Truth Is What The Darkness Most Fears - Part Three

clouds_darkness3Facing Our Own Soul
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own soul.”  ~Carl Jung

Shortly after posting part one of TRUTH IS WHAT THE DARKNESS MOST FEARS, a friend, whom I consider part of my inner circle sacred counsel, asked if I was concerned that my outreach via a three-part opinion article might be viewed as opportunistic. In addition, although I’ve received numerous encouraging and supportive responses to part one, I also received two challenging comments. One individual objected to the recommendation portion in Part One, feeling that it smacked of sentencing. Another individual referred to me as an “…arrogant, self-righteous creature proclaiming to be Mr. Ray’s judge, jury and confessor”, urging readers to “beware of people that insist they know what is best for [the] healing of others.” As synchronicity would have it, my reply to all three individuals is not only in keeping with the theme of this part of the opinion article series, but also a honing for my own process of self-introspection and free self-expression.

In the recommendation section of Part One, wherein I list several actions Mr. Ray might take to demonstrate a volitional flow of accountability and amends, my intent is to outline a possible roadmap of invitations, hearty recommendations and urgings. To my way of seeing it, sentence issuing doesn’t suggest roadmaps nor contain requests. Next, I invite the “beware” reader to re-examine Part One, as in it I do not “insist” I know what is best for another’s healing. My words are “I am implying here that I have an idea about what might…” My invitation to Mr. Ray is therefore an offering, not a proclamation. I don’t feel that these articles slander Mr. Ray nor definitively label him a liar, charlatan, murderer, or saintly guru. I do not hurl ad homonyms such as creature, murderer, or snake oil salesman at Mr. Ray, and as we forge a middle ground path to the realm of spiritual adulthood, I recommend we all take care not to hurl these about at one another. When we avoid the larger complex issues that an event like the Sedona sweat lodge tragedy incites and reduce our reaction to labeling another as an “…arrogant, self-righteous creature proclaiming to be Ray’s judge and jury and confessor”, we perpetrate the very thing we criticize, becoming arrogant accusers who insist they know what is best for the healing of others. I wonder if the “beware” reader would have responded the same way to Gandhi when he urged the English to leave India, maintaining that he believed that action to be the most healing for those involved; or to Nelson Mandela who urged the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa, professing that action to be the most healing for the black South Africans. One might leap to counter with an observation that I’m neither Gandhi nor Nelson Mandela, and might even levy the scrutiny - “who do you think you are?” My reply: who do I have to be? Lastly, the etymological root of the word ‘opportunistic’ speaks of good fortune and a favorable time to talk about something. Granted, the very act of disseminating information places one in the public forum affording readers the opportunity to construe that these opinion articles are motivated largely for personal gain. However, that isn’t the energy motivating my actions; I’m not charging for these offerings; and I’m not advertising my services nor soliciting allies.

In part one of TRUTH IS WHAT THE DARKNESS MOST FEARS, I urged James Arthur Ray to take a bold, brave champion’s stand and embody authenticity as the highest spiritual principle by going courageously within to obtain answers and garner insights on a vulnerable, accountable human being level. I cannot request that Mr. Ray take steps that contribute to bona fide transformation and not answer that same heroic call myself. Furthermore, walking my talk includes taking the precept “none of us can transform anything we are unwilling to acknowledge, no exceptions, no matter what” and applying this to myself. Therefore, in this part of the opinion article series I address the concepts of self-examination, personal authenticity, the middle ground and its relatedness to spiritual adulthood, as well as our looking inward to answer our own heroic call.

No doubt we can all agree that monumental things are occurring within humanity and that what transpired as part of the Spiritual Warrior Retreat program facilitated by Mr. Ray in Sedona, Arizona on October 8, 2009 is monumental. I suspect that most individuals on a spiritual path, particularly since approximately 1987, have come into contact with the concept of a paradigm shift. My use of the term “paradigm” is synonymous with a customary model of being, established standards, and/or patterns or precedents that one follows. Paradigm shifts are characterized by leaps in understanding and expansions in consciousness, whereby profound evolutionary changes take place. A paradigm shift is upon us, and at the heart of it is the opportunity to cross the threshold from spiritual adolescence to spiritual adulthood.

One of the passkeys to crossing the spiritual adulthood threshold is personal authenticity. Authenticity is the highest spiritual principle and the cornerstone of our humanity. The other passkey is self-examination, and self-examination is the main ingredient of enlightenment. “Enlightenment doesn’t occur from sitting around visualizing images of light, but from integrating the darker aspects of the self into the conscious personality.” – Carl Jung. Therefore, to experience enlightenment we must first be willing to acknowledge the tentacles of deceit, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, narcissism, alienation and hopelessness within us and to integrate these into our “conscious personality”, our incarnate Earth Self.

