Enlighten Us - The Rise And Fall Of James Arthur Ray
Enlightenment & Transformation
Enlighten Us - A Documentary
December 17, 2016 - Issue 2016 #3
Contents: 
* Enlighten Us - The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray
* SEEK Safely - Jean Brown's Letter To James Ray
* Inside An Authentic Sweat Lodge Ceremony
* Reviews of the Documentary 'Enlighten Us'
* What Does This Mean For Each Of Us Today
Enlighten Us - The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray

Many of you know about the infamous Sweat Lodge incident that occurred at Angel Valley on October 8, 2009, during which Kirby Brown and James Shore died on the spot of hyperthermia, whereas Liz Neuman died a week later of organ failure caused by the same issue.

The ceremony, that was meant to be the highlight of the Spiritual Warrior Retreat, was led by James Arthur Ray.
Eventually, James Ray was sentenced to two years in jail for three counts of negligent homicide.

The occurrence, including the trial, received a lot of publicity for a variety of reasons. It has impacted many person's lives severely, including ours.
 

October 8, 2009, by far the most dramatic and chaotic evening in Angel Valley's existence. 
 
In April, 2016, a documentary came out, presented at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The movie was broadcast on CNN TV on December 3rd.
The title is  'Enlighten Us - The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray'.
The film makers were fascinated by a person who makes an astronomical rise in popularity and wealth, then falls so deep while ending up in jail, and then tries to get back in the circuit he used to work in.

When they first started their project, they also interviewed us.
We were invited to the Premier at the Tribeca Festival, but we could not make it. When I saw flashes and interviews, I was not sure whether I would have felt comfortable.
One thing that hit me: hearing James Ray in an interview talk about 'his movie'.... I beg your pardon?

 

Enlighten Us at the Tribeca film Festival 
 
Finally, last month, we did see the movie.  It brought up mixed feelings, to say the least.
People who know us, have experienced that we have always been willing to address the incident. Not only it can't be denied that it happened, but for us it is paramount that lessons are learned from a disaster like this.

The lessons are not just for the people directly impacted, but also for mankind. One of the most outstanding lessons is to never ever give our power to anybody else, and to always deliberately increase our discernment and our awareness, in situations where our judgments might get impaired.
On the facilitating end: do not ever take anybody's power, or think you know what is best for somebody else. Be in your heart while working with people, and not in your ego.

To make these perspectives more public, we wrote our book 'Transformation at Angel Valley', as we shared what actually happened, how we had to make it fit into our lives, what we learned, and what others can learn once they are willing to set aside their judgments. It could have been you in that sweat lodge...
 
 
Have the film makers succeeded in their goal?
Well, they do give the audience a look at James Arthur Ray from many different angles: before the incident, flashes from the incident, the trial, his release from prison, and they film him afterwards during events and in interviews at his home.

I read reviews that range from saying it is well done and it is up to the audience to make up their mind, to critical comments about James Ray, to responses that emphasize how dangerous this man is.
 
What strikes me more than anything about this movie is the following:
Too much is left out of the movie, because the film makers did not think it was relevant. Really?
When you make a documentary about a person who had three of his followers die under his nose, which could have been prevented, it is not relevant to talk about the people who died or with their families?
Of course, the dead don't speak into a camera and the family would be partial and emotional.
But how can you make it believable that James Ray says in front of the camera that he is sorry, if he has never had the courage to say this directly to those whose lives were the most affected?
When he says he has served his duty in jail and his insurance paid them money, doesn't he realize that his responsibility starts with those who suffered the most?
When during the movie he tries to downplay things as an accident, and the unique situation that he was judged criminally in a situation where people did things out of their own free will, what does that tell us?

And now, he is asking the court to clean his records, so he can move on as if nothing ever happened.
That is beyond me...


Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman 

Do we wish for James Ray to have a life after this episode? Of course, we do!
Is there such a thing as forgiveness? Absolutely, there is!
Am I condemning James Ray for what happened in 2009 for the rest of his life? No, I'm not!

