No! Wayne Dyer Can't See Clearly Now
Dr. Wayne Dyer, The Father of Inspiration without Glasses
Wayne Dyer's Book Says, "I Can See Clearly Now"
Does He Need Better Glasses?
Were you ever as big a Wayne Dyer fan as I was?
There was a time when I rushed to finish one book, so I could get right into the latest from Dr. Dyer. Sometimes, I didn't wait finish whatever else I was reading.
Dr. Dyer always has something interesting to say, and as a writer who spends a lot of time on spiritual issues, I want to be sure I'm up to date on whatever he has to share. But the last couple of books have been a slog, one so dreadful I couldn't persuade myself to finish it.
I Can See Clearly Now was a welcome exception, right away, as the author revved up his powerful storytelling ability to get into what is nothing less than a comprehensive spiritual autobiography.
I found myself eager to get back to the book, whenever time was available, and was thrilled by the personal insights and experiences shared with color and passion.
Although I recommend this book more than anything Wayne Dyer has written in a long time, my recommendation comes with a warning.
There is a point, more than halfway through, when his life, and consequently the book, slips off the tracks into a sort of literary train wreck, a hodgepodge of magical thinking and relentless preachiness.
Here 's the skinny.
I Can See Clearly Now by Wayne Dyer Review
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (using his full name and title here as he is rather proud of every bit of it) starts out with stories from his difficult childhood and his determination to not to be defeated by circumstances.
His passion for discovering as much as he can about his father and the story of his rather miraculous reconciliation is as thrilling as autobiography ever gets to be.
Dr. Dyer is honest, sincere, insightful and generous in the telling of his career as a teacher and especially his early days as a writer.
Sheer energy and a refusal to accept canned answers have him pushing through to achieve success and fame. I loved every minute of it.
With an initially happy third marriage, to Marcelene (don't miss the funny, off-color humor of their first meeting), and five children in quick succession, Dr. Dyer's career as a self-help guru takes off.
Modeled on one of his early heroes, Abraham Maslow, his self-help philosophy urges taking personal responsibility for recognizing and fixing obstacles that prevent self-fulfillment or, in Maslow's terms, self-actualization.
A PUZZLING REBIRTH
Then, one day, this admirable achiever, pursuer of his passions, who runs for miles every day and enjoys a few beers, is persuaded to stop drinking alcohol completely, even though he is never drunk, because an Indian mystic writes that you must be sober to to achieve complete enlightenment.
Here, I poured myself a fresh glass of wine and braced myself for the worst.
Dr. Dyer, without saying it must have believed there was something lacking in his life. Why he never explains his vulnerability to a radical spiritual switch is puzzling.
It didn't get to be the worst, but it got pretty bad.
For the rest of the book, I shook my head as interesting episodes were pierced with a peculiar religious passion. I'll give you a few examples.
TAKING A RELIGIOUS TURN
While writing about his discovery of Immaculee Ilibagiza's story about the Rwandan holocaust, he attributes her survival while thousands of others perished, including friends and family, not to her toughness in enduring weeks hiding in a bathroom with seven other women or even on dumb luck. He credits her Roman Catholic faith.
Ilibagiza, he claims, is "a saint who walks among us."
His credulousness is such that he abandons his intellect to imply that no one else of any faith had enough of it to survive the monstrous killings, except the women hiding with her who go unexamined.
Dr. Dyer seems committed to the religious accounting and has no interest in facts suggesting it might be more than a little flakey.
Later, his hero worship for Francis of Assisi, for whom he routinely uses the Roman Catholic title "Saint," gets weird on two counts.
First, he eventually reaches the peculiar conclusion that he and Francis share a soul.
Yet, and second, unlike Francis who eschewed personal possession in his service to the poor, Dr. Dyer leads a lavish lifestyle of Celebrity Cruise events and private jets to dubious shrines of the Roman Catholic religion.
The story that really opened my eyes however was the one of his presiding over the marriage ceremony of Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi.
They didn't ask him. They "appealed" to him. The loopiest part of this story is his claim of "divine intervention" in providing good weather, ignoring of course the implication that events that get rained on are of lesser importance to God.
But he almost tops it when he uses this example to claim that he is out in front of the masses on important issues like same sex marriage.
It doesn't seem to occur to him that Ellen and Portia are not as much in need of his championing as are thousands of other couples whose fame can't shine a light on his commitment.
In one of the preachiest chapters in the history of book publishing, Dr. Dyer closes with unsolicited advice about how we all need to be more like God, as he is, and how that will solve the many problems he is certain we have.
Sadly, as he wraps up his life story, Dr. Dyer answers accusations that his work is done for the money, insisting that he has never written with any other motivation than an inner calling.
This is a ridiculous and puzzling claim, a rationale spun out to defend something that needs no defense.
Being paid for your work, as he has always been, is what we all do. Being paid well for doing it well is easy to accept.
But it reads like cravings for spiritual satisfaction, on condition of sacrifice in the Roman Catholic tradition, have him so hung up he is no longer able to fully appreciate the positive results of a life dedicated to teaching others how to be more self-aware.
Buy the book anyway, even though it will make him more money, which he deserves. It is money well spent. The book isn't perfect, but a lot of it is.
This passionate man, Dr. Wayne L. Dyer, is not capable of writing anything dull.
Abraham Maslow, the Inspiring Insights
The "Hierarchy of Needs," Abraham Maslow's eye-opening picture of why we do what we do, changed Wayne Dyer's philosophy and his life.
Abraham Maslow - Wayne Dyer's Most Influential Teacher
Abraham Maslow's power theories, especially his landmark construction of the Hierarchy of Needs, enlightened a lot of us, but not anyone more than Dr. Dyer.
Throughout I Can See Clearly Now, he refers to how much he continues to be influenced by Maslow.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer's "I Can See Clearly Now" - A Spiritual Autobiography
Having read or heard abbreviated versions of incidents from Dr. Dyer's life in his lectures and books, I was thrilled to hear them told fresh, in more enlightening detail.
The man's life has been exemplary, and his positive influence on the lives of others, starting with his wildly popular Your Erroneous Zones, cannot be over estimated. As the teacher he is so proud to be, he has been a difference-maker in my life in many ways.
My appreciation is something that keeps me buying and turning the pages, even when the going gets rough.
But you don't need discipline or a sense of owing to dive into and enjoy this book, fortunately.
You do need to keep an objective distance, however, as some of what you are going to read goes better when seasoned with thoughtful skepticism.
Maslow, the Pioneer
Maslow was a pioneer who made the world on psychological understanding see things differently than ever before.
Where is Wayne Dyer Right Now?
Is Wayne Dyer still a great inspirational teacher or is he way off base?
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer Makes a Movie
As explained in I Can See Clearly Now, Dr. Dyer did the math. Only 10% of the people read books.
With a movie, he could reach a much wider audience for the lessons we felt compelled to share.
© 2014 David Stone