Jan 25, 2010

James Arthur Ray on Sweat Lodge Deaths

James Arthur Ray has broken his silence and granted an exclusive interview to New York magazine. Ray's legal team has conducted its own investigation and exonerated him of all wrong-doing. The white paper testifying to his innocence appears on his web site. The long and the short of it: Move along folks. Nothin' to see here.

Here are some of the more interesting bits from the New York interview:

What first made you realize that this sweat-lodge experience in Sedona was different from the sweat lodges that you’d been in before?
I did not know anything was different until it became apparent that there had been a terrible accident when it was completed. I don’t know what happened.

When did you become aware that there had been an accident?
Someone came up to me and said that there were some individuals that were having problems on the back side of the lodge. I did not know anything before that time. I made sure that 911 was called and we went into action to respond as best we could until the paramedics arrived.

So, his version is a little different from other public statements we've heard.

Did you tell sweat-lodge participants that vomiting was good for them, that the body was purging what it doesn’t want?
I may have mentioned that I had been told by many shamans that the body purges and there’s only certain ways that it can purge. Obviously, you know the bodily functions, so there’s only certain ways that things exit the body.

It is certainly true that the only way for undigested food to leave the body is vomiting. What that has to do with a sweat lodge, though, I can't say. In a sweat lodge, impurities leave the body via the sweat glands, as the name would imply.

And on the principles of The Secret that James Arthur Ray has made a fortune extolling:

A basic principal of your teaching is that the universe is at your command; you speak of the power of intention. I wonder how you perceive the tragedy in Sedona in light of those teachings. Did you in some way cause this to happen?
Well I don’t … First of all, here’s the situation: Three people have died in transitions. What I’m really focused on right now is to have my team find out exactly why that happened and bring it to some type of closure.

I believe the technical term for that is "non-answer."

There is a bit more obfuscation and legalese to be found, along with some very smoothly articulated pathos and apologia.  But, at least in the ongoing trial by media, we have now heard from the prosecution and the defense.

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