I was both saddened and dismayed by the recent deaths and injuries that
occurred during self-help "guru" James Arthur Ray's "Spiritual Warrior"
retreat in Sedona, Arizona last week. There are so many things
about this retreat that are disturbing that I felt the need to
write about it. The most tragic, of course, is that such recklessness
led to the death of two people, sickened another 20 and one remains in
It is unfathomable that James Ray would conduct a sweat lodge with over
60 people in makeshift lodge without proper ventilation. In this case, for the price tag of $9650 (the cost to attend Ray's Spiritual Warrior event) Ray, could have easily afforded to build several properly constructed sweat lodges.
I am truly disturbed by the ego and greed of those who are
masquerading around as "guru's claiming to possess the "magic
bullet" that will make you rich and successful. Pfff!
Like the tooth fairy.
I wish there were a "magic bullet" or something that I could
recommend to you that would make you instantly rich and
successful...but there isn't. And, I sincerely hope that people will take heed
and stop wasting their precious lives and hard-earned money searching
That doesn't mean you shouldn't seek guidance or help. There are plenty of
legitimate ways to get help in healing your mind, body and spirit and
to becoming more personally and spiritually aware and awake. But at what cost and whom can you really trust to assist you?
So, how do you spot a Charlatan? Here's my perspective and I hope it helps everyone out there to ask more questions and to become more discerning:
By definition, a charlatan is someone who claims to have "special"
knowledge, powers or abilities, but doesn't actually possess them.
Charlatans can be very persuasive and evangelical in their ability to
entice people who greatly want or desire something they perceive
someone else to have.
The minute anyone claims to have the ability to make you rich or change
your entire life forever in a weekend, you should run. You can
learn and grow a lot in a well-run workshop or retreat, without a
doubt. However, meaningful change takes time, commitment and often hard
People or workshops that charge you unreasonably high fees in order to grace you with their presence are usually great at pumping
you up (it's called an adrenaline high), but are unlikely to be there
for you when you the rush is over.
- Here’s some perspective. For $10,000 you could hire a coach and a therapist for a year who
will give you individualized therapy and coaching that addresses your specific issues, goals and needs. Literally, a year of personalized support and guidance.
- Many people have gone into serious debt to attend these events and this is of no concern to the Charlatan. What's more, I've had several clients who created more financial problems for
themselves by impulsively signing up for workshops they
could not afford only to find they signed a binding contract and could
not get a refund. So, please read the fine print.
Charlatans may try to lure you in with a sense of
"exclusivity." Unfortunately, the only thing exclusive about their offering is your
willingness to pay to play with them. Sad, but generally true.
This is my opinion, but my experience is that most really good work is done one-on-one with people who know you and
your personal circumstances and who are interested in having a real relationship
Nothing replaces individual prayer, meditation and your personal connection with God
on a daily basis. If you did nothing else but this you will probably feel
better and I believe it would improve the quality of your life. And this help is free and available to everyone!
Lastly, it is good and right to want to improve your life, heal the past, or
manifest your dreams, but we need to become more discerning. Get
referrals from people who have made lasting positive changes. How did
they achieve their goals or change their lives? Who helped them along
the way? These are the role models I would recommend you seek out for
The Charlatans out there can rob us of more than our money, they also rob of us of our faith and trust in humanity. Let's not let that happen.
For today, there is still hope and real help is available, but please be careful where you go to find it.
Peace and Blessings!
May you be blessed with the powers of wisdom and discernment .