Current Page: 1 of 13
Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:05AM

Post by "arienariadne" on the Guruphiliac Forum, March 23, 2009:

Just completed Byron Katie's 9 Day School (March '09). I am disappointed to report that the information on Rick Ross's site is accurate...and, if anything, understated. I would sum the experience up by saying Katie used a two-by-four when a teaspoon would have done the job.

I think the fast was closer to 48 hours than to 36. There was no warning there; we were shepherded into the silent meal tent as usual after the silent morning walk (around the unlovely blocks nearest the hotel, across the street from LAX. Think: broken pavement, parking garages, and other hotels) to find water, lemons, and blank Worksheets. This went on for meal after meal for two days, culminating in a picnic at the end of the "homeless" field trip. By the time we took that field trip to Santa Monica and Venice Beach to consort with the homeless, those of us who had gone along with the fast were hungry, rather weak, frustrated, and other words, we fit right in and were grateful for any food the vagrants offered. It was the surprise factor that made these exercises cult-like. We were rarely told anything about what was to happen next. This was deliberate and, apparently designed to engender lots of strong emotions that we would then be able to "do the Work" on.

That field trip was advertised as one of several. There were no others, however. Nothing was ever explained. This seemed to be a matter of policy; we were taught not to use the concepts of "but" or "because" or to explain things to anyone. Exercises that might have been meaningful if I had known what was coming and prepared mentally, agreed to the experience, were usually presented in a tricky or sneaky fashion. We were an "all-volunteer" army full of conscripts, draftees, and the pressed. As an example, this exercise: we were given about 15 minutes to pick up some wrapping paper and ribbon (cheap and paltry, at that), go to our rooms, and bring back our most beloved possession, wrapped. We were told not to expect to ever see it again. This was on day eight in the morning. So completely had some participants given up their will, they wrapped their ID, credit cards, money, and often plane reservation confirmation information to put in the box. Several gave up wedding bands, expensive watches, family heirloom jewelry, and that sort of thing. I am told that, at the end, the items were put out and anyone who wanted to could recover their belongings, but few did so.

Many of the participants were Repeaters (recidivists) and knew what to expect. A surprising number had never spent any time doing the Work before. One person said a friend of a friend said they should come to The School, so they did. Katie seemed surprised by the number of novices and had to change the curriculum to cover more basic concepts in the first two days, forcing a rushed atmosphere in the last days. In the Money segment, it became clear that a fairly large proportion of the class came from privilege and entitlement backgrounds. Certainly, in those cases, it begged the question what kind of person pops out $5000.00 in this economy to devote 9 days to a program they know almost nothing about? Did parents and relatives send them hoping for a miracle? Many were obviously Bliss Ninnies flocking to the next Spiritual Hit.

I am exhausted. It was amazingly stressful, although I had thought we were going to lose much of our stress at The School. I'll post more later on the Surrenders, the Staff behavior, and Katie's behavior. Right now, I'm still trying to regain my equilibrium and de-tox from the experience. The days began at 7:00 a.m. and often ended after 9:00. All meals were to be taken with the group, eating only what was provided and nothing in between (and fasting, when they did not provide food, of course). The food was tailored to vegans, raw foodists, and vegetarians. Usually either egg or plain baked white bland fish was offered sometime in the day, but the overall protein content was insufficient. No salt, sugar, or strong flavorings that might have made the dishes more palatable were used or available. The typical meal was salad with only oil or miso dressing, fresh and plain steamed vegetables, tofu in some form, brown rice, quinoa, fresh fruit. It sounds, as I write, so much better than it was; day after day of the same foods, recycled usually into another tasteless dish, eaten in enforced was demoralizing and dehumanizing. Apparently, as with so many other features of The School, we were to learn that we really did not need food to taste good or familiar or interesting. This is feature of The School was especially unfortunate in the current national climate, I think. To reduce our carbon footprint, many of us are considering moving toward more local food, less animal protein, etc., in hopes of healing or slowing the destruction of our habitat. Really interesting, delicious vegetarian recipes are amply available and some of us carnivores might have been seduced by tasty vegetarian menus at The School to proceed along the same lines back home. Instead, I am longing for salmon, tuna, shrimp (all of which could have been offered within a lacto-ovo-fish regime), salt, garlic, etc. And...dare I say it?... ribs!

We were told to give up our supplements, medications we did not need (CMA: "If you are prescribed a medication, you must take it" And, yet, many gave up their prescribed medications anyway, apparently hoping to be so purified by The Work that they would not need them), make-up, jewelry and other apparel enhancements (some people appeared to wear the same clothes for days at a time), exercise, and all our other "addictions." In my observation, addiction to The School and The Work were meant to replace all else.

The boot-camp tactics and mentality, the pressure to conform to total thought and behavior requirements, and many other features seemed very cult-like to me. I would not hesitate to say The School is a cult experience. And I'm sad for that, since I think The Work is a very useful tool for self-help. Something seems to be going very wrong in BKI and The School. All things arise, organize, and disintegrate. The School is on the down slope in my opinion. More later.

[[url=]Guruphiliac Forum Post - Byron Katie's School For The Work March '09[/url]]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:08AM

A second post from "arienariadne" at the Guruphiliac Forum, March 26, 2009:


The participants: In addition to a group (approx. 250) impressive in the number of newbies to The Work and repeaters (seeking Certification or to reprise their previous experiences in bliss), there were a remarkable number of people who were obviously mentally ill. Depression and Anxiety (Social phobias, Specific phobias, Generalized Anxiety, etc.) were to be expected, as were a fine spread of the more benign Personality Disorders (Obsessive-Compulsive, Hystrionic, Dependent were all well-represented). And there were participants with milder forms of Impulse Control Disorders (ADD/ADHD and hypomania). But there were also a scattering of the scarier Personality Disorders (Anti-Social, Paranoid, Schizoid and Schizotypal). Bipolar I and II, while not admitted, were apparent. And there was undoubtedly a few people who were hallucinating, delusional, or delirious.

I'd have thought Katie would have screened more carefully to reduce her liability in these cases, but she actually seemed to welcome the more severely disturbed. I was aware that no deliberate or careful screening of mental and physical problems appeared in on-line registration. Signing up involved giving demographic info, sending money that would not be refunded, and not much else. We was not asked about diagnosis or medication until we arrived...a bit too late to shoo away people who had come from all over the world. And there was that Surrender exercise at the beginning, where the message was very mixed: give us your supplements, vitamins, medications you don't really need (as if the truly sick could make that decision well) AND if you are prescribed meds, you should take them. Several people gave up prescribed sleep medications and anxiolytics and this was applauded with comment from Katie, "If you can't sleep at night, contact the staff member on call and they will sit with you. If you experience discomfort, do it here in the room with us during the day. If you have to sleep, do that here, too." It didn't take long before moaning, crying, agitated behaviors were the norm in the room well before fasting and 15-hour days of intense emotional work took their toll. And most staff and participants just left the suffering alone, ignored it or staffed it by listening to the sufferer do The Work again and again. Some people cried off and on throughout the entire school. Often people were crying so hard or were so anxious, they could not be understood when they took the microphone and tried to tell their experience. And sharing those experiences was an expectation. If you hadn't taken the mike yet, staff asked you why. I'm unclear on this, but I believe one repeater either had to go the mental hospital during this school or had done so in a previous school. In other words, the mentally ill and the neurotic, alike, decompensated and this was encouraged under the philosophy of The School.

The Shame module was perhaps the most disturbing unit in the School. I believe this took place in the morning of Day Three, although I admit to losing track of what day it was (we were always either in the windowless conference room, on the 30-minute silent and led walks around the blocks nearby, or, briefly, on the grassy lawn in front of the hotel or in the halls of the hotel when we were set free to do The Work with a partner). In the Shame unit, we were instructed to write down the thing we'd done in our lives that we were most ashamed of, then take the mike and tell the whole group, then do The Work on it with a partner. Shaming is a subtle but powerful component of psychological abuse used in every torture and mind control process. People stood up and, sobbing or preening, revealed everything from bestiality and zoophilia to embarrassing physical features, infidelity to poor parenting that bordered on abuse. Many people told of having been abused and shamed by that. The reward for producing a novel or particularly painful shame experience was Katie's cooing, warm approval and attention. This was such a powerful exercise that, for the next few days, Katie would interrupt whatever exercise was in process to say that so-and-so desired to tell about their shame. Folks who had kept quiet during the Shame module apparently could not resist being part of it all, taking that microphone, and joining Katie's "family." Although Katie said, after the confessions had begun, that we should not reveal anything illegal, many seemed not to understand that bestiality, child abuse, etc., were illegal in the US.

At all times, there was a staff member in the back of the room speaking very softly into a dictophone, recording every story and event. Katie's books are largely made up of these stories and a release is signed at the beginning, giving permission for your stories to be used. One could literally feel the next book taking shape in that room. It might have been a "voluntary" exploitation, but exploitation it was, nonetheless.

More later.

[[url=]Guruphiliac Forum Post - Byron Katie's School For The Work March '09[/url]]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:30AM

This was posted back in February 2008 in another thread on this message board, by "jj52" who stopped making posts for some reason.

First, I want to tell you that finding your message here was a real blessing. I've been searching the internet off and on for months hoping to find something about Byron Katie and The Work relating to recovery from cults. I think your concerns are perfectly legitimate. From the first time I read the first chapter in her book "Loving What Is", I knew something was horribly wrong, but my curiosity and the subtle persuasion of personal testimony led me on.

