katie by Carol Skolnick called...

Going to Work Naked: My Journey to Byron Katie
by Carol L. Skolnick

As mentioned, it appears to have been pulled offline. Maybe someone will come across it on some website, or an a message board, newsgroup, blog, or somewhere? If anyone does come across a link, maybe they can post the link here so it can be referenced?

It appears to be on a huge Byron Katie Demonoid Torrent.

Byron Katie - Loving What Is (The Work) audio file dump and extras
Created by pokky 3 months ago

Going to Work Naked.rtf

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/11/2009 08:47AM by The Anticult.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: alanwatts ()
Date: January 11, 2009 10:24PM

My $0.02,

If you start in the spiritual journey with the basics then advance (say from morality through patanjali, etc.) Eckhart Tolle is very far down the bottom of the scale. What people see in him I'm not sure. He creates alot of concepts based on mental constructs which have nothing that I can see having to do with true yoga or realization. I try to listen to his videos and he hits me as such a whiner who has a strong ego and can tell everyone what they are doing wrong. His cadence in speech is irritating. So is he legit, sure. Is he a guru, maybe. Does he have much really deep stuff to say? Nada.

Check Alan Watts, Patanajali, Inayat Khan, Vivekananda, etc. if you are looking for something that can help you instead of hand waving.

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Re: Going to Work Naked: My Journey to Byron Katie, Carol L. Skolnick
Posted by: solea13 ()
Date: January 12, 2009 08:12AM

Wow. I searched everywhere. Someone has scrubbed that essay clean off the Internet. Incredible.

I was going to contact Noumenon Journal to ask for the full copy but they have no e-mail contact address and are based in South Africa! We could contact Carol Skolnick directly :D That would take some serious chutzpah.

Hope someone else has better luck ...

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: January 12, 2009 09:29AM


Please don't promote your personal pick of gurus on this message board.

Read the rules you agreed to before posting here, this is prohibited.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: eviltwin ()
Date: January 12, 2009 11:56AM

I am thrilled to have found this board before wasting any time on any of this nonsense. I first heard the name Byron Katie when I was on vacation and having lunch with a nice family that I met. We were talking about meditation and spirituality, and she was mentioned as someone who had become "enlightened" and was now sharing a useful tool for re-evaluating bad experiences and breaking out of old behavior patterns. The people who mentioned her seemed like relatively normal, happy folks though with a definite New Age bent - less skeptical than I would tend to be. They didn't try to "sell" her particularly hard - just mentioned her and the "four questions" in passing. (As a lapsed Jew, when someone says "The Four Questions" to me, I automatically think, "Why is this night different from all other nights? etc. etc.")

It sounded interesting because of the apparent simplicity, and some surface similarity to cognitive restructuring techniques. I ordered one of her books and then I started looking around on the internet trying to learn more about her. One of the places I ended up was here on this site, and I'm glad I did. It corroborated the uncomfortable feelings I had about her and her so called work.

My first problem was that she was conducting her sessions with individuals in front of what seemed to be a studio audience, talking about very personal and private things that I wasn't sure the people really felt comfortable with discussing that way. We've become very blase in America about everything being exposed and in the open, and it practically seems that in order to get help or treatment for your problems you've got to go out in public and humiliate yourself and let everyone see you at your weakest and most vulnerable. But a psychological or spiritual practice shouldn't be emulating Dr. Phil or the Biggest Loser. A person in crisis shouldn't have to feel pressured to come up with the "right answer" (and there always seemed to be a "right answer" in these sessions I saw on YouTube etc.) in front of a crowd. That gave it a scripted, inauthentic, creepy feeling. She didn't seem to have normal emotional responses or empathy, either - she seemed detached, even angry. Certainly not "loving what is".

