Our guest this month is a man who has done and continues to do a great deal to help make the world a better place.
Dr. Wayne Dyer spent his early years living in foster homes and orphanages, where he had to learn to be self reliant. After serving four years in the Navy, he began his teaching career, receiving his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.
Today, he has published more than ten best-selling books, starting with Your Erroneous Zones and continuing with such classics as Real Magic, Wisdom of the Ages, and his most recent, The Power of Intention. His newest book, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling, will be released by Hay House this month.
Our interview was conducted by another man who is having a massive impact on our world, our great friend, Mark Victor Hansen. He is known to all as the co-creator of the phenomenally successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series, which has sold over 100 million books worldwide.
Mark’s most recent book, Cracking the Millionaire Code, teaches the principles of creating enlightened wealth, which not only benefits oneself, but one’s family, community and the world.
Mark Victor Hansen: I’m ecstatic, thank you, Janet. Wayne, what role has passion played in your whole life?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Well, it is my life. I don’t think there’s any other word that could describe it. Passion is synonymous with enthusiasm, and most of you listening know the word enthusiasm, from the Greek root en theos, means God within. So the literal translation of enthusiasm or passion is the God within.
All of us, every single person, everyone who ever has shown up in the world of form, including all of the ancients and all of those who are to come, come from this place that quantum physics tells us is not particles; it’s something beyond particles.
Jesus put it this way-he said it’s the spirit that gives life. All of us have come from this invisible world of spirit or God or soul or consciousness or divine mind-or whatever you want to call it. It is an invisible energy place, and it’s what we all are – each and every one of us.
I always give the example that if you had an apple pie and you were to take a slice out of that pie and ask someone, What is that slice like? you’d say, Well, it’s got to be just like what it came from.
If you took an ounce of blood out of your veins and it had a cholesterol level of 247, you’d probably suggest that where it came from is also at 247 cholesterol, because you must be what you came from-you must be like the whole you came from.
All of us, including myself, have come from this place called God, and it is that God within each and every one of us that directs our lives, unless we leave it and take on something called the ego, which is really hard to let go of.
Mark Victor Hansen: All right. Now, going way back in your history, tell us the story of how your first major book, Your Erroneous Zones (which is when I came into your life 31 years ago), came to be, and what role passion played in making it and delivering it to best-sellerdom.
Dr. Wayne Dyer: You were a young guy. I think you were in your teens or early 20s at that time.
Mark Victor Hansen: Early 20s-thank you, though.
Dr. Wayne Dyer: I wasn’t much older than that, I don’t think. I was teaching at St. John’s University in New York.
Mark Victor Hansen: I used to carry books for you everywhere, including Carnegie Hall.
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Exactly right, and you used to talk to me about what you were going to do, what visions you had, and your goal at that time was to be around people who had those kinds of images and visions. Somehow, you connected yourself with me and we’ve been friends ever since.
I wrote a book called Your Erroneous Zones. I took it to a publisher, who finally decided to accept it. It was very interesting what happened the day I was interviewing with the fellow, at the publishing house. It was Funk & Wagnalls at that time. I walked into his office with my manuscript and was there to really sell my manuscript.
(The man, whose name was Paul) looked like he was very depressed, upset. He had tears in his eyes and just looked like death warmed over. I put my manuscript down and said, Paul, what’s going on? Tell me.
It was 1975, so I was 35 years old. Paul just broke down and told me the night before, he had received some really bad news from his wife, who was asking for a divorce, and there was this long, involved discussion.
We talked for maybe two hours and we never mentioned my book at all. My agent, Artie Byne, called me the next day and said, How did the interview go? I said, You know, Artie, I forgot to talk about the book. He said, What do you mean you forgot to talk about the book? How can that possibly be?
I said, Well, he just seemed so upset and I was working with him and talking to him about how this could be a turning point in his life and it didn’t have to be a disaster, and what he could do with it, and he could turn it into an advantage-and all of these things. That you are what you think about, and if you’re thinking depressing thoughts, you’re going to continue with the depression. When it was over, he was just uplifted.
The next day, Paul called Artie and said, I don’t care what the book is about. I want that man with me on our staff and I would like to publish his book.
It always reminds me of the definition that Thoreau had when he was at Walden Pond back in the 1840s. He was writing about success in an essay called I’m a Necessity of Civil Disobedience.
