By Ox Drover
The ABC network has a new program called Mind Games that plays on Tuesday evening, and I caught their first show. The show was about James Arthur Ray, who is an advocate of the “Law of Attraction” and was one of the people interviewed on the movie The Secret.
Ray has written several “best —selling” books including, Harmonic Wealth as New York Times bestseller. Ray also charges as much as $10,000 for seminars.
Ray’s biography from Wikipedia states that he was born in 1957, the son of a Christian minister who was so poor at times that the family lived in the Church offices. Ray’s teachings are described as a “mix of spirituality, motivational speaking and quantum physics.”
Critics say that Ray is a charlatan who preys on the insecurities of the rich who are looking for meaning. In one exercise Ray even dressed in flowing white robes and designated himself as “God.”
In an exercise in October 2009, participants paid almost $10,000 each to attend and were pushed to physical and emotional limits in various exercises, one of which included being in the Arizona desert alone for 36 hours without food or water in a “vision quest.” He left them with only a sleeping bag, but did offer them Peruvian ponchos for an additional $250. After coming back from that, the participants were given a buffet breakfast and sent, still dehydrated, into a large sweat lodge. Three people ended up dying as a result of the sweat lodge, during which they were discouraged by Ray from leaving the lodge even though after about an hour they were disoriented and vomiting. One individual who had fallen into the hot rocks and suffered burns in which his skin was “hanging off” his arm, according to a witness, would not let it be dressed but went back into the lodge.
On February 3, 2010, Ray was arrested and charged with three counts of manslaughter for the deaths in October, 2009. Interestingly enough, the former followers of Ray, even though they state that he is a charlatan, still believe that they received “benefits” from his teachings, and would, if they had the money, which they don’t, pay another $10,000 to attend such an event.
Guru? Or charlatan?