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I am Wayne Dyer, and I am well.  In fact, I am perfect health, and, by the time this program is over, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of what those words really mean. This show is called Wishes Fulfilled. It’s based on a book that I have just completed.

The video really begins at 2:40 following a statement about public television which is sponsoring the program.

I spent the last year or so in writing it, researching it, living it, practicing it, and have come to a place in my heart where I know that it’s really not so much about what you want in terms of what you manifest, it’s who you are. You manifest what you become as a human being, and this program is about teaching you to become the highest-consciousness being that you can be, to be aligned with your source, to be aligned with God.  And when you are, you become a creator and a co-creator in your life.

I’d like to open this program with a poetic offering from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who wrote the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and he also wrote a poem that I used earlier in my life, in one of my earlier books, Real Magic. Listen to the words and ask yourself if, if they really, if they really mean something to be true for you, if you really believe in what the poet is offering here.  He says, what if you slept and what if, in your sleep, you dreamed, and what if in your dream, you went to heaven, and there picked a strange and wonderful flower.  And what if, when you awoke, you held that flower in your hand.  Ah, what then, the poet asks.  Do you believe that it’s possible to bring something from the world of the formless, from the world of a dream, into the world of the physical.  The poet was speaking metaphorically, but I am not.

This is really a program about applying those words in your own reality.  Most of us were raised to become ordinary, and I’m not putting down ordinary, but ordinary is just not good enough for me.  Ordinary is you go through your life and you fill out the forms, and you pay your taxes, and you do what your parents tell you, and you’re honorable, and you’re honest, and you’re a good citizen, and then you die.  Extraordinary is something very, very different.  This is about recognizing within yourself that there’s something very, very extraordinary that you haven’t been trained to believe in, to come to a place where you can apply it and put it into your life.

And I want to say to you that I have been working in my life at living an extraordinary life, and so many powerful things have happened to me I’ll be sharing with you throughout this program.  But more than that, you can go way beyond ordinary.

You can go way beyond just being average.  There’s not an average person watching this show.  There’s not an average person in this room tonight.  All of us are extraordinary.  We just have to come to believe it.

There was a friend of mine, her name was Portia Nelson.  Portia passed away a few years back.  She lived up in Seattle.

And she was at a seminar and they ask her to, and they ask everyone, to write on a five-by-seven sheet of paper or card the five chapters of their life.  They only wanted to give them five-by-seven cards because they didn’t want them to get too wordy.  And Portia Nelson sat down and wrote these words about the five chapters of her life, and I thought I would share them here with you.  They’re so beautiful.   She said, chapter one of my life, I walked down the street.  There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I fall in.  I’m lost.  I’m helpless.  It isn’t my fault, and it takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter two of my life, I walk down the same street.  There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I’m in the same place. It isn’t my fault, and it still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter three of my life, I walk down the same street.  There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I see it there.  I still fall in.  It’s a habit.  My eyes are open.  I know where I am.  It’s my own fault, and I get out immediately.

Chapter four of my life, I walk down the same street.  There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I walk around it.

Chapter five of my life, I walk down another street.

Isn’t that great? Portia Nelson.

I walk down another street.  And this is another street.  Look, it’s called New Street, Old Street.  Walking down another street means leaving behind ordinary, and when I use the word ordinary, it has deep and profound meanings to me.

Ordinary just simply isn’t enough.  Ordinary is when you want to become average and to fit in. But to get to extraordinary, what you do is you have to consult the invisible place within yourself, and this is called your soul.

And your soul, well, I jotted down a few words about the soul, based on a lecture I heard from a great teacher of mine who lived in Bulgaria. He was an initiatic science teacher, and his lecture was very profound, and I wrote these words after listening to one of his recorded lectures.  He said, the ideal of the soul, the thing it asks for is neither knowledge nor light, nor happiness. The ideal of the soul is space, immensity.  The one thing your soul needs is to be free, free to expand and reach out and to embrace the infinite.  Yes, the ideal of the soul is infinity.  It is miserable when it is circumscribed and restricted.  It is a fragment of the universal soul, which is infinite. That’s what I speak about here in this program.

The need to move beyond just fitting in, the need to move past being circumscribed, the soul does not like when you get fenced in, when it is told what to do, when it’s told it has limitations, when it’s told it can’t become that. And so many of us go through our life with these enormous limitations that we’ve placed upon ourselves that have been handed to us from the time that we were little boys and little girls.  If you look on the screen, you’ll see something that is very important and powerful to me.

I was swimming not too long ago up in Minneapolis. I went to see my daughter, Tracy.  And up and down I would swim the pool, and every time I would look up, I would see this written on the wall, and I thought, as I was preparing to do this program, this is just so important and significant.  If you would like to accomplish something, you must first expect it of yourself.

And my question to you is, what do you expect of yourself?  Do you expect to be able to perform miracles, to attract into your life the kind of prosperity that you are entitled to?  Do you expect that you can manifest the kind of relationships that you would like?  In order to be able to have these kinds of expectations for yourself, you have to make a dramatic change, a dramatic shift.  You must change what’s possible for you and what you believe is possible for you, but the question becomes, who am I?

Here, I’ve been teaching philosophy for 40 years now, either at the high school level, or junior high school level, or university level, graduate school, and now on stages all over the world and in front of audiences such as this watching at home and here this evening.

Who are you? And what is real?  My teacher in India, his name was Nisargadatta Maharaj.  He was asked the question, Swami, what is real, Master, what is real?  And his response was, that is real which never changes.  So, what part of you is real by that definition?

Who are you that never changes? So many of us believe that we are our bodies. I don’t know about you, but this body that I’m in right now is changing all the time, very fast, as a matter of fact.  In fact, I, Wayne Dyer, the I that is I, have been in many, many bodies since I incarnated for this first time here on this planet, right here, 71 years ago.

So, I was in a, oh, my goodness, look here. What happened to that body? And there it is, there’s another body that I was in, and there’s another body.  And, oh, there’s my brother, Dave, and there I am on the right, another body.  And then I was in, look at that haircut.  They did it with garden shears in those days but I lived in foster homes.  There I am, look at that hair.  Can you believe that?  Is that, is that possible?  And then I was in this body, and then I was in this body.

And I have been in toddler bodies, baby bodies, teenaged bodies, macho bodies. Mustache bodies.  Endless bodies I have been in with my little ones and my eight children. And the fact of it is that, when you think about it, when I was in the 20-year-old body that I was in, I really thought it was real.  Didn’t you?

I mean, even the body that you’re in, all of you look at your body and think, well, let’s see, I was in a 20-year-old body, and is it real, was it real?  Well, you believed that it was real, but I’ve been looking for that 20-year-old body for 50 years now.  I can’t find it.  And the fact of it is, the body that you’re in right now is not who you are, because it doesn’t meet that fundamental definition of what is real. What is real is what never changes.

The fact is that who you are keeps occupying new bodies every single moment that you are here on this planet.  There was a great poet, her name was Emily Dickinson.  I feel like she was, must have been a sister, a soul mate of mine.  She once had a poem, she said, holding up a handful of dust, she would reach down and say, this quiet dust was gentlemen and ladies, and lads and girls, was laughter and ability, and sighing and frocks and curls. This passive place, a summer’s nimble mansion where bloom and bees fulfilled their Oriental circuit, then ceased like these.

That’s who all of us are if we identify ourselves with our body.  The fact is that everything in this physical universe doesn’t meet the definition of what is real.

Who you are is that soul that I spoke about a few moments ago, that soul that says, I want to expand, I want to be free, I want to go to a place where I understand that who I am is birthless, deathless, changeless, and live from that place, because what this involves fundamentally is reprogramming yourself from the belief system that has been your ego, the part of us that has come to believe that who we are is what we have, and who we are is what we do, and who we are is what other people think of u like ou reputation, and who we are is separate from each other, and most egregiously, who we are is separate from God, from our source.

And so we’ve been raised and taken out into the world and said, go out there and prove who you are by achieving, by accumulating, by getting other people to like you.

I wrote a book and did a film not too long ago called The Shift and in there I spoke about and used these words: The direction we take in life is far more important than the place that our ego parks us in this present moment, that who we are is this divine infinite being that keeps occupying new bodies, endlessly, until we leave this body and then move on, and there is no beginning, there is no end, there is only now, each and every one of us.

So the soul, the part of you that is extraordinary, the part of you that came into this world and knows, I can be anything, I can do anything, I can accomplish anything that I place my attention on, because if you want to accomplish something, you must first just expect it of yourself, and this means changing around the expectations that you’ve been conditioned to believe are your dharma, or are your destiny, I am limited, I am not entitled to prosperity, I am unable to deal with my physical ailments, I need something else, I need to take pills in order to do it, I need to have somebody else do it for me, that within each and every one of us there is this marvelous knowing that is really and truly God ourselves, each and every one of us.

Over the years, I’ve written many books, 37 of them to be exact.  This, what has come to become really clear to me in the last few years of my life is that there really are, there really are two selves within each and every one of us.  Muktananda called the ego, the part of us that has edged God out, e-g-o, edged God out, the false self.

And the false self is this part of us that is not authentic.  It is, it is the ego.  This false self is the part of us that is always trying to, trying to win, trying to own things, trying to prove itself.  We send our kids off to school and we tell them, you know, be ahead of everybody else, win no matter what, and so on.  And they have a tendency just to believe that who they are, are these bodies, even though the body they’re in is going to change, and you’ll never be able to find it again.

And then there’s within each and every one of us a higher self.  And this higher self is, is really the soul, it’s really the spirit, it’s really, it’s really God.  But these two selves are sort of constantly at, they’re not at war so much with each other, but there’s a, there’s this battleground that we have within us.

I’ll give you an example of it in my own life. Somebody on the Internet, a guy named Watkins, has put out a list, because there’s lists for everything, the 100 Most Spiritually Influential People Alive, and they put out this list, a hundred people. And they rank from number one to 100.  And I’m on the list.  Not only am I on the list, but I am, according to this list, and they’ve got all this criteria on how you get on this list, I am the third most spiritually influential person alive.

