By Rhonda McFarland-Schultz, re-printed from The Examiner
It was shocking to hear about the events that took place near Sedona, Az. last week that left three individuals dead and nineteen others hospitalized. According to the allegations, approximately fifty people entered a sweat lodge after thirty-six hours of fasting. The event was led by James Arthur Ray. James Ray was one of the stars of the popular movie, “The Secret.”
I have never met James Ray, so I’m careful about commenting on him or his action without knowing all the details. I would think he is as shocked as I at the circumstances. With his history, I believe his intent was not to harm.
Does becoming a Spiritual Warrior constitute spiritual ignorance? A warrior is someone experienced in warfare. Warfare is something that takes place between enemies. What then is a Spiritual Warrior. In the Biblical or religious sense, a warrior is someone who fights the devil or evil. Who were the sweat lodge participants warring against? Who was their spiritual adversary? Possibly themselves? Were they convinced that the enemy was within?
How has spirituality and warring become connected? Warring by definition means to be in conflict. Spirituality is not conflict. What can be gained spiritually by placing yourself in extreme conditions, fasting thirty-six hours and then sitting in 102-105 degree temperatures? I’m sure the people in attendance thought they would reach a spiritual peak. How does that equate to becoming a warrior?
If the goal of the retreat was to push the limits of human potential, I can nobly honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives towards the evolution of humanity. If this were the case, why wasn’t a Doctor on duty or an ambulance standing by? I question whether it makes sense to push ourselves to those limits in order to attain financial wealth/abundance/fame. There are many healthier ways to attain financial freedom.
Placing ourselves in these conditions places us at risk. As an adult, you alone should be responsible for the results. There are many ways to live a spiritual life without placing yourself in extreme circumstances that can ultimately cause great harm. Do we accept that personal responsibility or choose to blame?
I do not know what truly happened that night. I feel strongly that a Spiritual Warrior has no place in spirituality. Spirituality and war are not a reasonable combination.