My second problem was the self aggrandization. The focus was always migrating back to her. If her goal is really to lift people up and help them, they should come out feeling better and more loving towards THEMSELVES and the world in general, not specifically worshipful of her. It shouldn't matter what her story is. Unless she is setting herself up as another Jesus or Buddha (or any other spiritual leader with a mythological early history) - well, she certainly is not qualified to be in that category. She is an author who wants to sell books (and from reading this board, she seems to be trying to accumulate money in a lot of more devious ways than that), not a great spiritual teacher. Maybe Oprah thinks she is - then again Oprah seems extraordinarily susceptible to suggestion.

My third problem is the callous, backward "advice" that she is dispensing to people who are undergoing life threatening situations. It's fine to have a dialogue with a lady who says "Everything I do is wrong" and ask "Is that true? Who would you be if you didn't have that thought?" It's a whole other matter to tell someone that they weren't really abused, that they really want to have cancer, that they don't need to fear war, and so on. In one situation, you are promoting a healthy skepticism of destructive thoughts (actually I'm being very generous - I don't see that this lady has the good judgment to know what is healthy or not) and in the other situation you are encouraging denial, delusion and mental illness.

Needless to say, I won't be reading her books, or using her little mind practices on myself.

I'm now trying to figure out how to tactfully get in touch with those nice people I met on vacation and tell them to stop working on "the work".

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 13, 2009 12:38AM

Alan Watts ended up as an alcoholic and married and dumped a series of wives, and left them with children to raise.

He was a terrific writer, but could not live out Zen in his private life.

One of the Buddhist precepts is to forbid abuse of sexuality and another of the grave precepts warns against darkening mind and body of self and other with intoxicants.

Watts was one of the early generation who wrote about Zen without the proper context of Buddhist precepts.

For a much better introduction, get and read Being Upright by Tenshin Reb Anderson, which integrates the Buddhist precepts into understanding and practicing Zen itself.

As for Vivekananda, despite his vast influence, he is not a reliable introduction to Hinduism.

He was Western educated, and had the very honorable intention of trying to assist Indians to deal with the trauma of India being overtaken by a technologically superior first world nation. He also wanted to break the power of the Sanskrit literate Brahmin elite who were at the top of the caste system.

Vivekananda came up with a variety of Hindu reform meant to break the power of the Brahmins. But he did it by fostering a very anti intellectual and misleadingly simplified form of Hinduism that concentrated on just a few texts, and that was so comfortable for Westerners and Western educated Indians that his version has now become an unexamined biased lens through which many Indians now learn about Hinduism


Vivekananda further develops the contrast between the "Guru" and "Pundit":

You will find that not one of the great teachers of the world went into the various explanations of texts... You study all the great teachers the world has produced and you will see that no one of them goes that way.... As my Master used to say, what would you think of men who went into an orchard, and bruised themselves counting the leaves, the size of the twigs, the number of branches, and so forth, while only one of them had the sense to begin to eat the mangoes? So leave this counting of leaves and twigs, and this note taking to others.... Men never become spiritual through such work; you have never once seen a strong spiritual man among these "leaf counters." From "The Teacher of Spirituality." Selections, pp. 54-55.

In this largely rhetorical flourish, Vivekananda treats the teacher-as-realized-sage and the teacher-as-pundit as if it the two are mutually exclusive.

Of course, the claim that none of the great teachers of India was ever an exegete is mere hyperbole that flies in the face of the fact that recognized masters like Shankara and Abhinavagupta were also great commentators. It is worth noting that Vivekananda is here addressing a largely Western audience who would have been, for the most part, ignorant of Indian intellectual and religious history.

Other aspects of the Vivekananda's distinction between the "Guru" and the "Pundit" recall the discourse of Rammohan in other ways. In a manner reminiscent of Rammohan, Vivekananda relates the "book learning" of the panditas to their purported conceit and pride:

The various methods of explaining the dicta of the scriptures are only for the enjoyment of the learned. They do not attain perfection; they are simply desirous to show their learning. From "The Teacher of Spirituality." Selections, p. 54-55.