It's hard to say that she's a cult leader, considering how she got into this business. And, having met and talked with Katie personally, I want to say upfront that I believe she is very innocent/ignorant about what she is doing to people. I believe that she sincerely believes she is what she says she is, and that's probably what makes her so convincing. At the same time, there is no doubt that she falls into the category of a guru, regardless of how adamant she is that she is not one... and a mass manipulator. The book "In Sheep's Clothing" offers a list of tactics that covert aggressors use to manipulate, distract, and deceive. The descriptions match Katie very well... she is the queen of diversion, evasion, and distraction. However, I believe that it is herself she is deceiving the most. I think she is still very mentally ill, and it's scary, because so many people are following her lead.

With many reservations, I attended her 9 day school. We were sworn to secrecy about the events that go on there so as not to "spoil it for others" who would attend in the future. I've written about my experiences there, for my own sanity, and while I will spare you the gory details, I will offer a small list of things that happen there.

1. A forced 36 hour fast.
2. An day long "outing" where we were left to beg for food among homeless people in the streets of Los Angeles. We were instructed not to take any ID, or anything with us but the clothes we had on.
3. A rich organic diet that sent many people's bodies into shock. Vomiting was a regular occurrence, and was offered as "evidence" of cleansing, and of how powerful The Work really is.
4. Long days with brief breaks for meals. (7 am to 11:00 pm most days.)
5. Long, intense confessional sessions.
6. Deep, excessive probing into one's past traumas. (She used violent Korn music to trigger our worst memories.)
7. No contact with family or the outside world. (We turned our cell phones into the staff.)
8. Not allowed to wear make-up, to exercise, or to eat outside of the diet given.
9. Eating meals and taking breaks in complete silence.
10. Going at least 2 full days as a "silent one", unallowed to talk with others.
11. Being invited to criticize Katie and The School, and those who did were silently, subtly shunned by the group and Katie.
12. Having every doubt and concern about what was going on at The School questioned and "turned around", until no one could trust their own perceptions anymore.

Although The Work is presented as for anyone of any religion, once I became a part of Katie's captive audience, it became very clear that was no so. Katie claims to have no beliefs, because she is "clear" and lives in "reality" or "heaven", her belief system is actually very strong, very distinct, and very anti-Christian. And, anyone whose belief system doesn't match hers is treated like the "unenlightened" sap who needs to keep questioning his/her thoughts until they can see things Katie's way.

I was surprised by the number of educated professionals at The School. Teachers, doctors, psychologists, social workers, counselors of all kinds. I was even more surprised how everyone seemed reduced to this "blissed out" state by the end, where they couldn't even hold an intelligent conversation anymore. It was scary, and sad.

And, most of them would fight to the death to defend Katie's validity and honor.

I kept in touch with several people after The School, and when I made the decision to throw out all of my materials and abandon the process altogether, I met a lot of resistance. That was about the time her new book came out "A Thousand Names for Joy." I bought it, again out of dire curiosity. I read through it one evening, and that was all it took for me to toss it out. Hearing her tell about watching a man having a stroke, and feeling no concern for his well being because she was "in love"... was crazy. Since when did apathy become love?

But, I think it was the passage where she said that she likes pretending to be human and called it her "disguise" that really put the whole thing over the top. Apathy I could probably handle... but inhumanness is going too far.

I can't even express the disturbing way I've felt watching all of these people (there were about 300 at The School) throwing away a normal, healthy range of emotions for "bliss." And, I find it interesting that none of them have ever actually become like Katie. I guess psychosis is pretty hard to self-induce... ?

After those 9 days being constantly bombarded with questions about everything I think, believe, and perceive... I definitely noticed a difference in me. I still struggle to hang onto my thoughts and judgments without automatically turning everything around on myself. I mean, if someone slapped me in the face, my mind would probably automatically flip it around to someone make it either my fault, or to convince me that it was somehow for my benefit.

For awhile, I really struggled with what I observed about Katie... but no matter how many times I turn it around, I can honestly that I've never done what Katie is doing. It's bad.

The one thing good that came out of it, was that I learned about cults and cult mind control. I've read every book I can get my hands on. And, I've learned what it was that made me vulnerable to The Work. Also, I've gained a lot of knowledge that hopefully will protect me from the next snake-oil peddler that comes along.

Anyway, thank you for posting. I really needed to hear another person's perspective to help validate my own... I can trust my thoughts about Katie and The Work, after all. Imagine that! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:33AM

Here is another post by jj52:

Katie not only has a school, she just launched a 28 day residency program called "The Turnaround House", where people pay $20,000 a pop to have their thoughts questioned. It's supposed to be akin to a rehab. Oh man. Can you imagine someone addicted to drugs going there to get clean? Whoo...

I think her books are the hook, line, and sinker. They seem innocent enough... very carefully constructed, and of course, they tell you that it's just 4 questions! Nothing to be afraid of... 4 teensy weensy little questions. You don't find out what else is in store for you at The School until you get there. That is very purposeful, I'm sure.

I attended an event she held once after The School, just before Christmas. 800 people showed up. We were all instructed to think of a least one person we could share The Work with, and to give them a copy of the book for Christmas. Katie said that her goal to was ensure that everyone in the world has at least heard of her and The Work. During The School, Katie personally selected people who she thought were in a position to pass The Work along to the most people and "fast-tracked" them... meaning she gave them tons of extra Work to do. Overload!

She claims that she has no motives, and doesn't want to be a guru. But after sitting at her feet for 9 straight days, it became very clear to me that this woman believes she has the answer to world peace and some strange type of salvation. She says things like "Thank you for doing your Work. I'm in a hurry. I want to be nothing." Translated... the idea is that everyone in the world did The Work and became "clear" like Katie, then the world would end, and we could all go back to being that giant peaceful nothingness in the sky (of which we are all just little slices.) So, when someone does their Work, she sees that as helping her get back to her nothingness.

There is an exercise at The School that is supposed to bring you to the awareness that when you look into someone else's eyes, all you are really seeing is yourself, because supposedly, we are all just little parts of one great divine organism of nothingness. So, if someone rapes you, it was really just you doing it to yourself. If someone abuses you, then you did that to yourself, to help wake yourself up to the "reality" of your being. And "The Work" is the "only way to God"... the only thing that will return us all to our source... according to Katie.

Of course, she doesn't come right out and tell you that, but she certainly does enough preaching and teaching, and leading to help people come to that conclusion. Being familiar with "Conversations with God" and other New Agey belief systems, I knew what she was getting at, but I just couldn't buy it. I sat there staring into this other womans eyes... being told to see the god in her that was in me... and all I could see was a blissed out stranger sitting in front of me. She didn't even resemble myself-- who was getting frustrated and bored with the exercise. But... wow... were people really tripped out on that one! They all said it was amazing... I just kept my mouth shut.

This man looked at me before the exericse began and said-- out of nowhere-- "I already know that we are just little pieces of God. I already know that." And I was too stunned to respond. But really, what do you say to something like that?

I wish I knew how to "report" her to all of the people out there who study cults... cause her following is getting really big, and it's international... and I think there ought to be a place for people to get the right information when they burn out or drop out, or whatever. Finding this message board was seriously exactly what I needed.

skeptic, thank you for your response. It really helps to feel like I have some support while trying to get through the Byron Katie School for The Work (also known as "The School of You") aftermath. Even though I was a skeptic the entire time, it all had an effect on me. I can't imagine what would have happened if I was totally buying it.

Anyway... thanks for listening. I needed to get some of that off my chest.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:37AM

A third post from "jj52":

I'm going to be looking for these books, Corboy. Fascinating reading! Thank you for posting that.

Anticult said: One wonders if Byron Katie makes claims her followers will gain some type of supernatural power?
Does she claim to be able to "read your mind"?

No, she doesn't claim to read your mind, per se, because "can you absolutely know for sure what another person is thinking?" But, she does claim to know exactly how you feel because she has been there and your work is her work, and we are all the same. When we did an exercise around prejudice and racism, it became very apparent that she could not empathize with the black folks in the audience, and she angered several people by telling a black man that he was "nothing". Can you imagine this old white woman telling a very large black man that he is nothing, then feigning innocence... as the man forgave her, because she was Byron Katie.. and didn't mean anything by it?

She does generally act like she knows more about you than you do, because she's just like you and she's done her work. The thing about BK is, she doesn't have to tell you these things... it's all very subtle.

I read the book "Snapping" after The School, and I noticed this element to many cult experiences that people had in the book... They seemed to have supernatural-type experiences that really convinced them of the cult's validity. Well, I had experiences there where it did seem like BK was reading my mind in a supernatural way... and it freaked me out.

For the first few days of the School, I was one of her favorites. She treated me very differently than everyone else, and it made me uneasy. I felt like she hated me, but people would just walk up to me and say, "Wow, Katie really likes you", so she had obviously singled me out for whatever reason. Hatred or liking, I'm unsure of what it was, or why she did it.

It was sort of like... well, that moment in the "Lord of the Rings" movie where the elf-queen is talking to Frodo in his mind...??? LOL! That's the only thing I can think of to explain it. I would think a question, look up at Katie, and she would be staring right at me... and would nod "yes" as if she knew what I was questioning. That really did a number on me... and it all seemed to be pressuring me want to stop doubting her. But it was so weird... it made me doubt her more.

While her attentions were on me, there seemed to be something supernatural taking place, and it was really messing with my mind. I tend to believe that there are supernatural events in this world... some are good, and some are bad... and just like cult leaders... the bad ones masquerade as good. There are so many different energies in this world... and someone like BK, who has learned to manipulate them is evil, in my opinion. As weird as it may sound, I definitely think that there was something supernatural there going on that was elevating the mind control... and I think BK may have been controlling it. What is "it"? Some type of energy, I guess.

So, could she read our minds? It certainly seemed that way.

Personally, I believe we are all spiritual beings, and that spiritual/supernatural things are not foreign to us. A real spiritual experience doesn't feel weird, confusing, or unfamiliar to us... like the experiences in cults do. That element of "strange" and "inexplicable" to supernatural or spiritual things is usually what tips me off that something is not right about it. When that weird mind-reading thing started happening, I wanted to call home, change my plane ticket, and get the heck out of there. Oh... but I didn't have a cell phone (and the phones in the rooms didn't dial out!) I talked to my roommate about it, she didn't believe me, so I doubted myself and decided to stick it out.