How about that, huh? So the spiritual part of myself, my soul, the higher place within myself, says to me, this is not relevant.  You’re not any better than anybody else, just because somebody has put you on a list.  In fact, you shouldn’t even be, you shouldn’t even know about that list.  And perhaps the people who are most spiritually influential aren’t even on that list and don’t even want to be on the list, because they don’t care about those kind of rankings and comparisons and so on.

But then there’s the ego over here that says, what do you mean, number three? Well, what’s going on with that?  And who are these people who are more spiritually influential than you?  And how are you going to take them down?

So there’s this sort of constant thing about, it shouldn’t make any difference, who I am is, you know, is the same as everyone else, we all come from the same place, and we all return back to the same place, but then the ego says, let’s see, the two people ahead of me on this list, one of them is Eckhart Tolle but he had Oprah. And she’s only number eight on the list anyway, so.

And he got on there every week, and that’s not fair, so and then there’s the Dalai Lama and I figure Eckhart and I maybe can get together and take the Dalai Lama out of this thing.  Or maybe I should align with the Dalai Lama, and anyway.

The ego is doing this, this number on us.

But there’s also the part of us that is divine. And this is the place that I’m addressing here in this program.  There’s a quote from Joel Goldsmith. Joel wrote so many great books. A Parenthesis in Eternity was one of them.

And this is what Joel said. He said, then there are those who reach a stage in which they realize the futility of this constant striving and struggling for the things that perish, things which, after they are obtained, prove to be shadows. It is at this stage that some persons turn from this seeking for things in the outer realm to a seeking for them from God.

And that’s who you tuned into today, on this program. I have left this pursuing things, and money, and fame, and winning, and being better than others.  It’s taken me awhile, but it has been, it has been a powerful journey. As a matter of fact, I had said to my ex-wife, I said, can you imagine, did you ever in your wildest dreams, could you ever have imagined that you would be married to the third most spiritually influential person alive?  And she said, I just, she said, they didn’t call me when they made that list.  And she said also, she said, I don’t want to upset you, dear, but you’re not in my wildest dreams.

Yeah, all right.

So moving to this higher place is, is really understanding that in, in the second chapter of Wishes Fulfilled, I call it the higher self, and it gets defined very specifically by this great Bulgarian teacher, his name was Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov.  And he’s, he was teaching what’s called the initiatic sciences, and I have had his teachings show up in my life in a very powerful way. I’ve studied his writing.

I’ve listened to many of his recorded lectures that took place back in the ’50s and ’60s and ’70s and, and I brought a quote of his that I’d like to share with you.

Our higher self is perfect, omniscient and almighty, a fragment of God himself, a pure, transparent, luminous quintessence.  And that, within each and every one of us, there is a place inside of each and every one of us that is all knowing, that is almighty, that is actually a fragment of God.  He then went on to say, the creator has planted within every creature a fragment of himself, a spark, a spirit of the same nature of himself.   And thanks to this spirit, every creature can become a creator.

And this means that instead of always waiting for their needs to be satisfied by some external source, human beings can absolutely look inwardly by means of their own thoughts, their own will, and their own spirit, to obtain nourishing, healing elements that they need.  This is why he said to all of us, the teaching I bring to you is of the spirit, of the creator, and not of matter, a spark, a spark that is in each and every one of us.

And this spark I want you to be able to recognize, because that spark, I’d like to see you have it grow from just a tiny little spark, which means you can hardly see it, to a fragment, to a piece, to a larger chunk, if you will, to a section, so that this spark within you, that you see up here, is growing and growing and growing, until it absolutely becomes even more than you imagined.

T. S. Eliot, the great American poet, said, we shall not cease from exploration, but at the end of all of our exploring will be to return to the place from which we originated, but to know it for the first time.  I paraphrased that, it’s off a little. To know it for the first time.  I think that T. S. Eliot might have been speaking about death, but I’m not.

I think that we can come to know this place from which we originated, the place to which we return, all of us, by allowing this spark to become something bigger than just an occasional thing where you extend an act of kindness someplace, or you have it at the church, or at the mosque, or at the synagogue on a holy day or a holy observance, that it can become your way of being.

There was a great teacher in India, his name was Vivekananda.  Vivekananda came to the West as a young teacher, a very profound teacher, and he was asked the question, but how do you do this?  How do you, how do you access this higher self?  How do you make this your reality?  And he said these words to his devotees, and I say them to you.

He said, in the springtime, go out and observe the blossoms on the fruit trees.  He said, the blossoms vanish of themselves as the fruit grows, and so, too, will the lower self, the false self, the ego, vanish as the divine grows within you.

It’s about allowing yourself to recognize you must have this spark, because this is what you came from, and this is what you’ll return to.  And as this spark becomes a fragment and becomes a section, and becomes larger and larger, you reach what I call, in Wishes Fulfilled, the third chapter, the highest self.

And what is the highest self?   This is the one that’s going to surprise you a bit.  The highest self is the self that you haven’t been trained to believe in.  You’ve been trained to believe in your ordinary awareness.  Your highest self is where you begin to recognize your connection to your source, to the Tao, to the divine, to God.  There were three very important teachings that came to me before I put this program together and before I wrote Wishes Fulfilled.

The first was a, a book by a man named U. S. Andersen, U. S. Andersen, passed away in 1986, a very profound teacher.  And he wrote a book called Three Magic Words, which I have had people tell me you must read.  So it’s, it’s fairly heavy reading but the kind of reading that I love.

And there’s 12 chapters in the book, and you get to the 12th chapter, and you keep waiting for the three magic words because he doesn’t say what they are.  And at the end of each chapter, there’s a meditation.  And in this meditation, you practice and put into the awareness within yourself of recognizing the highest place within yourself.  And ultimately, at the very end, he said these words, Chapter 12, the very end of it.

It’s called The Veil Removed.

This is the ineffable secret, the ultimate illumination, the key to peace and power.  You are God.  Those are the three magic words.  If you will accept this towering truth, and dare to stand atop this magnificent pinnacle, universal consciousness will be revealed to you from within.  God is there.

It is he who peers from behind your eyes, who is your own consciousness, who is your very self.  You are not just a part of God, you are altogether God, and God is altogether you.  Now, that’s scary stuff for a lot of people.  We weren’t raised to believe that.

I’m not saying that you ought to go out into the world and say, excuse me, but, uh, you know who you’re talking to, that I am God.  And the reason that we laugh is because we think of God as the God that we’ve created in our own image, the God of the ego, the God who’s angry.  The God who wants special favors, the God who has the ability to heal, but withholds it.  But there’s another word that Jesus used in the New Testament, and this is the God I speak of, quoting him.  God is love.  And he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

God is love, pure, unconditional, blissful, divine love.  That’s who you are.

The second great teaching was a man named Neville.  Neville Goddard, passed away in 1972, lectured over in California, particularly in the ’40s and ’50s and ’60s I read his book, The Power of Awareness, seven times.   I gave it to each one of my children at Christmas a couple of years ago.  And they called me up and they said, Dad, it’s great, but I don’t understand it, it’s a little heavy.   And I said, well, then maybe it’s part of my dharma to make it a little clearer.  And Chapter 27, the last chapter of his book, The Power of Awareness, it says this.

In all of creation, in all of eternity, in all of the realms of your infinite being, the most wonderful fact is that which is stressed in the first chapter of this book, you are God.  You are the I am that I am.  You are consciousness.  You are the creator.   This is the mystery.

This is the great secret known by the seers and prophets and mystics throughout the ages.  This is the truth that you can never know intellectually.  If you want to understand something intellectually, what you must do is analyze it, come up with a formula for it, study it, look at other experts about it, and come up to a conclusion.  If you want to understand something spiritually, you must first experience it.  You must come to know this within.

In the New Testament, which I read completely before I wrote Wishes Fulfilled, Jesus is about to be stoned.  And he says, why would you stone me?  And they say, because you blaspheme, you are a man and you claim to be God.  And Jesus responds, in his words, is it not written in your laws that I have said, you are Gods, all of you.

We are all Gods.  We have within us, not the God that so often we are taught is outside of us, but the God that is love, the God that is perfect love, the soul that wants to expand because it is infinite and doesn’t want to be restricted.

And I came across some great teachings that were sent to me.  They showed up, as we often think they show up as accidents, but you come to realize that there are no accidents in this universe.  Everything that takes place is, had the pieces moved around by something bigger than all of us.

And so it was called The “I Am” Discourses.  And I quote from The “I Am” Discourses.  The first expression of every individual, everywhere in the universe, either in spoken word, silent thought or feeling is, I am, recognizing its own conquering divinity.

The student, me, you, all of us, endeavoring to understand and apply these mighty, yet simple laws, must stand guard more strictly over his thoughts and expression in words or otherwise.  For every time you say, I am not, I cannot, I have not, you are, whether knowingly or unknowingly, throttling that great presence within you.  These words, I am, I opened up this program with the words, I am well.   I am perfect health.  And where do you think they came from?  What do these words, I am, mean?

A very quick retracing of the story of Moses.

Moses, this little baby, who was born at a time when the Pharaoh had ordered all male children to be drowned in the Nile, and Moses’ mother took this little baby, put him in a basket and floated him down the Nile.  Moses was discovered by the Pharaoh’s daughter.  The Pharaoh’s daughter raised Moses as her own son, and the Pharaoh’s grandson.

But along in his late teen years, he got into a conflict and ended up seeing one of the Israelite slaves being mistreated, and he ended up killing him.  So Moses had to take off, because he was afraid for his own life. And he went out into the Sinai, and there married Zipporah, and had children, and was out as a shepherd.  And as the Torah tells us, as it says in Exodus, he comes across a burning bush one day that is not being consumed.

And the bush speaks to him.  And rather than even misquote this, even a little, I brought from my hotel room.  You wouldn’t steal the Bible, would you, Wayne?  No, I’ll put it back.  So the bush speaks in Exodus, Chapter 3, and says, Moses, Moses, and the first words that Moses says to God are, here I am.  Then he said, do not draw near here, this place.