He defined success this way: If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
It’s like that’s what I was doing. I was just out there doing what I did. I was a therapist at that time and a professor, and it seemed to me that when I met a person who was struggling, it was more important to talk to them about that and to put my own wishes aside, and success chased after me.
After a few months, the book itself wasn’t doing all that well. I was giving some lectures and selling a few hundred here and a few hundred there, but basically [the publisher] had figured it was on the list, and then when the next list came along in March, it would be over and they’d move on. They thought that would be considered a successful book if we sold a few thousand copies.
I decided I wanted to do more with it than that and I bought up the first, second and third printings. I stored them in my garage, took them in a van, went across the United States and began to deliver these books myself, all over the country, to the various bookstores.
I made my own radio shows. There was a publicist in New York named Donna Gould, and she became a big fan of mine and was very supportive of me. I began to attract people who were very helpful to me.
One day, Howard Pappas from The Tonight Show picked up a copy of the book and he called me and asked me if I would be willing to come out and doing a pre-interview.
This was after eight months of traveling all over the country and delivering some 7,000 of these books myself. I did a pre-interview, they put me on The Tonight Show on a Monday night with Sheckie Green, the comedian from Las Vegas.
I think it was August 24, 1976, and it was the same day as the Republican National Convention. Bob Dole, who ran for President at that time, was one of the leaders of the Senate. He gave a talk that night and he went over. The Tonight Show that I had just been on had been pre-empted for the very first time in the history of The Tonight Show.
After I had done this great show-we had two wonderful segments-it wasn’t going to be airing. It turns out, as it always does, that the next day, Johnny Carson came in and he heard about the show that had been on the night before, and he said, Well, if this new guy seems to be that good, why don’t we fly him back out here and do the show with him myself on Wednesday before that pre-empted show airs?
So Johnny called me up, and I flew all the way back out to Los Angeles, did the show, and while we were on, he asked me if I would stay over and do it again on Friday because we didn’t have enough time. Then on Monday, the pre-empted show aired.
After working and traveling all over the country and delivering the books myself and taking it all on myself, what Thoreau promised all of us back in 1842 came true. He said: If you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
It chased after me and it’s been chasing after me ever since. I’ve just been out there doing what seems to make the most sense to me and letting go of the outcome.
Mark Victor Hansen: What are the biggest challenges that have hit you along the way? Also, a lot of people want to ask how they identify with success, abundance, prosperity and all the good?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: The obstacles-I don’t ever call them that. I always think of everything that shows up as an opportunity to transcend where I am at any particular moment. I live in a universe and believe like Albert Einstein once said that the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life is to decide, whether you live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe.
I made the decision my entire life that I live in a friendly universe. When you believe you live in a friendly universe, then you’re believing that the universe-or God, soul, spirit or the source, or whatever you want to call it-is something that is going to support you rather than work against you.
If you believe you live in a hostile universe, then you’ll have a lot of hostile thoughts and you’ll have a lot of beliefs that things aren’t going to work out. You’ll have a lot of inner knowings about your luck, and how things haven’t ever been the way that you would like to have them be. You’ll believe there’s no chance for you.
I was sitting on an airplane not too long ago, and the woman sitting next to me was a photographer. We got to talking and I said, Do you like what you’re doing? She said, Yes. I really love it. I said, How do you do it? She said, and this was her exact answer, I’ll never get rich at it.
I said, Would you like to get rich? She said, Well, who wouldn’t? Of course I would like to be able to have a lot of prosperity and more money. Here’s a woman who had the desire to have prosperity and wealth show up in her life, and a belief system she carries around with her.
A belief system is nothing more than a thought you’ve thought over and over again. It’s just a repeated thought, like a habit is a repeated piece of behavior. This was a woman in her 40s or so and the repeated thought, the belief she has had for her entire adult life, is that she’s never going to get rich at what she’s doing.
Then she becomes a vibrational match to that and attracts that. By the time the plane conversation was over, I had convinced her she should be saying to herself that wealth is something that is on its way, and, If it’s on its way, and I live in a friendly universe that supports me, then everything that shows up in my life-I look upon it as an opportunity for me to reinforce the idea it’s on its way.