Anyway, after a few days, I lost BKs favoritism because I stood up, looked her in the eye and said "Katie, you lie." (She invited us to criticize her. And, the fact that she didn't get defensive was supposed to prove to us that she was innocent of all accusations. Plenty of people had plenty to say, too.) She seemed unaffected, but she acted like I didn't exist for the rest of the School. Interestingly enough, I didn't have any more of those weird supernatural/spiritual experiences either.

I think that by inviting criticism, she has developed a sure-fire way to identify who is with the program, and who is not... she knows who give her attention to and who to leave alone... who is buying it, and who is not. So, yes, vlinden, you can ask her these things... plenty of people did. She's the master of diversion and evasion, though. And she just makes you feel like you're the biggest idiot on the planet if/when you question or criticize her.

For me, telling her that she lies... set me free. I saw her eyes when I said it. That was the moment that set me free from her grasp, I believe.

I feel rather embarrassed to admit all of this, but as long as I keep it to myself it still seems to have some power over me.


P.S. I like the suggestion to post things on the net where people searching for her can find them. Great idea! I'll see what I can do. I've actually thought of making an info. page about it... but will I get sued or something??? Ugh.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:39AM

This is a post by someone called "blammo", who appears to not be participating in this forum anymore. It was posted in another thread on Byron Katie.

I have a family member who attended one of (or all of) the 9 day workshops or whatever they are. On the last day, they are allowed or encouraged to invite family, friends, etc. I had never heard of this deal before and it was very narrowly described to me before I went to go "visit". Given this family member's propensity toward gullibility, I figured that this would be some sort of a sham. I showed up and within the first few minutes, I felt like it was a cult, then I started feeling sorry for these people, then I wanted to run like hell out of the building. I'm not an expert on cults, I just don't buy into bs as quickly as this particular member of my family does.

This is what I recall from my half day visit:

I was lead back to one of the conference rooms in the hotel where there was a stage set up, a lot of cameras and some video projection screens. The two people on stage, BK and "friend" were being projected on the screens. When I sat down, I was given some type of worksheet to fill out with these extremely screwed up questions. I believe you can find this worksheet on BK's website. After reading the first question which was something like, "I hate______ because_____", I immediately disengaged from my friendly persona I had walked in the building to one of investigative skepticism.

I sat through a few of the participants and was absolutely shocked, amazed and appalled that these people would get up in front of a crowd, go through this intimate exercise in front of a multitude of people without any doctor / client privilege and allow themselves to be videotaped. I immediately thought that everyone who was buying into this bs had lost their minds. I saw a guy who hated his brother's attitude, another guy who had cancer and had lost an eye, and some other folks. But after witnessing the dude with cancer, I was morally compelled to take my leave of that room. I left the room and I wanted a cup of coffee. They don't serve coffee. I think it had something to do with caffeine and stimulants. They served tea (because we all know that tea doesn't have any caffeine - yeah right).

I lingered around outside until my family member had come out and many other participants made it over to the bar. They all wanted to drink (don't blame them one bit) and I decided to have a couple of beers and cigarettes with them. Here are some interesting things I learned from them about their time spent with BK:
They were required to stay at the hotel during this 9 day deal.
They weren't allowed to stay in the same room as their spouse, if their spouse accompanied them.
They were not allowed to use their cell phones or have contact with the outside world during this time.
They were on a limited and restrictive diet; it sounded like calorie deficient and low carbohydrate to keep your brain from functioning properly.
All of the men reported zero erectile ability during their stay. They were laughing and joking about it, but I didn't think it was so funny. Either their diet was engineered to limit this ability or potassium nitrate was put into their food; probably the later.
One of the exercises that I remember being recounted to me was: they were taken by bus to an a large public place (marketplace, promenade type deal), dumped there with no money, and instructed that they were only allowed to say one phrase (or they had a small group of 3 phrases that they could utter... something like that) in order to get from people the things that they needed, desired, wanted, whatever. I remember one phrase was, "I'm hungry. Feed me." So basically, these folks were instructed to go become panhandlers for the day. I did that once too voluntarily, during my college days, at an all day rock festival where I sat with some fellow hippies and panhandled shamelessly for beer money.

All throughout the time I spent with these people at the bar, they spoke in a very unnatural phraseology. For instance, they were asking permission for every little thing. Instead of the more familiar, "dude, you got a cigarette?" (which implies that they would like one from me), they would all phrase this as, "Hello. May I please have one of your cigarettes? It is OK to say no." It was this way for every little f'n thing! WTF? I was really growing ape-sh*t mad with their whole 'newspeak'.

On another exercise, they were instructed to gift wrap (or something like that, but it was "wrapped") something of perceived value to them that they felt that they couldn't live without and give it to 'the work'. My retarded, gullible, insanely stupid, mentally ill family members (there was my blood relative and their spouse at this place) handed over near $100,000 worth of jewelry..... When I heard this, I almost punched my family member square on the kisser.... I still can't get over the stupidity.....

Anyway, this leads me to my final observation. Pretty much everyone I met at this thing was very wealthy, my family member included. It was an international crowd, and a crowd that seemed not to have any money troubles. My opinion of these people is that, they all had a lot of money and couldn't figure out why people didn't like them as much as they thought they should be liked and came to this place in an attempt to relearn what it means to be a human being. I believe that what they were learning was the opposite though as 'the work' basically seems to say that everything is about you and other people do not matter nor do they fit into the equation that is you. I think this kind of perspective actually distances you further from those around you rather than catalyzing positive social interaction. The people there really did seem lost and it felt to me that they had success, and it wasn't buying them happiness so they decided to spend a little more money to see if they actually could buy happiness. [Just to qualify -I am successful as well - I'm just not stupid, nor do I lack self worth.]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:41AM

Oops, almost overlooked this post from "jj52", which talks about people giving up their possessions to Byron Katie during "school"...

Okay... Lots of stuff here. Still trying to integrate it and get back to reality.

First of all, I want to say that I resent the implication that those of us who attended her school are "gullible, insanely stupid, mentally ill", blammo. I realize that you are talking about your family member, but you sure make it sound like everyone there is the same way. Are you trying to help, or hurt here? Because saying things like that to someone whose been abused by an LGAT certainly isn't going to help or support them in their recovery. I hope you don't talk to your family members like that.

I'm not wealthy, mentally ill, or generally very gullible... and I hope not insanely stupid, either. If everyone who got involved with LGATs fit those qualifications, then I don't think they would be such a serious problem. I was not educated or informed about Thought Reform or therapy, or any of this stuff prior to attending... probably like a large percentage of the population. I knew something was wrong, but I had no information or point of reference for identifying it, and my curiosity led me on... but not to take all the blame for it... my mind was seriously being yanked with.

Hello? We are talking about viciously aggressive and deceptive recruiting here. Congratulations to you for being so well informed that you were able to recognize it for what it was. You're so very lucky... now will you please show a little compassion and respect for those of us who were not as fortunate as you? I would appreciate that.

I was thinking about the exercise where we were asked to think of something of value to us that was up in our rooms. Just think about, she said... now go get it. I didn't have anything valuable in my room. My wedding ring was on my hand, and I thought of that, but this exercise happened on the last day and I wasn't feeling very trusting by then. Someone had given me a stuffed animal during the School, so I got that and wrapped it up like a gift... because that's what we were told to do. Then, all the "gifts" were laid out on the floor. It wasn't until we had given them up that we were told that we would never see the item again.

There was no explanation to where the things were going... people asked, and BK (I want to stop calling her "Katie") told us "they are in good hands." Some people gave their wedding rings, jewelry, identification, and plane tickets! We were told to write about what that item meant to us and question it. My item didn't really have any meaning... so I watched everyone else. People were crying about their Grandma's wedding band... or panicking about how they were going to get home without ID or tickets. Some were mad. Others seemed to be loving it... most loved it.

BK told us that those items meant absolutely nothing to us. When the exercise was over, she asked if there was anyone who wished they could have their item back. I raised my hand... not that a stuffed animal from a stranger meant anything to me, but I wanted to openly defy her. Those few of us who raised our hands (about 5 out of 300) were told to go get our gifts back, and we did.

Then she asked if anyone still wanted to get their items back, now that they had seen us do it... a bunch of people raised their hands, and she basically told them it was too bad. The items were gone. Some people speculated that it was all going to go to benefit homeless people, but somehow I seriously doubt it.

blammo, it's sad that your family members gave all that away... I don't understand why they would have that value of jewelry with them in the first place, but still...

Anticult, I appreciate all the digging you are doing. Your commentary on things is really helping me get myself back. I'm still amazed... that even though I remained skeptical, I still lost so much of myself through the process...

At the time, "clearing my mind" didn't sound like a bad idea... but then, I didn't know what that meant.

One thing that always struck me as really odd about people leaving The School was how many of them were divorced afterward. In fact, I met two men there at The School who had come there because their wives had been and were leaving them. One was spitting mad... but was "in love" and blissed out when he left. The other had already been doing The Work and came to support his wife during the divorce.

I heard a woman introducing herself to a staff member on the first day...and saying that she just got divorced... and the staff member said "What a wonderful opportunity!" I'm sure my mouth dropped open.

There's so much about The School that I forgot, but I'm remembering now. We spent a few hours doing this exercise on learning to receive criticism. We all wrote ten things on a piece of paper that we would like to hear someone say to us, and ten things we would not like to hear. Then, we passed the pieces of paper around to each other until everyone had a little pile. We partnered up with another person and went off to question the criticisms and compliments we had received. The instructions were to take the phrase on the paper, such as "You're stupid", and repeat back "I'm stupid." Then, we were to tell the other person three ways that could be true... examples from our own lives... without getting defensive, of course. I had "You're a bitch" twice, so I had to find 6 different ways that I'm a bitch, and tell this stranger about them. I made some of them up.

It just occurred to me how that exercise was actually tearing us down, rather than helping us. Sort of warping our self-image... to accept and admit to every insult that we were given. Of course, there were compliments too... but some of those didn't fit either. I had one that said "I appreciate your gayness." I'm heterosexual. I had to repeat back "You appreciate my gayness" and then give 3 real life examples of how my "gayness" could be appreciated. It was impossible.

After doing each one (we each had about 30), we were supposed to turn each one around and do the same thing with the opposite. So, "You're a bitch" became "You're a sweetheart", and "You're stupid" became "You're smart." I have to admit that my heart wasn't in it. Now that I look back on it... I wonder how that might possibly destabilize a person and wear down their sense of self? The message was that no matter what someone said to us, it must be true... especially if we didn't like it.

Which is why ralpher doesn't seem to get that while he's criticizing us all... we're supposed to "take it in" and find how true it is... and smile and say "Thank you." (That's how we were to respond to being criticized.)

I don't like to be criticized. I'm not an expert on anything psychological... but I think it's called verbal abuse.

When I think about having to sit there thanking this woman for telling me that I'm a bitch... twice!... I feel pretty angry about it.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 05:57AM

Former insider to Byron Katie and The Work, Janaki van den Brink Bussum, has posted a lengthy account of her experiences.

[[url=]Byron Katie & Janaki[/url]]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 06:00AM

An anonymous poster at the Guruphiliac blog shared the following on April 5, 2008:

I have always wondered what other info about Byron Kaite was out there. I just Googled "Byron Katie and Cult" ... wow

I have been very close to the situation for some time now. I was a caregiver and personal assistant for the last 16 months for a man who's partner is on the inside of Katie's inner-circle. When I left the older man was placed in a home... and the house turned into a BK Turnaround House, it opens in two weeks. I always wondered why the older man who owns the house was being placed in a home, why not find another caregiver, its his house....

Then I found out that now his house is being used for The Work... it made me ill. The person who the older man gave power of attny. to... was not only his "love" partner... but he is also on the inner circle now of BK.

I used to also help with travel plans when he would assist BK, I ran the house and I was taught how to do The Work, and stood in and taught some of his classes when he left on a trip at a small local Agency he was trying to build... Although I dont want to mention his name... those close to the situation will know exactly who I am speaking of when I say that he speaks several languages and travels with her to different countries and is her translator.

He was also just given the task, he said awarded, in building one of the Turnaround Houses... it's the one in San Francisco. I was just asked this past week to go see if I can assist in setting it all up. I had not heard from this person in several months and thought it quite odd he were to call. When I arrived the whole vibe was really wierd. I could see he had ran out of people to call for help if he was calling me.

I was told what the business structure and income projections will be for the SF House and was asked to help if I could. I had been incharge of the house prior as the caregiver and assistant and at one point was asked to assist in selling the old mans stocks and other assets and know of allot of crap and when I left a few months ago I RAN from this place. I have nothing good to say as I believe this man worked his partner and took him for all he had.

Once again I hear my old boss say its never about the money... what I saw just three days ago was this; the new Turnaround House here in SF is at this point... a joke... my old boss should make another $400-500K in the next 12 months off the Turnaround House ... all while the old man who own's the house is in a retirement home only 16 miles away.

I have seen people get free of pain and suffering with the work she does, and have seen how if used peoperly, can help, I have also been to a three day workshop of hers. But I have to say however, after being the assistant and caregiver in the house that is now being converted to the SF Turnaround House. Im very woried that things are going very wrong. That BK or the people that are close have taken a wrong turn.

I have been with clients after they attend the 9day school, most of what I read in the blog here was some of the very same stuff I have been told as well, I refused to ever go to it myself.

I leave you with this... several people have already paid $20,000 to stay at the SF Turnaround house having no idea what they are in for. This is a very hit and miss situation and lacks ANY real planning, maybe in time??? Please do not send your lived ones to the school or Turnaround house.

PS... does the house here in SF meet Zoning Laws, has a Business Lic. been issued. How about fire and safety occupancy laws, is there Liab. Insurance. Do you have a building permit for the construction going on? I can go on... the answer to these and several other questions I asked him was always... NO,NO.NO.NO....

Look it up for yourself... Today is 4/5/08

I have had to wash my hands from this as although I will always say the "who would you be without your story... and the four questions" etc... is good work and I use it where I am at now... I do believe however... somethings not right in BK town anymore.

[[url=]Byron Katie is Either Going to Enlighten You or Kill You Trying[/url]]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/29/2009 06:01AM by helpme2times.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Byron Katie and "The Work" Participant Reports
Posted by: helpme2times ()
Date: March 29, 2009 06:05AM

On February 17, 2009, someone called "C" posted the following at the Guruphiliac blog:

"Byron Katie Is Either Going To Enlighten You Or Kill You Trying"
...or both.