Take off your sandals and your, for your feet, for this place where you stand is holy ground.  And God speaks to Moses and says, I want you to go to the Pharaoh, and I want you to free your people.  And Moses is going, well, wait, wait, hold on here.  Who am I, and who are you?  Moses says to God, who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?

So he said, I will certainly be with you, and this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you.  When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.

Then Moses says to God, indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and I say to them, the God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, what is his name, what shall I say to them?  And God says to Moses, I am that I am.  And he said, thus, you shall say to the children of Israel, I am has sent me to you.  This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.  My name is I am that I am.

Now every single time that you use the words, I am, you are citing the name of God, right from the holiest books. And every time you say the words, I am weak, I am poor, I am unlucky, I am unhappy, I am sick, I am unable to attract into my life what you want, you are desecrating the name of God.  God did not say, I will be.  My name is, I hope things work out well.  My name is, maybe things will show up that I wanted, but possibly not.

He said, I am that I am.  You must be conscious of how you use these words, I am.  I am strong.  I am well.  I am content.  Even if your senses tell you something different, I am.

And as we move now into the meat of this program, you’ll see that putting the words, I am, in front of something into your mind and imagination is a very powerful way to attract into your life, recognizing your own divinity.

I am God is not blasphemy.   It is your identity.

In my study of the work that I mentioned earlier, particularly the work of Neville, and the work of U. S. Andersen, and The “I Am” Discourses, I came up with, in putting that all together, five, what I call five Wishes Fulfilled foundations for being able to attract into your world and become the kind of person that you expect yourself to be. Remember what I said about the quote on this wall of the swimming pool.

If you want to accomplish anything, which means to become an extraordinary level of consciousness person, you must first expect it of yourself.  You must see yourself and be unafraid to say to yourself, I am connected at always, at all times, to my source, to the divine mind, to the Tao, to God, to that which is the creator of all.  I am a part of it.

And the first of these five foundations I call imagination.  Imagination.  Many of our greatest thinkers have spoken about the power of imagination.

William Blake said that, what is now proved was once only imagined.  Now think about the importance of that.  If you want to have something show up in your life, the kind of person you would like to become, manifest something new into your life, something powerful, whatever it might be, you obviously must first be able to imagine it.  Your imagination, this is yours and yours alone.  You can place anything into your imagination that you want to place there.

Independent of what anybody else says about it, independent of what your senses tell you, independent of all the evidence that may be to the contrary, you can place into your imagination an I am that represents what you would like to attract into your life and make it come into fruition.  Einstein’s most famous quote, one of his most famous observations, he said, imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.

Placing these I ams into your imagination I had a, some of you, I’m sure, know about it because it’s been all over the papers and so on, a diagnosis of leukemia, a couple of years ago.  And for awhile, I kind of began to believe some of the things that were being told to me about what happens when you have this particular kind of leukemia.

And I have, instead, in the last year or so, had some of the most amazing, astonishing things happen into my life, where I have felt just so, I was just so alive and so strengthened, and so fully connected to my source, knowing, I mean, basically, I have a knowing in here that life itself is a sexually transmitted, terminal disease.

Okay?  I mean, that’s basically the fact, all right?  So I’m not saying that all you have to put into your imagination an I am that says, I am, and you’re going to live forever. It isn’t, that isn’t, but every moment that you do have, until you are called, can be a moment of exquisite, extraordinary power, living from that place, and that’s the decision that I made.  I have never felt so powerful as I have the last several years, since I recognized the power that I have in my imagination to place something there and live from it.

Einstein once said, if you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales.  If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve taken to writing children’s books, to give children an opportunity to explore that thing called their imagination, from the time that they’re just little boys and little girls.

And what I have in my imagination is a do-not-disturb sign, and it’s like mentally inside, I’ve placed that in there, I do not, anyone to disturb or try to change around anything that I have placed in there about what is possible for me.  So you never want to place into your imagination any thought that you would not want to materialize.  You never want to allow in your imagination to be contaminated by the way life used to be.

Your imagination is yours.  Don’t let any other people influence you. Never allow people’s ideas about what is possible or impossible for you to occupy your imagination. I’ve called it, throughout my life, I’ve called it being a scurvy elephant.

When I was in the third grade, I was living in a foster home out in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and I came home from school, and I talked to Mrs.Scarf, and I said, Mrs. Scarf, what’s a scurvy elephant? And she said, where did you hear that? And I said, I don’t know, Mrs. Pool, my third-grade teacher was talking to the principal, Mrs.Smith, and she said, Wayne Dyer was in this classroom, and called me a scurvy elephant.

So she got on the phone, and she called up, and the principal said, oh, that’s Wayne, he gets everything mixed up. She didn’t say that he was a scurvy elephant in her classroom, she said that he was a disturbing element in her classroom.  A disturbing element is someone who has in their imagination the possibility that they can do anything, that all things are possible.  Again, it’s one of those great lines from the New Testament, with God, all things are possible.

Now you tell me, what does that leave out?  What does all things are possible leave out?  That doesn’t leave out the possibility that we can defy gravity, that we can soar, that we can heal ourselves, that we can create magnificent prosperity in our life, that we can change the world.

I said at one of the breaks here, to the audience here tonight, I really believe that if this message gets out there into the world, we can shift the  consciousness of this planet.  If enough of us begin to believe, we’re placing into our imagination a world that we want to live in that has no limitations and that is based on living from a place of love and kindness and God-consciousness and spiritual awareness, divine mind at work.

I believe it’s possible.

Einstein, once again, this man of imagination said, logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.  That’s the first of these Wishes Fulfilled foundations.

The second foundation is very significant and very important.

I call it, Living from the End.

This is one of the harder ones for people to get, but I’d like you to go, again, to the New Testament, look at Romans 4:17, in the presence of him, whom he believe God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did, and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.

Those are very important, significant words.  You have to be able to call the things which you have not seen yet materialize and manifest into your physical world. You have to be able to say to yourself, I call those things that I would like to become as if they already do. And you place into your imagination, fearlessly, the I ams which you would like to create for yourself.

And when it’s time for me to write another book, I don’t even know what it’s going to be.  I just know that it starts germinating inside me, and it’s like a calling, it’s like a passion. And I’m over there at my writing space, and before I do, I come up with the title, and before I even write one word, I, I did it with this book, Wishes Fulfilled, this, I take a jacket, which is, this isn’t even my book.  And I take this jacket, and I ask the art department at Hay House if they will please design a book with this title, and I put it around another book, which that I have done, and I set it on my writing space, next to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Jesus Christ’s picture, and Paramahansa Yogananda, and my children, and the people that I love deeply and profoundly in my life, and I look at it with three white candles that I light every single time I sit over there, and I look at that jacket, and I, it’s as if I call those things.

The book does not exist.  I call it as if it did.

When my leukemia diagnosis came in, the information that was sent to me continuously was it’s incurable, this is something that you can’t change.

And I would say to my children, who would send me this stuff, I’d say, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t send me that kind of stuff.  And they’d say, what do you mean?  Why do you, why, Dad?  Why wouldn’t you want us to send that?  It says that right in there.  I said, what part of I am well is it that you don’t understand?  Because I have placed that into my imagination.

I have a wonderful quote by the man I’ve cited before, his name is Neville, and it goes like this.

He says, disregard appearances, conditions, in fact, disregard all evidence of your senses, that is, what your eyes and ears tell you, that deny the fulfillment of your desire, whatever it is you want to attract into your life.  Disregard appearances, conditions, in fact, all evidence of your senses that deny the fulfillment of your desire.

Rest in the assumption that you already are what you want to be, for in that determined assumption, you and your infinite being, your extraordinary self, which is what this program is about, are merged in creative unity, and with your infinite being, God, all things are possible.  God never fails, and you are a piece of that which never fails.

And you are going to move beyond just being a piece, and just being a fragment, and just being a segment, until it becomes your overwhelming knowing, that you have within you this divine capacity.  You don’t need evidence of your senses.

I wrote a book a few years back, the title of it, I had to get my publisher because they didn’t understand it, they called back, they said, I think you got this wrong.  I said, no.  It’s called, You’ll See It When You Believe It. Not the other way around.  People will say, well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

It doesn’t work that way.  You will see it when inside you have a knowing.

And Neville also said, therefore, to incarnate a new and a greater value of yourself, you must assume that you already are what you want to be, and then live by faith in this assumption.  Now this flies in the face of so much of what you’ve been told, because you have a tendency to believe that what your eyes and ears tell you is reality. But this is what we know by our senses, just this little tiny fragment.  I can’t even get, you know, it’s like a millionth of a millimeter, and all that is unknown is in the invisible, in the imagination. And most of our attention is focused on, this is my beliefs and my disbeliefs about what is possible and what isn’t possible, are here, and it’s an endless, an endless universe. So placing I ams into your imagination is one thing, it’s an intellectual act.

Living from the end means that you call the things which do not exist as if they did.

You begin to say to yourself, you don’t have to say it to anyone else, you don’t have to write it down, you don’t have to get anybody else’s approval, you don’t have to look on the Internet, you don’t have to do anything like that.

I have had such a magical experience. While I was writing Wishes Fulfilled, I had, I had so many divine things come into my life.  I had a man who lives down in Brazil, in Abadiania, named John of God come into my life, in a way that was so profoundly life-changing that it’s almost hard for me to find the words to express it.

At the same time, I had a woman come into my life, a woman from Bulgaria. This country is just on me.  She’s here tonight.  Her name is Mira Kelly. And she brought with her something off of the Internet about a near-death experience, about a woman in Hong Kong whose name is Anita Moorjani.  She’s an author, a Hay House author now, and she’s written a book, a powerful book. And I read this story about Anita, and it seems that on the 2nd of February, in the year 2006, this woman was wheeled into a hospital in Hong Kong.  She had been sick for five years.  Her organs had all shut down.

