Mitch Horowitz provoked an interesting alert in his article, When Spirituality Kills, published July 8, 2011 in The Wall Street Journal. Horowitz alerts the public, “but not at the expense of the free exercise of spiritual experiment that has long characterized our religions cultures,” to extreme spiritual practices such as James Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” Retreat held in 2009, outside Sedona, Arizona, at which 3 people died while in a sweat lodge, leading to self-help guru James Ray’s conviction last month of negligent homicide.
The query is again posed, Should spiritual practices be regulated by legislation? Astutely, writer Mitch Horowitz points out, “State regulation could be valuable but should not be seen as a panacea.” Certainly, the plethora of regulations aimed at the medical field cannot tout a record of public protection against complications, malpractice, misprescribed drugs, and death.
Horowitz did however allude to the fact that individuals have their own right and responsibility to understand spirituality while staying clear of extreme practices. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, counsels readers to pursue spirituality as a scientist, through investigation and experimentation, while admitting honestly, “This task God demands us to accept gracefully today, to abandon so fast as practical the temporal, and to work out the spiritual which determines the outward and actual.”
I appreciate my freedom to practice spirituality which reveals a fuller life. I advocate sites such as Beliefnet because they offer a broad array of thoughts and insights which naturally keep us safe from the extremists, or at least give me the strength to remove myself gracefully from a situation that lacks common sense, or becomes darkened by peer pressure, greed, or rancid opinions. Misunderstandings and misperceptions are always floating around in the air, therefore, as a revisionist of Science and Health, I’ve just finished the 4th edition of the chapter Some Misconceptions Debunked which deals with our ability to keep our practice of spirituality in line with the law of Life, Spirit.