Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Is It We are All Searching For??

With all the excitement over Balloon Boy, the news about the 3 deaths at the Sweat Lodge has gotten pushed off the front page.

However, I am still finding the Sweat Lodge story very intriguing, especially now that it is being classified as a "homicide" investigation.

Why the interest? Because I, along with millions of others watched the guy at the center of the story, self-help expert James Arthur Ray, when he was one of the guests on Oprah's show about The Secret in 2007. Here's a photo in case you don't remember him:

On Oprah, he was slick as could be- spouting all his new-age mumbo jumbo. I watched the show with my natural skepticism, but it was hard not to get sucked into believing The Secret was more than a carefully orchestrated way to get you to buy into a theory that was not much more than a repackaged "The Law of Attraction" that has been in existence for years.

I noticed that audience members were hanging onto every word of these self-help gurus, almost worshiping them.

Fast forward to last week and reading about the tragedy at the lodge. It appears that 50 people paid $10,000 each to attend Mr. Ray's five-day "Spiritual Warrior" course which culminated in the sweat ceremony, during which the 3 (otherwise healthy) participants died. The setting was an accident waiting to happen- darkness combined with a likely lack of oxygen.

Ray's response to the press has hardly been remorseful and when one of his followers was interviewed he suggested that the deaths were "by choice" of the victims!!!!

What drives well-educated people to shell out $10,000 and put their faith in someone, albeit someone with good teeth, who is probably no more qualified than you or I - to take them to a "higher level" spiritually- and financially.

(One person we know who has definitely taken it to a higher financial level - Mr. Ray - who collected half a million bucks for a 5 day workshop!!)

What is missing in so many of our lives? What is it we hope to discover? Why is it that in a country where most of us have all that we will ever need, that there is so much unhappiness and emptiness that people are so easily taken in by someone of the likes of Mr. Ray who proffers the way to achieve what he calls true Harmonic Wealth® (so fancy he registered the term!)

I'm about as restless as they come, yet I hope to discover the secret on my own (and contribute the $10,000 to VC's college fund instead) :D

What about you?


Still time to enter to win 100 flat greeting cards/postcards - 2 winners!

28 comments:

Tammy Howard said...

I am definitely searching - so it is tempting to want to believe someone when they claim to have found 'the answer'. But I don't. I think we all need to find our own answer. And when money gets involved? Please...

Kathie @ my net finds said...

Good question...I think people are searching for happiness and for some odd reason, it makes me think of a line from a Sheryl Crow song:

It's not having what you want
It's wanting what you've got

that's as deep as I get this morning ;-)

Rebecca Jo said...

For me - I think its very sad that people look towards other people to give them the happiness they are seeking...

Yankee Girl said...

I didn't even hear about that story! Which really isn't saying much because I get most of my "news" from The Daily Show.

It's so sad that people think they need to look to others to find what is missing within themselves. We have all the answers inside ourselves, we just need to be willing to dig deep enough, and so many people are afraid of that.

I think we are all looking for the same thing: happiness, peace within ourselves, clarity. I think that some people are so desperate for it that they'll listen to a shark.

Aunt Juicebox said...

I'm not wealthy. I don't have 10 grand to spend on anything, so I don't know what makes it ok to throw money away like that.

Tater Tot Mom said...

I don't know what it is that people are searching for or trying to fill. People spend money left and right buying bigger this and bigger that and wasting it on crap like this seminar. People are so willing to believe in something that they buy into anything. I don't have the answer but I think it's sad.

Kristina P. said...

OK, so I was watching Larry King about this, last night, and I didn't realize he was The Secret guy. I have SERIOUS issues with The Secret. Have you seen the movie? It literally says if you get cancer, you've created it.

All I could think was that if this guy gets charged with homicide, he must have created it.

Lisa paul said...

YOu want to achieve awareness through sweat? come work at my winery during harvest time. You'll sweat. But it won't kill you. And the wine afterwards will help you reach that awareness.

