Archive for June, 2011

The jury of the James Arthur Ray trials heard from relatives of all three families impacted at the Sedona “workshop” today.

Heartwrenching Testimony During Ray Sentencing Phase: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com

Tags:

By now you’ve probably heard that James Arthur Ray was found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide. He was found not guilty of manslaughter, which reflects intent. Instead, he’s essentially guilty of basic stupidity: he should have know better. And because he should have, and didn’t do anything to prevent three deaths. He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Below is a video from Youtube of the reading of the jury’s findings.

I found myself watching JAR, trying to look inside his person. I found myself feeling his hopes and anxieties, or at least what I perceived to be his emotional landscape. At one point, when the first guilty finding is read, I found myself feeling sorry for the man. And then I reminded myself that three people (in this episode) died in his care.

There are two main money drivers in life. Fear. And greed. Our entire economy, which is governed by the stock market, is based on these fundamental drivers. I think that we as human beings are all guilty of being motivated by both. Fear of death is often the final motivator when it comes to weight-loss or quitting smoking. And greed is the want for more. More money, more toys, more leisure.

When they are not taxed at their extreme ends, both can be as good as they are evil. They make us seek a living above the poverty line, they make us seek promotions, and a better life for our children.

James Arthur Ray successfully leveraged other people’s greed. He’s NOT alone in the business, but he is (unfortunately for him) alone in the spotlight. I’m willing to bet that the higher-ups (Anthony Robbins, Bob Proctor, T. Harv Eker and the like) are paying attention. Ray is taking the fall so that the others can modify their firewalks and arrow-tip exercises so that safety becomes the number one priority.

And I hope that everyone else casting judgement on the consumer first look deep inside and see that that the same drivers, for better or worse, lurk within us all.

Tags: ,

Meryl Davids Landau, author of the new spiritual women’s novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, writes an article asking the ultimate (I’m being facetious) question: Does the James Arthur Ray Trial Mean There’s No Law of Attraction?

I was shocked to discover that her answer to the question is a simple, No, of course not!

Wow. This was not at all what I expected to read from the Huffington Post. Quite the opposite indeed.

The few in this world who succeed to the point of having multi-millions and even billions of dollars at their fingertips find the concept of random circumstance too frightening. It ignores the ego. The notion that is has nothing to do with your goodness or greatness is inconceivable.

Believing that they were/are special is much more comforting than believing they got lucky. Indeed, our ego hungers to believe it received because it believed, making it exceptionally special. Godlike. As a species, we’ve spent thousands of years mimicking the gods in attempt to get close to what they’ve achieved. So when we achieve it, we believe we’ve arrived at that secret formula. So why not package and sell it? The rest of us also hunger for that validation. (The foundations of solid marketing here.)

Yet, there are far more Willy Loman’s in the world (Death of a Salesman, fellow who believed if he could just walk the walk and talk the talk then he too would become successful – a fundamental “belief” at the core of the so-called “Law” of attraction) than there are Oprahs. But LOA advocates easily rip this point to shreds by mindlessly stating that the Willy Lomans simply do not think, feel, or believe the right things. Akin to blaming the victim.

LOA is landmine of destruction. Sure, there are a few towering trees (a favoured LOA metaphor) that loom over the masses in the forest, but statistically most saplings will die before they can even cast a scrawny shadow. Not because of their thoughts, but because of the random placement on this earth, in this universe. Their potential for growth was doomed by a larger cast shadow. Or some random hungry cow. Whatever.

Statistically speaking, the popularity of motivational speakers increase in times of economic upheaval. The Great Depression launched Dale Carnegie’s career. Depressions, recessions, and natural upheavals invite the human hunger to know (and tap into the power of) God.

A fire here in Alberta recently wiped out one third the entire town of Slave Lake. Norman James’s house was left standing amidst the ruins, and he quickly commented that there must be a higher power looking out for him.

“All I can say is if anybody believes in God or a creator or whatever, I believe it’s a miracle,” said James. “I believe my house is still standing because of a higher power.”

What that blissfully simple  statement pleasantly ignores is that that same God finds James’s neighbours unworthy of the same level of protection.

Yes, it’s easy to believe in a God when you’re succeeding. Our ego craves this. And it’s easy to cling on to the notion of a God when your desperate to find your way out of disaster. It’s called Hope, and it’s there for us all. But to charge money for that, and then to blame Willy Loman for not thinking the right thoughts is where, in my books, an ethical line is crossed. When lives are lost, it becomes criminal. I think the people on the jury– not God — needs to find James Arthur Ray guilty.

Luck is random and subjected to the whim of time, place, nature, and the influence of others. Governments, banks; family and neighbours. Success is being prepared when an opportunity (should the opportunity arise) crosses your path. You can’t think that opportunity into existence. You can’t justify it into existence, using the exception (ie Oprah) not the rule (Willy Loman) to back it up.

Huffington Post, you’ve seriously let me down.

Tags: , , , , , ,