That includes all of the obstacles and all of the things we call struggles because virtually all of us struggle, and all of the difficulties we have in our life are really things that are stepping stones to higher and higher places. In the Kabbalah, it teaches that in order to transcend a level in your life, it’s almost always preceded by a fall.
When I was in high school. I was the high jumper on the track team. In the process of running up to the bar to get over this high level, I would get down way low and run up really fast. In the process of getting down low, I would generate the energy to propel myself over the bar. That’s a metaphor for what I’m talking about.
Every little obstacle-every fall you have-is an opportunity. The addictions I’ve overcome in my life-I look back upon all of them as wonderful blessings that showed up at particular times in my life, that allowed me to reach a place where I understood I came from a place of well being and purity, and therefore, I can get there.
Nikos Kazantzakis, who wrote Zorba the Greek, once said, By passionately believing in what doesn’t exist, we create it; and that which we call the nonexistent has just not been sufficiently desired.
It’s not determined on the basis of the economy or by whom I happen to have in my family, or with whom I’m working. This is a universal, absolute knowing that what I desire is on its way because it’s consistent with spiritual energy, and every thought I have is going to be in harmony with that desire.
So I never would have a thought that I would like to be able to attract prosperity in my life and think about the lack or the shortages in my life. If you think about shortages, you’re going to attract more shortage! If you think about what’s missing, you’re going to attract more of what’s missing in your life.
If you think about what always has been and you’re always talking to everybody about what is missing and what you don’t have, you shouldn’t be surprised if that’s what you continue to attract into your life.
But if you put your thoughts on what’s on its way, then you’ll start looking for every little clue, and every person walking into your life becomes someone who is a messenger or a deliverer of something that is going to help you deliver what you have an intention about. That’s the long answer, but if you want to know about passion, you just heard it. That’s what I believe.
Mark Victor Hansen: In The Power of Intention, you talk about a universal field of intention responsible for everything in creation. How does that all work?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Most people think of intention as something I’m going to do-that I’m going to make happen. Even based on what I’ve been speaking about for the last few moments, you might get that interpretation, that it’s really a hard kind of determination and something I’m going to make happen, like a pit-bull attitude and nothing can stop me.
That isn’t how I wrote The Power of Intention and that isn’t what the PBS special is about, and that’s not how I look at intention at all because that’s ego. You get to a place in your life, ultimately-I’m now 65 years of age-and I know at this time in my life God writes all the books, delivers all the speeches and builds all the bridges and literally creates everything.
There’s a process in which we have to surrender to something. As I said earlier, we all came from something and we must be like what we came from. The problems we create for ourselves in our lives are that we left this place I call intention, which has the faces of intention, which are things like kindness, love and the idea that no one is left out-all inclusive. We all come from a place of well being. We come from a place of endless abundance and love and so on.
This is like, if you had a pair of magical binoculars and you could put them on, turn them and focus them in such a way that they shone brightly on the source from which you came-not your parents, not the particles-but where the original particle came from.
In quantum physics, it’s that place where something magically, all-of-a-sudden happens where we go from formless to form and life begins. The formless part-if we could focus on that-we would see that this field of energy excludes no one. Every thought you have that excludes anyone takes you away from your source.
Every thought you have that is not of love, that is not of beauty or abundance, or that is of shortage, fear or shame-all of these kinds of thoughts are those that are out of vibrational harmony-or they’re not in rapport-with the field of intention from which you came.
If you want the power of intention, if you want the power of this field you were intended from in the first place-if you really want that power-then you have to be like it, think like it and act like it. It’s called thinking like God, which is what Einstein said. He said all the rest is just detail.
I just want to know how God thinks. How does the source think? How does it create? That’s what I tried to do in The Power of Intention-teach people to be careful and cautious about every thought you have, because once you know that what you think about is what expands, then you start getting really careful about what you think about.
You get a little sniffle and you don’t expect it to get worse, because if you do, then you’re attracting that. Mark, you know-I think you can get a parking place with what I’m talking about.
Most people are looking for no place to park. They’ll say, There’s just no place to park here, and of course they get that tunnel vision, whereas the person who is focused on this the way I’m talking about, they see a parking place and everybody walking out of every building, and they’re just anticipating and looking for it, and sure enough, there it will be. It’ll be there consistently.
