Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Date: February 20, 2008 02:06AM
I'm fascinated by some of the angry, ranting-type responses to the variety of teachers out there. Some of these teachers are extraordinary--Byron Katie for example--and I mean that in a positive way. I have tried several forms of therapy, including stuff focusing on PTSD--nothing comes close to Katie's work.
But what I really want to say is that those angry voices here are giving themselves away--they are clearly in a state of reaction, and that is not generally a useful or trustworthy place. A common thread in many of them is the reliance on 'i'm being logical and rational'. What form of logic and rationality are you using? Aristotelian logic? Socratic dialectics? Critical rationalism? Informal logic? Pragma-dialectics? Or are you just saying, whatever seems right to you, that's rational? Your own personal rationality. That should give you pause. How do you know you are being rational, and not just rationalizing? What happens when you encounter someone else who also thinks they are rational, but disagree with you? Turn up the volume? Sprinkle your posts with name-calling?
What I hear in these angry, reactive voices--and I feel empathy for them on this--is that they don't appear to have developed protective psychological boundaries--those healthy, but permeable, boundaries that we all need to be in the world populated by others--whether it's in interactions our wife, our family, our religious leaders, churches, politicians, or even the books we read. When we interact with others, with what's outside us, we need to be able to take some of it in, enough to make sense of it, to give it our attention. Not all of it at once. But also, in acting to protect ourselves by taking in a little at a time, we can't go overboard and completely block it off--that would be a dangerous wall we would hide behind, and never learn anything. Yet nor can we just drop the boundary and allow everything in. Both of these--being walled off, and being boundaryless--are what I hear in some of the above posts on BK.
A real sign of being boundaryless--having no permeable but protective boundary--is exaggerating what these teachers are saying. By the way, this is called a straw man fallacy--an informal logical fallacy, identified by Aristotle (or was he a flake too?). It means distorting people's ideas in order to make them easy to attack. When byron katie asks, 'are you an abuser--can you find it'? People without boundaries might say "Byron Katie says I'm an abuser, I caused the abuse." In fact, she didn't. She asked you if you were--she asked you to ask yourself. This is quite different--but without protective boundaries, you have to protect yourself from this whole discussion, because you can't handle the whole thing at once, and all its implications for who you are in the world. With a protective, permeable boundary, you could take in a little at a time. You could ask yourself her four questions, one a time. You could handle what comes up in you in response.
For example, someone, whether it's BK or my friend, suggests to me that despite abuse I suffered, I was also an abuser. If I have no boundaries, this will hurt, I will take it literally, I will get extremely angry, I will feel as if it is true and yet have no way to counter the bitterness of it. It's way too much at once. I will have no choice but to react against it.
If I have too strong a boundary, I am walled-off, and I will silently laugh at the person saying it, if I even bother to process the words. But chances are, I won't even bother to post on a site like this. Nothing really touches me, nothing can change me, it doesn't matter, I'm protected from you idiots.
If I modulate between both of these, I will go from being bitter and cold and bored to being angry and vengeful, and the swing between the two will hurt alot, adding it s unpredictability.
The only truly sane place to be is right in the middle, with a permeable boundary, under my control. Huh, I ask myself; In what way have I been an abuser? And I start to think of the ways. And I experience a different perspective, and I begin to realize--slowly--that a reliable way to explore and change is to ask myself, when am I doing what I accuse others of doing? How is the opposite of what I think just as true, or maybe truer?
Don't be boundaryless and freak out about this advice. Just put it on the table, and think about it, gently. As you build up your boundary, or create some airholes in the one you have built, you want to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You do have something to say--but you need to acknowledge what's out there too as often reasonable, even if it's 'weird' You need to first of all, try to understand what others are saying, not what your reactions are making of it.
My understanding is that a board like this ought to help people negotiate the world, and in the world there are people who will abuse your trust. Focus there. It makes little sense to be attacking people and distorting their messages when these messages are simply asking you to try their ideas on for size. That's the mental immune system freaking out, creating an allergy to what it thinks is crazy. What's crazy are without the protective boundaries to make sense of things. Let's use this board to develop those. When we are in reaction, we won't be able to do the work, every little thing will seem like a threat. Acting that way is what's crazy.