Her family was gathered at the emergency room, her husband, who is here tonight, I’m honored to have met, beautiful man, named Danny.  And the doctors had told her family and her husband that these were her last hours. She was down to 86 or 88 pounds.  Anita emerged from her coma, some 30 hours in a coma, and she has a story to tell that is so compelling, she’s here from Hong Kong to share with you some of the lessons that she learned while she was in this comatose state and what she came back to teach us.

She’s one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever been privileged to know, and honored to support, and write a foreword for her book, and she’s here with us today, and I’d love you to meet her.

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Anita Moorjani, please, come up.  Be seated.

Moorjani: Thank you.  Hi, good evening, everyone.

Dr. Dyer: Tell us, Anita, you’re in a coma, your husband is whispering in your ear, your mother is there, your brother’s on his way to see you, everybody’s waiting for you to take your last breath.  What were you observing, and what did you learn, and what did you come back to teach us?

Moorjani: Wow.  There’s so much there.  Even though I was in a coma, I was actually aware of everything that was happening around me.

I’m sorry, I still get emotional when I think of that state.

It was, it was five years ago, but I still remember it as if it was, it was yesterday.  I was in a coma, but I was aware of everything the doctors were doing.  I was aware of my husband.  My mother was crying.  She was, because the doctors had told them that, that I only had a few more hours to live, my organs had shut down, and these were my last hours.  And, and I wanted to assure them that, that I was feeling fine, that I was feeling great, but I couldn’t.  I, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t communicate with them.

And each time it felt as though I was getting involved in the drama, and my emotions were being pulled towards feeling for my mother and my brother, at the same time, it was as though I was being pulled away, and it was as though my energy, or my awareness, or consciousness was just expanding.  And it was just expanding and expanding, and just getting bigger and bigger.  And it felt as though I could feel what everybody was feeling.  I could feel what my husband was feeling, what my mother was feeling, and the doctors, as they were running around trying to, trying to save my life.  And then I became aware of what I can only describe as unconditional love.

It was as though I was, it was as though I was just surrounded, or embraced, by this unconditional love.  And when I say unconditional, I mean really unconditional.  It was like I didn’t have to do anything to prove myself or to be anything, or I was loved unconditionally, regardless.  It, it was as though, even, even things that I could have perceived to have done wrong in my life, it wasn’t as though I was being judged.  There was no judgment whatsoever.  There was only compassion.

It was like compassion, and it was like I understood, in that state, why, why I would do whatever I did in life.   It was, everything I did was out of the limitation of being in a physical body.

Dr. Dyer: So you were looking at your body, and you were given a choice, is that right, whether to get back into this sick, sick body.

Moorjani: That’s right.

Dr. Dyer: Or not.

And what did you do?

Moorjani: I became aware, actually, I became aware of the presence of my father.  He had passed away 10 years before me. And I also became aware of my best friend, who had passed away two years before and I had missed her desperately, because she was like a sister to me.

Dr. Dyer: And did you feel, when you were in that near-death experience state, in that coma, watching it, that coming back also meant that you had something to teach everyone?  And what was it that you felt you had to teach them?

Moorjani: I felt that I had to come back because there was a greater purpose.  Because at first, I didn’t want to come back into my body, because my body was so sick, and it, there was just so much unconditional love on that side.  It’s really, really hard to leave, so if anybody has lost anyone, I can completely understand why they would stay there.   But also, I seemed to get the message.  I seemed to understand that it wasn’t my time, and I had a mission.  I had a purpose, and I had not yet fulfilled.

And I seemed to understand that, even in order to fulfill my purpose, I wouldn’t have to really go and figure it out, or I wouldn’t have to pursue anything.  I would just have to go back and live fearlessly and just not be afraid to be myself, and that’s all I had to do.  I also sensed that my husband and I still had a purpose to fulfill.  My husband is, he’s truly my soul mate, because he was there talking to me all the way through, talking in my ear, and holding my hand, and I was aware of that.

Dr. Dyer: You learned some very important things.

Was it like just about being positive, to be a positive thinker, was that?

Moorjani: No, in fact, being positive is not enough.  I used to always be positive, because I was a people-pleaser.  I used to always stay positive, because I never wanted to bother anyone or trouble anyone.  I learned that more important than being positive is being yourself.  I learned that that’s actually the most important thing, is to be yourself, because that’s why we’re here.   We’re here because we’re, we’re facets of one.  It was as though we are all one.  Without my body, it felt as though I was connected to everyone and everything.

Dr. Dyer: Was fear a big part of your life and had something to do with this?

Moorjani: With being ill.

Dr. Dyer: Your being sick?

Moorjani: Yes, fear was a big part of my life before I was sick.  I used to live a life in fear, a fear of not being good enough, fear of everything, fear of illness, fear of not meeting other people’s expectations, and, but my near-death experience taught me that there’s nothing to fear.  In fact, when I was given the choice, I felt I reached a point where I had the choice of whether to come back or not, and it was my father and my best friend who actually said, now that you know who you truly are, go back and live your life fearlessly.

Dr. Dyer: And have you been doing that?

Moorjani: Yes, I have.

Dr. Dyer: Ladies and gentlemen, Anita Moorjani.

Dr. Dyer: Thank you, thank you.  It gets better and better, honestly.  It’s hard to top Anita Moorjani’s story, but the lessons are very, very profound here.

The third Wishes Fulfilled foundation is called, Assume the Feeling of the Wish Fulfilled.

Assume the Feeling of the Wish Fulfilled.

So here’s where we are.  We have used our imagination.  We have placed something into our imagination as an I am, which is the name of God.

I am strong.

I am healthy.

I am kind.

I am prosperous.

I am getting the job that I’m applying for.

I am, whatever it might be, I am.

And then you have practiced calling it as if that which does not exist as though it did.

And then you move now from the world of the intellect, because understanding something intellectually is very different than understanding something spiritually.  To understand something spiritually, you must experience it.  And in order to experience it, you have to experience it in your imagination as an I am, but you must be able to feel it.  Our feelings are the things that take place in our body.

It says, Neville says, and I have this on the, next to my bed, where I live in Maui, make your future dream a present fact by assuming the feeling of the wish fulfilled.  So whatever it is that you would like to experience in your life, this, remember, your imagination is yours.  Everything that now exists was once imagined.  Therefore, everything that is going to exist must first be imagined.

Okay?

Henry David Thoreau had probably the greatest definition of success that I have ever heard. He said, if you advance confidently in the direction of your own dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.  It will chase after you, if you can place into your imagination what it is that you would like to attract, and begin to feel it.

Listen to Neville.

This is one of my most favorite quotes from The Power of Awareness.

That which you feel yourself to be, you are.  And you are given that which you are.  So, assume the feeling that would be yours, were you already in possession of your wish, and your wish must be realized.  So live in the feeling of being the one you want to be, and that you shall be.

Every feeling makes a subconscious impression, and unless it is counteracted by a more powerful feeling of an opposite nature, it must be expressed.

Your feelings are different from your thoughts.

Your feelings are what you experience in your body.

A dominant of two feelings is the one expressed.

I am healthy is a stronger feeling than I will be healthy.

I am healthy says, I feel healthy, and I feel healthy.

I feel great.

I don’t determine if I am well on the basis of what it says on a piece of paper, or on the basis of what somebody else out there tells me.

I live my life feeling within my body that I am strong, I am capable, I am able.  And that is not just something that I say.  It’s not just an affirmation.  An affirmation is an intellectual exercise.

This is a spiritual knowing within that I am well, I am content, I am prosperous.

But the words that Neville used there are the subconscious.

Every feeling that you have makes a subconscious impression upon your body and upon your awareness.  Now, you need to understand this subconscious mind of yours.  Your subconscious mind rules your life.  Ninety-six to 97% of everything that you do is done as a result of your subconscious mind.  And when your subconscious mind gets programmed, it goes ahead and responds to whatever it is your conscious mind has placed into it.

I was 18 years old.  I was in the United States Navy for four years.  And they sent me to a school in Bainbridge, Maryland, to become a radioman and a cryptographer.  And we spent an hour a day, every day, for the first three or four weeks we were there on a typewriter learning Morse code.  Okay?   And my conscious mind had to program my subconscious mind.  Now, this subconscious mind of yours is operating all the time.  You’re sitting here watching a television show.

You got up, you picked up your remote control, you turned the channel on, you got dressed, you ate lunch, you went to the bathroom, you go to work, you get into your car, you drive to work, you put, you don’t think about what I’m going to do.  And everything that is going on in your life, everything, everybody in here in this room, you know, you got here through your subconscious mind.  You didn’t have to think about every single thing that you were doing, but there was a time when you did, in order to learn that.

This habitual, subconscious mind of yours rules your life.

So I’m 18 years old, I’m taking Morse code.  Di-dah-dah, here’s the alphabet, a little bit of it anyway, di-dah, dah-di-di-dit, dah-di-dah-dit, dah-di-dit, dit, di-di-dah-dit, dah-dah-dit, di-di-di-dit, di-dit, di-dah-dah-dah, dah-di-dah, di-dah-di-dit, dah-dah, dah-dit, dah-dah-dah, di-dah-dah-dit.

That’s A through P, check it out.

That’s 53 years ago, and my subconscious mind is still keeping track of the dah-di-di-dit dah-dah-dah dah-di-di-dit di-di-dah.

You’re doing the same thing, only you don’t use Morse code, but you’ve programmed your subconscious mind with di-di-di-dit dah-di-dit, I can’t do that, di-di-dit dah-di-dit, I’m not very attractive, di-di-dit dah-dah-dit, I’m overweight.

I can’t do, make things happen.

And it’s di-di-dit dah-di-dit dah-di-dah, still there, 53 years later. You, and you go through your life with this subconscious programming with a, with an awareness that you are not in charge.  You’re not able to extend or transcend this, this way of thinking.  This subconscious mind of yours is most impacted by your feelings.  A change of feeling is a change of destiny.

A change of feeling is a change of destiny.

Write it down.  Stick it on the wall next to your bed.  If you came into where I sleep, you would see that.  I look at that all the time.

