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Really facing the Sedona sweat lodge tragedy

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Message Mariangela Pino Landau
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A few days ago James Arthur Ray gave an exclusive interview with New York Magazine (read details of his latest interview) whereby he responded to questions about the "Spiritual Warrior' retreat he facilitated on October 8th in Sedona Arizona, whereby 3 people died and nearly 20 needed medical attention. One needn't be a mystic, scholar or possess above average intelligence to construe that what is transpiring in the life of James Arthur 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). 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 negligence is offensive. At the very least, let us 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.

To embrace a higher purpose for these tragic events would certainly require a series of heroic, "spiritual warrior" acts from James Ray. Many may 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 may likely deem it as a feigned maneuver for the sake of soliciting societal admiration. While many articles and commentaries portray Mr. Ray as a cavalier, counterfeit charlatan, others acclaim him 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 Senator Klobuchar'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 may assuage some of the deep ache and make deposits into the restitution accounts of those who have lost. However, it is not likely that these actions will not bring profound healing nor serve the highest purpose.

For this to happen it would be advisable for 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. This was not apparent in his recent exclusive interview.

"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 possibly felt so inflexibly and dogmatically compelled to "push" people and why he apparently did not adequately attend to those in need 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 possibly even felt responsible as he beheld the aftermath of the sweat lodge people dead, unconscious, wandering around in various states of distress, chaos and bewilderment.

"You meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it." - Carl Jung

Let's invite James Ray to link "playing full on" with valor, to go beyond his comfort zone and take an honestly raw and courageously vulnerable stand by;

1. Holding a free televised public gathering in which he shares the personal truths he has bravely confronted and uncovered.

2. 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.

3. 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 his loyal clients who are now experiencing shame and confusion.

4. Compensating the grieving families of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman for their hospital, transport and funeral expenses, as well as the hospital and rehabilitation expenses for each of the 2009 participants that required that level of care.

Let's urge him to become the place from which a genuine quantum leap occurs, to contribute so dynamically to our evolution that we are catapulted, even for a moment, into the world many of us dream about. No one can transform anything they are unwilling to acknowledge. No exceptions, no matter what.

In looking at these events, we all could benefit from the words attributed to the Christ -

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MariAngela Pino Landau, the founder and co-director of a non-denominational spiritual organization The Center for True North offering programs, services and products that promote personal authenticity and spiritual freedom - is a mystic, medium, (more...)
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