Friday, October 22, 2010

Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Power of Intention:  Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way by Dr. Wayne Dyer is yet another book on the Law of Attraction.  It’s interesting to me to see how this same idea that was “new” 100 years ago keeps being repackaged and presented.  Dyer’s approach is more erudite and intellectual than others, but he seems to enjoy sharing quotes without specific citations (there are a very few quotes that are cited but page numbers are still lacking and although one quote was easy to look up, it is taken out of context and actually does not align with what Dyer is trying to teach) and he makes some sweeping generalities and even contradicts himself.

None of this is meant to suggest that the book is not good or even effective.  As I’ve said before, this simply is not my experience and I have not witnessed it in the experience of anyone I know either.  And while I ripped apart other books about these things, I commend Dyer for writing a book that isn’t a total insult to the reader’s intelligence.

Although Dyer encourages the reader to not attach themselves to the outcome when aligning one’s self with the source of intention, he reiterates that all results are your choice and although he offers examples of many people whose lives were not abundant in the traditional sense of acquiring financial wealth or accumulating pretty things, he assures the reader that abundance is what the universe offers to everyone while contextualizing abundance as being free from worry, stress, and/or health issues.

Seems to me he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth on this and I can’t imagine a reader not feeling a bit confused.  Don’t expect abundance or attach yourself to the idea of it but know you will have it and if you don’t then that’s because you didn’t really attract it to yourself, your intention was not in sync with the universal Intention, but you shouldn’t feel guilty if you have cancer or your house burns down or you lose your job.

Ummmm . . . okay.

As seems typical for these types of self-help books, the parts I found most engaging and useful are the parts that are drawn from more traditional teachings.  Dyer is a proponent of meditation and specifically encourages the reader to practice Japa meditation.  Chanting a mantra or prayer is a long-standing practice in almost every spiritual path and Dyer doesn’t claim that he is the first person to use this practice.  He’s simply repackaged it with the Law of Attraction/New Thought teachings.

Also, Dyer assumes that there is a god or a universal source from which we all come.  He goes so far as to suggest that anyone who doesn’t believe the soul or spirit lives on after the body dies is living in a “terrifying” state, that “invokes fear and anxiety” with the added assumption that to believe there is an afterlife affords the person a life “associated with peace and love” (114-118).  I disagree.  I’ve known some atheists who were far more peaceful and loving than Christians who went to church every Sunday and Jews who observed every holiday and dietary rules.

But then, Dyer is not writing for atheists.  He’s writing for an audience that he assumes believes in a higher power, whatever terminology is used to describe this being.  Of course, there is also the assumption that if it works for him then it must work for anyone and everyone.  Not a surprise, really.  The book is filled with superficial platitudes and generic suggestions that will make the reader who successfully applies them feel vindicated and the reader who successfully applies them but still experiences suffering feel guilty or even ashamed.

I actually own another Dyer book but I’m not sure I am eager to read it now that I’ve read this book.  I guess that says it all.

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