I want to practice putting into my subconscious mind the assumption of the feeling of what it is that I would like to attract into my life as if it already existed and to feel it.  Not just to think it, but to feel it.  Neville’s law of assumption says this.  If this assumption about what you would like to become is persisted in until it becomes your dominant feeling, the attainment of your ideal is absolutely inevitable.  You must first assume the feeling of a wish fulfilled in all aspects of your life.

So, you have to say to yourself, what does it feel like to be prosperous?

What does it feel like to be content?

What does it feel like to be well?

And I had to remind myself of that when I had this leukemia diagnosis.

I had to remind myself, I was, I was down about 30 minutes, until I realized that virtually everything that shows up in my life has been a blessing, virtually everything.   All of the struggles, whether it’s in, you know, addictions, or whether it’s in living in foster homes and being abandoned, whether it’s my wife and I separating and the pain of that, whatever it might be.

A dear friend of mine was Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She passed away a few years back, and she was the one who wrote so much about death and dying.  She had a wonderful and important message for us.  She said, if you shield the mountain from the windstorms, you’ll never see the beauty of the carvings.  And the beauty of the carvings comes from being able to be in a state of gratitude for the storms that show up in our life, just as much as the things that we would like to have show up in our life.

wayne dyer mountain

You have to start retraining your subconscious mind, and your subconscious mind, it responds to what it is that you suggest to it.  Now, the intriguing thing about your subconscious mind, your habitual mind, is that it can’t make a distinction between what it is that you are feeling as a result of what you have placed into your imagination and assumed the feeling of it, and what you are experiencing every day in your life.

If you tell, if you go around feeling unhappy, depressed, miserable, sad, whatever, if you, your subconscious mind says, oh, so this is what it is that you would like to attract into your life, and the universal subconscious mind, to which we were all connected, that we call the creative source of the universe, the divine mind, God, the Tao, whatever you might want it to be, that it will begin to offer you experiences that match up to what it is that you are feeling, so your body responds to what it is you place into your subconscious mind.

You have to retrain it, because 53 years later, here I am, dit dah-di-di-dah di-dit dah.

It’s like, it’s there, but that’s innocuous.  That’s not, that’s not going to hurt anything.  But if I’ve programmed into my subconscious mind feelings of, poor me, I can’t do anything about my life, other people are responsible for the reason why I can’t get myself happy and healthy and, and so on, if I, if I live with that kind of consciousness within me, you’re going around feeling it all the time.

Your feelings, your feelings create the destiny that you want.

If this assumption is persisted in until it becomes your dominant feeling, the attainment of your ideal is absolutely inevitable.

And what’s the paramount feeling that you want to have?

The feeling of, exactly, the feeling of love.  Love is the feeling you must assume.

This is the message that Anita brought to me and brought to all of you, that when you place a feeling of love, which is all there is, it seemed to me, on the other side. Is that right, Anita?  I mean, it’s just, it’s just nothing.  She tries to describe this, and I’m pushing her.

Here, I’m 71, I’m cramming for my finals, I mean, I want to know, what’s it like over there?   You know, we all want to know that.   And all she says is, it’s just pure love.  It’s just, it’s a love that you are bathed in, if you will.  Bathe yourself in that kind of love.  Live from that place and know God is love.

The fourth Wishes Fulfilled foundation I call Attention.

This is really crucial.  Your imagination is able to do all that you ask in proportion to the degree of your attention.  So what kind of attention do you place on your desires?

Let’s say, well, I’ll give you an example, the one of, of myself, with this business of this chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

My kids just got me this wonderful gift.  I hadn’t had it before.  They wanted me in the 21st century.  It’s called an ipad.  I just got, I just got my first e-mail address, and I’m not telling anybody what it is, because.  So, but it’s just this wonderful, they’ve got this wonderful feature that I really think we should have in life, and it’s called trash.   Which I had never seen before.

They were explaining this to me.  So anything that comes in that you don’t want, you just push this little button, and it’s just like this.  And it goes like this, whoop.  It actually moves, and you can, and it makes a little sound, whoop.  And then there’s a little button over on this side that says delete.  You know?

So it’s something you put into the trash, and then you hit delete, it’s gone forever.  That’s the kind of way you want to use your attention.

There are two kinds of attention, according to Neville, the subjective attention and objective attention.  Subjective attention is different from objective attention.  You want to use subjective attention, not objective attention.  Neville says, there’s an enormous difference between attention directed objectively and attention directed subjectively, and the capacity to change your future depends on the latter.

Whatever you have placed into your imagination, you always go to your reality and call that which does not exist as if it did.  I am.

And you, I have a rule about it, it’s don’t complain and don’t explain.  You don’t have to explain what you have placed into your imagination.  It is totally yours.

One of my great teachers in my life, in my early doctoral years, was Dr. Abraham Maslow.  He said, become independent of the good opinion of other people.

Trust yourself, subjective attention. You, and only you, capital Y-O-U, are the subject that impacts the burning desire in your imagination.  You are living and feeling as if your future dreams are a present fact.  Objective attention, you become the objectified result of other people telling you what you can’t do, what’s impossible, and so on.  Subjective attention, mine is mine.

I have an image that I use.  I call it the superglue method.  And when I have an intention about what it is, including doing this program, when I have an intention about making this program a reality, and it involves a lot of money and a lot of, a lot of expense, a lot of people, a lot of things have to come together.  It involves going over into my writing space every single day, never giving up on it.

For even if I don’t feel like writing, four or five hours every single day, because I superglue, I superglue my intention into my imagination, and I don’t allow anybody else’s opinions to do anything to distract from that.

I don’t care if they tell me I can’t do it, or if it’s impossible, or it’ll cost too much, that we can’t do.  My intentions are superglued there, and I have that do-not-disturb sign placed on my imagination, and it is mine.

Use this.

Don’t allow anybody else’s opinions, don’t allow what it says on the Internet, don’t allow the research, don’t allow what anybody out there tells you is possible or not possible for you.

I just want to reemphasize that this really works.

I mean, it really does work if you just put in the minimal effort that I’ve been speaking about, about realizing how powerful your imagination is and assuming the feeling of what it is you want to be, as if it already were your reality.  A change of feeling is a change of destiny.

The fifth foundation, before I go to it, you may have noticed my little hat here, right?  How about that?  I just took a group of people to Assisi, Lourdes, and Medjugorje, three great spiritual places where miracles have taken place.  And I got one of these hats, and I don’t think I’ve taken it off since.  It’s my new uniform.

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The fifth foundation, the Wishes Fulfilled foundation, I call it Now I lay Me Down to Sleep.

And it is about the most practical of all of the five Wishes Fulfilled foundations.

This is something that you can do when the show is over tonight, when you go to bed.  In the Book of Job, there is a very important statement.  The statement says, in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men while slumbering in their beds, then he opens the ears of men and seals their instruction.

Your subconscious mind is most comfortable when you are unconscious. You are unconscious when you are in your sleep state.  And in your sleep state, your subconscious mind is busy at work.  And it’s so important, these, I call it the last five minutes of your day.

So you get into bed, every day you get into bed, it’s, you get ready to go to sleep, and you are now about to, you’re in that state between being awake and being asleep, where you’re getting drowsy and, and you are going to marinate for the next eight hours in your unconscious subconscious mind.

You are preparing your marinade.

And the question is, how do you want to prepare yourself for having your instructions sealed?  Your ears are opened, and your instructions are sealed.  So, most people use the last five minutes of their day, as they’re about to enter into sleep, to review all of the things that they don’t like, and all of the things that didn’t work, and all of the people that hurt their feelings, and all of the stuff that is going on in their life that they wish weren’t happening.

This is their worry time.  This is the time when you fill your mind with all of this stuff, and then you go off into sleep and he opens your ears and seals your instructions while you are slumbering.  That’s right out of the Book of Job.  So what you want to do is reverse this practice, because your subconscious mind is listening to how you are asking the universe to provide for you what it is that you would like to attract or manifest into your life.  And if you fill your subconscious mind with all of the things that you don’t want, that you don’t like, that make you unhappy, that make you depressed, that make you worry, then your subconscious mind, which is impersonal, and remember, it can’t make a distinction between what it is that you are feeling as a result of what you place into your mind or what is actually happening in your life.

It doesn’t distinguish one from the other.  It’s totally impersonal.  It’s just open to suggestion.  And here you are, suggesting to your subconscious mind, which will, when you awaken, you will align with the universal subconscious mind, the one mind, you know, there’s millions of people out there in the world, there’s millions of you watching this program, and you can see the difference between each and every one of you on the basis of your appearances, but there’s only one mind.

That’s what the great spiritual texts all teach us.

So now, if you, if you program your subconscious mind to tell your, to go over all the things you don’t want, all the things you don’t like, all the things that shouldn’t have happened, all the ways that you were mistreated, all about how terrible the economy is, and you know, we live in a fear-based world.

You want to shift away from that kind of consciousness and use the last five minutes of your, of your day to program your subconscious mind with what you have placed into your imagination with your I ams.

I am well.

I say it to myself every night, especially when I get into that, that state, you know, that weird state, where you’re sort of half awake and you’re half asleep and you know you’re heading towards that, sort of that subconscious place, and I just remember what it says in the Book of Job.

I don’t want my instructions sealed by going over, I am sick, I am poor, I am unhappy.

I just say, I am content, I am lucky.

When I wake up in the morning, I don’t say, oh, good God, morning.  It’s the reverse.  I say, good morning, God.

You know, it’s like, being grateful rather than being in that place where the things that you don’t want are what you have programmed your life to be.

I always think of this as, you know, like you have a currency, and, and if I were to give you currency to go out and purchase what you, what you want, and every place you went you took this currency that you have to purchase what you want and you purchase what you don’t want, and then when you get home and you wonder why your house and your life is filled with everything that you don’t want, it’s because you’re insane.  That’s just insanity.  It is.

I mean, why would you take what, the currency that you have to buy what you do, that, that’s there for what you do want and spend it on what you don’t want?  When the currency that you have for attracting into your life what you would like to have are your thoughts and your imagination and your, and your I ams, your God-consciousness, why would you use it to say, I am unable, I am unlucky, I cannot, I will not?

