Monday, November 23, 2009

Death of a Healer - Ron Urquhart

This is a terribly difficult piece to write. Last week, I Googled the name of someone I had known two decades ago, while living in a different country, in what seemed a different lifetime. All I could find was a discussion thread a year old. The news was grim: In 2005, this individual blew his brains out with a gun. He was about my age.

Let me rewind:

It was the late 80s. I had just moved to Melbourne Australia, but the promise of a fresh start was hijacked by my runaway brain. Things began to fall apart. In desperation, I was ready to try anything. A colleague at the newspaper I was working on recommended a certain “rebirther” - Ron Urquhart.

Rebirthing is a guided breathing exercise, based on the work of the New Age prophet Leonard Orr. Sustained circular breathing can induce the type of dream-wake state associated with mystics and shamans. A lot of New Age hocus-pocus is wrapped up in rebirthing, but the basic premise is simple and universal: When the conscious mind gets something new to look at - perhaps buried memories, perhaps a sense of connection to something greater - surprising (and often life-changing) realizations tend to emerge.

My journalistic bullshit detector threw off some blinking warning lights. Nevertheless, in a number of sessions, Ron proved exceptionally adept in picking the locks to various realities lurking just outside my conscious reach. In the aftermath, I gained some important insights into where I had been and where I needed to go. Still, my personal life continued to unravel, then crash precipitously.

Ron came back into my life about 18 months later. He had quit his day job. He was now referring to himself as an “energy meditation” (EM for short) practitioner, which was basically rebirthing with a kundalini yoga twist. I was an unemployable journalist scrambling for free-lance work. Ron had a proposition. He could use my help with a book he wanted to write. He was about to train his first crop of energy meditators. Would I care to take part?

There were about 20 of us. Over the course of a number of weekends, Ron ran us through a bunch of drills and activities, from trust falls to karate-chopping boards to building an Indian sweat lodge. Plus, we got to practice energy meditation on each other.

Ron’s running commentary involved the standard New Age tenet (most recently recycled on Oprah as “The Secret”) that we can literally create our own reality - health, prosperity, love, everything. The smokers in the crowd interpreted this to mean that by putting out the right thought, the nicotine they inhaled would have no effect on them. It never occurred to them that it might be more useful instead  to apply the same principle to stopping their cravings.

Personal misgivings aside, I did find the course extremely helpful to me, and so did the others. But the needle on my bullshit detector was fluctuating wildly. Ron had an unfortunate tendency to overplay his brief experiences among Buddhist monks and American Indians while giving no credit to rebirthing and various New Age courses he was freely borrowing from. When I pressed him on this and other issues, he would grow extremely evasive.

In our private conversations, he fleshed out his personal story. Several years back, his personal life had fallen apart and he had attempted suicide. Then he took stock and began applying the things he had learned toward his own healing and growth. There was no doubt he had special gifts. His intuition was uncanny, his manner charismatic and inspirational. When he laid a hand on you, you could literally feel intense heat radiating out.

But over the months, he grew increasingly more grandiose. It’s an occupational hazard in any profession. It’s a natural tendency to think big following initial success. But imagining that the business you started in your garage will become the next Apple Computers is a far different proposition than seeing yourself leading a worldwide spiritual-personal growth movement.   

Under the circumstances, I could no longer continue my association with Ron. I wish I had handled the situation better. We fell out of contact, then, about a year later, I packed my bags for the US. I gave him a call just before I left, and we shared some reconciliatory words.

About seven or eight years ago, I Googled Ron’s name and discovered he was still practicing EM. It seems he had scaled down his earlier expectations, and had settled into doing what he did best - helping individuals and small groups of people see their personal realities in new ways.

Then, late last week, I once again Googled Ron, and read: “I just found out today that Ron passed away a few years ago.”

There was no shortage of appreciation for the man: “Great teacher to many,” “I’ve never had any other teacher like him,” “He helped all of us a lot,” “Ron has touched and changed the lives of all who have come into contact with him.” His celebration of life service ten days following his death attracted more than 200 admirers.

