Tuesday, June 27th 2017
Dec
2007
21

The New Female Mystics: Post-Modern Gurus

A notable exception to the No Logo rule is Byron Katie, who calls her work, well, The Work. But she’s the best example of a self-schooled female mystic. For two years, Katie was so maniacally depressed she rarely got out of bed. A mother of two boys and a teen-aged girl in Bakersfield, CA and an alcoholic, she ended up in a local halfway house.

When Katie awoke one morning to find a cockroach crawling up her foot, she had an out-of-nowhere epiphany. “All my rage, all the thoughts that had been troubling me, my whole world, was gone,” she recalls. “The only thing that existed was awareness. I was seeing without concepts, without thoughts or a story. There was no me. The foot and the cockroach weren’t outside me. There was no outside or inside.”

During the two decades since that halfway-house psychic makeover, Katie, now 63, has drawn audiences in the thousands to lectures and workshops, offering others the same experience. She typically charges no fee. To both experts and lay people alike she appears to live in an elevated psychological state utterly free of internal conflict, akin to a yogi or a lama. Katie herself claims that she does not even see herself as a spiritual person.

“I don’t know anything about that,” says Katie. “I’m just someone who knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t.”

Next: Run Silent, Run Deep


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