Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life
Hailed by Woman Magazine as the self-help supremo, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life is Dr. Wayne Dyer’s insights drawn from the classic manual for living, Tao Te Ching, which is revered by many as the wisest book ever written. It is a Chinese manuscript based on the teachings of Lao Tzu, an enlightened master who lived more than 2,500 years ago (600 BC).
Wayne spent an entire year studying and practicing “The Way of Life” (Tao Te Ching) and wrote down essays as reflections of the 81 verses of the ancient text, which we can apply to our modern living.
He says that these teachings will change the way we look at life and lead us to happiness, peace, and balance.
For the purpose of our discussion, we may refer to Tao as the invisible Life Force, Source, or simply God.
Trust the Tao
The Tao is working for and with you, so you needn’t remind it of what you crave or what you think it has forgotten on your behalf. Trust the harmony of the Tao. It took care of everything that you needed in your creation as well as your first nine months of life without any assistance from you, and totally independent of any desires you may have had. The Tao will continue to do so if you just trust it and practice not doing.
I remember from the documentary, The Shift, which features Wayne Dyer, where he wryly talked about this passage. During the time of our conception in our mother’s womb, our first nine months of life, we did nothing. In fact, up to our first couple of years as an infant, everything has been taken care of for us. And yet, when we began getting past our toddler years, our ego also started to take over as if saying, “Great work God. But I got it from here.”
And look where this ego’s sense of separateness has gotten most of us. We literally cut ourselves off from the nourishment of our Divine Mother (Tao). We grew in fear, instead of love.
Wayne encourages us to return to our true essence, the child who fully trusts a parent that can provide everything. What if we were still in the womb of creation? What if all of life was a continuous process of conception? That is to conceive the best version of ourselves that we can be?
What we have to learn, Wayne suggests, is to turn all our desires over to God and trust that we will be provided for. We learn to listen, watch for guidance and allow the perfection of the Tao to work through us.
The Voice Within
Seeking the favor of others isn’t the way of the Tao. Pursuing status stops the natural flow of Divine energy to your independent mind. You have a basic nature that is uniquely yours – learn to trust that Tao nature and be free of other people’s opinions.
The opening lines of the 13th verse in the Tao Te Ching, which Wayne wrote about, are:
“Favor and disgrace seem alarming.
High status greatly afflicts your person.”
Panache Desai said if we are seeking the favor and approval of others, we are suffering. Sadly, many people are unaware of this sickness. With the growing online social media era, many people associate their sense of self-worth based on the number of followers and likes they get. Ego runs most of our online interactions that we lost touch with the worthiness inherent in our divine essence.
As explained by Wayne, both favor and disgrace are alarming. If we gain approval, we become a slave to external praises. If we gain disfavor, we’ll push even harder to convince them of what we’re trying to accomplish for ourselves.
In the spirit of the Tao, we have to tune in to that still voice within us that speaks of our true nature, which is independent of what others think.
People will judge you regardless of what you do based on their perspectives, not yours. So why not simply live the life you love and love the life you live?
The voice within speaks of the Truth that your soul already knows. Listen to it. The Truth will set you free.
Tapping into this invisible, untouchable, immeasurable force will enable you to gain the harmony that comes with being connected to the oneness, and harmony is your ultimate objective in deciding to live an “in-Spirited” life.
Wayne asks us to unlearn our ego, which identifies with the world of “in-form-ation” — in the form of things, possessions, and achievements, so we can return to the place of inspiration (in-spirit of the Tao). It is where we reconnect with the invisible, inaudible, and intangible formless aspect of us — our soul — our Inner Being that is the extension of the Source.
The unseen, unheard, and untouched are present as one. Living with this awareness leads us to a harmonious life. Not only do we come in harmony with ourselves, but with everything as well because it is also the abiding formless presence beyond all forms in our physical world. From this, we will be able to recognize that feeling of oneness.
This Too Shall Pass
The reality is that beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. So when you know that there’s a constant beyond the present moment’s disappointment, you can sense that “this too shall pass” – it always has and always will.
As the famous saying goes, “nothing lasts forever” — As in no-thing. Do you also find comfort in that? Life is about letting go. Pain is usually part of it. But suffering comes from choosing to hold on to something we know will never last.
All of life is a passing moment. Whatever comes, let it come. Whatever goes, let it go. It is a cycle of coming and going. We came here for that experience. We are here to enjoy the ride!
“This too shall pass” is a reminder that change is the only constant in life. What we really want to cling to is that constancy, the forever changeless aspect of our being.
Wayne reminds us that our Source is at work within each and every event, and then make a decision to connect to that Source with our thoughts.
Whatever you’re going through right now, that too will pass.
Lead Them Alone
The enlightened leader trusts those whom he or she is in a position to govern. This view results in trust, as he or she who has faith in the people will be trusted by them in turn.
Everyone is born a leader because each of us has built-in inner guidance. It’s the voice within.
Instead of believing that you know what’s best for others, Wayne invites us to trust that they know what’s best for themselves.
Aligned with the nature of the Tao, with the Source within us, we know what’s best only for ourselves. Believing that we also know what’s best for others is of the ego. It comes from wanting to be right. “You should be this. You should do this. You should have this.”
