Book Review by Dana Taylor
In June of 2015 I uncharacteristically spent over $2,000 to attend a Hay House Writer’s Conference on Maui featuring Dr. Wayne Dyer. An inner urgency compelled me to pony up the money on what felt like a very frivolous expenditure. I fought the impulse for quite a while and finally gave into the internal nagging and bought the tickets. Would I meet someone special? Would there be a career-making encounter?
Upon reflection these months later, the weekend was a soul-inspiring event when “you had to be there.” Wayne Dyer and Hay House President, Reid Tracy, sat in two comfy wingback chairs and casually chatted. Wayne was seventy-five years young. Truly, he seemed ageless. He was brilliant, funny, and wise, which you might expect from a man who’d been a celebrity for over 40 years. What I didn’t expect was his kindness and connection to people. Most of us build an invisible protective barrier around ourselves. It’s our natural state. We don’t look strangers in the eye. We fear intrusion into our personal space. Somewhere along the line, Wayne Dyer dropped his barrier. He embodied the meaning of “Namaste” ~ I bow to the Divine in you. He appeared to actually see the Divine spark in each individual. I wondered as I left the conference, How did he reach that level of awareness?
It made a profound impression on me. As did his unexpected passing a few weeks later on August 29th. As it turned out, that conference was my last chance to be in the presence of Wayne Dyer in this lifetime. After his death, Hay House provided deep discounts on his books and I purchased both the ebook and audio version of his autobiography, I Can See Clearly Now, which was his last solo manuscript.
It sat in my library several months, but I recently finished listening to Dr. Wayne recall the events that molded his life. I’d heard some of the stories at the conference, so it was like being in his presence again to hear the recording. Wayne wasn’t born a spiritual guru, although he was always brilliant and different from the pack. But he had his issues. He harbored deep anger and resentment toward the absentee father he never knew. His ego-driven early years brought success, but also stress and alcohol dependency. Yet, he always worked at improving himself.
“I am a teacher” was his over-riding life theme. In the 1970’s he brought pop-psychology to the masses with the bestselling book of the decade, Your Erroneous Zones. In the course of his life, he lectured around the world, helping people find their highest selves. His forty-one books were all hand written on legal pads and most hit the New York Times bestseller lists. He raised over 200 million dollars for Public Television through nine specials that he personally promoted at stations all across the country.
Those are the big achievements, but the most compelling parts of I Can See Clearly Now are the “Divine appointments.” Time and again, Wayne relates “lucky breaks” and “chance meetings” that changed the course of his life. Even his worst setbacks turned into learning and growing experiences. Besides being a great teacher, Wayne was a great seeker of truth and wisdom. That compulsion led him from philosophers like Thoreau to psychologists like Karl Jung and ultimately to great spiritual mystics–Christ, St. Francis, Lao Tzu, and Rumi. Wayne walked up a ladder of spiritual awakening his whole life.
Wayne received fame and fortune, but his focus was often on giving time and attention to others. At home, he fathered eight children, who obviously delighted him. After reading an article about a woman who been caring for a comatose daughter for twenty years, he sought her out and became a life-long friend. At one of his appearances he noticed a compelling African woman in the crowd and knew he needed to learn her story. Her name was Immaculee Ilibagiza, and she survived the massacres in Rwanda hiding in a bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. Wayne Dyer followed his internal guidance and encouraged her to tell her story to the world. He mentored and promoted her. He even gave her the title for her book, Left to Tell, which became a bestseller. A few years later, he read an amazing story of healing on a chat room website and contacted the young woman, Anita Moorjani, who had come back from near death with great spiritual insights. Once again, his intervention resulted in an inspiring story and message going from obscurity to global recognition. Moorjani wrote the bestseller Dying to Be Me and lectures around the world. Dyer was a living example of generosity in his personal and private life.
Many of the milestones in I Can See Clearly Now are Wayne’s books. He clearly loved the writing process and his prolific legacy is certainly enviable to anyone who has spent time wrestling with book writing. I remember a moment at the conference when he confessed the thrill at receiving the first copies of each book. They were his creative “children.”
By the end of his life, Wayne Dyer had made peace with his greatest struggles. He walked in High Awareness, listening to Spirit and reaching out in compassion to everyone he encountered. I can see clearly now that attending that conference gave me a wonderful example of one person who figured out how to live a life of passion and purpose.
I don’t think Dr. Wayne died, but rather ascended. He lived out his dharma and moved on. After his ashes were cast into the ocean, his family snapped a picture of the sea. If you look carefully, you’ll see the last “impression” of Wayne Dyer.
I Can See Clearly Now is an inspiring testament of a life well-lived.