Mark Victor Hansen: So you have this great, new book coming out in March called Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. What’s the premise of this new book?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Lots of people have called me The Father of Motivation for all these years. Somebody laid that tag on me in an interview they did somewhere and I’ve been called this. I said, I’ve got eight kids, I don’t need to be the father of anything else! I’m having enough trouble with that!
There’s a major difference between motivation and inspiration, and this is really about living an inspired life. I’ve been a student of Patanjali, who lived about 300 years before the birth of Christ, and he was considered to be this divine, spiritual man.
He was teaching people about things like levitating and bi-location and some of the things we think of as sort of new age, weird things and so on. Thousands of years ago…
Mark Victor Hansen: He did all of them?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Yes! He was able to teach people, through these various sutras, how to literally leave your body and have it elevate. He taught the Japa meditation, the meditation I’ve been teaching for years, using as a mantra the repetition of the sound of the name of God.
It’s like in the Book of John in the New Testament, it says, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In the beginning of all creation, you repeat this sound, the sound of Ahhh, the sound that’s in the name of creation.
Patanjali also talked about inspiration. He had this observation and said that when you’re inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all of your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.
Then he said, Dormant forces, that is forces you thought were dead and inaccessible, come alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. So I took those six ideas from Patanjali and created a new PBS special that’s going to start airing March 6th all across North America.
When we talk about motivation, it goes back to this concept we have of intention. A motivated person is generally thought of as someone who has goals and objectives and is trying to get someplace else, and has an inner vision of where they would like to be. They work hard, they get up early and leave a little bit late and have all kinds of good work habits.
They’re said to be highly motivated. That’s not inspiration. Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and you take it with you and carry it through to its logical conclusion. That’s a motivated person. Inspiration is the exact opposite. Inspiration is, not where you get hold of an idea and take it where you want to go, it’s where an idea gets hold of you and it takes you where you were intended to go in the first place.
You remember Arthur Miller? He died about a year ago. He was a great playwright. Most of us had to read Death of a Salesman or The Crucible. He was 88 years old. He was interviewed in the New York Times and they asked him a question-he had a play on Broadway at 88.
They said, Are you working on another play? Here was this man who was soon to be 90, who said, I don’t know, but I probably am. Reading that was one of the great, inspirational moments in my life. It was one of the things that motivated me to write a book about inspiration, from this perspective there are things that get hold of you.
Mozart was described this way. He would have what they called lively dreams. He said these symphonies would present themselves to him and it was almost as if they were already written and he would have to get them out and record them.
You probably have experienced this. Most creative people, who have done a lot of particularly creative work, understand this.
If you could understand that it’s a wake-up call for you to be able to do what it is that you were designated to do-what you signed up to do, what your spirit is telling you to do. Inspiration is just about being in spirit.
When I’m writing, I get up between three and four o’clock in the morning and I go out onto my writing space where I live on Maui. I sit there and I wonder what’s coming next. Oftentimes, I’ll read it and I’ll think, I didn’t even know I knew that.
Then if I get stuck on something or if I’m just not quite sure about something, I’ll just reach over and sure enough, there it will be, in a book I just grabbed off of the bookshelf. I’ll just pick it up and exactly what I needed will be in there.
It’s like when Patanjali said, Dormant forces come alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. What happens is that when you get yourself into that spirit and you allow it to flow through you, and to work with you, and for you, and support you-it’s taking you where you were destined to go.
Mark Victor Hansen: What’s the relationship between passion and inspiration, seeing as we’re doing this interview for HealthyWealthynWise’s Passion Series?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: Well, they’re the same. Inspiration means in spirit. Passion means the God within. It’s just moving yourself back to spirit. When you move into spirit, you’re allowing yourself to think, act, and behave like God.
The way I organize this PBS television special and the book is around this idea that there are certain benefits that come to you from living an inspired life. Your thoughts begin to break their bonds. In other words, when you’re inspired-that is when you’re in spirit-you don’t know how to think in terms of limitations. You don’t know how to think in terms of shortages. You stop thinking about what’s missing in your life. It’s not a possibility for you any longer.
Your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind begins to transcend the limitations you’ve had before in your life. You stop seeing yourself as a human being. You begin to see yourself as a spiritual being-the spiritual essence of who you are.