You’re throttling, that’s what it says in the “I Am” Discourses, you’re throttling that great I-am presence that is located within you.

And so, the last five minutes of your day, as you’re about to marinate for eight hours in your subconscious mind, with your unconscious state, you want to go into that state, even if you just, even if your senses tell you, oh, this is, well, you’re just fooling yourself and so on.  You don’t want to use your senses and the Internet and other people’s opinions, what you see, what you hear.

You want to let go of all of that and recognize that anything that you want to attract or create for yourself in your life begins with what you have placed in your imagination and have assumed the feeling of that wish fulfilled, and now you’re going to practice it, because you want, I’ve been trying to get, I mean, getting stuff out of your subconscious mind is a big job.

It really is.

People, most people are just not willing to do what it takes.  I still can’t get the Morse code out of my subconscious mind.  I need to have a major deprogramming thing.  There’s that exit sign, di-dah-dah-dah-dah, di-di-dah, it’s always there.  But that’s just harmless.

What isn’t harmless is, you know, placing into your subconscious mind all the things that you’re reviewing about what you don’t like, about what didn’t happen, about who mistreated you, about how sad you are, about how this can’t happen.

You are a creator.

Neville put it this way.

He said, the feeling, which comes in response to the question, how would I feel were my wish realized, is the feeling which will monopolize and mobilize your attention as you relax into sleep.

How would I feel were what it is that I would like to attract and create, and I don’t care what it is, whether it’s about the, the, the condition of your body, the disease state that you’re in, the fact that you’ve been overweight for, for three centuries or three decades or whatever it is the fact that you’ve been addicted, you ignore it, even if you’re drinking the coffee and doing the drugs and, and, and drinking alcohol or eating the sugar and so on.

Ignore what your senses tell you.  Ignore what, what you see on the scale.

Ignore all of that, and say, I am sober, I am healthy, I am well-being, I am content, I am happy, I am perfect health, because ultimately, that’s how you will attract it.  You have to be able to see the wish fulfilled already in advance and call those things which do not yet exist as though they do.

Now, as I get ready to conclude this program of love, there are two really significant things.

You’ve gone to sleep.  You’ve programmed your subconscious mind.

And I want every one of you, every one of you watching this show, I want you, when you get into bed tonight, just try it tonight, instead of using these five minutes to review what you don’t want, review everything that you’ve placed into your imagination.

And keep this in mind.

When people say to me, and they say it to me all the time, what if I do everything that you say and it doesn’t work?  It just doesn’t work.  The student should constantly remind yourself, if it doesn’t feel natural, if it doesn’t feel natural, it isn’t going to work, okay?

Now I was being interviewed on a national television show by a guy who is about five-foot-seven and weighed maybe 140 pounds, and he did this long, intensive interview with me, and he said, you mean to tell me that if I do everything that you say, that I can become a linebacker for the New York Giants professional football team, because he lived in New York?

And I said, does it feel natural for you to be a linebacker for the New York Giants?  Does that feel natural to you?  And he said, no, it doesn’t.  And if it just doesn’t feel natural to you, then all of the rest of this is just a waste of your energy.

Now the question isn’t whether you’re going to become a linebacker on a professional football team, but does it feel natural for you to say, I deserve prosperity? Does it feel natural for you to say, I deserve to be in a state of well-being, I deserve for my body to weigh exactly what I want it to weigh, what it is supposed to weigh?

Does it feel natural for you to say, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am capable, I am loved?

If it doesn’t feel natural, you’ve got a real problem going with your subconscious mind.

You’ve got a Morse code in there, di-di-di-di, I am fat, di-di-di-dit, I am poor, dah-dah-dah-di, I am unable.  You have to start reprogramming your subconscious mind to say, I came from a place of well-being, I came from a place of perfect health, I came from a place of love, and I am well-being, I am wealth.

Now on the other hand, there are some people, like there’s a basketball player out there in the NBA, his name is Muggsy Bogues.

Muggsy Bogues is about two-foot-three.  No, he’s about five-foot-seven or five-foot-eight, and he can dunk a basketball.  He’s five-foot-seven and he can dunk a basketball.  I’m six-foot-two, I can hardly see the rim.  But somehow, for this man who is five-foot-seven, it felt natural for him to be able to elevate his body and grab onto a rim that’s 10 feet off of the ground, and it feels natural for him and he’s able to do it.

And there are so many examples of people who have accomplished things that they have never had a belief system that it was impossible for them.

So for every single one of us, the intention needs to be, it feels natural to me, even if I don’t know how to do it, even if I have no experience with it, even if it’s something that everybody else has told me isn’t, I can’t do, you need to be able to say to yourself, yes, I feel natural being happy, being loved, being prosperous, being all the things that I placed into my imagination.

The second thing that I’d like to say in conclusion is that, I was trying to manifest something into my life, and I did everything, but it still wasn’t working.  And then I re-read the “I Am” Discourses, and one of the things that it says in Discourses that is very, very powerful is that, as long as you are having any thoughts of condemnation, criticism or judgment towards any of God’s children, you are throttling the great I-am presence within you that is God.

And I realized that my attempt to manifest what I wanted for myself into my life involved some judgment, some criticism, and even some condemnation toward someone who had done things that I felt that that person shouldn’t have done.  And when I let go of the judgment, and I let go of the condemnation, and I let go of the criticism, almost instantly what it was that I was looking to manifest showed up in my life.

You can’t have any thoughts towards any of God’s children that involve criticism, judgment or condemnation.  We are all just doing what we ow how to do, and we can’t ask any more of anyone.

Those of you who have followed me over the years know that one of my very favorite songs is Amazing Grace.

It’s a very powerful song.  We have to walk down a new street.  There it is, a new street, and not just for ourselves but for the planet and for our children.  There’s a wonderful prayer that the Native Americans would say.  When we walk upon the Earth, we place our feet very carefully because we know that the faces of our future generations are looking up at us from beneath the ground, and we never forget them.

Sometimes I think we have forgotten them. Sometimes I think we forget that we are borrowing our planet from them.  This is theirs, and they’re just letting us use it.  This, on this stage with me, I’m proud to say, is the San Diego Children’s Choir.  And I would like to tell all of you, ladies and gentlemen, the story about the song you’re about to sing.

This song was composed by a man named John Newton, who lived back in the 18th century.  And he was in the business of selling human beings into slavery.  He was 22 years old and he was a slave-ship captain.  And in this hideous practice that was so commonplace in the 17th and 18th centuries in the British and American Empires, he was taking people from West Africa on his ship to the New World, to South Carolina, to be sold into slavery.

And halfway across the ocean, he encountered a storm, and he heard, from the wailing of one of the people that was to be sold into slavery, the sounds, and he took out an envelope and he wrote on the back of this envelope the words to a song, I once was lost and now I’m found.

I once walked down an old street, and I’m walking now on a new street.  And in one moment, his life was changed.

And the storm passed, and legend tells us that he turned his ship around and he went back to Africa, and he released all of the people who were still alive, and then he took his ship to a place in England, called Bristol, and gave up being a slave-ship captain and became the most ardent spokesman for the abolition of slavery and was almost single-handedly responsible for ending this horrible, nefarious, hideous practice of selling human beings.

And it all happened in one moment, one instant, one quantum moment.  Any of us can change our lives in one moment and reverse the old street and begin walking on a new street.

So the San Diego Children’s Choir, we’re so proud to have you come out here and conclude this program on Wishes Fulfilled and they’re going to sing for you Amazing Grace.

wayne dyer wishes fulfilled

San Diego Children’s Choir: ♪♪Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me.

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Going beyond God

 

Historian and former nun Karen Armstrong says the afterlife is a “red herring,” hating religion is a pathology and that many Westerners cling to infantile ideas of God.

Going beyond God

 

Karen Armstrong is a one-woman publishing industry, the author of nearly 20 books on religion. When her breakthrough book “A History of God” appeared in 1993, this British writer quickly became known as one of the world’s leading historians of spiritual matters. Her work displays a wide-ranging knowledge of religious traditions — from the monotheistic religions to Buddhism. What’s most remarkable is how she carved out this career for herself after rejecting a life in the church.

At 17, Armstrong became a Catholic nun. She left the convent after seven years of torment. “I had failed to make a gift of myself to God,” she wrote in her recent memoir, “The Spiral Staircase.” While she despaired over never managing to feel the presence of God, Armstrong also bristled at the restrictive life imposed by the convent, which she described in her first book, “Through the Narrow Gate.” When she left in 1969, she had never heard of the Beatles or the Vietnam War, and she’d lost her faith in God.

Armstrong went on to work in British television, where she became a well-known secular commentator on religion. Then something strange happened. After a TV project fell apart, she rediscovered religion while working on two books, “A History of God” and a biography of Mohammed. Her study of sacred texts finally gave her the appreciation of religion she had longed for — not religion as a system of belief, but as a gateway into a world of mystery and the ineffable. “Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet” also made her one of Europe’s most prominent defenders of Islam.

Armstrong now calls herself a “freelance monotheist.” It’s easy to understand her appeal in today’s world of spiritual seekers. As an ex-nun, she resonates with people who’ve fallen out with organized religion. Armstrong has little patience for literal readings of the Bible, but argues that sacred texts yield profound insights if we read them as myth and poetry. She’s especially drawn to the mystical tradition, which — in her view — has often been distorted by institutionalized religion. While her books have made her enormously popular, it isn’t surprising that she’s also managed to raise the ire of both Christian fundamentalists and atheists.

In her recent book, “The Great Transformation,” Armstrong writes about the religions that emerged during the “Axial Age,” a phrase coined by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers. This is the era when many great sages appeared, including the Buddha, Socrates, Confucius, Jeremiah and the mystics of the Upanishads. I interviewed Armstrong in the middle of her grueling American book tour. She dislikes flying in small airplanes, so her publisher hired a car service to drive her from Minnesota to Wisconsin, where I spoke with her before she met with a church group. When she got out of her car, I was greeted by a rather short and intense woman, somewhat frazzled by last-minute interview requests. But once settled, her passion for religion came pouring out. She was full of surprises. Armstrong dismissed the afterlife as insignificant, and drew some intriguing analogies: Just as there’s good and bad sex and art, there’s good and bad religion. Religion, she says, is hard work.

