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Embrace the Challenge in Adversity, says Wayne Dyer

Montreal Gazette | September 2011

If thoughts can perform miracles, then after suffering a heart attack, painful divorce and more recently, leukemia, it might be said that Wayne Dyer’s theories aren’t working for him.

Naturally, the guru of positive thinking has a more upbeat view.

“Adversities are things to be grateful for; that’s what I’ve learned,” Dyer, 71, says. “If you shield the mountain from the wind storms, you never see the beauty of the carvings. I have always loved that quote.” It comes from On Death and Dying author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

Dyer, a prolific author whose first book, Your Erroneous Zones, hit the bestseller list in 1976, has made a career of mining topics that include the law of attraction, the power of imagination, losing the ego and living in gratitude. He is on a speaking tour in advance of his 37th book expected this spring: Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifestation. The tour includes a stop in Montreal, Saturday, September 24 at the Palais des Congrés.

His newest book is based on an idea from William Blake, “that everything that now exists was once imagined,” Dyer said. “So, if you want something to exist, you must first be able to imagine it.”

To many in the self-help field, Dyer would seem an unlikely candidate for cancer given his many books on the capacity of belief, thought and imagination — Secrets of Your Own Healing Powers, Manifest Your Destiny, Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life, Excuses Begone, How to Get What You Really Want, The Shift, to name a few.

A wound may look awful with its scab, pus and swelling, but it would be wrong to excise it, Dyer says: “That’s the body’s way of healing, and you let it run its course.”

Dyer has chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Occurring mostly in older adults, this cancer slowly increases white blood cell count and eventually leads to immune failure. The cause is unknown. There is no treatment in early stages, but disease progression is monitored.

After the initial shock two years ago, Dyer says he accepted his leukemia, seeing illness and health as part of the same continuum. The cancer itself, he says, is part of the body’s effort to heal itself.

Dyer espouses an alternative medicine view dismissed by evidence-based science as quackery: that leukemia is the body’s way of responding to deep psychological traumas and unresolved conflicts, usually from the failure of relationships.

“And if you can heal the traumas … it’s a wake-up call to practise forgiveness and get rid of the hate that’s in your heart since childhood,” says Dyer, who grew up in foster homes after his father abandoned the family and his mother placed him in an orphanage. He has three ex-wives.

He wrote The Power of Intention in 2004 in a state of despair after separating from his wife of 20 years and the mother of seven of his eight children. Four years earlier, he had a heart attack, from which he has fully recovered.

“Everything that shows up in our lives has something to teach us,” says Dyer, the father of motivation to his fans. “Be content. Know that whatever comes along, you can handle it and grow from it.”

When his leukemia was diagnosed, his children bombarded him with information gleaned from the Internet, “telling me that it’s incurable. You start to believe that kind of stuff,” he says. “I know better. I just inwardly believe that all of us have the power to heal ourselves.”

He also credits an encounter with a Brazilian faith healer for “some pretty miraculous experiences.” After a long-distance “surgery,” Dyer returned to three hours of daily exercise, meditation and hot yoga. He stopped paying attention to blood count numbers and went back to writing. He says he is feeling better than ever.

But no one said anything about living forever. “I’m not saying that you’re never going to die. Life is a sexually transmitted terminal disease,” he says with a chuckle.

Dyer’s daily affirmations include: “I am well. I am content. I am loved. I am God (meaning love). I am peace and abundance.”

Part of the art of manifestation, these mantras are borrowed from God’s famed biblical response when Moses asked his name: “I am that I am.”

The words are very powerful, Dyer says, and available to all.

“Align yourself with the mind of God, which we all share and attract the things that you want rather than what you don’t want.”

People tend to believe that they are their bodies, their reputations and their accomplishments, he says.

“I think who we are is this invisible divine intelligence. It’s really God. We’re all God. We’re all pieces of God,” Dyer said.

Reprinted with permission