Randi Troxell said...

wow! for some reason this totally flew over my head and i hadn't heard about this... but i'm totally about to research it some more, b/c like you... it just blows my mind and makes me WONDER... what IS going on out there sometimes...

angelcel said...

I hadn't heard about this at all. How awful. I often wonder how come we're all so unhappy, all seeking 'something else'. I don't have the answers. As these ladies have said, maybe it's because we are searching *outside* ourselves.

Christina said...

I often wish people could see these snake oil salesmen for what they really are.... low lifes preying on the hopes and wallets of others.

Aleta said...

I haven't heard of this story and I rarely watch Oprah, so this is news to me. Thanks for sharing!


"the deaths were "by choice" of the victims" - GAG! I can't believe someone would actually SAY that! OMG.

People so want someone to "show them the way" - someone, anyone, just do it, so they don't have to claim responsibility. It's hard. Life is difficult at times, but if we have a good support structure and faith, we can make it through anything.

strokeofliving said...

I think that people are sheep looking for a Sheppard! And they have no faith in the future. So gurus capitalize from their emotions. It's happened throughout time and will keep happening until folks realize their respective power.

Lucy said...

It is sad that people prey on others weaknesses and sadness. That guy sounds like a snake.

Amanda said...

Can I just say... the secret is super easy and free and worth every single bit of flack and grief that others give you for it?

Jesus.

All you need is Jesus.

WOuld I lie to you sweet Carma?

Liked this post BTW.

Blessings-
Amanda

strokeofliving said...

Hey Carma,

Thanks for stopping over to read me today. And thanks for the compliments. It's hard for me to gage if you missed any nuggets since I don't know your blogging goals etc. However we can correspond via email to discuss. How 'bout it?

Joy said...

I'm going to ride on Amanda's comment coattails and just say "What she said."

That being said, I don't understand people who fall for trends like "The Secret", especially when it involves bunches of money.

blueviolet said...

It seems like there are a lot of people on a spiritual quest of one kind or another but this guy is certainly not the answer.

Big Mama Cass said...

oh my goodness that is nuts! I didnt hear about it... going to look it up now

Kristin said...

Too many people drinking the koolaid!

kys said...

People want answers to all their problems - relationships, money, jobs, health. But nobody wants to do the work to help themselves. It's easier to just throw money at some sleazebag who promises a quick fix.

Hanako66 said...

I have been wanting to read this/check him out....it is a personal thing for sure.

~Kristen~ said...

I think so many of us out there are searching for...something. That something is different for everyone. And how we get to it or who we look to for strength is guidance is different for everybody. There is no one way that is THE way for everyone. But I think if people look within themselves, instead of paying someone to do it for them, they would be surprised to learn they can find what they need. Some may need God (whomever their God is to them), some may need a close friend, some may need a professional. Some just need themselves. But I don't think it is up to any one of us to decide the one thing everybody supposedly needs. These so-called "self help gurus" probably shouldn't be the ones making the decisions. But, some people seem to find solace in that. I don't get it...but it is not for me to get, I guess.

Fashionista said...

In here, I have never heard about such things. I mean there are people like him here too, who offer their knowledge and guide, but never is the price so high and .. I guess If you have enough experience, you will discover that anything that guy tells you, you allready know and have experienced.

McVal said...

I'm with Amanda. Putting your faith in Christ rather than the reasonings of a man who wants your money.
Scary business!

Shraddha@theselfloveproject said...

its crazy story! renders me speechless!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I have found the secret here, Carma, and it lies in the Quest for Utz Cheeseballs - Colleagues, please send me £10,000 and I shall divulge all:

iloveascam.org.uk

Seriously, Carma, I am loving me those eggplants, and believe it or not, but they appear more human to me than Mr Ray - Would you trust that man with your cat?

Sad story.

Bridget (@bcyberchondriac) said...

Sure, everyone wants that thing that makes them feel secure, good, happy, not anxious. Like they know the answers, etc.
That's what religion is for. But how sad that that there are so many snakes out there waiting to take advantage.
That's why it's best to have a healthy skepticism about everything. Not paranoia. But skepticism for sure.

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