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Re: Prices?
Posted by: jj52 ()
Date: February 23, 2008 07:58AM

The School I went to was $3000, but it may have changed since then. That's still quite a profit. BK claims that the money goes to help people all over the world, especially people in prisons. Sounds very altruistic, of course. It makes participants feel like they are doing something great for humanity by paying the tuition.

She also offers "scholarships," but they are really just interest-free loans.

I can't imagine what the Turnaround House is like. If you cancel, they only refund the money if they fill your space????

And yes, the sales of books and T-shirts and all of that... The "renowned" Stephen Mitchell's crazy books are available too. I remember thinking once... how many different ways can you package The Work to sell it? There's always a new video or CD... and it's just the same old stuff.

I've just been browsing the Cult Help and Information website... reading an account of an LGAT called "Lifespring"... and it sounds so similar to The School for The Work. They even use the same phrases, questions, and mantras. They both used music in the same way... and holy cow! They are basically the same format.

I've been reading other conversations on this forum today, too... and I see striking similarities with this Landmark thing, too. I don't know what Landmark is, but from what people say about it and the people involved, it seems all too familiar.

I had NO IDEA that there were other places doing this exact same sort of thing. Had I known I could learn the same stuff somewhere else for cheaper, I might have gone a different route! Or not at all. Who knows? I thought BK was unique, and my curiosity got the best of me. If I had known that she was just regurgitating the same ol' garbage, I seriously may have left it alone. I guess BK International relies on that, huh?

It's just dawning on me how deceptive everything is... and how your mind is sort of cracked wide open to just receive whatever information they give you. Like ralpher saying the Stephen Mitchell is "renowned"... that's how they present it. He's translated ancient texts? More like, he's taken the Bible and written a book interpreting it into his own twisted views. It's not like he was decoding ancient Egyptian scrolls, or anything! But... at the School, Stephen is presented as this Master of spirituality, and his endorsement of BK is supposed to hold a lot of weight. I've asked around, and no one I know of outside of BKI has ever even heard of him.

I actually fell for it, too... until I started talking with Stephen Mitchell and realized what a kook he is. Definitely not "brilliant", as ralpher suggested.

It's all making so much sense now. I'm starting to feel like I just woke up from a long, weird dream.

This is good news.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2008 08:01AM by jj52.

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Re: Prices?
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: February 23, 2008 08:34AM

for anyone left wondering about the true "intent" of Byron Katie & Co, one key point is completely revealing.
Most of these LGAT's use 'volunteers' as free labor at their seminars. Why? To save money! Why hire a staff, when you can get acolytes to work for free 18 hrs a day? (no overtime, no taxes, no insurance, no nothing).

But even that level of exploitation is not good enough for Byron Katie & Co.
She has to take it to the level to apparently CHARGE people to work for her!? Think of how utterly cynical that is. So much money coming in, and the greed is so high, they have to charge people to work.

Slavery was when people worked for no pay. Unpaid labor.
What is it called when people PAY to WORK? Extortion? Mind-Control?

So Byron Katie & Co actually go well beyond many other LGAT's in this respect. Other's fear doing this, as they could get into serious legal trouble regarding employment law, etc. If someone snaps out of it, and then decides to file a complaint...BK could be in very serious trouble for back-wages and fines, maybe worse.

By the way, folks could post links to these threads here and there on the internet.

Byron Katie has new seminars coming up, and people will search the internet for information.
Maybe using words like...

April 4 - 13, 2008 The School for The Work Los Angeles
The School for The Work with Byron Katie.

seminars, scam, rip-off alert, price, cult, weird, LGAT, cult leader, mind control, new age, guru, SHAM


------------ Amazon review excerpt------------

This is the book that finally set me free from near discipleship in Byron Katie's weird and wonderful world. So glad I read it. For that, I'm giving it two stars.

This book is a funky trip into the mind of the woman who took her severe mental illness to guru status, all because she "found a way" to escape a normal, healthy range of human emotion.

I was amazed to hear from this woman (who has no formal education to back her claims) that there is no such thing as the "fight or flight" response, regardless of what the world of science has taught us, and what physical reality has proven time and again.

If I were to believe what I read in this book, then I discovered that my body is nothing more than a "projection" of my mind, and that nothing is real. I found out that I am nothing, but everything all at once. I discovered that I am not me, but I am everyone. I found out that BK's version of "reality" doesn't make any sense at all... and that what I was learning from this book had absolutely no value for me.

