Wayne Dyer is dead.
For years I've been obsessed by The Times's obituaries. Not only are they beautifully written, but they tell stories of incredibly varied and inspirational lives. Whenever I want to motivate myself to get off my arse, I make myself think "what would they write in my obituary?"
I stopped reading the obituaries in the last few years of drinking. I now know why. Because I knew it would make me realise that my obituary would read something like this:
She had huge promise. A privileged upbringing and an amazing education. She went to Oxford and travelled the world. Her early career was stellar. She had 3 lovely children. But by the age of about 30 she stopped. Nothing much more to say after that. She drank. Full stop.
That's not what they're saying about Wayne Dyer. He was a man - a self-help guru - who changed people's lives. Even if he didn't change your life, he at least made you think. When he spoke he held people in the palm of his hand....then he'd let them go and watch them fly.
I only came across Wayne Dyer a few months ago when www.ainsobriety.wordpress.com mentioned him in a post. She'd been to see him talk and she quoted something he said that had a huge impact on me.
He said that the strange thing about 'recovery' is that, at the end of our journey we'll recognise it as the place where we started (see my post Full Circle).
That was the incredible thing about Wayne Dyer. Even second or third hand, his quotes had the power to change lives.
So, in honour of Wayne, I watched his full speech yesterday on The Power of Intention. Here's one of his most famous quotes from that talk:
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Wayne talks about Albert Einstein, who observed that the most fundamental decision you have to make in life is Do I live in a friendly or a hostile universe?
If you see the universe as filled with hostility and anger then that is what you will experience. Likewise, if you see the universe as fundamentally loving and beautiful, it will be.
Scientists have proven the power of perception, of the subconscious, over and over again. For example, think about the use of placebos in medicine. I love the fact that if I say to my children Mummy will kiss it better, and I kiss the 'ouch', it really does get better. Because they believe it will be so.
(N.B if they actually manage to chop off the end of a finger, this will not work. Go to A&E).
So, according to Wayne, you will never be happy if you look for happiness outside yourself, in possessions, appearance, reputation, money, etcetera, because happiness comes from within. It is about the way you look at things.
In essence, quoting Wayne again: There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
I believe that what makes the difference, when you quit drinking, between being happy and sober or miserable and sober is to change the way you look at things.
Stop seeing alcohol as the thing that's making the fun. See it as a destructive, addictive poison that's gradually pulling more and more people into its web.
Stop seeing 'sober' as dull and boring. See it as a huge opportunity to live life the way it was intended, and to fulfil your potential.
Funnily enough, when Wayne talks about harnessing the 'power of intention', he says that one of the first things you should do (everyone, not just addicts) is to stop drinking.
Wayne, by the way, was sanguine about death.
He said that it's about going from nowhere to now here to nowhere. Purely a matter of emphasis. Of spacing. (I don't think that works in Chinese).
Farewell then, Wayne Dyer, and thank you. I'll leave the final words of this post to you:
Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.