I have many mixed feeling and thoughts regarding Byron Katie and The Work of Byron Katie, as it is actually called. I will share some of my experience with this group as thoroughly and briefly as possible.

I attended a School for the Work of BK in 2007. I had no prior experience with the work, save a you tube video of Katie doing TW with a participant. My initial reaction was one of awe how someone so tortured could, using the method of inquiry, come to such a quick resolution of painful thoughts and memories. I thought his was something I would like to learn how to do for me and others and signed up for the course. Money was not an issue (ahh, the good old days...). Prior to The School I would describe myself as smart, thoughtful, very frank, an excellent parent, a loving occasionally dissatisfied wife, generally happy, outgoing, kind,intuitive, strongly linked to family of origin, focused, laid back, funny, unconventional, decisive, stable, very open minded- along with a host of not so great qualities, but they were not dominant.

The basics of The School are as described by others above. The recommendation was to observe a drug free, sugar free diet for ten days prior to event to remove any potential mind altering affects of the substances. I did not see this recommendation and, therefore, did not follow it. I had no problem with the diet or food offered or lack there of on day/s of fasting. Also, it is recommended that all attendees read Loving What Is prior to attending the School. I did not do this either, as I could not manage to read the book for unknown reasons.

All participation in exercises are repeatedly called optional, yet, there was a strong urging by BKI to explore "who you would be with out your story" and to allow yourself the opportunity "to get what you came for." For me that meant to go with the assignments and exercises and to explore my limits, which I must admit were pretty broad before The School. I, also, noticed Katie saying things like "enjoy the trip, often." Silence, fasting, connecting deeply with others were all things/ ideas I was quite comfortable doing. Even with the outing, having no idea of where we were going, what we were doing, no money and no talking in LA, I was quite comfortable. I found it to be amazingly freeing to have no money or identity and found that people talked to me whether I spoke to them or not and told me the most incredibly intimate things. I really surrendered to The Work. I did The Work on all kinds of stressful thoughts and beliefs and I had some amazing and strange experiences.

One such experience involved a spontaneous "trip" or altered state of consciousness that was very reminiscent of being on mushrooms. That particular evening was many days into the event, and I had not eaten much that evening (of my own volition). I had an extreme affinity for the wall to wall carpeting and was laughing intensely at the nature of "it" all and feeling a deep connection to those around me and the "oneness". I was disconcerted by these feelings as I noticed thoughts racing (not to mention loving wall to wall carpet!) and have had experience with both psychedelics and the mentally ill. I have oft supposed that being psychotic would be much like tripping, yet without the knowledge from whence it came or the good faith belief that it would wear off soon enough. Anyway, I went back to the gathering and felt totally ungrounded and thought it best to get some food to potentially help me reconnect with reality. After explaining the way I was feeling to a facilitator, I had to firmly request food several times and wait for quite a while before any was forth coming. The "facilitators" scurried around asking each other or their higher ups if I was allowed food, as it was outside of slated eating times. I did feel better after eating and went to bed. Over the next couple of days I saw many other people who looked like they were tripping, too. If you have ever done so, you may notice a dilated pupil and demented look on the person's face. I was intrigued and am in no way claiming that BKI dosed participants, yet I believed it to be a purposeful inducement of this state through intensive self inquiry. Nor do I think that everyone in attendance had such an experience. For me it was not unwelcome and did not concern me much as I figured it was a by product of dealing in the fringe.

I looked great, I lost weight, I even stopped biting my fingernails- an unheard of event for me, I felt at peace, connected and ready to continue The Work and conquer the world. I had come to the conclusion that I wanted to leave my husband or have an open relationship. When I returned home the strange continued. I felt no more connected to my adorable toddler than my china, and nearly passed out when I realized this. I dutifully did The Work on the stressful thoughts that arose and continued in the Aftercare Program as prescribed by BKI.

Approximately two months after The School all thought became stressful. I consulted Katie about this and she said "I know". She told me freedom was like mania, but without the fear. She told me that we are all projections of MY mind, and that I have been given my life situation (plenty of money and no job) because it is my job to, if I understood correctly, end the suffering on this planet. There is more, but I will wrap this up because it is already hideously long. I ended up on anti-psychotics for several months. Of course I cannot know that this would not have happened had I not gone to BK's School, yet I firmly believe that it is the cause. I have not been diagnosed with any mood disorder despite seeing several psychologists and a psychiatrist. This past year has been debilitating. I would now describe myself as generally unhappy, a poor/guilty parent, sad, regretful, confused, hopeless, depressed, fuzzy, stuck in a Gordian Knot of complications, conflicted, marginally funny, unable to make decision to run my affairs, dissatisfied, disconnected from family and suffering immensely.

Perhaps, I should just ask the four questions and do the turn around?

[[url=]Byron Katie is Either Going to Enlighten You or Kill You Trying[/url]]

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 1 of 13

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.