I’ve been asked why I am so focused on this trial, and it boils down to this; I’m terrified that I could even remotely be seen in the same light as this charlatan. You see, I am also a motivational speaker who inspires, and I also conduct workshops on mind/body/spirit healing that include rituals and ceremonies, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Before James Ray became a self-help guru, he was a sales trainer, who learned to become a master collator and marketer. I am a medical doctor, my specialty is psychiatry, and I’ve spent most of my professional life working with Native Americans. That experience expanded my views about how people got sick, and the importance of rituals and ceremonies in healing.
I am incensed by what James Ray did because he made a mockery out of a sacred ceremony. Ray’s arrogance and greed found a way to exploit this last thing Native American’s have given us, their spiritual life. His inauthentic, slick, commercial attempt at its replication, stole its spirit. Although saddened by these tragic deaths, they do not surprise Native people who say, when the sacred is sold for profit, you steal its spirit.
I am also enormously saddened by what Ray did because there are people all over the world who could benefit from the healing power of authentic ceremonies, and may not pursue them because of this tragedy. There are credible practitioners who have committed themselves to years of arduous training with authentic healers. I have had a sweat lodge at my home for 30 years; I treasure that fireplace that was given to me by Native mentors after a long apprenticeship. I know similarly well-trained healers in Europe, South American, Asia and Africa who respect their teachers, and conduct themselves and practicing the traditions in an honorable way.
The key to healing is belief in the practice, and in the practitioner. Look carefully before you place yourself in someone else’s hands, and get to know them by more than just their words.
Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware, those who profane the sacred can hurt you.