The Father of Motivation

An inspired and wonderful man, Dr. Wayne Dyer, the “Father of Motivation,” passed away last weekend. I’d like to leave a small tribute to him here, in my own humble way. Although I’ve only just recently become familiar with a small fraction of the large body of he created through his lifetime, his teachings have deeply resonated with me. I wanted to share with you just one of the powerful ideas he introduced me to, even though it’s incredibly difficult to condense it down into a simple blog post. (I encourage you to read his beautiful book Wishes Fulfilled, the source of all the quotes in this post, for a much richer explanation of these things.)

The idea is this: I am God. You are God. We are the image of God in the flesh. We are God in action. I have long been familiar with the idea my religion teaches: that we are all children of God, and that we can one day become gods and goddesses as well. But Dr. Dyer insists time and time again that our highest Self literally is God. This is powerful stuff. We aren’t just mere humans with the potential to become gods someday. We are, and have always been, God, and His power lives within us and is our power. Dr. Dyer uses an example to illustrate this:

“Imagine God as the ocean. If you take a bucket of water out of the ocean, is the water in the bucket the ocean? Yes, indeed, it is altogether the ocean–and the ocean, even though it is larger, is still altogether the whole of the ocean in the bucket. Now think of yourself as a bucket of God. Altogether God; and God is altogether you. It is only when you stay separated from the ocean that the water dries up. This is your task in grasping your highest self–staying aligned and not separated from your Source.”

In the scriptural account of Moses talking with God face-to-face, God says to him, “I AM THAT I AM.” He goes on to say that “I am” is His name forever. God speaks of Himself in “I am” throughout scripture. Here is the implication: Every time I use the words “I am…,” whether I speak them aloud or just thinking them, I am using God’s name. This means I need to take reverential care whenever I use these words, in order to avoid blasphemy or taking the name of God in vain. So never say, “I am stupid,” “I am ugly,” “I’m not good enough,” etc., if you’d never use these adjectives to describe God. But actively say things like:

  • “I am amazing.”
  • “I am powerful.”
  • “I am loving.”
  • “I am wealthy.”
  • “I am valuable.”
  • “I am vital and healthy.”
  • “I am beautiful.”
  • “I am intelligent and wise.”

When you say these things, especially out loud, you will feel a power immediately increase in your life. Even if you don’t see these statements as being true of yourself in the present moment, since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, as you become more aligned with your true nature, you will become these qualities. Or rather, you always were these qualities, but they will more fully manifest in your present physical reality.

Dr. Dyer goes on to say:

“Every time you think of the expression I Am, you initiate God in action. Why not continually remind yourself that I live, move, and have my being as God, the I am that I am? … The words I am align you with the Divine, and at the same time remind you that you are the Divine, possessing the same power to create as God.”

This is a really big deal. We are more powerful than we can realize. The more fully we glimpse who we really are, the more readily we can harness and use this power, as long as we are in alignment with God. Learning this is what made the abstract idea of faith a lot more concrete for me.

So what keeps us from being aligned with God? Well, many things, but I’d like to discuss just one of them here, and that is judgment. When we judge, criticize, and condemn others, we have left the place of love, and since God is love, we are no longer aligned with Him. The natural man, as some call it, or the Ego, as others call it, seeks to divide ourselves from God, others, and nature. Even though we are all One, the Ego thinks we need to see ourselves as separate and distinct in order to preserve ourselves, and itself. So we set up boundaries and immediately judge the things and people outside of who we think we are, in order to create and preserve a sense of our own individual identity. (Read more about ego boundaries in Peace Which Passeth All Understanding.) Wayne Dyer explains that the letters in EGO could stand for “Edge God Out,” because that’s exactly what the ego is doing. He writes:

“My criticism and condemnation of the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of others–regardless of how right and moral my human self convinces me it is–is a step away from God-realization.”

I’d like to return to this destructive idea of judgment, and its common sidekicks blaming and shaming, in a future blog post and expand on it. For now, it’s sufficient to say that criticizing and condemning anything about another person will move us out of alignment with God and our power will disappear. And that is a devastating loss, because it is the power of God within us that attracts every good thing life has to offer.

I wish I could share more of what I’ve learned from Dr. Dyer, but let me close with one more idea that he expresses so well:

Your soul is infinity itself. It has no restrictions or limitations–it resists being fenced in–and when you attempt to contain it with rules and obligations, it is miserable….The ideal of your soul is space, expansion, and immensity, and the one thing it needs more than anything else is to be free to expand, to reach out and to embrace the infinite.

