Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are."

Gods, can I be a snob. Seriously. But I am an open minded snob. That is, snobbery is just my default position - which can easily be trumped given some evidence to the contrary. Everyone has a default position, and as these things go assuming that "the two most common elements in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity" seems like an excellent one to me.

As part of my snobbery I assume that any "spiritual teacher" who receives any media attention whatsoever is probably just a con-artist who has repackaged the combined spiritual teachings of Dale Carnegie and P.T. Barnum to come up with: "there's a potential buyer of my new $299 8-DVD Complete Guide to Everyday Enlightenment born every minute."

So the first time I saw Wayne Dyer doing his routine on PBS I thought I had his number, but good. My all-wise and long-suffering partner-in-crime, Beth, immediately called me out when she heard me muttering "what a load of horse-shit" under my breath: "You haven't even heard what he is saying!" But even as I began to launch into my "life is too short to waste time listening to this idiot's sales pitch" speech, I heard Dyer talking about things that he had learned from other teachers and also quoting from the Tao Te Ching and the Bhagavad Gita. Well, I thought, maybe he's not completely full of shit after all.

You see, here is my bottom line with teachers: do they portray themselves as "It", or do they portray themselves as fellow seekers, albeit perhaps a little further down the road than some of us? Teachers who fail to acknowledge their debt to those they have learned from are trouble, and that starts with "t" and that rhymes with "e" and that stands for "ego".

I was reminded of Dyer by this post on another blog on the subject of "The Law of Attraction". That post, in turn, has a link to a recent interview with Wayne Dyer with the very understated title "You are God".

OK - Wayne Dyer's teachings ain't exactly the Avatamsaka Sutra in terms of their intellectual depth. But while reaching an incredibly broad and diverse audience I honestly think that Dyer manages to fulfill Einsteins' admonition to "make things as simple as possible, but not simpler". Anyway, here is an excerpt from Dyer's interview:
I think the law of attraction has been misstated. You do not attract what you want. You attract what you are. That's how the law of attraction works.

Twenty-five centuries ago in ancient China, Lao-tzu said there were four virtues. If you live them-if you live in a place of God-consciousness–the universe will give you God-consciousness. If you live in a place of ego-consciousness, though, the universe will give you more of that.

One virtue is reverence for all of life. You revere all life. You never kill, you never harm, you never wish harm, and you never have thoughts of harm directed toward yourself or others. Another virtue is natural sincerity, which is manifested as honesty. Just be honest with who you are. Don't pretend to be something you're not. Don't be a phony. Walk your talk. That's how God works, so doing it is emulating how Source works. The third virtue is gentleness, which manifests as kindness toward all others.

The fourth virtue, which is relevant here, is supportiveness. If you say to the universe, "Gimme, gimme, gimme," which is what a lot of the work around the law of attraction says because of a misinterpretation, then the universe gives you back what you offered out. You get more "gimme, gimme, gimme." "Gimme" means you don't have enough. You have a shortage. The universe just keeps giving you more shortage because of what you're thinking and saying.

If, on the other hand, you say to the universe again and again, "How may I serve? How may I serve? How may I serve?" and you live a life of constancy reflecting that principle, the universe will respond back, "How may I serve you?"


Anonymous said...

Wow. I guess I´m a snob too. I thought "Wayne Dyer? Meh". But what he says makes a lot of sense.


Apuleius Platonicus said...

I continue to be favorably impressed by Dyer, and I continue to be surprised that someone with his level of commercial success and popularity can be the real thing.