Everyone can be, do and have anything that anybody wants. But to lead them to their path of becoming, we have to leave them alone. Just because they are not walking the same path as ours doesn’t mean that they are on the wrong path. We have different paths to the same destination — returning to the Source.
You’re being encouraged to simplify your life by not seeking another thing. Yes, others might judge you as unmotivated and call you an ignoramus, but your reward will be the strong sense of inner peace that comes from a direct knowing that you’re here as a guest who’s always being provided for. Yes, you may be missing something, but the something is only an illusion.
Come to think about it, what would financial security, a steady relationship, and optimal health provide us? Is it inner peace?
What if we would turn it around? What if we seek inner peace first? Could it be that everything we want then follows too? This is what the passage implies.
It’s natural for us to want something we don’t have. Desire is inherent in being human. But instead of striving for what we don’t have, we can learn to be content with and grateful for what we already have, while also allowing what life continues to offer us.
There is no guarantee that we will have everything we want. But if we seek what’s already there, always was and always will be — love, peace, and joy — then, rest assured that we will find it. “Seek and you will find.”
This is in keeping with the nameless Tao: It doesn’t restrict itself to a particular point of view or a singular way of doing things; it animates all. Similarly, the flexible person is open to all possibilities – there’s nothing for him or her to prove because the Tao, not ego, is in charge.
Wayne has this mantra: “Be open to everything and attached to nothing.”
Freedom is when we have nothing to prove and nothing to defend. Only the ego does that because the ego is full of beliefs that imprison us. These beliefs make us rigid, impeding the flow of life to move through us freely.
The Tao flows everywhere because it is the energy of creation. Wayne says to be in harmony with the Tao, we have to immerse ourselves in all that we’re doing without concern about the outcome — just noticing and allowing ourselves to be in the flow with the Source that is doing the creative work.
Wayne also encourages us to release the need for the attention of others. He invites us to let go of having to win an argument and to just listen.
Flexibility is being able to welcome whatever life brings about into our experience, especially during stormy days. It’s learning to remain rooted in the Tao no matter what. We bend to the turbulent times, but we learn to stand tall again.
Just Be It
Live by your essential nature, the Tao, which is oneness; it has no polarity. Yet the moment that you know you’re good, you introduce the polarity of “good” versus “bad,” which causes you to lose your connection to the Tao. Then you introduce something new – you figure that if you can’t be good, you’ll try to be moral.
This is based on the hierarchy of values presented in the 38th verse of Tao Te Ching:
“When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.”
I’m guessing you already know where humanity currently stands in relation to the Tao. We’re lost.
And because we’re lost, we came up with our own beliefs or doctrines (rituals). To have a basis for what’s right and wrong, we formed rules of conduct (morality). Those who follow the rules are “good.” Those who don’t are “bad.”
The question is, despite the many rules and beliefs that were supposed to govern us, why does it seem that we still haven’t found “the Way” (the Tao) of living.
The Tao just is; it has no standards for you to follow, as Wayne pointed out. On our part, we just have to let the Tao, our innate essence, just be.
We don’t need to try to be loving, kind, or good. Trying means becoming something we are not. All that heavenly attributes are natural to us if we let ourselves become the embodiment of the Tao.
In other words, just be yourself.
Living by letting go means releasing worry, stress, and fear. When you promote your sense of well-being in the face of what appears as danger to others, your alignment with Source frees you from pushing yourself to act in a forceful manner.
The Tao is always at work. When we focus on our sense of well-being, instead of worry, stress, and fear, everything will work out for us. Even the ordinary things will seem miraculous that leaves an impression of us being “lucky”.
The truth is we create our own luck. But we don’t need to force it or make it happen. We only have to allow. And that we can do by staying in alignment with our Source — by living a Tao-centered life.
As Wayne reiterates Lao Tzu’s teaching, “Things that are forced grow for a while, but then wither away.”
When we force things to happen, usually they don’t end up well. But if we let things unfold their own way and when we become what Abraham Hicks calls a “cooperative component” of the Universe, then most likely life will turn out better than expected.
Whenever you’re tempted to force things to happen, lighten up yourself with this reminder: “Relax. Nothing is under control.”
You are real and what’s real never changes. Yet your real self isn’t in this world, but is the part of you that is the Tao. When you live in harmony with the infinite Tao, death is irrelevant – so know your highest self and understand that there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
Wayne relays to us one of the most important teachings of Lao Tzu: “If you’re not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
We cannot stop death. Fearing it doesn’t stop it either. But by choosing to live in harmony with the infinite Tao, the fear dissolves and is replaced by an enthusiasm to live life to the fullest.
To put into practice, I used to say to myself: “You’re not going to die by starting up this project,” or something like “You won’t die writing a book,” and “You’ll come out alive after speaking in front of a crowd.”
They sound silly but they help me align with the part of me that is not afraid of dying.
Change your thoughts from fear to love, from dying to living, and you will find your life changing too — a life of infinite possibilities.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
WAYNE DYER (1940-2015) was an internationally renowned author, speaker, and pioneer in the field of self-development. Over the four decades of his career, he wrote more than 40 books (21 of which became New York Times bestsellers), created numerous audio programs and videos, and appeared on thousands of television and radio shows.
Visit him at drwaynedyer.com