Here, Vivekananda appears to dismiss the tradition of expounding upon the purport of the Upanishads and the consideration of that purport. But it is actually only the exposition of a particular class of teachers that Vivekananda dismisses here -- that of the "Pundits."

The exposition of the "Gurus," and apparently Vivekananda's own interpretation of Vedanta, remain intact.

The contrast between the "Guru" and the "Pundit" in Vivekananda's writings is closely related to another theme, the contrast between "book learning" and "experience." This distinction sheds light on how Vivekananda understands the distinction between the "Guru" and the "Pundit." In the following passage Vivekananda combines the two dichotomies and forms a contrast between knowledge derived from books, which "serves the intellect," and esoteric initiation from the Guru, which "serves the spirit."

This quickening impulse, which comes from outside, cannot be received from books; the soul can receive impulse from another soul, and nothing else. We may study books all our lives, we may become very intellectual, but in the end we find that we have not developed at all spiritually... In studying books, we sometimes are deluded into thinking that we are being spiritually helped; but if we analyse ourselves we find that only our intellect is being helped, and not the spirit. That is why almost every one of us can speak most wonderfully on spiritual subjects, but when the time of action comes, we find ourselves so woefully deficient. It is because books cannot give the us that impulse from outside. To quicken the spirit, that impulse must come from the another soul. That soul from which this impulse comes is called the Guru, the teacher.... From "The Teacher of Spirituality." Selections, pp. 51-51.

In fairness, V wanted to create a vision of Hinduism that would support social justice and political action--Western concepts--hence his new emphasis on experience and action. But...long term V's ideology which sought to end domination by Brahmin scholars, is now creating a new system of New Age power oppression--that of Gurus whose 'experience' overrules any amount of critical thinking.


These two essays will give an intriguing overview.



The emphasis on 'experience' at the expense of ignoring the cultural and scholarly background of Hinduism and of equating Hinduism with Advaita Vedanta when it includes very much more than that.

Vivekandandas lingering influence is to make it seem that intellectual acuity and background research are incompatible with spiritual attainment--a very reassuring message for persons eager to 'feel good' but who dont want to do their homework--an effort that would protect them from crooks.

And a distorted teaching that makes it seem that background reading is incompatible with holiness empowers charlatans who are ignorant and who want to steer us away from intellectual effort and research to ensure we never learn enough to identify the extent to which they are charlatans who have everything to gain by ensuring that we never value our minds enough to develop them, read enough--and identify these characters as charlatans.

Instructing people to keep dumb and stay out of the library is to my perspective, to tell people to darken their minds--which is as bad in its way as handing out street drugs and rot gut booze.

In fact it is worse. At least, alcohol abuse leaves people with consequences--DUI citations, puke on the floor, headaches, pissed off friends and loved ones.

But if you are convinced by some Vivekananda influenced guru or yoga teacher that intellectual effort is unspiritual, this wont leave any obvious hangover. You can go for years this way--and spend those years either failing to develop your full potential, or get fleeced.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 13, 2009 12:47AM

Someone actually tried to get me involved with BKs stuff. She approached me after I was fragile, following some disclosures I made that shook me up a bit. This had been during an Alanon group meeting.

Alanon is a 12 step group for those affected by alcohol abuse in the family.

I stayed courteous and replied that I already use tools provided by licensed mental health professionals and know how to use them, so I needed nothing from BK.

Had I not read this thread, and had I not already possessed tools from reputable and tested sources, I fear I might have been recruitable. For...this well meaning BK recruiter had approached me when I was feeling a bit fragile--and in a setting that operates on honor system--that is a 12 step group.

I and others trust in Alanon as a clean pool of water to drink from.

It would be troubling if too many recruiters for questionable organizations piss in that drinking water.

Later, a pal who had been brought to attend a BK reading by this same woman reported to me that several things about the reading event seemed peculiar.

There was strong encouragement NOT to sit with the friend you arrived with (many did ignore this sat with their buddies anyway) and she was perturbed that some persons reported that they had chosen to fast for this event--a mere book reading.