Let’s let go of the limiting beliefs we hold about ourselves. It’s all about expansion and growth. As long as we are constantly striving to learn, grow, and create, and encouraging this in others, we will live lives of great peace, joy, and abundance. Dr. Dyer exemplified this in his life of personal growth and service to an uncountable number of people. He will be missed, but I’m so grateful for the wealth of truth and insights that he left behind.

Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

Just like a sunbeam can’t separate itself from the sun, and a wave can’t separate itself from the ocean, we can’t separate ourselves from one another. We are all part of a vast sea of love, one indivisible divine mind. ~Marianne Williamson

A couple days ago I had a profound experience I’d like to share. It was a simple moment, really, but the feeling I felt was profound. I sat out on my front porch early in the morning prepared to meditate and read, but it was so lovely out that I just wanted to take in all the beauty. The sky was awash in rich blue storm clouds, with several rays of morning sunlight filtering down through them and settling on the distant valley below. The hazy Wasatch mountain range to the east provided a majestic backdrop. The world was so quiet and still, except for the sounds of a few birds, and the air was cool with a gentle breeze, carrying the scent of coming rain.

A feeling of deep peace settled over me like a heavy blanket, squeezing warm tears from my eyes. It was that kind of profound peace that is always accompanied by joy and love. Peace, joy, and love, in their genuine, transcendental forms, are always experienced simultaneously. They are more than emotions because the awareness of them encompasses our whole being, not just our bodies. I knew that the peace, joy and love I experienced in that moment was the real thing because I could feel that my mind, body and spirit were absolutely aligned. I have no words to describe what that feels like. Words are a product of the mind, and what I felt with my spirit went beyond the mind and beyond words of any description. The phrase “peace which passeth all understanding” seems accurate. I was swallowed up in an immense oneness–that I was one with God, with all of nature, with all of humanity. My ego boundaries seemed to have collapsed, and all that remained was the glorious joy of being alive in that moment. Suddenly there were no problems on any level, and it even felt as if the dimension of time was completely irrelevant.

I knew I was having a significant experience, and wanted to treasure it up, knowing that it couldn’t last. Oh, how I wished it could have! I thought of my family asleep inside the quiet house, and how much I loved them. I wanted to carry that love back into the house and give it to them always. But I felt grief and loss as I realized that the present feeling would be only transitory. In fact, it was lost already, as soon as I began to contemplate the future. I knew that soon I’d be back in my ego-dominated mind-habits.

And yes, that’s what happened. Later in the day I became negative and argumentative with my husband, which was extremely frustrating, even though I became aware of it much more quickly than I normally would have. I thought, “What was my profound experience this morning for, if I can’t keep that peace and love with me throughout the day? Just one day?”

But my less-than-perfect behavior doesn’t negate the significance of my experience. The truth is, what I had felt changed me inside. Yes, bad habits are going to creep back in, because the existing neural pathways in our brains can be compellingly strong. Despite that, I can choose to do what is needed to get back to that peace and love that I know are always there, and hold onto it a little longer the next time. All it takes to get there is a quiet moment and a quiet mind. And all it takes to keep it is awareness: remaining in tune with spirit enough to recognize when the departure into the ego-dominated mind is beginning, and maintaining the desire to put the things of the ego and the mind aside to get back to awareness of spirit.

I know I won’t be able to always, or even often, have these profound experiences. I don’t want them often, lest they cease to be profound. But I wish to incorporate this kind of peace, joy, and love into my life so completely that it becomes who I am, rather than just a fleeting experience.

I have been fascinated by reading others’ experiences that seem to mirror my own. Near-death experiences often have similar characteristics of feeling complete awareness and oneness with God, nature, and humanity, with a complete absence of any judgment whatsoever. But this isn’t limited to people who have died and come back to life. Eckhart Tolle, in The Power of Now, describes his own amazing experience, the feeling of which remained with him for years. And the following TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist who had a stroke and lost the function of the left side of her brain, is extremely interesting. Take the mere 18 minutes to watch it and you won’t regret it:

What seems to be in common, in these and many other accounts, is the truth that peace, joy, and love are found in oneness. And in fact, we really *are* one with the universe; it’s just our mind that creates the illusion of separateness, which is necessary for the functioning of our mortal form. In the words of Yasutani Roshi, “The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are there.” Whenever we separate ourselves from any one or any thing, we often get a divisive attitude of “Me versus them,” which leads to competition, isolation, stress, frustration, or emptiness. The good news is that we can get beyond these ego boundaries by setting them down from time to time and seeking the quiet expanse that lies beyond the constant chattering of the conscious mind. In future posts I plan to continue exploring this fascinating concept and help you make it a practical part of your life.

Within us is the soul of the whole, the wise silence, the universal beauty, the eternal One. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson