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October 12, 2009

Spiritual Materialism At Its Finest? Two Die in “Spiritual Warrior Retreat.”

Would you pay $9000 to work with James Arthur Ray co-author of the Secret, as he guides you toward your ideal manifested life in a shotty sweat lodge with 64 other people?

Well apparently that’s what some participants paid to be led by law of attraction teacher James Arthur Ray.

It was the last day of “life changing” retreat. Two people wouldn’t make it out alive and 19 others would be hospitalized. And sometime during the retreat Ray, an avid twitter user would tweet this:

JamesARay: is still in Spiritual Warrior… for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?

JamesARay: Day 5 of SPW. The Spiritual Warrior has conquered death and therefore has no enemies, and no fear, in this life or the next.

He later deleted those tweets, but because of the twitter search, they were found easily.

Creepster right?

Here is an excerpt from a Law website:

Self-help guru James Arthur Ray is facing possible criminal charges after two people died and others are in critical condition while being ‘cleansed’ in a ’sweat lodge’ he provided. The Sedona sweat lodge retreat deaths occurred at the Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat in Arizona on the last day of Ray’s ‘Spiritual Warrior’ retreat in which he promised participant’s lives would be changed forever.

James Arthur Ray is a motivational speaker and author of the popular self-help book, Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want and The Secret. He recently rented the Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat in Sedona, Arizona to hold what he called a ‘Spiritual Warrior’ retreat. It is rumored that people paid up to $9,000 to attend this retreat through which Ray promised would ‘absolutely change your life’. This life-changing event started on October 3, 2009. On the last day of the retreat, October 8, 2009, 64 people crowded into a haphazardly constructed ’sweat lodge’. Twenty-two of those people ended up being hospitalized, two in critical condition and two died.

Read the rest here.

A traditional sweat lodge typically fits a small group of 8-12 people. 64? Who built this sucker and what were they trying to accomplish?

This tragic event seems to confirm the post I wrote a while back entitled The Secret: Authentic Spirituality or Spiritual Materialism”

Once again, this begs the question about genuine spirituality and spiritual teachers. What is their role? Qualifications? Training?

Is this another case where a self-proclaimed spiritual teacher is abusing his power? What does it say about the participants and what they are willing to do in order to grow or heal?

It also requires us to ask what role does money play in spirituality? What price are you willing to pay to be led by a teacher down a path you hope is good for you? What risks are you willing to take?

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