One wonders if this was actually self chosen or if people are given some sort of encouragement on some online venues or by word of mouth to fast if attending a BK reading. For unless one is Catholic and it is Lent, one doesnt usually fast unless told to do so--eg if one is preparing for medical tests under doctors orders---or has been getting some encouragement via some BK friends.

*I dont know if the bit about fasting is something eccentric and atypical that only a few BK people impose on themselves, or if this is something that is something that people are being encouraged to do.

I did a lot of fasting during my Catholic activist years and can report two things:

*Caffiene withdrawal headaches are living hell and critical thinking is very hard to do in such circumstances--even for someone like Corboy.

**After I took the precaution of going off caffiene for one week before beginning to fast, I noticed that in the absence of food, I lost
access to critical thinking. I lacked the energy to do it. My emotions also went dead calm as if I was on a tranquillizer. Stuff that would otherwise have puzzled or troubled me did not seem important.

*Close friends who fasted became serene and emotionally unavailable.

Finally, for persons with conditions such as bipolar affective disorder, fasting can destablize mood, rather than calming it

Finally most humans enjoy food and dont fast unless ill, unless for mandated medical or religious purposes.

So it seemed interesting that my pal noted that a number of people at that event mentioned they were fasting. We need more information to learn if just a very few BK people do this or if fasting has more of a role than has previously been menioned.

Final note:

During the reading at Q&A BK was actually asked (this is via my friends third person report) why, if she loved what is, had she obtained a face lift instead of loving her wrinkles for what they are.

My pal reported BK turned the query back on the questioner--trying to make it seem the questioner had problems.

My informant thought this was an inadequate response to a very reasonable and good question.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2009 12:57AM by corboy.

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Byron Katie (the Work) and Carol Skolnick DISCLAIMER excerpt
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: January 13, 2009 12:53AM

wanted to drop this into the thread...
notice how Carol Skolnick, and others who promote The Work often say...its like Cognitive Therapy?
That is a salespitch one can see in many blogs promoting The Work, its a marketing strategy, trying to associate itself with CT.

First off, The Work has nothing to do with CT. Nothing.
The first part of the 4 Questions are if anything, just basic Epistemology.
"epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief".
That is, how do you know if something is true? That is the first step of philosophy and science.

Its what happen's next with The Work that goes off the rails.
The Work goes completely haywire from that point in...on purpose, that's how its designed.

Then the Turnaround, is not Cognitive Therapy either. A "Turnaround" in CT would be called Polarized Thinking, or Black/White Thinking, which is the #1 Cognitive Distortion.

Definitions of Cognitive Distortions
1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black and white categories.

So The Work has nothing to do with Cognitive Therapy, or legit epistemology, its an extreme perversion of epistemology right after the first question.

The Work is deliberately designed to grab hold of human beings basic structure of determining "reality" so it can be literally reprogrammed. And Byron Katie put it into a "package" that she "gives away". Again, its like fishermen "giving away" a worm to fish, on the end of a hook. Its bait.

But here is the kicker.
They run around saying The Work is like CT.
But look at the Disclaimer on the website of Carol Skolnick, for example. That is what really counts.
Forget the advertising propaganda and the facts excerpted below for analysis.

Notice how they say The Work is NOT therapy, at the exact same time they get people to say its like cognitive therapy? See the deliberate word trickery?
They don't promise any results whatsoever, and admit they have no training in these areas. (meanwhile they advertise constantly with anecdotes about "results"). More legalistic word trickery.

Notice that she does NOT even endorse Byron Katie!! Its there in black and white.

Also, they can RECORD and PUBLISH your voice from the live teleclasses, and sell it on a CD, or put it on the internet.
And if you get harmed... TOUGH NUTS for you, you are on your own. Welcome to reality.

Notice how BK and her people never accept responsibilty for anything, and put it all on you?