Why are you so interested in the Axial Age?

Because it was the pivot, or the axis, around which the future spiritual development of humanity has revolved. We’ve never gone beyond these original insights. And they have so much to tell us today because very often in our religious institutions we are producing exactly the kind of religiosity that people such as the Buddha wanted to get rid of. While I was researching this book, they seemed to be talking directly to us in our own troubled time.

What religions emerged during the Axial Age?

From about 900 to 200 BCE, the traditions that have continued to nourish humanity either came into being or had their roots in four distinct regions of the world. So you had Confucianism and Taoism in China; Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism in India; monotheism in Israel; and philosophical rationalism in Greece.

You’re saying all these different religions developed independently of each other. But there was a common message that emerged roughly around the same time.

Yes. Without any collusion, they all came up with a remarkably similar solution to the spiritual ills of humanity. Before the Axial Age, religions had been very different. They had been based largely on external rituals which gave people intimations of greatness. But there was no disciplined introspection before the Axial Age. The Axial sages discovered the inner world. And religions became much more spiritualized because humanity had taken a leap forward. People were creating much larger empires and kingdoms than ever before. A market economy was in its very early stages. That meant the old, rather parochial visions were no longer adequate. And these regions were torn apart by an unprecedented crescendo of violence. In every single case, the catalyst for religious change had been a revulsion against violence.

So what was the spiritual message that rejected violence?

First of all, they all insisted that you must give up and abandon your ego. The sages said the root cause of suffering lay in our desperate concern with self, which often needs to destroy others in order to preserve itself. And so they insisted that if we stepped outside the ego, then we would encounter what we call Brahman or God, nirvana or the Tao.

You say one of the common messages in all these religions was what we now call the Golden Rule. And Confucius was probably the first person who came up with this idea.

All these sages, with the exception of the Greeks, posited a counter-ideology to the violence of their time. The safest way to get rid of egotism was by means of compassion. The first person to promulgate the Golden Rule, which was the bedrock of this empathic spirituality, was Confucius 500 years before Christ. His disciples asked him, “What is the single thread that runs through all your teaching and pulls it all together?” And Confucius said, “Look into your own heart. Discover what it is that gives you pain. And then refuse to inflict that pain on anybody else.” His disciples also asked, “Master, which one of your teachings can we put into practice every day?” And Confucius said, “Do not do to others as you would not have them do to you.” The Buddha had his version of the Golden Rule. Jesus taught it much later. And Rabbi Hillel, the older contemporary of Jesus, said the Golden Rule was the essence of Judaism.

Now, there is the question of whether all of these were actually religions. I mean, the philosophies of the ancient Greeks — Socrates and Plato — were not religious at all. Buddhism is essentially a philosophy of mind. And I suppose you could see Confucianism as essentially a system of ethics.

That’s a very chauvinistic Western view, if I may say so. You’re saying this is what we regard as religion, and anything that doesn’t measure up to that isn’t. I think a Buddhist or a Confucian would be very offended to hear that he or she was not practicing a religion.

Well, explain that. What is religion?

Religion is a search for transcendence. But transcendence isn’t necessarily sited in an external god, which can be a very unspiritual, unreligious concept. The sages were all extremely concerned with transcendence, with going beyond the self and discovering a realm, a reality, that could not be defined in words. Buddhists talk about nirvana in very much the same terms as monotheists describe God.

That’s fascinating. So in Buddhism, which is nontheistic, the message or the experience of nirvana is the same as the Christian God?

The experience is the same. The trouble is that we define our God too closely. In my book “A History of God,” I pointed out that the most eminent Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologians all said you couldn’t think about God as a simple personality, an external being. It was better to say that God did not exist because our notion of existence was far too limited to apply to God.

Didn’t a lot of people say God is beyond language? We could only experience the glimmer of God.

That’s what the Buddha said. You can’t define nirvana, you can’t say what it is. The Buddha also said you could craft a new kind of human being in touch with transcendence. He was once asked by a Brahman priest who passed him in contemplation and was absolutely mesmerized by this man sitting in utter serenity. He said, “Are you a god, sir? Are you an angel or a spirit?” And the Buddha said, “No, I’m awake.” His disciplined lifestyle had activated parts of his humanity that ordinarily lie dormant. But anybody could do it if they trained hard enough. The Buddhists and the Confucians and the greatest monotheistic mystics did with their minds and hearts what gymnasts and dancers do with their bodies.

You’re saying these ancient sages really didn’t care about big metaphysical systems. They didn’t care about theology.

No, none of them did. And neither did Jesus. Jesus did not spend a great deal of time discoursing about the trinity or original sin or the incarnation, which have preoccupied later Christians. He went around doing good and being compassionate. In the Quran, metaphysical speculation is regarded as self-indulgent guesswork. And it makes people, the Quran says, quarrelsome and stupidly sectarian. You can’t prove these things one way or the other, so why quarrel about it? The Taoists said this kind of speculation where people pompously hold forth about their opinions was egotism. And when you’re faced with the ineffable and the indescribable, they would say it’s belittling to cut it down to size. Sometimes, I think the way monotheists talk about God is unreligious.

Unreligious? Like talk about a personal God?

Yes, people very often talk about him as a kind of acquaintance, whom they can second-guess. People will say God loves that, God wills that, and God despises the other. And very often, the opinions of the deity are made to coincide exactly with those of the speaker.

Yet we certainly see a personal God in various sacred texts. People aren’t just making that up.

No, but the great theologians in Judaism, Christianity and Islam say you begin with the idea of a god who is personal. But God transcends personality as God transcends every other human characteristic, such as gender. If we get stuck there, this is very immature. Very often people hear about God at about the same time as they’re learning about Santa Claus. And their ideas about Santa Claus mature and change in time, but their idea of God remains infantile.

What about the supernatural, though? Do you need any sense of the miraculous or of things that cannot be explained by science?

I think religions hold us in an attitude of awe and wonder. People such as the Buddha thought miracles were rather vulgar — you know, displays of power and ego. If you look at the healing miracles attributed to Jesus, they generally had some kind of symbolic aspect about healing the soul rather than showing off a supernatural power. Western people think the supernatural is the essence of religion, but that’s rather like the idea of an external god. That’s a minority view worldwide. I really get so distressed on behalf of Buddhists and Confucians and Hindus to have a few Western philosophers loftily dismissing their religion as not religious because it doesn’t conform to Western norms. It seems the height of parochialism.

I think these questions are tremendously important now because more and more people, especially those with a scientific bent, say we don’t need religion anymore. Science has replaced religion. You know, religion used to explain all kinds of things about the world. But science for the most part does that now. And people who are not religious say they can be just as morally upright.

They can. I fully endorse that. I don’t think you need to believe in an external god to obey the Golden Rule. In the Axial Age, when people started to concentrate too much on what they’re transcending to — that is, God — and neglected what they’re transcending from — their greed, pompous egotism, cruelty — then they lost the plot, religiously. That’s why God is a difficult religious concept. I think God is often used by religious people to give egotism a sacred seal of divine approval, rather than to take you beyond the ego.

As for scientists, they can explain a tremendous amount. But they can’t talk about meaning so much. If your child dies, or you witness a terrible natural catastrophe such as Hurricane Katrina, you want to have a scientific explanation of it. But that’s not all human beings need. We are beings who fall very easily into despair because we’re meaning-seeking creatures. And if things don’t add up in some way, we can become crippled by our despondency.

So would you say religion addresses those questions through the stories and myths?

Yes. In the pre-modern world, there were two ways of arriving at truth. Plato, for example, called them mythos and logos. Myth and reason or science. We’ve always needed both of them. It was very important in the pre-modern world to realize these two things, myth and science, were complementary. One didn’t cancel the other out.

Well, what do you say to the scientists, especially the Darwinists — Richard Dawkins would be the obvious case — who are quite angry about religion? They say religion is the root of much evil in the world. Wars are fought and fueled by religion. And now that we’re in the 21st century, they say it’s time that science replace religion.

I don’t think it will. In the scientific age, we’ve seen a massive religious revival everywhere but Europe. And some of these people — not all, by any means — seem to be secular fundamentalists. They have as bigoted a view of religion as some religious fundamentalists have of secularism. We have too much dogmatism at the moment. Take Richard Dawkins, for example. He did a couple of religious programs that I was fortunate enough to miss. It was a very, very one-sided view.

Well, he hates religion.

Yeah, this is not what the Buddha would call skillful. If you’re consumed by hatred — Freud was rather the same — then this is souring your personality and clouding your vision. What you need to do is to look appraisingly and calmly on other traditions. Because when you hate religion, it’s also very easy to hate the people who practice it.

This does raise the question, though, of how to read the sacred scriptures.

Indeed.

Because there are all kinds of inflammatory things that are said. For instance, many passages in both the Bible and the Quran exhort the faithful to kill the infidels. Sam Harris, in his book “The End of Faith,” has seven very densely packed pages of nothing but quotations from the Quran with just this message. “God’s curse be upon the infidels”; “slay them wherever you find them”; “fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it.” And Sam Harris’ point is that the Muslim suicide bombings are not the aberration of Islam. They are the message of Islam.

Well, that’s simply not true. He’s taken parts of those texts and omitted their conclusions, which say fighting is hateful for you. You have to do it if you’re attacked, as Mohammed was being attacked at the time when that verse was revealed. But forgiveness is better for you. Peace is better. But when we’re living in a violent society, our religion becomes violent, too. Religion gets sucked in and becomes part of the problem. But to isolate these texts as though they expressed the whole of the tradition is very mischievous and dangerous at this time when we are in danger of polarizing people on both sides. And this kind of inflammatory talk, say about Islam, is convincing Muslims all over the world who are not extremists that the West is incurably Islamophobic and will never respect their traditions. I think it’s irresponsible at this time.

