Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: anatta ()
Date: July 14, 2009 05:44AM

The Anticult

Before I dive into our areas of disagreement, let me offer a few points of concession.

1) There are a lot of sleazy gurus out there, and Byron Katie might be one of them. I don't think she is, but I can't say for sure. I agree that it's important to try and expose manipulative practices when we see them. However, I also think we need to be careful and responsible with our critiques, and not claim to know things we have no way of knowing for sure.

2) I dislike BK's slick marketing. The first time I visited her website, I instantly closed it and didn't return for a year. However, this is a matter of personal taste and does not disprove the validity or effectiveness of what she's selling. I know that "spiritual" types tend to think that authentic teachers can't be savvy marketers, as if truth-tellers only come in the form of robed mendicants.

3) I'm uncomfortable with the money issue. If she's pulling in millions of dollars, where is it going? I'd like to see some transparency from the for-profit side of her organiztion, especially since she accepts donations. What percentage of the profits are being used to "move The Work" and what percentage is lining her pockets? If the profits are large and she truly cares about helping people, why not lower the tuition of her school to make it more accessible? Even if she is legitimate, I would think she'd want to avoid the appearance of impropriety, especially considering the history of greedy gurus.

4) If it's true that she's being dishonest, then that's a serious issue. I intend to take a look at her two oldest books and see for myself. Until then, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. It seems to me that BK has been wildly misunderstood and misrepresented throughout this thread, and it wouldn't surprise me if her alleged "dishonesty" is just another example of her words being misinterpreted.

Now on to the main areas of contention, as I see them.

The Anticult
So instead of more promotion and shilling for Byron Katie....

This thread contains some serious allegations against Byron Katie. I believe some of these allegations are based on faulty logic, misrepresentations of her positions, and if I may be blunt, shoddy evidence. Too often when a guest on this forum tries to raise this point, they are accused of being a troll, a shill, or an apologist. (This is an unfair rhetorical tactic, by the way, and the enemy of reasoned discourse.)

For the record, my motivation is not to defend Byron Katie. Nor am I emotionally invested in whether she's an enlightened being or not. What does interest me is the truth. And frankly, I'm concerned about the quality of evidence and logic that folks are using to condemn this woman and her methods. Some of it is very, very flawed.

Here's an example of what I mean. The BK critics here continually point out that anecdotes and testimonials do not constitute solid evidence that The Work works. And yet, these same folks will use anecdotes and negative testimonials to "prove" the opposite, that The Work is dangerous. Kind of a double standard, right?

For example, an individual in this thread attended a BK seminar. By her own admission, she didn't understand what was being taught. (She clearly states she "didn't get it.") In my mind, you should probably comprehend something before you attempt to critique it. This individual also states that the other 299 people in attendance seemed to find the seminar beneficial.

Forgive me if I'm missing something here, but it seems to me that you're placing a huge amount of weight on one person's negative testimonial because it supports your position, while completely discounting the potentially positive testimonials of the other 299 people who were in attendance. To make matters worse, this one individual admits she didn't even grasp the material. Furthermore, she attended the seminar only AFTER having been exposed to, and influenced by, the material on this forum. So what we have here is a sample size of one, and a potentially biased sample at that. How exactly is this compelling evidence?

Next, we have the negative testimonial of Janaki, a former disgruntled volunteer whose blog I read from start to finish. I kept waiting for some juicy secret to reveal itself. It never did. The woman worked with BK for more than a decade -- over ten long years -- and the most damning thing she can say is that BK once gave her a cold stare and seemed stressed out a couple times, and that there were some misunderstandings in which her feelings were hurt. That's it. Not very compelling when you consider that our own long-term acquaintances probably have more dirt on us than Janaki has on BK. If you've known someone for 10 plus years, chances are you've had a misunderstanding or two, and could probably write a laundry list of grievances.

Dubious anecdotal evidence like this is sprinkled throughout this thread. For instance, on page 1 or 2, we have an Amazon reviewer accusing BK of being cultish. She gives the book "Loving What Is" one star. From her review, it's clear that the woman didn't take the time to understand the text, far less read it. She says she "muddled through it." And of course, this is another fine example of cherry-picking testimonials. No mention was made in this thread about the numerous five-star reviews that the book received. (There were more than 50.) Exactly how much weight should I put in this kind of "evidence?"

The Anticult
Also, Byron Katie has been shown, by insiders, and people attending her seminars, that she does NOT live "in a permanent state of uninterrupted bliss

Are you asking me to accept the anecdotal testimonies of two people I've never met -- a disgruntled former volunteer and a random internet poster -- who purport to know what BK was thinking and feeling? Do you not see why I might find this a little incredulous? Have you ever had someone misinterpret your thoughts and feelings? Happens to me regularly. By the way, this is one of my biggest gripes with the so-called "evidence" presented in this thread. So much of it is based on mind-reading, where you attribute thoughts and feelings to BK that may or may not be accurate. Your analyses of BK's alleged persuasion techniques are particularly suspect. For example, when she says "honey" or "sweetie," is she using covert psychological black ops? Maybe. Or maybe she's just an affectionate lady. Either way, I think it's wrong to claim that you know for certain one way or the other. You don't. Period.

The outrage over the release form is bewildering. (Would "laughable" be too harsh a word?) The death clause is pretty standard fare. Just do a Google search for "accident," "waiver," and "death." I've seen the death clause used in a variety of contexts, including volunteer activities and events, camps and field trips, seminars and retreats, etc. Examples: University of Southern California travel waiver, Notre Dame University event, Catholic retreat, leadership conference, gym membership. They all have death clauses.

Furthermore, I don't agree that the fine print of the legal form refutes BK's claims. Where has she said that her school is designed to cure illnesses, and should be used as a substitute for professional treatment? Where has she claimed to be a healthcare professional? Legal forms are always draconian. Have you ever read the licensing agreements that come with software? Her release form really says more about our litigious society and the quirkiness of the legal system than it does about Byron Katie.

The issue of credibility and accountability is a tricky one. If it is possible for a human being to completely eradicate suffering -- notice I said "if" -- then who is the most qualified to speak on the subject? A licensed psychologist or the person who has actually achieved the state of non-suffering? I'm not saying that BK is or isn't more qualified than a licensed professional. I am simply posing a hypothetical question.

The problem is that for thousands of years, we have not had the ability to verify or disprove enlightenment claims, which means that all sorts of shady characters have abused the concept of enlightenment to manipulate people. Is Byron Katie one of those manipulators? Maybe, maybe not. Fortunately, we live in an era where we might be able to put these questions to rest once and for all by using brain imaging scans and other technologies.

The Anticult
And you say that Byron Katie claims are testable and falsifiable by science? They actually are NOT.

I'm not sure why you insist that BK's claims are untestable. Perhaps they are untested. Perhaps they are difficult to test. But surely they are as testable as medications or various therapeutic treatments. If she claims that questioning your thoughts alleviates suffering, then that claim can be evaluated in a clinical study, just like any other technique. And if I'm not mistaken, there are efforts underway to do exactly that. (I'm also fairly certain that a number of therapists are already using BK's methods as a part of their counseling sessions.)

I would point out, of course, that no area of scientific inquiry is more challenging than psychology. It is extremely difficult to validate or invalidate even the simplest of claims. Which is why I'm astounded by the brash statements some of you make in this thread. A cocksure sense of certainty coupled with a modicum of evidence is a dangerous thing. In fact, it's highly irresponsible, which is why, if you read my posts carefully, you'll see that I try to avoid stating speculations as certainties, opinions as facts.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: July 14, 2009 06:09AM

Stoic, I apologize. It seems you are no troll. I guess it's easy to overreact given how many trolls we HAVE had here.

I'd say this thread is really cooking now - great work you guys!

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: July 14, 2009 06:15AM

I think the following comments posted by Corboy are quite good:

The mass marketing used by BK is incompatible with mysticism.
BK makes an unmystical amount of advertising noise--and gets her votaries to make noise on her behalf.

Anyone claiming to be a mystic who inspires such a noisy and disruptive stream of visitors is not a mystic at all--just another huckster in the marketplace.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: July 14, 2009 07:31AM


Please stay focused on the topic.

Let's not drift into side discussions.

If you wish to discuss "bliss" and "enlightenment" you might start another thread with that as the topic.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: anatta ()
Date: July 14, 2009 08:05AM


Excuse me for that. I have copied the post in question to a new thread. Please feel free to delete the one above.


If you would like to continue our discussion on Enlightenment, please see my response to your post in the new thread "Enlightenment: Fact or Fiction?" (in "Cults," Sects, and "New Religious Movements")

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and internet trolls and shills
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: July 14, 2009 09:30AM


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.

And its very poor judgement to try to misrepresent what Janaki had to say in her blog. Seriously. You "say" you don't know Byron Katie, and Janaki knew her for many years. Oh please, to try and make Janaki sound "disgruntled" is beyond laughable, and really exposes your intent. Its in very bad taste and worse judgement.

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?

And there is no point, going and doing some random comments, about areas that have been covered 10x already.
Sure, the BK people would like to put things into the thread, for BK people who are "on the fence" to try and persuade them, or at least confuse them. That is their fulltime job.
And its also their job to deny it.

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.

And shoddy evidence and logic?
Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?
Why don't you worry about Byron Katie' EVIDENCE? Where is that?
They are making the millions, why don't you ask THEM for evidence?
How can you come on here, and talk about evidence and "logic"? Byron Katie rejects logic, she rejects the mind.
Why don't you apply your words to Byron Katie FIRST!

That part exposes whoever "anatta" is. Its not believable. Its just trolling, similar to what just happened recently.

And BK's claims are UNTESTABLE and UNTESTED.
Why are you coming to here, to ask for proof of Byron Katie's claims?
You are on the wrong website.
Why don't you ask her for proof?
Why? Because they have BANNED all critical questions on their website, that is why.

The BK disclaimer is heinous, and that is why you are going to such efforts to try and make people think it isn't. You'd have to be not thinking properly to sign such a ridiculous and harmful release, where Byron Katie can SELL your confessions, forever. Its ridiculous.
NEVER sign something that outrageous and abusive of your rights, and such an invasion of your privacy.

And a clinical study? As if.
How can it be that "anatta" claims to NOT know Byron Katie, and NOT attended a seminar, yet all of a sudden you know everything?
Where is the clinical study? There is nothing, and you know it. Its BS.

And psychology? Byron Katie claims she is NOT doing psychology. So why are you talking about psychology?

Oh please.
Its not hard to see what this is. Very transparent.

Most likely this is a reincarnation of the recent (banned troll) "friend" of this forum who is just trying to play more games. Round #2.
Or it could be someone from the BK camp, trying to put info in to try to mess with people.

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.

First, get far away from the professional and amateur Byron Katie apologists and shills, ESPECIALLY when they claim they are NOT that. Some people lie, and deny they lie. They lie about lying.
We have seen that recently with the actual internet troll "Kassy" who swore up and down he was honest, and it was a string of self-conscious lies. Some people seem to have nothing better to do.

Some people lie, and LGAT salespeople will lie like sidewalks, if there is money involved.
A person has to get far away from the professional and amateur Byron Katie promoters, and then carefully look at the evidence and facts, even though the info might not be perfectly complete.

Then you make the best judgement you can possibly make.

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.

And one does not need to dispute every single thing. Once you can see a person is intellectually dishonest, and is putting forward false-statements, that's enough. Then you make a judgement call, and that's that. Game over.