How many people read these disclaimers? 1%?
Someone should ask those who put these massive Disclaimers about The Work out there...
lets try regard to the Disclaimers about The Work

1. Is it true? YES.
3. How do you react when you believe that thought? AVOID BYRON KATIE LIKE THE PLAGUE.
4. Who would you be without the thought? YOU WOULD HAVE TO BE AN UTTER FOOL TO DISCLAIM A DISLAIMER

Answer: YES, the disclaimers are true. So don't do The Work.

Someone in the media should do a live on-air interview with these folks, and then ask them the 4 Questions about their Disclaimers. Then you will see what is really "true".

Welcome to reality, the real reality.

(excerpt of Disclaimer for educational research and analysis. See link below for full Disclaimer)

Disclaimers and Policies

Clear Life Solutions offers instruction in and facilitation of a self-directed inquiry process, based on The Work of Byron Katie. Please be advised that Carol Skolnick, d.b.a. Clear Life Solutions, does not offer psychotherapy, is not staffed with licensed therapists nor do its principals or employees have approved psychological or other therapeutic training. The Work is not a substitute for the treatment of mental health or medical conditions and is undertaken at your own risk.

Disclaimer of Liability

The information and opinions offered during consultations with Carol L. Skolnick and expressed on her websites are accepted at your sole discretion and entirely at your own risk. By voluntarily undertaking such risk, you hereby release Carol L. Skolnick, Clear Life Solutions, its agents and employees from any and all claims, actions, damages, obligations or liabilities based upon any acts or omissions in connection with the information or processes provided herein. We make no promises or guarantees regarding the outcome of the situations for which you have sought our services.

Disclaimer of Endorsement

Carol L. Skolnick, owner of and d.b.a. Clear Life Solutions, our agents and employees are not employees of, The Work Foundation, Inc., Byron Katie International or with their founder Byron Kathleen Mitchell, citing them herein as informational sources, with all due acknowledgment, for the convenience of our clients. As such we are exempt from any and all claims, actions, damages, obligations or liabilities based upon any acts or omissions in connection with said companies, websites and individuals. We are not responsible for the content, opinions, or advice expressed by Byron Katie and her agents. Linking to Byron Katie's websites does not constitute or imply endorsement of her products and services and assumes no liability for or related to any actions between our clients and readership and Byron Katie and her organization.

Telephone Recording Policy

Speaking up during our live teleclasses serves as your authorization and release for Clear Life Solutions to record and use all class recordings for publication in electronic form, on CDs, and on our website. You're welcome to participate without giving your name, if you prefer.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2009 01:19AM by The Anticult.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: January 13, 2009 01:47AM


The Work is not a substitute for the treatment of mental health or medical conditions and is undertaken at your own risk.


Who even wants to admit one has a mental health condition?

Who even wants to admit they need to go to a physician?

To do that means admitting

1) You have a problem you cant take care of via your own resources--and lots of us hate to admit this.

2) It means accepting the authority of a health care provider. Lots of us hate doing that.

This is the group of people (a large constituency) who are attracted to this sort of thing--not knowing its an unlicensed Wild West where they are venturing unprotected, feeling powerful but actually in a howling wilderness where they are signing away their right as US citizens to sue for damages in case they incur harm.

Pseudoegalitarian unlicensed 'healers' exploit this reluctance many have to admit they have troubles beyond their private coping skills, troubles for which they need to trust the authority of licensed health care practitioners who are legal fiduciaries and accountable to an ethos of care--and who DONT for all their authority, ever make you sign this sort of disclaimer form--and who actually protect confidentiality in case they record you during a session.


The Pseudo Egalitarians make it seem they are girlpals. Girlpals who have made good and offering us just a few simple tools.



People who wanna hang onto their power are the ones who do that.

They are not 'girl pals'.

Ever have a girlfriend recommend a new skin care product and
just as she hands you the tube of moisturizer suddenly tells you to sign a disclaimer form releasing her from responsibility in case you get a massive skin breakout or gangrene from whatever she is urging you to try?

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2009 01:59AM by corboy.

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