Archive for the ‘On Byron Katie’ Category

The Law of Attraction is not a singular belief. Like religions and philosophies and musical tastes, we have a spectrum of flavors from which to choose. It ranges from the power of positive thinking to the belief that the universe is entirely of your own making.

Nor is it a singular course. Many (to most) of its teachers focus on wealth acquisition and accumulation, ranging from understanding your money blueprint (T. Harv Eker, Garrett Gunderson) to buying real estate (Robert Allen) to managing investment portfolios (Robert Kiyosaki). Others focus on personal growth (Byron Katie) and spiritual development (Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch).

The following table is an approximate overview of the personal responsibility assumption made to varying degrees in the Law of Attraction courses currently raging throughout North America and beyond.

I’ve tried not to pass judgment, as I am convinced that you can learn from just about anyone. While I would not personally take courses from some of the educational forums listed below, I would never go so far as to say they have nothing to offer. Each “teacher” in your life presents you with tools. What you do with them, how you apply them (if you choose to), and what you derive from them, is entirely up to you.

It is included here so that you can see the range. However, it is not definitive. What will make it definitive is your experience (direct or in-direct) with it.

Educational forum promoting…
partial personal responsibility substantial personal responsibility total personal responsibility
Philosophy You have some control over the outcomes of your life. You can shape the outcome of events that impact your life. You have created every aspect of your life.
Degree of action required Significant. Significant. Your thoughts are key, but only if you have the emotional desire to persist through and survive your trials and your failures. Insignificant. Your thoughts shape everything. That which follows is all a result of your ability to think the right thoughts.
Forums Books, counselling and therapy sessions, community workshops, one-on-one. Seminars, classes, leading to larger group. Large Group Awareness Training (LGATs).
Examples Positive-thought proponents, authors, counselors, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People

Events happen to you; how you respond to those events will have a significant ability to shape your future.

Jack Canfield’s formula E+R = O encapsulates it (Events + Response = Outcome).

Napoleon Hill advocated that you can receive what you conceive if you have an intense burning desire driving your action.

Landmark Education. Their philosophy is that personal responsibility begins and ends with one’s willingness to be central cause of all results in one’s life. Being both the cause and the effect is the ideal way to to live.

T. Harv Eker’s T > F >A > R formula encapsulates it (Thoughts lead to Feelings lead to Action lead to Results). It’s all you.

Extreme examples Your negative thoughts contributed toward your current situation. If you are down, it’s because you don’t believe you are worth better. Pat Robertson, an evangelical Christian suggests that the recent Haiti earthquake was brought about by the Haitians themselves in a deal they made with the devil to free them from the French.
Further research Irrelevant to the success of the relationship. Encouraged. The greater your exposure, the greater your chances at success. Not encouraged. The knowledge you will receive here is definitive. Stay away from the negative influence of fear-mongering newspapers and magazines.
Costs might fall into this range $20/book

Free consultation then typically $30-$50-$100/session depending on the type

Free intro nights

$100-1000/classes

$50-$500+/session

Free intro nights

$500-$30,000+/seminars

Seminars are frequently hosted by a high-profile success story, and run behind the scenes by volunteers.

Types Positive thinking

Therapy

Counseling

Community classes

Community classes

Seminars

Seminars

Several of the Large Group Awareness Training (LGAT) programs

Techniques Comfort zone is challenged

Guided learning

Journaling

Peer-led group study

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Call-and-response technique

Comfort zone is challenged

Mental breakdowns lead to breakthroughs

Deprivation (contact, food/beverage, bathrooms, etc.)

Group chants or call-and-response technique

Deviation from the group can lead to personal humiliation

Independent thinking is discouraged (you are here, after all, because you are a failure and you want to learn from the successful expert so shut up and learn)

Spirituality Not typically present unless specifically seeking religious or spiritual guidance Implicit or explicit religious overtones Implicit or explicit religious overtones
Qualifications/ Status Academic achievement Track record success Cult-like status of the guru

Group conversations discouraged

Challenging the teachings discouraged (you can be physically removed from the session)

The Interpretation of Failure Failure means you haven’t yet been able to turn it around and look at it from a different perspective. Failure means you are one step closer to success. Success is built on a succession of failures. Failure means you are personally being punished. You haven’t “played” at 120%. You are personally weak. Typically, more classes will help you achieve a better rate of success.
The Interpretation of Success You can live in your current circumstances and be a happier human being. You can persist through the rough times knowing that the plan and the journey will get you there. You will be rich.

The Law of Attraction, wrapped in its mantra of self-improvement in the names of God and Wealth, makes for a lucrative industry. In 2006, the research firm Marketdata estimated the “self-improvement” business in the U.S. generated more than $9 billion in sales—including infomercials, mail-order catalogs, holistic institutes, books, audio cassettes, motivation-speaker seminars, the personal coaching market, weight-loss and stress-management programs.[1] It’s also an unregulated field, which means it’s buyer beware.


[1] PRWeb (September 21, 2006). “Self-Improvement Market in U.S. Worth $9.6 Billion.” Press release. http://www.prwebdirect. com/releases/2006/9/prweb440011.php. Retrieved 2008-12-18. “Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher, has released a new 321-page market study entitled: The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services.”

The is an excerpt from my book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Woman (Chapter 8).

A lot of comments on my blog have been in reference to Byron Katie.

On the flip side, there’s been a resounding silence on the others, including Jack Canfield, James Arthur Ray, T. Harv Eker, and the “abundance” of Law of Attraction gurus out there. What’s up with that? Any ideas?

I followed Jack Canfield for awhile on Facebook, but dropped him after he commented that at a recent seminar he had one fellow come up to him and say that he had applied Canfield’s teachings for several years now and had exponentially increased his earnings.

Canfield actually had the audacity to brag about that.

Think about it. If their teachings were accurate and all you really had to do was change your thinking from negative to positive, then wouldn’t this comment be considered mundane? After all, pretty well everyone who attends these seminars (after dishing out thousands and thousands of dollars) has this level of success, don’t they?

Really?

Don’t they?

I suspect not. Else world hunger, poverty and war would be a thing of the past.

I’ve attended a four-day workshop given by T. Harv Eker. Well, not actually Eker himself but certainly a well qualified underling. I think he was well qualified. If magnetic means well-qualified.

Which is to say I endured the 30 minutes extreme hard sell infomercials scattered throughout the seminar. I, like many others, felt like an abject failure for not signing up, for not thinking with enough guts, for not really being committed to my financial success.

And if you study (ie read on wikipedia) the sales tactics taught by Robert Cialdini, you’ll recognize them at full strength at these events.

  • Reciprocity: Give your potential customer something for free (ie a four day seminar) and they will feel indebted to buy from you
  • Commitment: Get your potential customers to commit to participating at 110% (a mathematical impossibility by the way), then, well into the series, tell them that if they are really committed to playing “full-on” then they will continue to grow on this journey (ie sign up for a 8 thousand dollar course). An interesting application of this tactic.
  • Social Proof: Plant a few seeds in the crowd. Social proof would exist when you say that there are only 29 spots available for this particular deal, and only the first 15 who sign up will get the bonus gifts (whatever they are). How hard would it be to have a few volunteers in the crowd ready to make a rush for the back, inspiring those who are “thinking about it” to stop thinking and start rushing to the back with credit card in hand.
  • Authority: We’re all suckers for it. One of the worst offenders for this that I know of was an instructor for one of Robert Kiyosaki’s course (Rich Dad Poor Dad dude). CBC’s marketplace did an investigation on him, and all of the “investments” that he bragged about were actually abysmal flops or they didn’t really exist. If there’s someone on-stage telling us “this is so,” then we tend to believe them. By virtue of their job and their script, they have god-like authority. And they know it.
  • Liking: This is a measure of popularity. One of the first things that these seminar leaders are trained to do is to get you to vehemently agree with them two to five times in the first ten minutes of their presentations. One way they do it is to say that thousands had the opportunity to come here, and you were one of the few hundred who actually showed up. They make you feel special, so you like them. They’ll incorporate call-and-repeat chant’s (“I’m a money magnet”) to heighten your sense of success so you like them even more. And goddamnit of course you’re special. You special to their success, that’s why.
  • Scarcity: As mentioned in social proof above, you’ll often hear the “seminar special” being touted. But did you know that the seminar special typically happens at every seminar, not just the one in your town cause gosh-darn they love you? Or that you can phone their headquarters and “negotiate” (ie ask for) that same price.

Cialdini’s methods are all good. These gurus take them to extreme proportions to an exalted and exhausted audience. Indeed, you can blow the equivalent of a PhD’s tuition on these gurus, and not be further ahead than you are now.

I think it speaks volumes that Byron Katie inspires conversation while the other gurus inspire silence, both on the for and the against side. I’m not exactly too sure what it says, but it’s saying something important. Question is, are we listening.

It strikes me as somewhat unethical that some multi-million intake “teachers” bus their students out to the ghetto-parts of town to intermingle with the homeless. Of course, I don’t know if they give back. I know that Anthony Robbins was partially motivated to provide Thanksgiving Dinners.

From Wikipedia (Tony Robbins. (2009, November 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:53, December 5, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Tony_Robbins&oldid=328059224):

Robbins is the founder of the Anthony Robbins Foundation, which proclaims its mission is to empower students, help prisoners to improve their lives, organize food drives, and fund Robbins’ “Discovery Camp”. According to the website, it has “products and programs in more than 2,000 schools, 700 prisons, and 100,000 health and human service organizations. The Foundation is committed to make a difference in the quality of life for children, the homeless, the prison population, and the elderly through its various programs”. Charity Navigator gives the foundation an overall rating of three out of four stars. The foundation has subsequently led to the forming of “Basket Brigades” across the world that occur each Thanksgiving. Individuals and groups have joined together to assemble and deliver dinner baskets to more than two million needy people.

Two million people. That’s a significant number.

The teachers who I have in mind who I know incorporate the Homeless Experience into their teachings are Byron Katie and James Arthur Ray. (If there are others, let us know.)  I don’t find similar entries under their Wiki pages. Not that that is the definitive authority. That would be you, the reader. So if you know otherwise, again, let the rest of us know.

25
Nov

Janaki Experience with Byron Katie

   Posted by: Britt Tags: ,

Janaki wrote of her experience with Byron Katie in an online document. I keep on trying to link to it, and after a short while the links always get broken. One site I hit said they removed the post due to legal threats.

Perhaps all is not as beautiful as it seems?

Anyway, TODAY’s links to Janaki’s document are here, here and here. We’ll see how long they last.

Interesting. This is the most frequently visited page on my blog. Robots? Paid patrollers? If one is so terrified of the opinions of another getting out, perhaps one shouldn’t pursue the life of a public figure.

Sheesh.

25
Nov

One Person’s Experience with Byron Katie

   Posted by: Britt

This was posted in 2008, from a person who attended one of Byron Katie’s 9-day schools. This is a direct quote from the source.

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.