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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life
Living the Wisdom of the Tao
Wayne Dyer
Hay House 09/07 Hardcover $26.95
ISBN: 9781401911843


In this ambitious work, bestselling spirituality writer Wayne Dyer, the author of 30 books, shares his insights on the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. He set aside a year of his life to read, research, and meditate on the wisdom of this Chinese sage. Part of his time was devoted to exploring ten different translations of the 81-verse text and coming up with spiritual practices for living this Great Way day by day. Dyer notes:

"This is a book that will forever change the way you look at your life, and the result will be that you'll live in a new world aligned with nature. Writing this book changed me forever. I now live in accord with the natural world and feel the greatest sense of peace I've ever experienced."

Lao-Tzu, in the first verse of the Tao Te Ching, takes his hat off to the great mystery and then says: "And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding." That is a hard one for the typical 21st century person to swallow. We are used to thinking that we comprehend how things work. We try very hard to discover answers for all the imponderables in life. Dyer counsels us to "let the world unfold without always attempting to figure it all out. . . . Take time to open your mind to the fascinating mystery and uncertainty that we all experience." He also suggests letting go of always naming and labeling. It is easier just to honestly admit, "I don't know."

Lao-Tzu in the seventh verse of the Tao Te Ching admonishes us to "serve the needs of others, and all of your own needs will be served." But first, we need to reverse our ego's hold over us. Dyer provides a strategy:

"Be on the lookout for ego's demands for an entire day. Decide to defuse as many of them as you can comfortably, perhaps by assigning them an 'intensity grade.' Living beyond ego situations that are easy to accomplish get a low number, while those requests that are difficult to quell get a higher number.

"For example, let's say that your spouse is driving a car in which you are a passenger. You see a perfect parking space, but your mate drives right by; or you watch him or her take a different route than you ordinarily do. Silently witness the degree of discomfort with your decision not to say anything. Did ego let you know its preference?

"Or if you have a conversational opportunity to display your specialized knowledge or describe a situation wherein you were the recipient of honor or success, note how uncomfortable your decision to remain quiet felt. Again, did ego let you know its preference? As Lao-Tzu says in this verse, 'through selfless action, fulfillment is attained.' By holding back ego's demands, even for a few moments, you will feel more and more fulfilled."

We loved Dyer's specific suggested spiritual practices in a section of each chapter called "Do the Tao Now." You will find practices on seeing oneness, letting go of hurried thoughts, living naturally, going on a 24-hour fast, sending peaceful energy to someone or some group, opening your heart in compassion, making time for something you've never done before, making a decision to help one other person, and much more.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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