Stick the business end of an arrow against your windpipe and lean into it–sound like a good idea? Something you’d like to try under the supervision of a California self-help guru famous for appearing on Oprah? Another of James Arthur Ray’s ‘techniques’ to make a participant ‘face his fears.’ Of course, when the arrow snaps and shards of it shred your eyelid, you may become fearful that you’ve just been blinded.
Man: Sweat Lodge Leader’s Actions ‘Reckless’
Former James Arthur Ray Followers Speak Out About Another Incident
…These seminars were “much more intense, way more metaphysical, way more esoteric,” Lauren said. “You’re in kind of an altered state when you’re in there.”
It was during that altered state that Kurt and hundreds of others did something most people would see as reckless, he said. Participants were required to sign a waiver that released Ray of any responsibility if someone got hurt.
“They had us put the sharp side of the arrow … (a) true, real archery arrow right on the soft part of your neck,” Kurt said. “There’s no bone behind it, just the real soft area .. your trachea is right there and your spine behind it, and you lean forward into the arrow.”
As Kurt leaned into the arrow — a challenge designed to make him face his fears — his fear was realized.
“When the shaft snapped, a large piece went up under my glasses and penetrated my eyelid,” he said. “(It) just missed my eye by an eighth of an inch. It was a deep cut — probably needed stitches.”
“I was greatly concerned,” Laura said. “We could not tell if his eye was intact. It was a bloody mess.”
Kurt and Lauren said they believe Ray was not prepared for anything to go wrong.
The event did not have the proper medical staff, and it took time for them to dig around for a first aid kit, Kurt said.
“I thought, ‘Wow, they are not prepared for the potential there,'” he said. “At that point I thought, ‘This is reckless.'”
Years later, Kurt had the same thought after hearing about the sweat lodge ceremony that left three people dead…
Officials in Yavapai County said they’re treating the deaths as homicides. They have not been able to question Ray about what happened.
Kurt said Ray’s actions surprised him.
“He fled the state — didn’t even talk to police,” Kurt said. “That doesn’t sit right with what his teachings are. There’s something going on. I sense hypocrisy and that’s frustrating me.”