Self-Help Author Convicted of Negligent Homicide

I’m sure many of you heard of James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru who was convicted of three counts of negligent homicide. “Three people died following the sauna-like ceremony aimed at providing spiritual cleansing. Eighteen people were hospitalized, while several others were given water to cool down at the scene”Self-Help Author Convicted of Negligent Homicide.).

Many people today turn to extreme spiritual remedies, to cope with a hard time in their lives. When you feel stuck in life, unsure of the next step on your living journey, personal growth retreats can be quite seductive. They offer group support from like-minded people who are also trapped between a rock and a hard place. You know the old saying–misery loves miserable company!

Now, don’t get the impression that I am against these types of retreats. If you go with reasonable expectations about what you will get from the experience, they can relax you, open you up to new ideas and viewpoints, and, maybe, even heal a psychological issue or two. You may also get some new friends in the process.
The question is not whether you should attend a spiritual retreat. But, rather, you need to ask yourself, which spiritual retreat offers you a system, skill, or other resource to deal effectively with life’s problems. Here’s my spiritual retreat, 4-tip checklist to buyer beware!

1. Does the retreat promise you a great personal transformation that you did little in your everyday life to bring about? Beware!

2. Do you have to shell out somewhere between three to ten thousand dollars to get this great transformation or to hob knob with a guru or two? Beware!

3. Will you be deprived of biological necessities, like bathroom breaks, sufficient amounts of food and water, or any other environmental condition that stresses you physically, mentally and emotionally? Beware!

4. Does the retreat sponsor maintain that this way is the only way to get the help, support, and growth for which you yearn? If there is a group-think mentality–buyer beware!

About eight years ago, I was looking for a unique spiritual retreat experience that would be relaxing and fun. I chose a retreat equipped with a Shaman medicine man who had quite an impressive Mayan pedigree. Now, I didn’t know what this would do for me. But, I didn’t have to spend $10,000 to attend or test myself through extreme feats of physical deprivation, as James Arthur Ray’s attendees did. So, off I went. I did, however, have to take part in spiritual-cleansing activities and ceremonies that were part of the Shaman’s mystical rejuvenation therapies.

I’m unsure why all of these groups assume that all attendees are spiritually dirty. Some sweat the demons out of you, while others wave their hands over your body to stir up and rearrange the molecules in your etheric energy field. The latter is the spiritual cleansing that I and 199 other attendees went through. Wow that Shaman leader made a lot of money that weekend cleaning our etheric fields. I’m in the wrong business. No malpractice insurance, no re-licensing, I wouldn’t even have to show the scientific validity of my methods. I like this one!

Okay, what did I take from this weekend away from my loved ones? I got a restful weekend for soul-searching at a fun camp site. We slept in cabins, ate our meals outside, met some interesting people, and attended camp fires and personal growth activities.

A weekend of rest and relaxation in fun settings, learning a new skill or two, and interacting with new people is most likely the best that such retreats offer. The turning point that some make after going to these kinds of retreats is the icing on their personal growth that was just about to happen for them anyway.

My advice to you when choosing a spiritual retreat is to make sure their promises are not so far-fetched that you open yourself to harm or foolery. What’s your experience with spiritual retreats (good or bad)? Share them here.


2 Responses to “Self-Help Author Convicted of Negligent Homicide”

  1. avatar Dayle Zeliff says:

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

    • avatar drdeborahkhoshaba says:

      Hello Dayle, I tried the email with this address but it got returned. So, I have to write you here. Sorry, it’s public. Thank you for asking to provide credit and sources back to my website. You are right, all information is copyrighted and protected. Could you please email me and let me know the website that you speak about? I could not find this from your email?

      Also, can you tell me what a quote means to you? Are you referring to a statement or what? I’m sure you appreciate the nature of this question. Thank you Dayle,


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