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Mike
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Katie Byrons Collapse into depression, paranoia and eating disorders & awakening
« on: 29 December 2009 »

I have always had my reservations about KB based on her attitude to "victimhood" (and things she has said to victims of rape, incest and in palestine) ... but I know quite a few folks have found her method useful and this snippet of her story (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_Katie) is very inspiring to all those who wonder what the "purpose" of trauma and sever depression might be ... and for those with relatives and friends in such circs ... a lotus blooms in the most unlikely places:

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Byron Kathleen Reid (or "Katie" as she is called) became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother living in a little town in the high desert of southern California. According to Katie, for almost a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders,[2] she experienced a life-changing realization. She called it “waking up to reality.” In that moment of enlightenment, she says,

"I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment."

According to journalist Allison Adato, soon afterward people started seeking Katie out and asking how they could find the freedom that they saw in her.[3] People from her town and eventually from elsewhere came to meet her, and some to even live with her.

Katie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote her first book, Loving What Is and her third book, A Thousand Names for Joy.

Katie calls her method of self-inquiry "The Work". She describes it as an embodiment, in words, of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her on that February morning. Adato further writes that as reports spread about the transformations people felt they were experiencing through The Work, Katie was invited to present it publicly elsewhere in California, then throughout the United States, and eventually in Europe and across the world.[3] She has taught her method to people at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools, at weekend intensives, and at her nine-day "School for The Work".
[edit] Teachings

Her method of self-inquiry, called The Work, is based on four questions and a process called a "turnaround".

The four questions are:

   1. Is it true?
   2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
   3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
   4. Who would you be without the thought?

Her method can be done either by oneself or with another person.

When engaging in her method, first one identifies a belief or thought related to a topic that causes anxiety or unhappiness. Initially one is encouraged to choose something which feels important, which annoys or troubles you, that someone else does or did: for example "My mother never loved me," or "Tom shouldn't expect me to solve his problems." With each thing, one then asks themselves or is asked each of the four questions listed above. When alone, one writes down their response, and with another person one speaks their answers aloud.

After the four questions, the thought is literally turned around to its opposite. For example: "My mother never loved me" turns around to "My mother always loved me," Then one sees if they can find ways that this new thought is equally true, or more true, than the original thought.

The turnaround also takes the form of turning the statement around to oneself: "I never loved my mother," or "I never loved myself."

Katie summarizes The Work as: "Judge your neighbor, write it down. Ask four questions, turn it around."
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Sparkly
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Re: Katie Byrons Collapse into depression, paranoia and eating disorders & awakening
« Reply #1 on: 26 October 2010 »


so what's your problem with her, do you find her too flip?
i personally have used questioning thoughts as a method (i hadn't heard of katie) and it worked. it took many years but i don't have those thoughts like "i'm a terrible person, or i'm ugly or i'm fat" that just cycle in most people's minds when they are alone.
but i read recently (after i watched the hilarious video of her "open heart surgery") that she told her daughter she had cancer in a very insensitive happy excited way.
so what you are objecting to is her optimism being somewhat dismissive of a peron's struggle and abject sadness. no?
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Mike
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Re: Katie Byrons Collapse into depression, paranoia and eating disorders & awakening
« Reply #2 on: 27 October 2010 »

Hi Sparkly

Am rushing off on a Tony Parsons retreat so no time for a long answer ... but nothing so subtle ... more to do with eg telling victims of incest and child sex abuse that they were in some way responsible in "permitting" it (eg something from one of her books about this mentioend here http://www.thinkhappy.org/2008/08/28/byron-katie-on-incest/), in other cases getting folks to dissociate from it ... turning up in Israel and telling Palestinians its their fault etc etc. Eg: from a thread at http://forum.rickross.com/read.php?12,12906,58218#msg-58218

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"I do feel, too, that telling a woman who has survived child rape-- that she is abusing herself, has abused the abuser and was involved in this to get the love/attention/approval she was after, that this is a GREAT BIG RED FLAG. It's very obvious and I don't know how anyone could miss it."


Quote
QUOTE from LOSING THE MOON: (page 29)
__________________________________________________
Friend: You've said that the heart will do whatever it takes. It will rape a child, it will murder 6 million Jews. It'll do whatever it takes. I really just got that, really, literally.

Byron Katie: It is love, and we can tell all the stories we want about how its not, and it is. Its not even misguided. It is what it is, always. [..] even the suicidal things are natural. Everything is natural...every taste, every thing is God. [...] I hear the word "Katie" its the name of God. "I" God.
_____________________________________________________

No wonder Katie has suppressed this book! This is only a tiny bit of it, she goes on and on like this.

So Byron Katie has said that child-rape is "love", and the Holocaust is "not even misguided" and is love and the work of God, and even "is God"?

The basic four questions are useful ... "is it true" etc ... and I know a number of people who have used it well.  But sometimes yes it is true and deeply traumatic and damaging and needs healing by a professional trained in the area not someone with no qualifications and a "one size fits all" ... from her website:

"The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the stressful thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It's a way to understand what's hurting you, a way to end all your stress and suffering."

So once you have a hammer and say its good for all things you end up not just hammering nails which works well but screws and souffles  Happy

But as I say no time to answer this one in detail and besides as there are getting on for 7 billion people on this planet what this person thinks about another aint worth a strong of beans  Happy

cheers

Mike

ps one snip:

"She gives the example of a nazi throwing a baby into a flaming pit. This act she says is God. “God is what-is. And until we can accept our baby being destroyed we cannot come to terms with God, with reality” (Paraphrase from Losing the Moon.) "  Uh?  Uh?  Uh? WTF?!

pps you can read one harrowed participant of a US$5,000 retreat for 250 (!!) ppl here: http://guruphiliac.lefora.com/2009/03/23/byron-katies-school-for-the-work-march-09/ eg ...

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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.

 cry
« Last Edit: 27 October 2010 by Mike » Logged






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Claire
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Re: Katie Byrons Collapse into depression, paranoia and eating disorders & awakening
« Reply #3 on: 16 December 2010 »

Quote
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.

This still seems to be such a widely used "tool" for gaining power.   sad
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Mike
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Re: Katie Byrons Collapse into depression, paranoia and eating disorders & awakening
« Reply #4 on: 16 December 2010 »

This still seems to be such a widely used "tool" for gaining power.   sad

Indeed. 

Didn't I mention the having to beg for one food stories (at KB seminars) somewhere on ttem?

I recall Burgs asking people on a meditation retreat to talk about their most shameful thing (not compulsary).  Sent a shiver down my spine then. Don't recall the Buddha suggesting that one  confused
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