He came from humble beginnings, raised in foster homes and an orphanage, and died a giant. On August 29, 2015, Wayne Dyer, PhD., prolific author and public speaker in the field of self-help psychology, passed away at his home in Maui. He was 75 years old.
For years, so many have appreciated and benefitted from his work that blended messages of authenticity, unconditional love, empowerment, positive thinking and non-materialism so beautifully.
It wasn’t his views per se that made him so special, as he integrated teachings from a wide swath of forebears, most notably Lao Tzu, Saint Francis of Assisi, Muktananda, Abraham Maslow and other spiritual philosophers and humanistic, cognitive and positive psychology theorists.
His gift was his ability to communicate those principles in way that appealed to the masses (in the positive sense of the phrase). Both in writing and when giving lectures, he was not only exceptional at presenting his ideas clearly, but was “truly love personified” as his daughter Skye described him shortly after his death. That compassion and clarity combined to form a powerful elixir for the soul.
Like any highly visible person, Dyer was easily criticized and also imperfect, like the rest of us. He was often snubbed by others, including viewers of public television, where he was a regular during their fund drives, for being too “new agey,” religious or simplistic. I, too, didn’t always connect with the outer reaches of his mystical views. For instance, the positive, emboldened (vs. victim) mentality at the core of his message resonated with me, but the less scientifically proven elements fell outside of my comfort zone (granted, not all things are yet provable or measurable and sometimes science itself appears more magical than real, so I try not to judge or dismiss what I don’t fully understand).
For the less spiritually inclined, his frequent references to “God,” “Source” and “the power of intention” could feel off-putting. But, those were his way of tapping into the subconscious to help others live bigger, more genuine lives, less encumbered by ego and the self-limiting beliefs that so many of us carry. After all, he wasn’t telling people they could walk on water, but would talk about things like overcoming lifelong addictions, having healthy, loving relationships, and engaging in work that was satisfying and personally meaningful.
Despite (or perhaps because of) his provocative musings, the fact remains that Wayne Dyer’s non-denominational spiritually based teachings touched millions of lives.
While Wayne achieved a level of material success that most would envy, with numerous best-sellers including one (Your Erroneous Zones) which may be one of the most popular books of all time, having sold nearly 60 million copies, he always spoke about how that didn’t really matter to him.
One of his quotes, “The last suit that you wear, you don’t need any pockets,” has been circulating widely since his death and sums up that part of his pro-spiritual philosophy.
In honor of Wayne’s passing, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite quotes of his for others to enjoy. I’ll finish with a reminder that with any life philosophy or teachings, the point is to steer you in the right direction; you still have to do the actual work to change and grow, and also decide for yourself what’s useful, while discarding the rest.
Thank you Wayne Dyer for your generous and profound contributions to humanity; may you rest in peace.
“You are in a partnership with all other human beings, not a contest to be judged better than some and worse than others.” – Wayne Dyer
“Attachment to being right creates suffering. When you have a choice to be right, or to be kind, choose kind and watch your suffering disappear.” – Wayne Dyer
“Our purpose in life isn’t to arrive at a destination where we find inspiration, just as the purpose of dancing isn’t to end up at a particular spot on the floor. The purpose of dancing – and of life – is to enjoy every moment and every step, regardless of where we are when the music ends.” – Wayne Dyer
“A true barometer of intelligence is an effective, happy life lived each day and each present moment of the day.” – Wayne Dyer
“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer
“I fill myself with love, and I send that love out into the world. How others treat me is their path: how I react is mine.” – Wayne Dyer
“What other people think of me is none of my business. One of the highest places you can get to is being independent of the good opinions of other people.” – Wayne Dyer
“It’s never crowded along the extra mile.” – Wayne Dyer
“Remember, purpose is about giving…All you can do with your life is to give it away in the service of others.” – Wayne Dyer
“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” – Wayne Dyer
“Every victory accomplished with weapons is a funeral that should be mourned.” – Wayne Dyer
“Before speaking, consult your inner-truth barometer, and resist the temptation to tell people only what they want to hear.” – Wayne Dyer
“If you are not generous when it’s difficult, you will not be generous when it’s easy. Generosity is a function of the heart, not the wallet.” – Wayne Dyer
“No one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world.” – Wayne Dyer
“Remind yourself that you cannot fail at being yourself.” – Wayne Dyer
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, it will not change you.” – Wayne Dyer
“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” – Wayne Dyer
“Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.” – Wayne Dyer
“Never underestimate your power to change yourself; never overestimate your power to change others.” – Wayne Dyer
“You don’t need to be better than any one else, you just need to be better than you used to be.” – Wayne Dyer