“Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.” Proverbs 27.20
Wayne Dyer is a motivational speaker and prolific bestselling author who appears often on PBS (Public Broadcasting System). Wayne Dyer’s lectures, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” are in sync with the New Thought/New Age motivational principle that one creates one’s life and reality with one’s own thoughts. This idea is gaining ground partly due to bestsellers like The Secret and its spin-offs, and even in the Christian world due to the syncretization of the New Age with Christianity.
A Few Words on the New Age and Spirituality
The term New Age is becoming passe not because it has faded away, but rather because it has mainstreamed into the culture, including psychology, business, health, education, sports, churches, and others. Much New Age ideology comes in the guise of self-help teachings and inspirational books. So rather than disappearing, New Age principles and concepts are in fact more deeply embedded in the culture than ever before. The word spirituality now usually refers to the New Age.
The New Age is always adapting to the times, and like a chameleon, changes its appearance and terms depending on the immediate environment, but always retains certain core beliefs. This spirituality is a spectrum that ranges from Eastern-rooted beliefs to crystal power, from Jungian psychology to UFO-ology, and from mystical methods to connect with God to the more practical “create your own reality” teachings of New Thought principles.
The New Thought Movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries produced the Christian Science Church, the Unity School of Christianity (usually called Unity, and which now disavows ties with New Thought), and the Church of Religious Science. Much of New Thought was incorporated into New Age philosophy. New Thought was also charmingly packaged for mainstream Christianity via the popular teachings of Norman Vincent Peale. Peale was a student of New Thought leader Ernest Holmes, who, along with Fenwick Holmes, founded the Church of Religious Science.
Positive thinking as taught in New Thought and by Peale has nothing to do with merely having a positive attitude. More precisely, it involves the belief that via specific techniques your thoughts and words can have the power to alter reality, and to manifest nonexistent events or things into reality. The root of this is the New Thought conviction that we are all imbued with a boundless divine power within us which we can tap into (hence the popular motivational teachings that you have “limitless” power and can do anything you envision).
Dyer and the Guru
New Thought teachers themselves were molded by Eastern teachings, so these doctrines are also found in Eastern religions. Many spiritual spokespeople like Dyer are influenced, knowingly or unknowingly, by a combination of Eastern and New Age philosophies. Dyer has called Eastern teacher Dattatreya Siva Baba (also known as Baba Sri Siva) his guru. This guru states: “Manifestation, or creation of a home, job, relationship or business, happens when the energy is released from the third eye chakra.”
Dyer dedicated his book, Manifest Your Destiny, to Baba Sri Siva. According to Sri Siva, the purpose of life is “God-realization,” which is achieved through “selfless service” and “meditation.” One of the methods for destroying the negative effects of karma and attracting “prosperity and enlightenment” is writing Siva’s full name preceded by the Sanskrit word, “Om” (considered a sacred sound in Hinduism) 108 times once or twice each day (i.e., OM Dattatreya Siva Baba).
In addition to astrology, Sri Siva also teaches about “intention,” a concept echoed in Dyer’s own teachings, especially in his book, The Power of Intention. In an article by Sri Siva on “The Ahh Meditation,” he writes that there are two kinds of intention: one arises from the mind and differs from other thoughts in that it encompasses a deep-seated desire. The other intention is “divine intention” which comes through procreative powers and is expressed in the sound “ahh.”
This divine intention originates at the “sex center,” or the root chakra, and rises through the other chakras (chakras are believed to be invisible wheels of psychic and spiritual energy that start at the base of the spine and end at the top of the head). The result of this is “manifestation” of one’s desires. This stems from Tantra, an esoteric and occult body of teachings on the transformation of sexual power for other purposes. Sri Siva explains that moving this energy to the third eye chakra will create powerful thoughts that can bring desires into reality.
Lest anyone think that Dyer is merely speaking of ordinary desire or goals when he speaks of “intention,” read Dyer’s own words on the topic, which include a reference to shamanic student and writer Carlos Castenada:
Carlos Castenada said there’s an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans called “intent” and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is connected to it. You can call it spirit or soul or consciousness or universal mind or source. It is the invisible force that intends everything into the universe. It’s everywhere. This source is always creating, it is kind, it is loving, it is peaceful. It is non-judgmental, and it excludes no one.
[. . . .] Whenever we are in harmony with that source from which we all emanated, which everything came from, we have the powers of the source (Interview of Dyer by Lisa Schneider, “The Force of the Universe is With You,” http://www.beliefnet.com/story/141/story_14161_1.html).
Dyer explains that when we are in harmony with the force of the universe, we can create just as the force does, however one wishes to name that “force.” He mentions that the Genesis account tells us that when God created, it was all “good.” This is true, but Dyer disregards the fact that the Fall, resulting from man’s disobedience to God, led to corruption in what had been good. Dyer also cites the Gnostic gospels (and the erroneous but cliche belief that Constantine kept the Gnostic gospels out of the Bible) as validity for his view that everything is good.
Continue to Part 2