(An invitation to James Arthur Ray and those impacted by the events of October 8, 2009)
First of a three-part series
At the outset of this series of articles, offered in three parts, I feel compelled to acknowledge that although I have followed the events of and related to James Arthur Ray’s Spiritual Warrior retreat in Sedona, AZ, on October 8 (which left three people dead and more than 20 ill), I do not know James Ray and have never attended any of his seminars or retreats. However, as a member of the human family, I have been unalterably impacted by the events of October 8. It is because of the enormity of these events and all that they have catalyzed in me that I offer my thoughts and feelings in a three part series.
In this part, I address the concept of “playing full on” and its inter-reliant link to valor.
One needn’t be a mystic, scholar or possess above-average intelligence to construe that what transpired in the life of James Ray is an opportunity for him to walk his talk and apply the principles he teaches (each thing that shows up in one’s life is something personally created; who we are reflects what we attract to our lives). I find offensive the assertion that the participants who died and those stricken created what transpired solo, as if Mr. Ray is exempt from any part in its co-creation, let alone culpable for negligence. At the very least, consider that it was a co-creation, that this has shown up in the life of James Arthur Ray because he personally created it; who he is reflects what he has attracted.
As a medium, I am confident that Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman did not enthusiastically, intentionally “choose” to die. Nevertheless, as they continue to process what transpired, I do feel they are seeking for their deaths to serve the highest purpose possible.
That high purpose requires a series of heroic, “warrior” acts from James Ray. My sense is that many feel that it is too late for him to step into that role, as doing so might reek of a legal leveraging ploy; while others would likely deem that role a feigned maneuver for the sake of soliciting societal admiration. I’ve read articles in which Mr. Ray is portrayed as a cavalier, counterfeit charlatan and others in which he is acclaimed for possessing natural integrity and indisputably contributing to people’s lives. An event of this immensity almost always incites polarized points of view.
Polarized viewpoints will neither serve the highest purpose for the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman nor bring the profound healing sought by those struggling in the pain-ridden pool of post-traumatic bewilderment and betrayal. In addition, undoubtedly the litigious actions already underway, the possibility of criminal charges, Hyperion’s postponement of the publication of two of his books and Minnesota Sen. Amy Kloubucher’s request for the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to investigate both what happened at the retreat and Mr. Ray’s advertising techniques will assuage some of the deep ache and make deposits into the restitution accounts of those who have lost. However, I submit that these actions will not bring profound healing nor serve the highest purpose.
I am implying here that I have an idea about what might, and I believe that if Mr. Ray were to answer this call, he would find a river of relief, appreciation and support.
My outreach to Mr. Ray issues forth from the core of my hopeful, prayerful and expectant heart, and since I have considerable concern that my words might not have sufficient authority to sway Mr. Ray, I include a few of my favorite quotes (strategically placed) in this article. I extend an earnest and urgent invitation to James Ray to embody authenticity as the highest spiritual principle by going courageously within to obtain the answers to why – not why on an event level; not why related to the materials used to construct the sweat lodge; and not just why on a facilitator/coordinator/leader level; but why on a pure, vulnerable, revealing and unmodified accountable human being level.
“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.” – Carl Jung
We deeply and desperately need not to be further betrayed and disappointed by leaders/facilitators/role models that either decline walking their talk, pretend to do so, or do so just enough to slide between the cracks. We need him to be a true champion – to vulnerably disclose why he felt so inflexibly and dogmatically compelled to “push” people and why he ran from the sweat lodge event when tragedy struck. The bold, brave stand for our healing and his lies in his courageous choice to apply “playing full on” to this situation and ride its wave so that he can share with us that perhaps he was shocked, appalled and even feeling guilty as he beheld the aftermath of the Sweat Lodge – people dead, unconscious, wandering around in various states of distress, chaos and bewilderment.
I implore him to accept that we need him to examine and acknowledge that perhaps part of him is not simply continuing on with his work because, as he stated “it’s too important not to,” but because the terrified part of him is running and hiding to perhaps elude, feign, rationalize and substantiate.
“You meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it.” – Carl Jung
My intent is that the energy embedded in these words will so stir Mr. Ray that he will immediately cancel all of his upcoming speaking and retreat engagements and organize a safe Sacred Circle that includes a few contemporaries who can support his journey to his inner shadow lands, to the emotionally wounded places in him, so that he might cease avoiding his destiny, so that in confronting his own shadow, he might find his own light.
“To confront a person with his own shadow is to show him his own light.” – Carl Jung.
I invite him to link “playing full on” with valor, to go beyond his comfort zone and take an honestly raw and courageously vulnerable stand by holding a free televised public gathering in which he shares the personal truths he has bravely confronted and uncovered.
I advocate for his refunding the entire Spiritual Warrior Retreat fee to each 2009 participant or their next of kin as a gesture of compensation for their loss and duress.
I urge him to set up a forum facilitated by qualified therapeutic trauma specialists for the survivors of the 2009 Spiritual Warrior Retreat, for those who’ve lost consciousness, shattered bones and injured eyes in past events, and for all his loyal clients who are now experiencing shame and confusion.
I heartily recommend that he compensate the families of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman for their hospital, transport and funeral expenses, the hospital expenses for each of the 2009 participants that required that level of care and rehabilitation costs and loss of wage package for Sidney Spencer.
I recommend that he establish a four-year college fund for each of James Shore’s three children, a loss of wage package for James Shore’s family, scholarships funds in the amount of $50,000 yearly for 10 years for artists in the name of Kirby Brown and for a humanitarian cause in the name of Liz Neuman.
I’m not implying that each individual impacted by the events of October 2009 shouldn’t seek civil suit damages. Rather, I’m advocating for Mr. Ray’s volitional outflow of truth and compensatory gestures and for his immediate dissolution of James Ray International followed by a three-year vision quest sabbatical during which he fully addresses the healing of the personal issues that became the fuel and flint of the events of October 8th, 2009.
I request he hold another free televised public gathering at the end of the three years to share his healing process so that we might be in the presence of an instrument of bona fide transformation that contributes so dynamically to our evolution that we are catapulted into the world many of us dream about.
I urge him to become the place from which a genuine quantum leap occurs. No one can transform anything they are unwilling to acknowledge. No exceptions, no matter what.
Mr. Ray, I leave you with words attributed to the Christ: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” – The Gospel of Thomas
Next month: Part two of this series: Answering the Call
Also on the Tragedy in Sedona this month:
READ: The Quintessential Warrior, by Hanakia Zedek
READ: Sweat Lodge Deaths & Self-Help Gurus, by Dr. John Ellerby
November Edge coverage of the Tragedy in Sedona:
READ: The Quick and The Dead – The James Arthur Ray Investigation, by Hanakia Zedek
READ: Live in Awareness, Mindfulness and Faith, by Sunny Dawn Johnston
READ: One Small Native Voice, by Rodney Banashley
READ: Facts and Timeline
READ: The Program & Online Opinions
READ: A Special Comment: Why Three Lives were Lost in Sedona, by Tim Miejan