In searching the web for the above two mystics, there only seem to be glowing accounts. I was exposed to the philosophies of these two through my experience with Unity. In particular, I find Byron Katie dubious in that she charges enormous amounts for her seminars. Eckhart Tolle also seems to be cashing in with all his books (Power of Now was his first book), seminars, even "Power of Now" cards. Just curious if anyone else had experience with either of these "gurus".
No experience with them per se, but definitely with their following and followers...they have been all the rage in a lot of Unity and Religious Science churches for the past few years. Especially Tolle. I remember when his "Power of Now" book first came out, he did a seminar in another part of in our state, and everyone was rushing to buy tickets, make motel reservations, and carpool out of town to go to hear him. I was non-plussed, and was asked why. I just said, "He's the new age flavor of the month. Not interested." As for Byron Katie, she's another one that everyone was rushing to see/hear. I believe she is headquartered in Sedona, AZ (a new age "mecca" for the wealthy) nowadays. Figures.
If you haven't already done so, run a search here on this site, some good threads on them both.
I've looked over some info on Tolle and stay clear of him and anyone like him. Loaded confusing language is used (a.k.a. mumbo jumbo), focus is encouraged on his eyes and appearance, all too much like most every other charlatan.
OK...let's see if I can remember what I wrote before the computer wiped it out.
I am familiar with both Ekhart Tolle and Byron Katie and know people who are involved in that scene. IMO they don't set themselves up as gurus and simply refer to themselves as teachers.
I have read parts of Tolle's book. I found it hard to get through the whole thing because it's a bit boring and dry, but I don't think there's really anything harmful in it. I've never seen Tolle in person, but I do know someone who attended one of his workshops in Costa Rica.
I attended one of Byron Katie's free seminars in NYC a couple years ago. She does do a limited amount of free public talks and also does some less expensive seminars for the Learning Annex. I really enjoyed the seminar and found her techniques helpful, although I'm really too lazy to practice the technique on my own. Her teaching is called "The Work" and is based on her "4 questions" technique, which you are supposed to ask yourself every time you have a problem with someone or something. I also have a friend in NYC who conducts seminars on "The Work". I attended one of her seminars and enjoyed it as well. But then again, I'm much more new age-y than most of the regulars here.
Katie & Tolle's teachings are very similar to Advaita (non-duality), which is a branch of Vedanta Hinduism. Advaita was started by 2 Indian gurus, Ramana Maharshi and Poonjaji, a.k.a. "Papaji". (The latter was Andrew Cohen's guru. Cohen is another Advaita teacher.) The father of American Advaita was Robert Adams, who was based in California.
There are several Advaita teachers out there now. Andrew Cohen and Gangaji are probably the most well-known. Most call themselves teachers and not gurus. The way they present themselves varies depending on the individual teacher. Some are more steeped in Hindu or Buddhist tradition and seem more guru-like; others are more laid-back and take more of a laissez-faire attitude with students: they do a type of spiritual inquiry where they ask questions that encourage the individual to find the answers for themselves, much like therapists do.
Although Katie & Tolle's teachings could be classified as Advaita, my understanding from reading their histories is that neither of them followed a particular spiritual path or guru, but instead had an experience or "awakening" on their own which happens to be similar to what Advaita teaches. Both were going through a major depression and "hit bottom" right before their "revelations" happened.
I was heavily involved in Advaita for the past few years and saw several different teachers when they came into town. I also got to be very close with many of the followers or students or spiritual seekers (whatever you want to call them). Although some had no spiritual background at all and some came from Buddhist traditions, I'd say at least half came from a Hindu guru/devotee/ashram-type of background. These were people who were disillusioned by their gurus and all the manipulative crap that goes on in ashrams and wanted something less structured that didn't involve worshipping anyone.
The problem is that people still have a tendency to put their "teachers" on a pedestal the same way one would a guru. I saw similar problems develop around some Advaita teachers where it seemed like they favored some people over others (i.e. those with money or nice homes).
I don't really think it's the fault of Advaita itself, though; just human nature.
Someday I'll post my own Advaita horror story here.
I find Byron Katie dubious in that she charges enormous amounts for her seminars.
Why is it if somebody charges money for a product, that makes it bad or evil? Since James Dobson charges for his books, would you call James Dobson dubious. How about Rick Warren? Joyce Meyer? They all bring in millions of dollars a year in income, MUCH more than Byron Katie.
I find your criticisms dubious. I think it's time that as Christians we stop trying to take the log out of everyone else's eyes and pluck our own out first. I won't even bring up Kenneth Copeland and his TWO $20 million dollar Jets in the name of Jesus. How many does Eckhart Tolle or Byron Katie have?
I have Byron Katies's book, Loving What Is. There is NOTHING in this book that goes against my Christian faith. God bless her if she can make a living selling a product honestly. Isn't that what America, Land of the free enterprise system is all about.
Your so called new age flavor of the month is bigger than every 3 years later. Gee, he must be a real flash in the pan, lol. I guess that's why Oprah picked his book for her book club and is doing an online seminar with him. Yep, you were right, he's a flash in the old proverbial pan.
Byron Katie was once insane and appears to be insane now. Even Landmark and The Forum aren't as wacked out as Katie's lunatic reversal of reality. I can't believe how many people are listening to this woman. The world is a mad house.
Here is a review of her book from Amazon:
If no stars were available, I'd choose that. This self-help book is aimed primarily at helping the author. I found it preposterous, and downright dangerous. I don't think this woman has any credentials; rather, she seems to tout her qualifying experience as the fact that she had a nervous breakdown when she was 43 years old. Katie's "help" is presented as a series of questions that branch from her initial query of "Is it [the situation, feeling, etc.] true?" Nothing intended to help people break out of lifelong conditioning works as fast as Katie would have one believe. Especially annoying parts of the book are the intro by her husband (who has no more credentials than his wife) where he belabors Katie's lecturing on the ideas in her book for free (the book certainly is not free; thank goodness I borrowed it from a library), the many times Katie showcases her approach in a cult-like way as "The Work," Katie pretending to be an objective participant when she is clearly steering people toward her sometimes-dangerous ideas, and Katie using endearments that just seem patronizing with her interview subjects in the dialogue transcripts (e.g., "Nice Work, honey"). I was muddling through the book and wondering when I'd get to something helpful when I read her exchange with a woman who was repeatedly raped as a child (around age 8 or 9) by her stepfather. Then the author, through a series of questions, ended up turning the blame for the rapes around on the victim, culminating in the idea that rape was the woman's way of receiving love. All this was done in front of an audience. Brainwashing and abuse in the guise of therapy. Ghastly.
Gee, vlinden. That's amazing that a person who is insane is a best selling author and seminar speaker. I wonder how she does it if she is so insane? But wouldn't that make the millions of people who buy her books insane? Are you saying that millions of people including me are insane. Interesting since you have never met me you can judge so freely. Ah, judgment, how does it feel? Just what does Jesus say about judging others- exactly.
I'll tell you who is insane. The people that give millions to Benny Hinn (fake healer) , Kenneth Copeland (heretic) , Ted Hagard (homosexual Evanelical), Paula White (fake minstry and divorced), Joyce Meyer (pant suit feminist fleecer) Peter Popoff, Richard Roberts (fraud) ---- I could go on for the next hour of all the "Christian frauds".
Wouldn't you say that people who give millions to these fake Jesus sellers are insane? Think about it before you attack a middle aged best selling author. At least Byron Katie doesn't tell people if they don't buy her books they will burn in hell and other manipulative ploys.
God bless. The Truth will set you free if you seek it with all your heart.
I am sorry you've fallen for whatever kernels of truth Byron Katie uses to suck people toward her black hole of madness, and now you feel you need to defend her. I feel I need to defend truth. I'm posting here, below, what I posted on another section of this board.
With all due respect, none of your points matter, nor are they logical. I'm not talking about other phonies, frauds, con-men, fake gurus and soul-snake-oil salesman, who certainly exist and perhaps your examples are accurate. Right now, I'm talking about Byron Katie. I don't care how old she is, I have no undue sympathy for her packaged lunacy because she's middle aged.
You say: That's amazing that a person who is insane is a best selling author and seminar speaker. I wonder how she does it if she is so insane?
I admit to being nearly paralyzed right now with the implications of the answer. Let us all stop a moment and ask ourselves these very questions. How is this possible?
Of course I never said that everyone who buys her books are insane. However, after you've read the books, and seen the videos of her "work" with people, if you still swallow her reality whole, then yes, I do doubt your own connection to reality.