But many people would say you can’t just pick out the peaceful and loving passages of the sacred scriptures. There are plenty of other passages that are frightening.

I would say there are more passages in the Bible than the Quran that are dedicated to violence. I think what all religious people ought to do is to look at their own sacred traditions. Not just point a finger at somebody else’s, but our own. Christians should look long and hard at the Book of Revelation. And they should look at those passages in the Pentateuch that speak of the destruction of the enemy. They should make a serious study of these. And let’s not forget that in its short history, secularism has had some catastrophes.

Certainly, the major tragedies of the 20th century were committed by secularists — Stalin, Hitler, Mao.

And Saddam Hussein, a secularist supported by us in the West for 10 years, even when he gassed the Kurds. We supported him because he was a secularist. If people are resistant to secularism in Iraq now, it’s because their most recent experience of it was Saddam. So this kind of chauvinism that says secularism is right, religion is all bunk — this is one-sided and I think basically egotistic. People are saying my opinion is right and everybody else’s is wrong. It gets you riled up. It gives you a sense of holy righteousness, where you feel frightfully pleased with yourself when you’re sounding off, and you get a glorious buzz about it. But I don’t see this as helpful to humanity. And when you suppress religion and try and get rid of it, then it’s likely to take unhealthy forms.

That’s when fundamentalism starts to appear.

Yes, because fundamentalism has developed in every single one of the major traditions as a response to secularism that has been dismissive or even cruel, and has attempted to wipe out religion. And if you try to repress it — as happened in the Soviet Union — there’s now a huge religious revival in the Soviet Union, and some of it’s not very healthy. It’s like the suppression of the sexual instinct. If you repress the sexual instinct and try to tamp it down, it’s likely to develop all kinds of perverse and twisted forms. And religion’s the same.

Well, it seems to me you’re also saying that to be religious — truly religious — is tremendously hard work. It’s far harder than just …

… singing a few hymns.

… or just reading the scriptures literally. You can’t live that way.

Religion is hard work. It’s an art form. It’s a way of finding meaning, like art, like painting, like poetry, in a world that is violent and cruel and often seems meaningless. And art is hard work. You don’t just dash off a painting. It takes years of study. I think we expect religious knowledge to be instant. But religious knowledge comes incrementally and slowly. And religion is like any other activity. It’s like cooking or sex or science. You have good art, sex and science, and bad art, sex and science. It’s not easy to do it well.

So how should we approach the sacred texts? How should we read them?

Sacred texts have traditionally been a bridge to the divine. They’re all difficult. They’re not a simple manual — a how-to book that will tell you how to gain enlightenment by next week, like how to lose weight on the Atkins diet. This is a slow process. I think the best image for reading scripture occurs in the story of Jacob, who wrestles with a stranger all night long. And in the morning, the stranger seems to have been his God. That’s when Jacob is given the name Israel — “one who fights with God.” And he goes away limping as he walks into the sunrise. Scriptures are a struggle.

Is faith a struggle?

Well, faith is not a matter of believing things. That’s again a modern Western notion. It’s only been current since the 18th century. Believing things is neither here nor there, despite what some religious people say and what some secularists say. That is a very eccentric religious position, current really only in the Western Christian world. You don’t have it much in Judaism, for example.

But it’s not surprising that religion has become equated with belief because these are the messages we hear as we grow up, regardless of our faiths.

We hear it from some of them. And I think we’ve become rather stupid in our scientific age about religion. If you’d presented some of these literalistic readings of the Bible to people in the pre-modern age, they would have found it rather obtuse. They’d have found it incomprehensible that people really believe the first chapter of Genesis is an account of the origins of life.

So how should we read the story of creation in Genesis?

Well, it’s not a literal account because it’s put right next door to another account in Chapter 2, which completely contradicts it. Then there are other creation stories in the Bible that show Yahweh like a Middle Eastern god killing a sea monster to create the world. Cosmogony in the ancient world was not an account of the physical origins of life. Cosmogony was usually used therapeutically. When people were sick or in times of vulnerability, they would read a cosmogony in order to get an influx of the divine, to tap into those extraordinary energies that had created something out of nothing.

That seems to be a question that scientists are struggling with now. Did the big bang come out of nothing?

Exactly. And I think some scientists are writing a new kind of religious discourse, teaching us to pit ourselves against the dark world of uncreated reality and pushing us back to the mysterious. They’re resorting to mythological imagery: Big Bang, black hole. They have all kinds of resonances because this is beyond our ken.

I’m curious about how these issues have played out in your own life because you went into a convent at a rather young age — at 17. You lived there for seven years. You’ve written about how you tried to find God but couldn’t. And you left in despair. I don’t know if you called yourself an atheist, but you were certainly close to that. And then, as you worked on your book, “A History of God,” you seemed to discover something that you hadn’t known before.

I couldn’t get on with religion in the convent because it was a very unkind institution. I limped away from it. I wanted nothing to do with religion ever again, but came back to it through the study of other religious traditions — initially, Judaism and Islam. Later, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism.

So it was actually studying the history and the texts that allowed you to enter into the religious experience.

Yes, once I’d stopped prancing and posturing around on TV, where I was expected to have an inflammatory opinion and to let people have it. All this was pure egotism. I did some early television programs and expressed my secularism very cleverly. I’m slightly down on cleverness, which can be fun and witty at a dinner party and I enjoy that as much as anybody else. But it can be superficial. Once my television career had folded, I was left on my own with these texts. There was nobody to exclaim derisively about the irrationality of a Greek Orthodox text or the stupidity of a certain Jewish mysticism. I began to read them like poetry, which is what theology is. It’s poetry. It’s an attempt to express the inexpressible. It needs quiet. You can’t read a Rilke sonnet at a party. Sometimes a poem can live in your head for a long time until its meaning is finally revealed. And if you try and grasp that meaning prematurely, you can distort the poem for yourself. And because I’d been cast out from the media world, and was living in a world of silence and solitude, the texts and I started to have a different relationship.

Do you consider yourself a religious person?

Yes. It’s a constant pursuit for me. It’s helped me immeasurably to overcome despair in my own life. But I have no hard and fast answers.

I take it you don’t like the question, do you believe in God?

No, because people who ask this question often have a rather simplistic notion of what God is.

What about an afterlife?

It’s a red herring as far as I’m concerned.

But you must have thought about that question. Does everything end once we die?

I don’t know. I prefer to be agnostic on that matter, as do most of the world’s religions. It’s really only Christianity and Islam that are obsessed with afterlife in this way. It was not a concern in the Axial Age, not for any of them. I think the old scenarios of heaven and hell can be unreligious. People can perform their good deeds in the spirit of putting their installments in their retirement annuities. And there’s nothing religious about that. Religion is supposed to be about the loss of the ego, not about its eternal survival.

But certainly there are a lot of people — both scientists and religious people — who speculate about whether there’s some cosmic order. For the evolutionary biologists, the question is whether there’s some natural progression to evolution.

Who knows?

And is there an endpoint? From the cosmological perspective, was the universe designed specifically for life? Are those important questions?

Yeah, I think they can be wonderful questions. But they don’t occupy me very much. I believe that what we have is now. The religions say you can experience eternity in this life, here and now, by getting those moments of ecstasy where time ceases to be a constraint. And you do it by the exercise of the Golden Rule and by compassion. And just endless speculation about the next world is depriving you of a great experience in this one.

Steve Paulson is the executive producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s nationally syndicated program “To the Best of Our Knowledge.” He has also been a Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellow in Science & Religion.

nelson overlook

FORTY-FIVE YEARS

Where the earth shows its bones of wind-broken stone
And the sea and the sky are one
I’m caught out of time, my blood sings with wine
And I’m running naked in the sun
There’s God in the trees, I’m weak in the knees
And the sky is a painful blue
I’d like to look around, but Honey, all I see is you.

The summer city lights will soften the night
Till you’d think that the air is clear
And I’m sitting with friends, where forty-five cents
Will buy another glass of beer
He’s got something to say, but I’m so far away
That I don’t know who I’m talking to
Cause you just walked in the door, and Honey, all I see is you

(CHORUS)
And I just want to hold you closer than I’ve ever held anyone before
You say you’ve been twice a wife and you’re through with life
Ah, but Honey, what the hell’s it for?
After twenty-three years you’d think I could find
A way to let you know somehow
That I want to see your smiling face forty-five years from now.

So alone in the lights on stage every night
I’ve been reaching out to find a friend
Who knows all the words, sings so she’s heard
And knows how all the stories end
Maybe after the show she’ll ask me to go
Home with her for a drink or two
Now her smile lights her eyes, but Honey, all I see is you

LewisandSharon2(Medium)

we were together forty-five years and married forty-three

malva_moschata

Coro Nostro Ode to June

At Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester 15th June 2013

Choir directed by Lydia Hind

Sumer is Icumen In English Mid 13 th Century

Chères Fleurs Jules Massenet 1842-1912

O Ruisseau Jules Massenet 1842-1912 Trio: Jon Davies, Emma Gauntley & Natalie Orr

Mass for Four Voices Sanctus, Benedictus & Agnus Dei Thomas Tallis 1505-1585

If Ye Love Me Thomas Tallis 1505-1585

A Green Cornfield Michael Head 1900-1976 Soloist: Pippa Molyneux

A Sprig of Thyme Trad. English arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams

Now Every Tree Thomas Weelkes 1576-1632

Four Sweet Months Benjamin Britten 1913-1976

June Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky 1840-1893

Der Erlkönig Franz Schubert 1797-1828 Soloist: David Clark

Die Nachtigall Felix Mendelssohn 1809-1847

Waldesnacht Johannes Brahms 1833-1897

Wach Auf Johannes Brahms 1833-1897

Come Live With Me The Passionate Shepherd to his Love by Christopher Marlowe William Sterndale Bennett 1816-1875

Water-Serpents-II-c1907-Print-C13067234

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory