Editors Note: Family Circle Interview (2003) with Dr. Wayne Dyer:
Could 2003 be your lucky year - the one in which you fulfill a dream, improve your health, increase prosperity and feel happier?
Absolutely, says bestselling author Wayne Dyer, whose latest book is 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace (Hay House). Dyer believes that positive thinking and a spiritual connection can lead to dramatic improvements in anyone's life.
He also insists that changing your thoughts and attitudes really can lead to making your most impossible dreams come true. All you need is a burning desire and an unwavering vision of what will eventually materialize.
In a talk with Family Circle, Dyer explains how to create a new contract with yourself that will enable you to make of your life everything you want it to be.
Family Circle: How do you make 2003 the year for a personal transformation?
Dyer: First look at any disharmony or scarcity in your life - your finances, struggles, even some health problems - and say: I created this. My life is the result of the choices I've made. What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.
Family Circle: Is that New Age psychobabble or does it really work?
Dyer: It may sound like psychobabble, but in fact, we become what we think about. William James, the father of psychology, said that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you hold it there long enough, it will become a reality. I've found that has worked for me.
Family Circle: Give an example.
Dyer: When I wrote my first book, Your Erroneous Zones, there was nothing I wouldn't do to make it a success. I called bookstores to create a demand, then delivered the books to the stores myself! I always say it's never crowded along the extra mile.
Family Circle: But what if your life isn't changing in the ways that you want it to?
Dyer: Realize that insanity is repeating the same thoughts and behaviors again and again, and expecting different results. To get a new outcome, you have to rewrite your agreement with reality, which I do regularly.
Family Circle: What do you mean?
Dyer: You have to compose a brand-new agreement with yourself that says: There is nothing that is not possible for me. I can attract abundance into my life. Connect with that thought. Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."
Family Circle: So if you want to lose 10 pounds . . .
Dyer: First visualize yourself looking the way you want to and never let that picture out of your head. Envision yourself eating healthful foods and exercising. If you hold those thoughts in your mind, you'll act on them.
Family Circle: So what happens when you focus on all the things that you don't have?
Dyer: You stay stuck. Every thought you have either makes you stronger or weaker. Thoughts of kindness, hope, forgiveness, and peace are strengthening. Anger, anxiety, worry, and fear weaken you. You must process events in terms of appreciation rather than depreciation. You either feel that the universe is plentiful and providing, or you feel short-changed, that nothing is ever right. That's what I call a scarcity mentality - expecting that things won't work out for you. I was recently on a plane that was running 30 minutes late. The woman sitting next to me said, "With my luck, I won't make my connection." I answered, "With my luck, I will!" I think she may still be in Dallas.Family Circle: How can you reprogram yourself?
Dyer: Before you go to bed, create an image of what you want for yourself; then act as if you are who you want to be. Catch yourself verbalizing self-defeating thoughts, stop labeling yourself, and take time just to be.
Family Circle: And how do you do all that?
Dyer: You quiet your mind. On average, a person has 60,000 separate thoughts a day. We're thinking too much! As an ancient proverb says, "It's the silence between the notes that makes the music." So get quiet. Meditate; go for a walk; listen to the birds, the ocean. Breathe in the fresh air and allow your mind to let go.
Family Circle: can just hear workaholics saying they don't have the time to do that.
Dyer: If you don't take time for being healthy, you'll eventually have to make time for being sick. You can meditate for two minutes at a red light. Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and clear your mind. The person behind you will let you know when your two minutes are up!
Family Circle: What are the signs of inner peace?
Dyer: People who have a sense of peace tend to smile, feel compassion, and enjoy the moment. They lose interest in conflict, and they don't worry!
Family Circle: You often say, "Stop worrying because there's nothing to worry about." How can that be?
Dyer: It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there's nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.
Family Circle: So the next time you're tossing and turning in bed . . . ?
Dyer: My teacher in India always said, "First think of God, whatever God means to you. Think of the universal force that allows an acorn to turn into an oak tree or a blossom to become an orange." The moment you bring spiritual energy to the present, worry and anguish dissolve.
Family Circle: Other than yourself, do you know anyone who has mastered this?
Dyer: I don't know that I have! I've got eight kids and I struggle with the same things most people do. I've dealt with marital problems and addictions. What I've learned is to remind myself that all I have is today. That helps me shift my attention to what's good and right.
Family Circle: You always say that forgiveness is a dramatic way to transform a life. Forgiving your father for abandoning his family was a turning point for you.
Dyer: After he died, I went to my father's grave and told him, I don't know what motivated you to run your life as you did, but I forgive you. Afterward I felt a deep sense of relief and peace. Forgiveness is transforming. I use the metaphor of the snake bite. It is not the bit that kills you; it's the venom. When you hold a grudge, the poisons of anger and blame destroy you. Your heart weakens, your blood pressure rises, you get ulcers. It wrecks your health, makes you miserable.
Family Circle: And when you forgive . . .
Dyer: . . . miracles begin to appear in your life because forgiveness heals. It's the core of every great spiritual teaching - from Jesus and Buddha to Gandhi and Mother Teresa.
Family Circle: You also recommend the art of detachment, calling it "one of life's great lessons." What do you mean?
Dyer: I mean detach from the opinions of others; from the habit of judging or controlling others; from the past; from the need to be right and to win; from an obsession with material things. Follow your passion in life, but detach from the outcome and allow the universe to handle the details.
Family Circle: So, as we usher in 2003, what would you say is the key to achieving happiness?
Dyer: When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way. That's what life is. There's no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. It's what you bring to life.
*Excerpted from Family Circle/January 14, 2003 issue
About The Author:
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, affectionately called the "father of motivation" by his fans, is one of the most widely known and respected people in the field of self-empowerment. He became a well-known author with his bestselling book, Your Erroneous Zones, and has gone on to write many other self-help classics, including Meditations for Manifesting, Staying on the Path, Your Sacred Self, Everyday Wisdom, and You'll See It When You Believe It.