Of course there are many kernels of truth in Katie's pronouncements, if not it would be nothing but raving madness. But there is also RAVING MADNESS built right into "The Work" itself. And people continue to flock to her.
I think the purpose of this board, to expose cults and cult mindsets, speaks to the answer quite well. There is simply a shocking appetite in the culture for the kind of solace offered by people who are willing to lie about the nature of reality and proclaim themselves enlightened leaders in some respect. People want to believe the lies to end their suffering. They will believe almost anything it seems. They will believe Byron Katie's insane reversals of reality. They will believe Scientology's space-dramas and Thetans and Xenu. They will drink the Kool Aid.
As for judging you -- yes, I will judge. I will judge with my rational mind, with my God-given faculties for discernment, with my hard-earned intelligence.
Golfer, please, for the sake of humanity, for the sake of human evolution -- seek truth. Honor truth above all else, regardless of whether it brings pain. Value truth.
After reading about Byron Katie on this board, I was interested to see her in action. Here is a link showing a session with an Israeli woman who tells Katie that she's afraid of war.
I've never seen anything so insane in my life, outside of a mental institution. I've watched other videos and read parts of her writing, and now I am just stunned, once again, at what people will pay money to believe.
Katie's reasoning is more deranged than anything put forth by Landmark Education, though there are basic parallels. She incorporates Landmark's extreme (to the point of completely irrationality) existential you-create-everything and blame-the-victim philosophy, but then she essentially attempts to turn reality completely on its head with her reversal questions. For example, "My father abused me" becomes "I abused my father." This doesn't even begin to make rational sense, it's like insisting you can wear your hat on your feet and walk just as easily, if not better.
My friends and I have been watching these videos with our jaws on the floor.
In this one, Katie is dealing with an Israeli woman essentially suffering from PTSD, who needs some basic therapy and human support and understanding. She's afraid of war. Of course she's afraid of war. This is perfectly normal and sane, given where she lives. In fact, it's healthy and important. Her fears of war could lead her to take every kind of appropriate action.
But according to the New Age Self-Help snake-oil soul "savers," no one need or should ever be afraid, ever be upset, ever be angry or feel guilt or shame or anything "negative." By promoting this patently ridiculous concept, they create the illusion that people actually could walk around in a state of bliss all the time -- and this they call a state of "grace" -- by simply disconnecting from their egos, their rational selves, and their critical minds.
If they just did back-room lobotomies it would be so much easier -- but they'd sell less books.
Landmark and other LGATs of course trade in this counterfeit psycho-babble, at the expense of people's lost minds and souls, but Byron Katie seems to take it to a new level perhaps because she was, for many years, actually barking mad.
So we have a barking mad woman now telling people to just "reverse" their thinking until they can convince themselves maybe nothing is what they believed, maybe everything is ass-backward, maybe everything is just FINE if they only stop thinking rationally . . . and people are calling her a guru and "the real deal."
She actually tells this poor woman that she shouldn't worry about war, because the FLOWERS ON THE TABLE are not worrying about war.
That's right. The flowers. They're not worried. They have no brain. Be like the flowers.
What a sick, sorry situation we're finding ourselves in today, people. We are devolving. We need to be rational in order to survive. It's our critical minds and rational thinking and respect for pain, fear and danger that allowed us to rise up out of the primordial swamps, harness fire, build cities, create laws, art and our greatest ideas. These New Age lunatics will have us drooling like the mental patients they once were, incapable of correct action because we no longer trust our most important faculties.
What the fuck is going on in this world???
There are consumer protections for objects, for baby car seats and tires and medications -- but what about this faulty New Age psychology, these damaging mind viruses delivered in respectable hard-cover packages and CD sets? We don't feel they can be regulated because people are "free" to believe what they want, but at the least they should come with some kind of warning!
WARNING: The enclosed material may be hazardous to your mental and psychological health!
WARNING: The enclosed material may have been fabricated by a former mental patient or sociopath and has not been tested for accuracy or validity!
WARNING: The enclosed material may be at the very least a waste of your money, and at the worst may confuse you to the point of psychosis!
WARNING: You may fall into deep depression after viewing the enclosed material, realizing you have just financially contributed to the growing New Age Empire of Mass Derangement and you've been taken for a complete fool
Byron Katie was once locked up and she should be again, IMHO.