However, hearing him speak today about 'taking responsibility for his actions', and even his intentions to go back into teaching this very topic, that sounds untrue to me. It makes me wonder what he has learned.

Yet, we have to accept that he will probably find people who are attracted to him and his methods, and who will have an opportunity to learn new aspects of discernment.
Good luck!

If anybody ever has any questions for us, or would like to discuss this topic, or order a copy of our book, feel free to contact us. 
or by phone (928) 634-1320.

Michael and Amayra Hamilton
SEEK Safely

The family of Kirby Brown, whom we recently visited and with whom we had a wonderfully heartfelt connection, has turned their grief into action.
They have initiated an organization to increase people's awareness as they are exploring on their journey.

Their website is www.seeksafely.org.
SEEK stands for Self-Empowerment through Education & Knowledge.
 

 
I admire their sincere intention of wanting to contribute to a safe environment for Seekers, in the name of their daughter.  We are on the same page there.

What they propose in the area of 'Regulating the Self-Help Industry' (a term that I am still not used to...), I have some doubts.
First, I do not see how that could be arranged in practice.
Are we talking about a licensing program for all people who assist others?
If we do, who is setting up this program, who is in charge, will there be a sanction system, what are the criteria, and so on?

But mostly, would that eliminate disasters caused by those that do not meet normal standards of human decency, basic respect or even common sense?
Could licensing have been able to prevent an incident like what happened here in 2009, when we are dealing with a big ego, who thinks he is the best ever, and with a master of manipulative skills?

Yet, I fully support the Browns in their effort to contribute to more awareness, as is our goal with our work at Angel Valley.
Our focus has always been on encouraging to trust our inner voice, following our heart and intuition, and knowing that everything happens for a reason and for our benefit, even the hardest challenges.

In the context of this article, we invite you to watch and listen to Kirby Brown's sister Jean in her  'Letter to James Arthur Ray'.
It is heart-wrenching!


Jean Brown, Kirby's sister, speaks from her heart!
(This is not an live video. To watch the video, please, click the link above)

And there is much more interesting material on their website.
Inside An Authentic Sweat Lodge Ceremony

After the incident, there was also a severe response from the Native American community. We understood and felt the hurt.

A CNN crew made an excellent presentation about how beautiful and sacred  a 'real' sweat lodge ceremony is, as opposed to James Ray's event.\
It is worth watching!


Reviews on Enlighten Us

If you are interested in reading reviews of the documentary, I have collected on a pdf a number of reviews, some with video clips. Please, click here.

If you have missed the CNN broadcast, I might be able to assist in seeing it for yourself. Please, contact me.
What Does All This Mean For Each Of You Today?

The topic of empowerment has come up with the whole story about the Sweat Lodge incident. James Ray, who mentioned the words, but who created a situation where people listened to him rather than to themselves.

What do we see around the election and the current president-elect? Has there ever been a time where the entire population was more agitated than today? Are we happy or sad about the result of the election? Are we able to connect with the bigger picture, and the opportunity we all have to step into our power?

What happens in cyber world, where it is possible to simply hack The Cloud with the personal data of billions of people?

Just to mention a few examples...


Where is our power? What is our power? How do we use our power?
When do we stop expecting to be taken care of and believing that others have power over us?
When do we begin to take full responsibility for ourselves and our well-being?
When do we no longer allow ourselves to be controlled by our own emotions, our fears and anxieties?
When are we able to keep our state of being centered and solid, rather than being taken by outer circumstances that may be chaotic?
When do we make the choice to unconditionally trust and become comfortable with insecurities, with the unknown?

It is a fascinating time that we live in!
So much to learn and to practice!
For you too?
Visit Angel Valley Sedona

Come for a Day Visit to Angel Valley
and enjoy our magical sacred sites:
the Chartres Labyrinth, the 7-Circuit Labyrinth,
the Medicine Wheel, the Angel Wheel, the Water Wheel,
the Angel Sites and the Vortex Circles.


In preparation for the Holidays, we wish you a de-light-ful time!

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