Literally, Mark, you step outside of your body and you begin to observe it. You begin to laugh at all of the folly of it and the foibles of it and the worries it has. You begin to see yourself as an infinite being-not restricted by your birth, by your death, by your height, your weight, your looks and all those things you’ve achieved in your life and your acquisitions.
You don’t define yourself that way anymore. You let go of what Patanjali called the false self, the illusionary self, the maya. That’s not who you are. Who you are is that from which you came. As you get back into that place from which you came, you absolutely know that in harmony with God, all things are possible.
It’s right out of the scriptures, With God, all things are possible. What does that leave out? It literally leaves out nothing. There’s no thing at all that is not possible if you can conceive of it and have that knowing and stay in spirit and do it from that place of passion.
Passion is just love. God is love, that’s also from the scriptures. He that believeth in love, believeth in me. Love and God are synonymous. God and good are one. They’re the same thing. There’s no difference between the two of them.
Mark Victor Hansen: Why do you call inspiration your ultimate calling?
Dr. Wayne Dyer: That’s a good question. It is ultimately where you’re headed. Look around. Where do you think you came from?
If we were doing this interview about three centuries ago, we’d be studying Newtonian Physics. Newtonian Physics where we believed that the building blocks of nature were atoms and that these were the tiniest particles in the universe.
Now, with Quantum Physics, atoms are like huge buildings compared to a sub-atomic particle like a quark. Then when you go to the ultimate, smallest, tiniest particles-ultimately you break that one down with what they call particle accelerators-you open them up and you find there is nothing there. It is just all energy. We came from this field of energy called spirit.
Now we are here, in this world, and we began. For the first nine months you were here-inside your mother-you didn’t worry about anything. You had everything you needed-one day you had a fingernail, the next day the fingernail was a little bit longer.
You were just allowing. You were in a state of pure allowing. You would just grow and everything would be just fine. You completely surrendered to this spiritual energy that was allowing you to form into the perfect being you are-the most beautiful, perfect being you could possibly be.
Then you emerged into this world and you get surrounded by people, all of a sudden, you start getting convinced that who you are is not this perfection from which you emanated, that is going to take care of you, that’s going to provide for you, that’s always going to be there, that’s always going to work with you as long as you stay in harmony with it. You start believing that, Hey, I am what I do.
So now you have to go through a whole lot of things. Then you get to a point in your life where you can’t do them anymore. Now, if you are what you do, then when you can’t, then you aren’t. You don’t exist anymore. Then you start believing that, I am what I collect and what I have.
So you start collecting achievements and you get a lot of trophies. You believe you are how much money you make. Then, all of a sudden, that stuff starts to disappear and you don’t have it.
Then you realize your value goes out the window. If you are what you have, when you don’t have, then you aren’t either. You take on all of these things.
We’re just talking about enlightenment, about reaching a higher, higher, and higher level of consciousness. You know that while you’re in this world of form, you step outside and you watch what’s happening to your body.
I hold a hair up on the pillow and I say to my wife in the morning, What held it in yesterday? It’s a complete and total mystery. We all know that while we’re in this little parentheses in eternity called our lifetime, we’re headed back to nowhere. We go from nowhere, we show up in now here, which is exactly the same. It’s just a little question of spacing.
Everybody listening on this conference call is in now here. You know you’re all headed back to nowhere. It’s your ultimate calling.
In India, my teacher, Nisargadatta Maharaj, was teaching us about how do die while you’re alive. In other words, how to get to a place where you can let go of this body of yours and your attachment to it and all of your beliefs about what it is and who you are.
Let go of all of that and die, but you don’t have to literally die and leave your body. You just get outside your body and then start living from this world of spirit which is your ultimate calling. Your ultimate calling is to return back to the place that you’re going anyway.
I’m 65. It’s hard for me to even say those words. I can’t even think of it. I used to think 65 was old. When I turned 64 last year, I got a birthday card. I was speaking in Durham, North Carolina and my kids sent me a birthday card. It was really nice.
Do you remember the Beatles song, Will you still want me, will you still love me, when I’m 64? Well, I turned 64, and they sent me a copy of that recording. I opened up that card and it said, Inside of this card, is a beautiful, perfect message from God. I thought, You know what, I think I may have finally reached them. Isn’t that nice? I opened up the card and it said, See you soon.
You can get a copy of Dr. Dyer’s newest book by clicking Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling