James Arthur Ray speaks to NY Magazine; click here for Michael Gross’s interview. There is a lot of lawyering in evidence–Ray makes frequent reference to the White Papers his team has prepared, which preemptively declare his innocence; his attorneys interrupt the conversation from time to time.
How did the events in Sedona and their aftermath affect your sense of yourself as a spiritual teacher?
Well, I wouldn’t define myself as a spiritual teacher, in the strictest traditional sense. I really see myself as a catalyst for personal transformation. I believe, through my own life experience and through my experience with tens if not hundreds of thousands of other people, that we have this seed of potential, of greatness, inside of us.
Did the events in Sedona change your sense that you can help people remember what they’re capable of accomplishing?
The events in Sedona have been devastating to me and to all the families, and I feel horrible about what happened there and for the families and for anyone and everyone who’s been affected by it.
How has it changed your personal beliefs?
I don’t know how to answer that. That right now is not the important issue. The important issue for me is to find the answers to why it occurred and to really bring some closure to this terrible accident.
This doesn’t strike me as a particularly successful piece of PR. Even if Ray is exonerated or escapes indictment, it’s going to be an uphill battle for him to redeem his brand–which is all about getting what you want when you want it, writing your own destiny. Obviously he didn’t want any of the things that he’s gotten since October; things have spun completely out of his control. And every time he expresses his bafflement, regret, and desire for closure, he looks that much less like a master of The Secret.