I was especially disturbed to read how BK watched a man having stroke and didn't care at all, because she knew his suffering wasn't real... and somehow mistook her apathy and indifference for "love."

In my opinion, this book is only for die hard fans and cult followers of Byron Katie. If you're interested in reality and spirituality, please, look elsewhere.

(To the defensive die-hards fans who might want to argue in the comments section, I ask: "Could it be true?")

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: vlinden ()
Date: February 23, 2008 09:51AM

Hi Anti-cult,

Well . . . the Kundalini question. I can't prove it, no. And I'm sure many phony gurus have used its supposed existence to lure people in, based on what is supposed to happen to you when it "awakens." Oh, and let's not forget the lure of Tantra, one of the most debased and exploited of the Eastern teachings, which uses sex to trigger the release of the Kundalini.

Ooohhh . . . yuck. The stories I could tell about those nasty, nasty men who try to lure young women with promises of Kundalini release.

However my sense is that Kundalini does exist, and I've had a minor experience of it myself which was felt as a heat pulsing from my tailbone up the spine. Very unusual! I'm also aware of people who have been profoundly screwed up by what seemed to be an overwhelming release of that energy. This is not a positive, cool, hip or fun experience.

I don't know of any Western tests to prove the existence of any of the energies purported to exist by our friends in the East. Meridians, chakras, everything that acupuncture and many ancient healing modalities are based on. Personally I do believe that all of these energy systems are absolutely real and have been known and effectively manipulated for centuries.

I spent some years studying Kung Fu in a traditional school in China Town, NYC. The Sifu there was a very well respected doctor and I saw him heal many serious ailments and wounds , including mine, using Chinese medicine -- herbs and acupuncture. There is practically nothing in Western medicine or knowledge that parallels the Chinese systems.

My point is, it ain't all quackery or frauds. There is really an energy realm that can be known and experienced in different ways, it's just unfortunate that swindlers have exploited the lack of related knowledge in the capitalist West, and our desires to be happier and more fulfilled, and our big fat checkbooks . . .

My feeling about it is now that I wouldn't want that Kundalini energy to get triggered in me, nor would I want to be sent into any altered states where I am vulnerable to suggestions or destabilization. I've had too much experience in these realms. People just don't know what they're playing with.

That's why this board exists, because people are being hurt by LGATs and cults, and they will be hurt by Byron Katie. Someone vulnerable will be destabilized, just like the poor kid in Colorado who snapped after a Landmark forum and disappeared, or the woman in Australia who jumped out of a window. This kind of manipulation can drive certain people mad, rapidly or more slowly and insidiously.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: February 23, 2008 10:28AM

Hi vlinden, I don't want to take the thread off-topic about Kundalini, so I'll just make a quick clarification.

In the context of cults, I have seen Kundalini constantly abused for

1) pretending to have Supernatural Powers like Sri Chinmoy. (fraud and lies)
2) sex, an excuse to have sex with young acolytes of either gender.
So Kundalini in the context of cults is constantly abused by almost all of them, including the fraud-Godman and accused sexual abuser, Sai Baba.

But Kundalini, as an object lesson, its great. One can even start with...Kundalini...Is It True?
Then use proper science to try to figure it out. (not wacky antiscience like B Katie)
I personally believe its Imagination, but I am open to any real objective evidence for any real Skeptic is. It has to be properly tested by like anything else.

But the "Supernatural" side of these things is what many cults use to lure people in.
The supernatural would be fine, as long as they PROVE it. Which they never do.
There is a 1 million dollar prize for anyone who proves anything "supernatural".

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"?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2008 10:44AM by The Anticult.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: vlinden ()
Date: February 23, 2008 11:02AM


What is supernatural anyway?

I think I've proven my aversion to bullshit through my posts, hopefully you can believe me when I say I'm wholly interested in truth. I have lived my life surrounded by people interested in metaphysics and I've seen and experienced enough myself to know that many things are possible. I've met real psychics alongside the frauds. Psychic ability has been "proven" to me personally, and I've had my own prophetic dreams that were very specific. My mother is so psychic that there have been times in my life it's been damn annoying!

There must be a way to scientifically prove the existence of energy lines and centers. People have been working with them for centuries, long before the advent of current scientific methods. I would be all for some testing if the instruments were available.

But perhaps there are issues for another thread.

Now I must walk my dog, who is also occasionally psychic ;)

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: February 23, 2008 12:16PM

yeah, that steps away from Byron Katie Inc, and even outside the issues of LGAT and cults.
There have been other threads on these issues.

Jamed Randi

I am going to stick to BK...she's a real Whopper of a topic as it is...