What appears on the societal stage is a mirror for the unexamined, unhealed aspects of all of us. It’s seems uncomplicated to say that a person ought to have behaved a certain way and to find unmitigated fault with their behavior especially when it includes tragedies. Clearly, the issues surrounding and erupting from what transpired in Sedona on October 8th are hauntingly complex and, by their nature, engender polarized position mongering. However, care needs to be taken. For those holding the post of Mr. Ray as an absolute cavalier, counterfeit charlatan and even murderer, their pulpit now includes proclaiming conclusive contempt and condemnation in most areas of his life and work. For those holding the post of Mr. Ray as an irreproachable purveyor of integrity and indisputable contributions, their pulpit now includes a kind of elusive clemency. When unchecked, judgment and vengeance can run over our humanity in their unbridled haste to crucify. And when likewise unchecked, the armor of defensive denial pre-empts an answer to the heroic call.

The only way through this is the middle ground, which asks us to speak up about the disturbing, objectionable things appearing on the societal stage AND to allow our horror, disdain and bewilderment to escort us inward, to our own inner inquiry. Although bringing our “darker aspects” into consciousness might be disconcerting, doing so is not only infinitely preferable to covert lurking in the halls of pretense and careless denial, it is essential if we are to cross the spiritual adulthood threshold. The polarized positions are indicative of spiritual adolescence, while the middle ground, with its passkeys of self-examination and personal authenticity, is the threshold to spiritual adulthood. Furthermore, not only don’t polarized viewpoints serve the highest purpose for the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman nor bring the profound healing sought by those struggling with post-traumatic bewilderment and betrayal, polarized positions prevent us from answering our own heroic call.

Just as the events surrounding the life of James Arthur Ray are an opportunity for him to walk his talk and apply the principles he teaches, they are also an opportunity for us to apply to ourselves the principles and standards we ascribe to Mr. Ray. Just as Mr. Ray is not exempt from the co-creation of what is transpiring in his life, we are not exempt from the co-creation of what is transpiring in ours. As within/so without. In this spirit, perhaps we might undertake asking ourselves questions such as –

In what areas are our defensive egos running roughshod over our willingness to humbly introspect and be accountable for our choices and behaviors?

  1. In what areas are we detached from our intuitive knowing or diminishing the intuitive knowing of others?
  2. In what areas are we not authentically self-expressing?
  3. In what areas are we not self-empowered and not empowering others?
  4. Have we ever required more than is reasonable or safe from others or ourselves?
  5. In what areas are we projecting an image of ourselves as knowing best?
  6. In what areas are we using our charisma to persuade or dominate?
  7. Do we run and hid when uncomfortable situations or extreme events surface?
  8. Where are we culpable for negligence?
  9. What is required to make amends?

One might leap to counter this with a justification that their actions haven’t touched the tragic proportions of Mr. Rays. I suggest that we refrain from allowing this position to deter us from our own heroic call. Let’s go inward to expose and integrate our own controlling, righteous, usurious, terrified, impotent, hopeless aspects.

Because things that show up on the societal stage, particularly those that prompt our intense reaction, offer us a way into our own inner landscape, it would be irresponsible of me not to acknowledge Mr. Ray as a catalyst for my own recent inner inquiries. I still reach out to him, from the core of my hopeful, prayerful and expectant heart to take a bold, brave champion stand. However, no matter what another does or does not do in ways we recognize as authentically accountable, let’s answer our own heroic call so that as facilitators we might continue to become more trustworthy, sincere and responsible custodians of our gifts and abilities demonstrating respect, admiration and empowerment to those we serve; and as participants, we might continue to seek and find spiritual programs, services and products that promote personal authenticity, self-trust, freedom of expression, self-empowerment and co-creative collaboration.

I therefore leave all of us with words attributed to the Christ:

“If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
~ The Gospel of Thomas

Mariangela Pino Landau is the founder and director of a spiritual organization called The Center for True North®. She is a medium, mystic, metaphysical minister, ritual and ceremonial facilitator, a poet and the author of Spiritual Adulthood.

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  1. I agree that we all, in the end, must decide and take responsibility for our decisions. Acknowledging that the lesson one learns from experience X can be different for each individual experiencing X; it is easy to see where mankind does not always see things the same way.

    Thanks for all your efforts to spread truth.
  2. Ms. Landau, I would respectfully suggest that whatever it is you see outside of you that prompted you to write this series of articles is nothing more than a mirror of what has been disowned inside of you. Perhaps you might share your insights about how these events (as you have read ABOUT them) have affected you--how perhaps they have triggered growth in you--and maybe what that looks like. Especially as a spiritual leader. This is where the real work begins. Why are you so linked in with this group of people whom you never met? What is the common bond you share? It is not because you are a member of the Human Family, although we all certainly share in some of the human frailties that James also possesses to one degree or another. Perhaps it is because you (like him) are an embodiment of Spirit, and in your (disowned) arrogance believe that is superior to the Human condition which we experience in this dimension. I invite you to look there and see what you see.

  3. Gabriel,

    In my OPINION, it might be best that we focus on not that she wrote these articles and who she is and why she was drawn to this topic, but what she wrote about instead. It seems as if you want to recriminate the messenger rather than focus on the much needed message about the fact that 3 people died, 18 – 20 people were hospitalized and many are still suffering from this tragedy. No one who has been involved with James Ray will ever be the same, including James Ray himself. I salute Mariangela and all at True North for taking such a “bold, brave” stand and for caring so much not only about the people directly affected by this tragedy but for all of us.
  4. Mr. Gabriel, I feel it’s probably not a good idea to assume that Ms. Pino Landau has never met any of those involved in recent or past James Ray activities. I happen to know that she is intimately acquainted with several recent and past James Ray participants. In addition, you might consider reading her book, because in it she describes how she was once hurt and confused by someone she studied with years ago that is very much like James Ray. Or at least her experience feels to me to be similar to those now trying to make sense of what happened in Sedona and whether or not the person they have been studying with has integrity and honor after all. Continued below,
  5. Continued from above. I can only imagine that they are trying to separate the good from the bad, as I feel Mariangela had to do with what she calls her Coyote Teacher. She shares in the book the process she underwent to learn from it and to recover from it. I feel that this is why she was drawn to write these articles and why she felt such a connection to James Ray. In my opinion, she has walked this road. It therefore appears as if what motivated her to write these articles isn’t something disowned, but rather something owned through experience. I feel that it is incredibly presumptuous for you to assume that she has not looked inward and seen. It appears to the contrary that she has looked and looked and seen alot and then had the courage to share what she has uncovered. Your writing is powerful and through your words, I do feel your heart and soul reaching out to James Ray and all of us. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
  6. 8-)To Mr. Gabriel,
    Phrases like, “Nothing more than a mirror” and “disowned arrogance” to me seem to be a polarized view of not only the articles, but also, as Y shared in a previous comment, of the tragic events that left 3 people dead and sent 20 people to the hospital. Even though you use the words “respectfully”, it feels to me like you have adopted an arrogant post in your demand that Mariangela look inside, particularly in your assumption that what inspired her to write these articles was something disowned in her. You don’t even state that it is your opinion that she is behaving in an arrogant way. You just assume it and state it as fact. It feels to me as if you missed that Mariangela invited James Ray in the first article and then all of us in the third article to make what she calls inner inquiries. Cont.
  7. 8-) cont. from above - She even thanks Mr. James Ray for being a catalyst for her inner work. To me, that is the hallmark of a trustworthy spiritual facilitator. Furthermore, I find it confusing that you would make a statement about mirrors, as if Mariangela hadn’t addressed that very fact in her third article. Mariangela states that what has occurred are a mirror for all of us and she includes herself. I appreciate that Mariangela doesn’t demand anything, including that any of us do any inner work. She invites and suggests, and I really wish that you and people like you would be careful not to demand. I sincerely wonder what drew you to read the articles and to have such a strong reaction to them. Some of this what it brought up is evident in how you reacted. cont. >>
  8. 8-) nt. - I can’t help but wonder what’s underneath the obvious. However, it’s not my place to demand that you look inside or to assume that you have stuff that is disowned. Really, how presumptuous. I think we all ought to be about our own work as this woman so eloquently suggests.
  9. Self-reflection is not only an intrinsic part of self development, it is also a critical aspect of the evolution of any religious or spiritual culture. Religion has evolved over the past centuries as a result of societies ability to disseminate information which brings not only awareness but the opportunity for diversity to different parts of the world and cultures. For example, we now have Buddhism being practiced in South America. The catalyst for this evolving process includes the development of various media vehicles that have and continue to enhance our interconnectedness. As the feedback loop becomes tighter and tighter, personal, societal and cultural self-reflection becomes vital.
  10. cont. from above.
    The content of these all three articles describes the need for personal and institution self-reflection and your insights and suggestions illuminate this path for self-reflection, accountability and self-correction in the "new age self-awareness" service industry. In addition, what part two astutely examines is the subtle but crucial difference between self-subordination and self-advocacy. When anyone wants to fit in with the existing culture/group mentality at all costs, tragedy is bound to erupt. My desire, like yours, is that these tragedies will increase the consciousness of all those already courageously aware enough to consider the complex issues catalyzed by these events.
    Thank you for this opportunity to learn and express.
    Henry S.:-)
  11. I have attended 17 James Ray events over a 5 year period, including Spiritual Warrior, twice. I benefited greatly from James' teachings during that time. However, I left James Ray's program in November 2007 because of the direction I felt he was taking. Liz Neuman was a colleague and a very close friend. Mariangela's comments are, for me now, very appropriate and "hits the nail on the head" in the manner and approach she takes with her remarks regarding these events. I thank her for these insights and have referred this website to many fellow JRI participants. We are all processing and healing from this tragedy.
  12. I have read the three articles and wanted to tell you how impressed and moved I am by the depth and breath with which you have responded to this tragedy. You have elevated this incident to include all of humanity – directly responding to James Ray in a way that is potentially transformative for him if he would choose to listen and also instructive to all of humanity. I am really amazed how much care, precision and subtlety of understanding you have given to writing these three articles. I also really appreciate the quotes that you have used of Carl Jung and the last quote of Jesus Christ. There is truly a lot of teachings in these articles and I do hope that you find avenues where they can be printed. With warm regards, Judy Fox Administrative assistant/Enlightennext Magazine

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