On October 8, 2009, almost a month had passed since I had attended James Arthur Ray’s “Harmonic Wealth Weekend” in Las Vegas. That evening, I read a CNN news alert about a “sweat lodge ceremony” where two people had died and many others were injured in Sedona, Arizona. I was stunned when I realized it was James Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” event that I had heard so much about only a month before.
As details began to leak out about the tragedy, I was sickened to hear that James Ray (JR) fled the scene and did not follow up with those still hospitalized. That’s all it took for me to completely open my eyes!
Tonight, I found my journal entry from October 10, 2009. It’s a little unpolished, but I wanted to share my thoughts from that time:
October 10, 2009
I am shocked. It is a tragedy that two people died and one person is in critical condition, with two more people being in the hospital, all after attending the $10,000.00 Spiritual Warrior conference put on in Sedona, Arizona by James Ray. I, just a month ago, attended his Harmonic Wealth weekend. The doorway to his cult, I guess. The Harmonic Weekend were two very long days. There were parts that got my radar up, that I quickly told myself was my negative thinking.
There was the money game where unsuspecting, innocent people took out all the money they had (when asked what their education was worth to them) and passed it around a room of 400 people, not knowing they would never see it again. And the unaffected look on JR’s face when several stood up and said they had lost $600.00, $900.00 and $1100.00. He simply asked him if they had learned their lesson. What lesson? I have always believed that money flows and have never been one to be afraid of it. I just felt like this was more of a mind control than educational game. Once I realized we were “trading” money, I only pulled out $1.00. I ended up with $5.00 after the game was over. I was shocked at the people who did not get up and return the large amounts of money that was obviously not theirs. One woman stood up and said that she had given all the money she had for the weekend, $600.00 and was left with $5.00. She pleaded for money after the conference was over. I don’t know how much she was given.
I was very turned off with the bullying to purchase more weekend experiences. The sales pitch after sales pitch to buy the Spiritual Warrior package for a mere price of $22,000.00. If your spiritual growth was worth it to you, it was a small amount of money. Unfortunately, the money was going in JR’s pocket. S omething in the back of my mind was telling me that James Ray was not all he claimed.
I am sickened by the details I am hearing about the Spiritual Warrior weekend that took the lives of two healthy people. Their food, shelter, and sleep was controlled by James Ray. These people were “encouraged” to fast for 36 hours. By the fifth night and the sweat lodge, people must have been hungry, exhausted, and dehydrated. They blindly followed his commands. It is a form of mind control. It scares me to think what I would have done.
I believe that James Ray started out to help people. I believe after watching him that his ego became too large and he took advantage of his power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I could tell as I watched him on stage. He was very theatrical and even said that he had hired someone to stage and choreograph his every move. He kept the room at a very cold 68 degrees and ran 16 hour days with breaks few and far between. He wanted to be introduced like a rock star after every break. The doors remained locked, with this staff guarding them until it was time to start again. He was announced and ran out dancing to high energy music.
The saddest thing to me is that he had some really good information to share and teach. He just went too far and believed that he had more power than the Universe was giving him. I learned to get rid of negative influences in my life. I learned about the power of visualization. I learned about the power of being positive and creative and moving in to action. I will keep those lessons with me. Unfortunately, I can no longer be a “follower” of JR. We’ll see how many feel the same as I do.
Blessings and love to the families of those that died, healing prayers to the people still in the hospital, positive thoughts to the other attendees of the week, I can only image their shock and disbelief, and prayers to JR and his staff. I hope that he takes this as a humbling experience and learns to use his power for good. The Universe was really sending him a message… and maybe sending the rest of us a message as well.
Today, James Ray is in an Arizona prison. I’m not convinced he ever “got” the message that the Universe was sending to him, but I do know that I have.
I know that the wisdom of others can spark the knowledge inside of us. Now I have learned to trust my instincts and inner voice. “If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it probably is a duck!”
THANK YOU for taking the time to read my article! I hope that you took away some bit of wisdom or new idea.
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