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: vlinden ()
Date: February 23, 2008 12:23PM

Also, Anti-Cult . . .

I guess I should explain that it is in large part due to the unusual life I've lived that this board and all its issues is important to me. What is real, what is true . . . I've had reason to question this more than most people. Because I know life is indeed full of mystery and the realms of energy that comprise creation can be to some degree accessed, perceived and manipulated with the human mind and faculties, it angers me even more when exploiters and liars do their work in this important realm.

I posted on another thread about conspiracy theories, and my concerns are applied there as well. There are many conspiracies -- hell, countless conspiracies -- afoot in the world, some far more important to our general well being than others. What a pity that so many loony nut jobs and hate mongerers are out there fouling the waters for honest investigators.

Spirituality, conspiracy -- we're dealing with the realms of the hidden, the hard to prove, and the always alluring. This territory is ripe for exploitation. I've been exploring there for many years and I've met some of the greatest charlatans of them all. I've also had inexplicable and powerful experiences that I may never understand, and I've heard things I can hardly believe are true -- yet perhaps they are true. My challenge has been to suspend final judgment while holding tight to my rationality and sense of self. This has not always been easy because I have been fully immersed at times in the strangest sectors of this world.

The funny thing is that my ex who was eaten by Landmark was absolutely the most "normal" person I'd been involved with in many years, and I was grateful for it!! I thought his relatively sheltered life and solid mainstream family were just what I needed after so many years wandering in the wilderness. But he was just a wee bit TOO sheltered: he was naive. And he was TOO cut off from mystery and wildness, so he was depressed and lost in his own way, sitting in his cubicle in front of his computer. Having been too scared to explore beyond his boundaries as a younger man -- teens and twenties -- he became prime Landmark material in his thirties and they snatched him up! Now he's "inspiring people to greatness" while leaving my heart in the dust.

All I can say is, life is very, very complex. Personally, I think I'll put all my trust in my dog.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: vlinden ()
Date: February 23, 2008 12:26PM

Yes, by all means, Byron Katie. We can return to the topic. She sucks. My two cents.

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Re: The Work/Byron Katie-strong concerns
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 23, 2008 11:58PM

Some Perspective on Release Forms

I've participated in long distance bicycling events organized by various bike clubs
and for charitable causes--both as a rider and as a support member.

To register for the event, prospective participants do sign release forms, stating
that they are aware that the event is potentially risky. As these are experienced
cyclists, or new participants mentored by more experienced friends, people
are already aware of this, so one has informed consent.

Usually we get this release forms sent to us in the mail. That gives plenty of time
to read them, reflect on them before signing.

But regarding professional psychotherapists, they do not require prospective clients to sign away their right to seek redress if harmed by the process.

To repeat, professional psychotherapy is regulated both by law and by the ethical guidelines worked out by the profession.

A professional healer not only has training and continuining education and (cough) carries liability insurance. A professional is part of a network of accountablity that is social, as well as legal.

Professionals network with other professional therapists in support and consultancy groups. They do not work as lone rangers, no matter how talented, because it is recognized that therapy is exacting and that therapists must never, EVER get their social or emotional needs met by vulnerable clients, but must meet these personal needs outside of their sessions with clients.

And, to repeat, professional therapists who mind their Ps and Qs, do not involve clients in work or business relationships. In such 'dual relationships' the conflict of interest is too great.

Here is something from a textbook on boundary ethics written by psychiatrist Richard S. Epstein --Keeping Boundaries:Maintaining Safety and Integrity in the Therapeutic Process. American Psychiatric Press, 1994 (pages 98--100)

(Readers are invited to ponder where they've observed this. I want to quote this at some length because Dr Epstein is describing hazards that go undiscussed and unacknowledged much of the time in human potential/'spiritual' settings.

It may be that persons wounded by abuses of power and trust in childhood are most likely to want to deny and avoid examing the entire hurtful topic and will feel empowered by ideologies which deny that vicimization and power abuse have any basis in reality. But refusing to look directly at a traumatic situation will merely leave a blind spot in conscious awareness. This may seem like healing but is actualy denial supported by a sophisticated and pervasive ideology that has become quite common--'there are no victims.' This actually leaves such believers not only unhealed and in denial but yet more vulnerable to exploitation by those who deny they are powerholders--yet contrive to exercise power while refusing to get training for its proper use, or accept conscious accountablity for both their power--and thier responsiblities in using power consciously and skilffully.

