Our Big Ideas series features key concepts drawn from Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes, a compendium of brief PDF and MP3 summaries of 100 great books on life wisdom and personal development. Find and download the full-length PhilosophersNotes PDF and MP3 summaries for this book — free! — in the online version of this article. Or check out the full collection of all 100 PhilosophersNotes at PhilosophersNotes.com.
Wayne Dyer is one of my absolute favorite teachers. If you haven’t read his book The Power of Intention yet, I hope you do. If you’ve read it, I think you’ll enjoy revisiting some of its best Big Ideas.
Serotonin on Tap
Dyer starts with a quick overview of the amazing science of kindness — and how God (or whatever your concept of God might be) leverages that science to happy advantage.
Serotonin, Dyer notes, is the chemical that makes you feel good. It’s the chemical that pharmaceutical anti-depressants strive to pump up in the brain. It’s also what God pumps through our brains when we do kind, helpful and generous things. It’s like a little reward for good behavior. When you do something nice for someone else, the person you’re helping has serotonin released in her brain — she feels happier. And so do you.
The result: Two more serotonin-induced happier people in the world! And not only do you and the person you helped feel better, so, too, does the random person who happened to witness your act of kindness.
Act “As If”
Who do you want to be? How do you want to live? What’s your ideal? Do you want to be in terrific physical shape? Happy? Enlightened?
“Act as if everything you desire is already here,” advises Dyer. “Treat yourself as if you already are what you’d like to become.”
In other words, whatever your ideal is, picture that image. Then, on a moment-to-moment basis, act “as if” you already are that person.
What would the happy, enlightened being you imagine (and are) do in this moment of tension? Perhaps breathe in, breathe out, gain perspective and maintain equanimity? How about that perfectly healthy person you imagine? What would he or she eat? How often would he or she exercise? Perfect. That’s what you do now.
Act “as if,” and sooner than you think, you won’t be acting anymore.
“When you meet anyone,” advises Dyer, “treat the event as a holy encounter.” He notes that Namaste is one of his favorite words. It’s Sanskrit for: “I bow to the divine within you.”
Of course, you don’t have to verbally say Namaste to feel and convey it. Just make every encounter you have today an opportunity to see the divine in yourself and others.
Say “Yes” to Life!
Dyer writes: “One of the most effective means for transcending the ordinary and moving into the realm of extraordinary is saying yes more frequently and eliminating no almost completely. I call it saying yes to life. Say yes to yourself, to your family, your children, your coworkers, and your business….”
Dyer is not suggesting you cease to be discerning about what you choose to do, but rather that you adopt an overarching attitude of receptivity and openness to life, as conveyed in this passage from Sufi poet and mystic Hafiz: “I rarely let the word no escape from my mouth because it is so plain to my soul that God has shouted, Yes! Yes! Yes! to every luminous movement in existence.”
And here’s beautiful wisdom from another Sufi poet, Rumi: “You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.”
Find Purpose in Service
“If you want to feel connected to your own purpose,” advises Dyer, “know this for certain: Your purpose will only be found in service to others, and in being connected to something far greater than your mind/body/ego.”
He continues: “You’ll feel most on purpose when you’re giving your life away by serving others. When you’re giving to others, to your planet, and to your Source, you’re being purposeful. Whatever it is that you do, if you’re motivated to be of service to others while being authentically detached from the outcome, you’ll feel on purpose, regardless of how much abundance flows back to you.”
So what are you connected to? How are you serving?
Be What You Seek
Dyer names what he calls the seven “faces of intention”: Creativity, Kindness, Love, Beauty, Expansion, Unlimited Abundance and Receptivity.
Just reading those words is a beautiful experience, isn’t it? I actually memorized them and made them my mantra for a while. “I am Creativity, Kindness, Love, Beauty, Expansion, Unlimited Abundance and Receptivity.” Read that out loud a few times and soak in the mojo. Then ask yourself:
• How can I be more creative today?
• How can I be kinder today?
• How can I act with more love today?
• How can I appreciate beauty more today?
• How can I embrace the expansion of our universe and grow today?
• How can I flow with the unlimited abundance of the world today?
• How can I open up to the world more today?
Circle of Strength
Dyer advises us to be conscious about our social circle: “Choose to be in close proximity to people who are empowering, who appeal to your sense of connection to intention, who see the greatness in you, who feel connected to God, who live a life that gives evidence that Spirit has found celebration through them.”
This sentiment is echoed throughout the wisdom of all the great teachers.
Here’s Rumi: “Stay with friends who support you in these. Talk with them about sacred texts, and how you are doing, and how they are doing, and keep your practices together.”
And Susan Jeffers, PhD, in her great book Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway (Ballantine, 1988): “It is amazingly empowering to have the support of a strong, motivated, and inspirational group of people.”
Who inspires you the most? How much time are you spending with them? Are you spending time with people who bring you down? Who don’t recognize your potential and see your greatness? What can you do to create more and more empowering relationships?
Be Your Best Self
“True nobility,” Dyer writes, “isn’t about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.” This reminds me of Faulkner’s wisdom: “Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”
Don’t compete. Come from your soul and create. Be you. Be the best you imaginable.
Because fear is one of the all-time greatest life-limiting factors, Dyer suggests that we “hit the delete button every time fear appears.” Ask yourself this question, he suggests: “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?”
Let Go of the Controls
“Good morning, this is God. I will be handling all of your problems today. I will not need your help, so have a miraculous day.”
Wayne Dyer left that message framed in his children’s room. And I think it’s the perfect note on which to wrap up.
Relax. Embrace the Power of Intention. And have a miraculous day.
Brian Johnson is a philosopher and (professional) student of life. He used to build businesses. Now he reads a lot and has fun integrating universal truths into his day-to-day life. He also likes to hike, laugh, write, think, teach and hang out with his wife, Alexandra. Learn more at PhilosophersNotes.com.