Friday, September 25, 2009

Byron Katie vs Abraham-Hicks

Byron Katie's inquiry holds beliefs in a quarantined mental space so that one may determine the effects the belief has on emotion, thinking, behavior, and general well-being. It isolates beliefs and deals with them one at a time so as not to overwhelm the subject with the spiral of rationalizations that may occur in free-association.

The inquiry is an experiment in which the subject creates a model of himself with the belief and then without the belief. The way the questions are phrased invite the subject to actually feel the feelings generated by the belief rather than hold them in an indifferent, cerebral way. This is in contrast to the way most of us feel feelings: we generally latch on to the feeling first and then activate cerebral thinking to manufacture reasons as to why we should feel that way. We thus amplify and prolong the feeling:

Thought - belief - feeling - supporting thought ("reasons") - belief - feeling - repeat.

The questions of the inquiry, e.g. "How do you react when you believe that thought?" frames the belief as the creator of the feeling. We focus on the prior part of the cycle:

Thought - belief - feeling - supporting thought ("reasons") - belief - feeling - repeat.

Because belief is actually more a choice and feeling is more an automatic reaction, this line of questioning empowers us to choose how we feel indirectly by believing differently. The pivotal point in the inquiry is the reframing. If the subject jumps to the "feeling - supporting thought" phase too soon, he will reject the question and derail the inquiry. His mind will be so flooded with reasons as to why he feels that way that there is no room to catch the more useful reason, the one he can change, i.e. his belief in a thought.

Abraham-Hicks' philosophy mainly focuses on adjusting the feeling part of the cycle (though there are techniques such as the focus wheel which direct attention to the beliefs that take one in or out of a desired feeling). Their idea is that one can directly imagine a better feeling state and generate that better feeling immediately. Automatically, cerebral thinking will manufacture reasons why one should feel that way, and then the spiral flows upward.

Hence the two methodologies are complementary means to a better feeling life. Byron Katie's inquiry draws on curiosity while Abraham-Hicks asks for imagination. The inquiry is better suited for more severe emotional downturns, but requires at least a modicum of curiosity for the truth. Abraham-Hicks' focusing on positive aspects is better for brighter times as good feelings can snowball more quickly.


Brenda Sutherland said...

It seems here that The Work of Byron Katie has only been grasped for a celebral place rather than how a the Work facilitator is trained to engage the imagination so the inquirer finds where the turnaround is possible or where it is already reality - so only one aspect of the process has been described here and it feels there is a lack of experience in the work indicated.

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it to be true?
3. How do you react when you think this thought?
4. How do you treat yourself, others, life etc when you think this thought?
5. Can you find a peaceful reason for holding onto this thought?
6. Can you find a reason to let the thought go?
7 Who would you be, do think without this thought? (Imagination is engaged to find infinite possibilities matched with the depth of feeling and an alignment of belief)

8. Turn it around: Opposite (reality) etc

I think Abraham Hicks would differ on the claims made about The Work of Byron Katie here

Brenda Sutherland

A free mind said...

5261I love the Work of Byron Katie and Abraham, I practice both for many years. I hear Abraham talk about raising the vibration when feeling on a low vibration mood. i notice the sometimes that is very hard to do, especially when I believe my thoughts so strongly. Katie"s work, help me question that thought, and realize it is even true, then it is so much easier to raise my Vibration. Both practices work well together, and are wonderful tools in living in a joyful world. We are very fortunate to live in a world that has given us such amazing helpers

John D Gallagher said...

Thanks for this - realising that the are both essentially tools to a better feeling life - one through Curiosity and one through Imagination (as a gross simplification) is actually a really helpful realisation for me.

In fact, I am more curious than I am imaginative, which probably leads me in the Byron Katie direction. Nevertheless I enjoy utilising the Abraham teachings as well.

Cheers, John