But, sadly, I also read: “There is only one person that is still practicing EM in Australia that we could find.” This was a far cry from what the Ron I once knew had envisioned for his EM movement. He sincerely believed we could think our way to a better reality, and there is a certain truth to that. But reality also has an unfortunate way of showing us who is boss.

Ron dared to confront reality, a force far greater than any one mortal. There is great merit in trying. There is no shame in losing.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear John,
I was a student friend and colleague of Ron's for more than 10 years. I can assure you that EM as originally taught to me is alive and well in Australia. My aim since Ron's death has been to bring EM into a more "clinical model", and is being practiced by many others under different names. Ron's legacy will live on. Best Regards, Peter Hughes

John McManamy said...

Hi, Peter. It's very reassuring to hear that Ron lives on. And also to be communicating with a close associate of Ron's. Many many thanks -

justin said...

ron, u changed the course of my life and altho my life took a huge side swing off centre, ur teachings have helped me survive and re-centre the pendulum in the centre. as such its 12 yrs on since u graced my path with ur physical presence but it is now that i was on the net trying to find out more from u that i have learned of ur translating form. this is a loss to the physical world ron but as at vision quest i had said to u, 'that even tho u were nowhere to be seen....i could feel u guiding me thru my first solo e.m' and as such im sure u still assisting from the subtle realms. peace be with u ron, and thanx for ur helping me grasp the tools to survive the constant challenges this world besets those who dare to pierce the 'veil'.

love and light eternally ron

forever

justin briant iam

Anonymous said...

Dear John

I did Ron Urharts Vision Quest in 1997

And it has changed my life beyond the words that I could ever write here. But I will give you just an example. I was crippled with fear, of never feeling I was worthy of being on the face of this earth,
I constantly felt stricken with utter gut wrenching fear, expressing my sexuality, going to a restaurant or to write a simple note for some one . was a quest in its self.
To go to a restaurant, just to order a meal. Or having a fancy drink was a nightmare because I thought I knew, they would obviously know, I did not belong there, that I was not good enough to be in there establishment
My main reason for going to vq, I was failing at relationships because I could not let my partner know I desired him sexually for fear of feeling like an utter slut. How crazy was that thought process. I was with him for 16 years
Writing!!! How painful is that, I use to think, They will laugh at me because I would make so many spelling mistakes. But not any more
I feel free these days. Don’t get me wrong, these things don’t go away immediately, it is a work in progress, but it is because of Rons Vision Quest I am free to look at life, as an adventure. When I fear now. It is more of an excitement that I am about to grow some more
I will love you forever Ron , you are sadly missed by me and for the all the many people who will never experience your wonderful course ..

PS You do not realize how good it feels to get to write this, and post it on your site, knowing that its not perfect but am okay with it now

I guess you will happy to know. I still continue to do Em’s for clients even though its not in a big way .

LOVE AND LIGHT ALWAYS

Anne Makin

John McManamy said...

Hi, Anne. I'm so glad you posted this. It's very good hearing from the people Ron helped, knowing that he made a difference and that his work is not forgotten. All the best -

steve said...

It feels like I just completed Vision Quest only yesterday ... Who would have thought 5 years have gone by since my best friend's passing ...

Ron, there is not a day that goes by that I do not recall your words of wisdom, insight and more importantly your message of loving kindness ...

You were there for me at my darkest hour ... You listened to me ... Your warm words were soooo comforting ... You understood me and kept me from harm ...

You wanted nothing in return ... my words of gratitude did not do you justice ...

You brought out the best in me and overlooked my faults ... You showed me and taught me like no other

My gift to you my friend is to celebrate life and continue to be the best I can be and help those who come my way and share what has worked for me so they do not suffer like I have and allow them to find their own light...

You are right again my friend, it is a great honour to be of service ...

Like Anne, I will love you forever ...

Steve.

John McManamy said...

Many thanks, Steve. It helps me hearing from people who knew Ron. Love and light ...

Nigel said...

I did a two day course with Ron back in Melbourne in 1995 which had a profound effect on my life. I have read these and other comments about this amazing man who I will only remember with great fondness. His huge smile is fixed in my mind. RIP Ron.
Nigel Dawson - UK

aem106 said...

My daughter and I completed a 6 day course with Brian Cattermole from NZ who was also taught by Ron. Brian was a very close colleague of Ron and since Ron’s passing, Brian has continued his work but has added his own unique techniques to those taught by Ron and renamed it The Zenna Method. We are now able to stop cancer in 95% of clients in less than 3 hrs (thanks to Ron & Brian’s hard work).
Ron’s spirit is still very much alive in Australia!!!
Amanda Thomas
www.rise-beyond.com/

Anonymous said...

Ron helped turn my life around. I went from being a shy girl to being a confident woman after doing a couple of Ron's Vision Quests. Soon after I completed one of Ron's first Vision Quest I would feel the fear and walk through the fear in facing any new challenges in my life. This led me to work my way to management in my organisation. Now my life has taken another turn as shortly before Ron took his own life he shared an insight into my current behavior of working excessive hours and trying to please everyone that I will get an auto-immune disease or burn out. Well he was right in another way I was exhausted one day walking to work and I had an accident on a rainy day and injured my back and neck. This forced me to take stock of my life and face the first time in my life not being able to rush in my life and finally face myself on a much deeper level than I ever had. Although I didn't know it at the time I was forced to face things I could not face in my EM sessions. With the insight I gained from Ron's past courses it helped me finally work through what was really important in life. Now I am blessed with special friends in my life of which I would not have that level of friendship as I was too busy in the past working excessive hours so I would never have to rely on anyone so no one could hurt me and let me down (this was a childhood fear I was living in my adult life). Through learning to be there for me I have gained many special close friends as I am there for my friends as I am there for me. This was a special breakthrough for me that came many years after Ron's passing. Yet to this day I am grateful for Ron's teachings. I had to go through having my partner of over 10 years which I met at my last Vision Quest leave me after I had my injury in 2007 as he could not be there for himself so in turn he could not be there for me. Amazing but it can be true we attract our mirror in relationships. My ex partner of 10 years has a lot of healing to do in relation to both of his parents dying in hospital. When I had to be in hospital often after my injury in 2007 my partner at the time use to feel physically sick in the hospital as it brought up memories for him of both of his parents dying in hospital. So rather than working through his issues he chose to run away out of fear and he ended our relationship. I was devastated at the time but know now that it was time it ended. Although he did Vision Quest and has the "knowledge" he refused to use the knowledge and blamed others for his misfortune. This is a true example of using the knowledge Ron gave us for good and the opposite when someone doesn't do this. For a year now I am in a loving, supportive relationship with a man who helps me a lot with maintenance in my home as I am now living what Ron has taught. We both love travel and my relationship grows each day thanks to the teachings of Ron. Thank you so much Ron for your teachings and may you rest in peace.

John McManamy said...
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John McManamy said...
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tulsa giles said...

My mother and i were a student of Rons in the KI force course some years ago now and i still use some of these methods today in my reiki courses with my students,
I have been trying to find reference to him for years and this is sad news, but im glad my search has ended, im sure he's serving us well on other less painful plains.
love and light to him. Tulsa Giles

Dianne Lee said...

Hello John,

Thank you for writing 'Death of a Healer.' I was with you in the first course with Ron. It was 1989 as I recall. I purchased some of your books before you returned to the USA. I still work in the field of mental health ( for the past 12 years in forensic psych).
Yes, Ron was a special and complicated soul. I agree with your observations. I was also his wedding celebrant. He seemed so content at that time. A bright star that shone and moved on. Impermanence. Another reminder. Lovely to connect here. I look forward to reading your blogs. Sending my love and best wishes across the ocean to you, dear John.

Dianne Lee

John McManamy said...

Oh my God! Dianne, it's you! So great to reconnect! Please - let's catch up. Do you have a contact email or are you on Facebook?

Joanne Fischer said...

Katie (Ron's ex-wife) has been in USA for the past 16 years and is planning to return to Melbourne in about a month. Is there anyone who could help her with short term accommodation and help her to reconnect back in to Melbourne after a difficult period in her life. (I am one of her sisters...
You could email me at Fischer.joanne@gmail.com). Thanks.

Myra Sri said...

Thank you John for having a comment option on your blog. I did EM* with Vision Quest many years ago and took up Ki-Force as well as attending the 'Murder the Myth' course. Still use it though I also work with other modalities. EM was a great gift for me and opened up a whole new world.
Thank you for your words of wisdom. It is important to stay grounded, and continue one's personal journey no matter what we can share with others. Like Ron and many others, I too have been through the wringer. These are the times for huge change I guess, and some of us undergo more change than others...
The challenges this particular lifetime has presented has caused me to consider 'moving on' more than once, but in view of why I took it all on then it's par for the course, I guess. Being very sensitive, I have had to learn about boundaries and energy ecology and management and undo a lot of programming etc. However this has only benefited what I share with others anyway.
There is no guarantee for any of us I guess, except to follow the path - I have learned to “chop wood, carry water” no matter what else is ahead.
It was nice to remember Ron’s contribution and to find others that do too.
Cheers for sharing

John McManamy said...

Many thanks, Myra. I appreciate your comments. Here we are, still here. In my case - chop wood, carry water, play didgeridoo.

Zenna Healing said...

Hello John MacManamy,



I don't know Ron personally, but he is actually the teacher of Brian Cattermole who is my teacher. It is interesting to read about someone who has followed this path so that I learn from their mistakes. Thank you for this article. I am practicing EM (under another name Zenna Healing II) in New Zealand, so, there is more than one person doing this type of healing. Check my website http://www.zennahealing.com/ for more info about me and my healing journey. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I was at crown casino on a Friday night dancing when I saw this lady she had a look about her like she is not normal a lot like me so I decided to have a talk to her was I right not normal is an understatement before long what was in my mind whent out the window she was there with her friend and we got talking about this guy ron it seemed that's all she wanted to talk about so I said what the hell a few hours whent by and don't ask me why but I think the next day ore the day after I had an appointment with this ron before I new it he had me on my back breathing rivers off energy telling it was safe bull shit I said so I said to him I cannot swim and you our standing over me dressed in white bald fat he started laughing and said don't worry its shallow he had a look about him that made me feel at ease so I said what the hell whats the worst that can happen I might get something out of it ore I will punch the shit out off him as it turns out was due to go to france on a holiday in a few days some how I anded up in kinglake doing vision quist people hugging saying what a wonder full world I was sure I was in mars what planet have you been living on I said to my self if any one comes near me and trys to put a white scarf around me and hug me pow many courses later and advance vq plus many personel talks with ron o that bloody small plaine of his he loved it me and ron up flying I shit my self great teacher friend I remember I said to him once I want to be like you he looked at me and said no be better then me fly hi my friend

Margaret said...

That can only be one person you crazy wonderful men you were a facilitator at my vq I still remember ron introducing all off the facilitators and I clearly remembering him talking about this crazy person coming up next he looked a little worried and he had good reason ron you changed my life for the better you asked me to go in the bath room and have a look at the mirror and tell him what I saw so I did that and for the first time in my life I got it I was looking at myself the victim I can never thank you enough for all you did for me I am still working on my self thanks too you and thank you also too all the facilitators specially that crazy one that pushed every button in me

Anonymous said...

To Ron a great teacher and friend I loved his teaching and was so sad to hear of his passing.He helped so many of us to go forward and live.Warren Fraser

Anonymous said...

ron would love this
it made me cry I miss my dad
cristen

Darren said...

I still remember the first day of Ki Force training, running energy through our bodies and out our hands. It completely took over my body, full jolts, and I opened my eyes to see Ron looking at me with a smile on his face, mouthing the words, "That's energy..."

Darren