By now most of us have heard of the Sweat Lodge incident.
The Huffington Post article says that "[m]ore than 50 followers of spiritual guru James Arthur Ray had just endured five strenuous days of fasting, sleep-deprivation and mind-altering breathing exercises [were] into a sweat lodge ceremony" that is said to have resulted in the deaths of three people. The "Spiritual Warrior" event apparently cost $9,000-plus for each participant. One survivor, Beverly Bunn, said that "Ray pushed for participants to go without sleep, enter into altered states of mind through breathing exercises and meditation, compete in a game in which he played God and fast for 36 hours during a vision quest." Bunn also said that "people were vomiting in the stifling heat, gasping for air, and lying lifeless on the sand and gravel floor" in the 415-square-foot sweat lodge. Apparently, people were not forced to stay inside but were highly encouraged. Bunn said "it was all about mind over matter, you’re stronger than your body."
Who is James Arthur Ray? He says he is "an internationally-renowned Personal Success Strategist, Visionary and New York Times Best-Selling Author who has traveled the globe dedicating over two decades of his life to studying the thoughts, actions, and habits of those who create true wealth in every area of their life [who] delivers his practical teachings to hundreds of thousands of individuals and business leaders every year." I confess I never heard of him before this incident, but if his website says he is internationally-renowed I suppose it must be true.