Life brings many opportunities and I’m grateful for the time I spent on Maui and the occasions I had to produce Wayne Dyers’ events for Unity Church of Maui while I lived there. An admirer of his for years, one might call me a groupie. Alas, what can I say! I’m a sucker for kindness of heart and generosity of spirit; two qualities Wayne has always bestowed on me; whether it was planning his events or taking time out from his day to speak with me about his latest book Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.
An internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development, Dr. Wayne Dyer has penned over 30 books and on October 26-28, 2007, he will host an intensive on Maui where he will speak about living the Tao and how to apply the wisdom of the Tao in your everyday life.
Hays: Seeing you as someone who walks their talk, I found it interesting in the preface of Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life where you stated that you find yourself still needing to change your own thoughts to transform your life? How is this? Will this always be true for you?
Dyer: Absolutely! You can’t get away from the cyclical universe. What the Tao has taught me is that no storm lasts forever no matter what it is. Nature builds calmness within its storms. That’s true in our own lives as well. When you reach the zenith of where you are going in your life, or in a relationship; the only place you can go is down or up. That’s the nature of this universe; a cyclical thing. The seasons, the moon; everything has a cycle to it.
Hays: So you think that even when you’ve come to a place of peace in your life you still have to go up or down?
Dyer: Yes! Hidden in all good fortune is misfortune. And in all misfortune is good fortune. It’s never going to stay the same as long you are in the world or unless you die while you are alive and become an enlightened Zen Master. But those people don’t exist. When you study their lives, you find that they had the same struggles as the rest of us. It’s not so much about being able to always have calm. Calmness isn’t just the absence of noise or troubles. It’s being able to find calm within yourself when other stuff is going on.
For example, at Bikram Yoga Lahaina where I do yoga, we have these people that come outside with leaf blowers. They’re so noisy. It’s the ability to find calmness in yourself even when externally there is confusion and chaos going on.
I used to think that you could find peace and it would always be there. And there is a sense of that. But even in the worst moments, catch yourself and remember that within the storm of misfortune there is good fortune. Just get in practice with what they call in Taoism the Wu-wei; the non-action and becoming the observer of it. Just notice and stay at peace with it. I must have admit, that I still have those really disrupting moments.
Hays: In Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao it sounds like you experienced a major shift while reading and studying the Tao. What changed in your life? Can you compare a before and after?
Dyer: Just before I started on this book project, the most amazing thing happened. I’d thought about it before, but the day after I turned 65, I locked the door of my condo in Florida and walked away. I gave the key to my secretary and told her to get rid of everything. I just let it go.
Hays: You didn’t even look back?
Dyer: No, I didn’t. And within weeks I began to really become involved in the Tao. Reading a Million Little Pieces and how the Tao helped James Frye overcome his addictions intrigued me. If just reading this ancient and wise book can take someone off of crack cocaine and alcohol it must have something very, very powerful to it. I began to go through it and then I called my publisher and told them I was going to take a year and read the 81 verses and write a short essay on each one of them and live it everyday. It was that leading into it, that something; that motivated me to just turn the key and close the door on a whole life time of accumulations.
Hays: Have you become a perpetual purger now?
Dyer: I don’t know. I’m less attached to stuff, I know that. You asked me about specifics, and I just find that I see that nature offers us a solution to everything that we call a problem. If you can just find your own nature and live it as naturally as you possibly can and be in a state of awe over everything, it doesn’t matter where you are. It almost speaks to you and says, “There’s no reason to be upset about anything. It will pass.” If it’s really going to pass, why stay confused by it and depressed by it. Just watch it go. It’s on its way out. That’s what I began to do. There is a line in the Tao that says that the Tao does nothing but it leaves nothing undone. That is a very hard one to get a hold of.
Hays: I know there are 81 verses but is there any one of them that stuck out more than the other for you?
Dyer: The 76th Verse really intrigues me the most. A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff…I interpret this to mean, not just physical stiffness like rigor mortis, but stiffness in the way that we think rigidly. Flexibility, openness and softness are consorting with life. When you are rigid and you know the answer and don’t listen to other people’s point of view, you are consorting with death. Everything that is old and close to death is brittle and breaks apart including our thinking. So always stay flexible and soft and listen to others with caring. And truthfully, all of the verses hit me – especially when you think about them for days, and then write on them. This book [to me] is like a sacred channeling that has come to me. I’m so in love with this book. It’s thrilling to have the purpose of bringing this information to people.
While she edits Maui Vision Magazine long distance, Ana Hays lives in Palo Alto, California. A freelance writer, she also leads creative writing workshops. Visit her at www.writeonwriters.net.
Reprinted with permission