From “Why Me?” to “Thank You!”
Wayne Dyer on the Value of Hard Lessons
After four decades teaching self-development and empowerment and authoring more than 30 bestselling books, Wayne W. Dyer, Ph.D., shares dozens of events from his life in his latest work, I Can See Clearly Now. In unflinching detail, he relates vivid impressions of encountering many forks in the road, from his youth in Detroit to the present day, and reflects on these events from his current perspective, noting what lessons he ultimately learned.
What has writing this book taught you and how can it help others better understand their own lives?
My biggest lesson was that our whole life is like a checkerboard. When I looked back on my life, I began to realize this and gained an awareness of the fact that there’s something else moving all of the pieces around. The key to attracting this mystical guidance into your life is to start with awareness that all things are possible and to forget about yourself. When you get your ego out of the picture, your inner mantra isn’t, “What’s in it for me? and “How much more can I get?” Instead, when your inner mantra is, “How may I serve or what may I do for you?” and you practice consistently living this way, you attract this mystical guidance. I have found that the more I do this, the more these miracles show up.
There are 60 chapters in the book. Every time I finished one, I would think: “Now I can see clearly why I had to go through all of these experiences and learn all these lessons.” As a result, I suggest that whenever something happens that leads you to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” shift instead to the awareness that all experiences, no matter what, are gifts.
You describe the influential patterns and motivators in your life as diamonds and stones; how would you characterize your childhood years in foster homes?
I can now see that spending the better part of my first decade in a series of foster homes was all a part of God’s infallible plan for me. I believe I was in a type of training camp for becoming a teacher of higher spiritual and commonsense principles. If I was going to spend my adult life teaching, lecturing and writing on self-reliance, then I obviously needed to learn to rely upon myself and be in a position to never be dissuaded from this awareness. What better training ground for teaching this than an early childhood that required a sense of independence and need for self-sufficiency? Now that I know that every encounter, challenge and situation is a spectacular thread in a tapestry, and that each represents and defines my life, I am deeply grateful for them all.
Each of us has a mission of some kind to fulfill at the moment we make the shift from nowhere to now here, from spirit to form. I’ve seen firsthand how this universe has a creative source of energy supporting it that is literally the matrix of all matter. Nothing occurs by happenstance anywhere, because this universal mind is perpetually on call, going about its miraculous ways in terms of infinite possibilities.
What can you see clearly about your role as a parent?
I’ve watched my eight children show up from birth with their unique personalities and blossom into their own awakenings. I know for certain that the one Divine mind that is responsible for all of creation has a hand in this engaging mystery. Same parents, same environment, same culture and yet eight individuals, with their own distinctive character traits. Khalil Gibran stated it perfectly in The Prophet: “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
Each of my children had their blueprint from God. My job has been to guide, then step aside and let whatever is inside them that is their own uniqueness steer the course of their lives.
What has your life taught you about prayer?
I feel that the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi says it best: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is darkness, let me bring light. Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.” The masters I’ve studied pray to become more godly, more like where we originally came from.
My prayer is always, “Help me to remind myself to get rid of this ego and to be like You are. Help me to be my highest self, the place within that is God.”
Linda Sechrist is a Natural Awakenings senior staff writer. Visit ItsAllAboutWe.com for the extended interview.