In reality, the posting above is likely just Round #2 from our former (banned) "friend", and is not connected with the real issues at hand.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/14/2009 09:45AM by The Anticult.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and internet trolls and shills
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: July 14, 2009 11:52AM

search Google for this:

define: anatta

Annata means No-Self.

That is the illusion, that Byron Katie tries to sell.
Selling No-Self for a private for-profit corporation.
And ironically, Byron Katie has a massive Ego of the highest-order, and is constantly selling hundreds of hours of her alleged No-Self, yacking it up without end.
It really is beyond absurd.

And they know damn well its an impossible illusion. That is why they picked it.
Its an unattainable objective, so people will keep coming back forever, for decades, for the rest of their life.
And they are told being passive is being No-Self, while Byron Katie take the reigns of their minds with her influence.
And they are lead to believe that No-Self is Enlightenment, and all their pain and problems with stop.

Its a real clue you are getting trolled, when someone who is playing-games with the Byron Katie delusions, starts to talk about "evidence and logic".
That is actually a wonderful Byron Katie Turnaround.
Byron Katie, who rejects logic, and the mind, and gives ABSOLUTELY ZERO evidence for ANYTHING.

For people who profess to believe in No-Self, there sure are a large horde of aggressive, and dishonest salespeople with Ego's the size of Texas, who have enormous Ego-strength.

But remember, the passive No-Self is for the pawn, not for the Queen.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: anatta ()
Date: July 14, 2009 01:53PM

The Anticult

I think my post deserves a more thoughtful response than that. When you'd like to have a discussion based on a rational exchange of ideas rather than paranoid accusations and hostile attacks, let me know. Until then, the only response I can offer you is one of silence.

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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: July 14, 2009 07:40PM

'For people who profess to believe in No-Self, there sure are a large horde of aggressive, and dishonest salespeople with Ego's the size of Texas, who have enormous Ego-strength.

But remember, the passive No-Self is for the pawn, not for the Queen.'

Very well put, Anticult,

The same old double-standard power game in shiny new 'spiritual' clothes.


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Re: Byron Katie (the Work) and Eckhart Tolle Legit??
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 15, 2009 01:10AM


Stoic wrote:

The confidence actually refers to the amount of confidence the 'mark' has to place in the conman for the trick to have any chance at all of being pulled successfully.
Confidence in these cases means trust and it is the betrayal of trust that is so painful when anyone falls for these tricks.

Knowing that their trust has been so comprehensively and cynically abused and betrayed also contributes to the large number of the conned who are too embarassed to admit falling for these tricks, and keeps those with real doubts still in cult-type organisations long after they realise that these organisations are up to no good.

A friend told me of a lawyer who gave a continuing education CD on Ponzi schemes and how to counsel people who have been trapped in one. This was a few years before Madoff.

This attorney said that he tried whenever possible to assemble as many victims of the crook together in the room as possible before breaking the news.

He said the worst thing is discovering you've been tricked and feeling you've been made a fool of.

So it is best to find this out as part of a large group of fellow sufferers so that you can all discover you were not alone in this, you were all taken in by someone clever and can discover this as part of a community.

It also means the people can exchange contact information with each other and create communities of support for the ordeal ahead of them, after leaving the lawyer's office.

What is very hard is that many people come here to and are physically alone
at their computers. It has to be painful as hell to find out you've been conned.

Though it is helpful to read verbal testimonies in the form of text on the screen, that cannot replace the human to human solace of being together, body to breathing body,
in a community, when this same news is given.

Another point that is often missed:

It can be dangerous to try to warn someone that he or she either has been conned or is being steered into a con.

Con artists are seductive.

If you try to offer a warning to someone who has already become unconsciously invested in the web spun by the con artist, that's as hazardous as trying to intervene in a domestic situation. Any cop will tell you to watch your ass on that one.

For it is just part of a con to steer the 'mark' into a trap.

