Byron Katie Is Either Going To Enlighten You Or Kill You Trying
File under: The Siddhi of PR
We've never felt much impetus to go after Byron Katie. Good friends are close to her, and all in all, she's not trying to be the font of everything magical and divine, as far as we can tell.
But we don't think you could pay us enough to go to one of her intensives after a reader turned us on to a message board post written by someone who did:
1. A forced 36 hour fast.It's all seeming quite culty to us. Her nice lady image aside, it sounds a lot more like psych-ops being run at a CIA black site than anything that could be worth paying for, let alone make you enlightened. Unless being tortured is the kind of thing gets you off. It's certainly all the rage these days.
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.
Update: We just got off the phone with our formerly-inside man. He asked us to communicate two points about the above. The first is that all of these exercises are entirely optional. In his experience (he's taught approximately 700 people in The Work), no one has been mal-vibed by the staff for not participating in any of these practices. Nor does his experience reflect any kind of subtle shunning of those who opened up on The Work in the critiquing session.
The point of these practices is to take folks out of their regular self-image and personality habits, hopefully to engender a quasi-objective platform of self-analysis from which The Work may continue. You're still going to have to pay us to go through any of this, but at least it's not the cult indoctrination operation it seemed to the person who wrote the message board post.
Labels: The Siddhi of PR