True professionals do not lead us into risk. They seek to avoid adding to whatever troubles a client or patient already has. A professional healer seeks to maximize benefits for clients while avoiding undue risks.

Epstein is describing how professionals, trained and credentialled are vulnerable to projecting their unconscious needs onto clients and subverting the therapeutic process--abuse of power and its subtleties. But this can also happen among untrained 'healers'

Epstein is also mentioning what happens between two persons in a private session. If this sort of thing happens in a group setting in front of an audience, where there is no privacy, matters become far more complex.Corboy)

Dr Epstein writes:

'The role of therapist requires the ability to underg, in part, a "regression in the service of ego". In order to contain the patient's primative conflicts, the therapist
must relax his or her own ego boundaries to a certain degree.

"Relaxation of boundaries may progress beyond the professionally monitored treatment technique. Boundary violations begin when a blurring of the interpersonal membrane occurs that goes beyond "even-suspended-attention" and empathic listening.

"The therapists technique then becomes a regression in the service of ID. (Primative unconscious needs of the therapist--C). His or her observing "ego" is effectively inactivated by trance logic tricks and self deception.

Dissolution of the self-other differentiation progresses to the point that the therapist begins to perceive the patient as a part of himself or herself...the therapist temporarily or permanently loses the essence and purpose of the role of caregiver.

"As a result, the transitional quality of the treatment as "creative illusion" is lost. Metaphors are treated as if they are reality.

(Corboy notes: 'Metaphors are treated as if they are reality.' Where, friends, have we encountered this before?)

**"For many professionals(the author here is talking about persons who have supposedly received training as therapists--not the untrained persons who are out there, unregulated by law, with only adoring multitudes as company)

'For many professionals who engage in boundary violations, the process often begins with a denial of the very real power differential* that exists between therapists and patients (Petersen 1992) The therapists position in relation to the patient becomes one of apparent equivalence.

'You and I are equals. I am here for you, and you are here for me.'

This is a symmetrical statement, according to Matte-Blanco's(1988) meaning of the word, and involves the use of primary process thinking (that is, thought characteristic of childhood, when we are too young to be bound by logic--C). When amalgamated with rational sounding pronouncements, the statement becomes bilogic:

'Your parents did not treat you as a full human being. Unlike them I am here to help you learn about human respect and dignity. All people should be treated this way. I will treat you with respect. Therefore I will treat you as an equal.

This faulty reasoning involves a disavowal of the "ethos of care" and the fiduciary role so intrinsic to the act of accepting a patient for therapy. Respect is fallaciously equated with equality.

(And, notes Corboy, recognition of a client's vulnerablity in relation to the therapist would be equated with oppression and disrespect for the client--denying his or her actual need for protection within the power imbalance generated by the client therapist relationship and the transferance counter transferance dynamics that unfold)

"Once the boundary has been blurred to this point, the (spurious) "equality"
may progress to role-reversal. When role reversal occurs in the treatment process, the therapist seeks a form of gratification from the patient that goes beyond the contracted fee and service arrangement. Role reversal almost always involves a change from the originally stated treatment goal (Petersen 1992) -- a bait and switch tactic

"This," states Epstein "is one of the key pathologic factors in the formation of a "false self" (Winnicott(1960b/1965).

"From the perspective of the therapist who employs projective identification to evacuate unwanted and "toxic" aspects of self, role reversal may also be conceptualized as an effort to switch from a helpless, passive position to an active one. (Ponder 1987)

"The projected affects often include the therapist's hidden feelings of shame, envy, vulnerablity, and impotence. The hidden shame is signaled by the therapists use of "attack other" defenses such as sarcasm, teasing, ridicule, and efforts to control the patient in some way. Later, the tragic projection comes full circle when the patient feels humiliated, exploited, betrayed, abandoned, and violated.

"Ironically when a therapist asks a patient to take care of his or her needs, things are anything but equal. In primary process thinking (that is the thought processes of very early childhood) contradictory ideas can exist side by side without conflict.

"The primary process thoughts might be typified by the following "symmetrical"
statements in the therapist's mind:

'You and I are one...your needs and mine are the I take care of you, so you should take care of me.'

The irrational nature of these thoughts is more effectively concealed if the message is converted into a bilogical communication to the patient (or entourage member of a guru)

'It will be helpful for you to be considerate of others. I am another person: therefore you should be considerate of me by making me feel good.'

(Thus, this denies the power imbalance between client and therapist, (or devotee and guru/human potential leader). And the client or devotee, who sought care and healing from this powerful person ends up conned into feeling responsible for the powerholder's emotional needs. Thus the client or devotee ends up parenting the powerholder, and the denial of inequality and power imbalance
leaves the powerholder still having power and escaping accountablity for its proper, just and conscious use. Meanwhile the powerholders disowned responsibility is transferred to the client or devotee--who feels the shame, guilt and anxiety that the powerholder should be feelng, but has instead projected onto and INTO the targeted victim--Corboy)

(Remember Epstein is talking about professionals who have gone off the rails. Leaders of human potential projects, especially those not trained in the complexties of all this are potentially capable of sliding into thespitfalls described here. At least amongst professionals, these hazards are acknowleged and discussed. The existence of Epsteins book is proof that this is true. One would have to search a long time to find comparable candor -and detail--about power abuse, transferance and countertransferance in any New Age texts.C)

*(Corboy notes: this denial of power differential and the possiblity that it can be abused is rampant in the New Age and Consciousness scene. The frequent statement, 'There are no victims, only volunteers' is an example. If one denies there is such thing as victims, that means issues of powerholder accountablity, power imbalance and risks of harm fall right out of the equation, while the reality of power and its risk factors for abuse, remain unacknowleged. As Philip K Dick famously said, "Reality is that which when ignored, does not go away.")

The book referred to by Epstein is by Marilyn R Petersen, At Personal Risk:Boundary Violations in Professional Client Relationships, Norton, 1992.

This book is especially useful because Peterson describes issues that relate not only to mental health professionals and clergy, but also teachers and attorneys. It may now be in paperback.

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Re: Prices and BK
Posted by: lumin7 ()
Date: February 24, 2008 12:45AM

The issue with BK can seem somewhat convoluted. If you read her books she's a walking contradiction and unfortunately that flies directly in the face of truth and truth is reality. Katie gleefully says there are no people here, there's only one mind, everything is a projection, etc. Her book "Loving What Is" should clearly be called "Loving What Isn't" because she states that the entire world is an illusion and thus that means what she calls reality is completely fictional.

If BK started with truth and worked from there then she wouldn't be in a position to make money off what she calls "The Work". As soon as you put your stamp on something it becomes personal and the more you deny it the more personal it gets. So many of her supporters are completely enamored with her., but in a personal way.

Reality would be that which is real. Reality would be existence or being. Reality is totality, complete and whole NOW. That which IS. There really is no word that can contain the immensity of that which is wordless. In the name of presence that is everywhere present and nowhere absence who is Katie helping, healing, who has been redeemed, who's mind has been cleared if there is only infinite mind??? This is Katie's entire dilemma if there "really" is one. There is no otherness in ALL. This is the simple truth, accept it or deny it. It means nothing in terms of changeless perfection.

The only real help would be that which precludes there being anyone, anywhere, in need of help. Only truth, god, being, love, reality, use whatever word you take delight in using, ALL means ALL, and that which IS, is ALL there IS. Regardless of the scenario any approach that suggest you start under the assumption that you need to "become" who or what you already are is absolutely fruitless.

If The Work is what Katie claims then imagine if she had released the so-called method anonymously. If it's so easy and so workable then it seems obvious she could have done so. Again, the only mind that can know god is the mind that is god, this absolute truth is all the truth there IS NOW and NOW is eternally NOW.

I just read a "story" about a little baby gorilla that was found clinging to her Mom's dead body. The Mom had been shot in the head by rebels. I suppose Katie would say it is what it is. I would say regardless of what it is or isn't, lack of action is apathy, and tolerating intentional acts of violence guarantees they will continue. When it comes to wildlife and how human impact, poaching, loss of habitat, trapping, etc. is forcing beautiful creatures into extinction, combined with how we are handling animals involved in industrial farming, how does Katie explain all this? The constant and consistent acts of violence, pain and suffering caused by man against other sentient beings is incomprehensible. Would Katie say it's just the cheetah or wolf believing in their thoughts and attaching to a story? Would she say the polar bear cub or the baby gorilla are lost in their stories? This is just too dismissive of the one who is apparently suffering.

It's all absolute non sense. If you are interested in the nature of reality, start with reality. There is no getting from here to there, no moving from matter to spirit, no arising to god, no merging into oneness. Imagine, you are totality, you've never known otherness, surely you'd know nothing of oneness, you'd only know your own immensity as infinity. In truth, you know that now. Can you really be other than what you are now? There's no time. Time would be that point when it is not now. When is that? Never! It's all so silly! In the so-called human paradigm Katie seems to be interested at least to an extent in $$$$ and frankly, that's no all that unusual.

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