The other part of the con artist's trick work is to cause the 'mark' to DISTRUST anyone who is OUTSIDE THE FRAME OF THE CON, especially anyone who tries to warn the 'mark' that he or she is in the clutches of a con artist.

Any information that undermines the con is made to seem an insult to the mark's intelligence, or sense of autonomy, or merely trivial 'noise'.

A very common method is to trick the 'mark' into believing that the person trying to warn of the trap is someone who is insulting the mark, by making it seem the mark is
so stupid that he or she needs to be warned.

Or that the person warning the 'mark' is oppressive and wants to limit the 'marks'
freedom to choose, or limit the marks freedom to have a good time.

The conman not only steers the 'mark' into a trap, but steers the 'mark' AWAY from
his or her real friends, the ones trying to tell the 'mark' that 1) conmen exist and 2) he or she is being seduced by one.

So again, a first rate con, not only sets up a trap, and steers the mark toward the trap, but flatters the mark's strength, intelligence and autonomy and at the very same time,
steers the mark AWAY from, even gets the 'mark' to resent, sometimes, even to hate anyone who tries to give a warning.

Suppose you are with a buddy and your pal is invited to a card game. Looks like fun, he sits at the table. You happen to see that the dealer has quietly slipped a marked deck of cards into the game.

If you try to tell your friend this, the crook may already have convinced your pal that the crook is the source of all pleasures. The crook may have brought some sexy ladies to join the table and your buddy is not only excited that the poker game looks good, but that its likely he's gonna get laid later that night.

So you arrive and try to warn that the cards are marked.

The crook will make it seem

You are paranoid to suggest that there is any such thing as marked decks of cards

Two, you are JEALOUS that your buddy has the ladies and you you want to get the girls away from him so that you can get them up to your room--so you're the enemy of his pleasure.

Bang. You, the real friend, are suddenly the bad guy. Your friend will tell you to F-off and then spend the rest of the night clinging to the crooked dealer, the marked cards, and the broads.

Or, the crook may suggest that you're insulting your friend's manhood by suggesting he's a child in need of protection, or that he's dumb and needs to be warned away from crooks who dont even exist.

Again, your pal hates your guts, and huddles closer to the crooks.

When the victim is left ruined, they not only have lost what they were swindled of, but may also have driven away friends, the real friends, who tried to warn them.

And they may be very reluctant ever to go to those rejected friends and admit to them
'You tried to warn me and you were right--I got screwed.'

Here is a real life example from someone who was pressured to give over 2 million dollars:


The worst aspect of the situation was the fact that my communication about this decision was severely restricted in terms of the number of people I was in a position to discuss it with.

When I met X in 1993, I had been seeing a psychotherapist four times a week for eight years.

X and many others in his community knew this.

It’s clear to me in retrospect that in making my $2 Million and other donations to XI was acting out some of the self-destructive issues that I had long been in therapy in to deal with.

When I told my therapist about meeting X, she warned me I that was vulnerable to potential brainwashing.

In contrast, when I revealed to X the insecurity and anxiety I felt about the prospect of joining his community, he told me how intelligent and bright I was, and how fully capable I was of making a mature decision on my own.

**Who was I going to listen to—someone who told me I was weak (my therapist), or someone who told me I was strong (X)?

At the time, the choice seemed clear, however misguided, and I left my therapist and fell deeply into the vortex of X community—the amazing people, the happiness, the feeling of belonging.

**Note: It is unlikely the therapist told this person she was weak. Telling someone 'you are vulnerable to manipulation/brainwashing' means telling someone they are human enough to respond to high pressure, manipulative social situations. appears that under the influence of X, this woman was conditioned to compute her therapist's warning as a shaming/insulting message 'You-are-weak'

THat is the sign of a top notch social technician: to get the mark to hear warnings as insults, even when no insult is intended--and to cuddle closer to the manipulator and to distance herself from the real friend who has given the warning!

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2009 01:18AM by corboy.

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