MR writes: “I have Catholic friends who really like Wayne Dyer on PBS and tell me that he believes the same as we do. I think he is a new ager who twists the truth. Would you do a program about the incompatibility of his work with Catholicism or share your insights about him on your blog page? I need your help in expressing my concerns about him.”
MR, you’re absolutely right. Wayne Dyer does not believe as we do and is most definitely a New Age preacher who is not above playing fast and loose with Scripture when it suits his audience.
For instance, in his article, “How to Attract Abundance,” listen to how he intertwines the words of St. Paul with the New Age concept of universal energy and “vibrations.”
“The energy that creates worlds and universes is within you. It works through attraction and energy. Everything vibrates; everything has a vibratory frequency. As St. Paul said, ‘God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance.’ Tune to God’s frequency, and you will know it beyond any and all doubt!”
Our Lord did indeed say that He came in order that we may have life, “and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10) but experiencing this abundance this has nothing to do with tuning into a “frequency.” What St. Paul and Jesus are speaking about is an abundance that can only be found in acceptance of the salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ.
But that’s only one example of how Dyer, and self-help gurus like him pander to their Christian audience with a twisted message that might sound Biblical but is actually steeped in the New Age.
For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Wayne Dyer, (Ph.D in Educational Counseling), is a motivational speaker and bestselling author (Your Erroneous Zones, Excuses Begone, The Shift, etc.) whose lectures “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life,” are imbued with the New Thought/New Age motivational principal that we can make anything happen just by thinking the right way.
As New Age expert Marcia Montenegro explains on her website, Christian Answers for the New Age, Dyer’s work reflects the views of the New Thought movement that produced the Christian Science Church and the Church of Religious Science. Much of New Thought was incorporated into the New Age and the modern Human Potential Movement, which encompasses a variety of self-help and motivational training programs that promote a human-centered psychology based on the belief that a person is in complete control of their destiny. In fact, it was the popular bestselling book, The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale that repackaged the ideas of New Thought for a modern Christian audience.
“Positive thinking as taught in New Thought and by Peale has nothing to do with merely having a positive attitude,” Montenegro writes. “More precisely, it involves the belief that via specific techniques your thoughts and words can have the power to alter reality, and to manifest nonexistent events or things into reality. The root of this is the New Thought conviction that we are all imbued with a boundless divine power within us which we can tap into (hence the popular motivational teachings that you have “limitless” power and can do anything you envision).”
This is precisely what Dyer and many other self-help gurus like him preach. That he espoused the writings of Peale was made obvious in a 2003 interview with Family Circle Magazine when he repeated Peale’s famous quote, “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
However, as Montenegro points out, New Thought teachers were themselves molded by Eastern teachings, which is why it should come as no surprise that Dyer refers to Eastern teacher Baba Sri Siva as his “guru.” (He dedicated his book, Manifest Your Destiny, to Siva.)
Siva teaches that “Manifestation, or creation of a home, job, relationship or business, happens when the energy is released from the third eye chakra.” He also believed that a person could reverse their own bad karma and attract prosperity “by writing Siva’s full name preceded by the Sanskrit word, ‘Om’ (considered a sacred sound in Hinduism) 108 times once or twice each day,” Montenegro writes.
Siva’s teachings had great influence on Dyer, particularly in regard to “intention,” which is described not as desires or goals but as a force in the universe to which one must become aligned in order to experience happiness and abundance
Dyer published a book called The Power of Intention and explained his idea of “intention” by quoting the late New Age shaman, Carlos Castenada, in this interview with Holistic Health:
“Carlos Castenada said there’s an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans called “intent” and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is connected to it. You can call it spirit or soul or consciousness or universal mind or source. It is the invisible force that intends everything into the universe. It’s everywhere. This source is always creating, it is kind, it is loving, it is peaceful. It is non-judgmental, and it excludes no one.
“[. . . .] Whenever we are in harmony with that source from which we all emanated, which everything came from, we have the powers of the source.”
Dyer does not seem too concerned about who – or what – this “source” might be, but we know from Scripture that this is not the way the Almighty has revealed himself to us. Our God is a personal being, not an energy force that can be harnessed and used at will.
But Dr. Dyer has great faith in this “source” and encourages others to do the same.
In a July, 2003 article entitled “Consulting the Soul,” he describes how he calls upon this unnamed spiritual source for guidance.
“ . . . In the spirit of surrender and love I silently chant, ‘I invite the highest good for all concerned to be here now.’ I try to see anger, hatred and disharmony as invitations to surrender and love. With this understanding I have the option to allow spirit to manifest and work through me. I believe my spirit is inseparable from the infinite. Having a relationship with the infinite part of myself encourages my recognition of spiritual solutions. The awareness of my infinite nature is terrific for putting everything into perspective.
”My approach to problem-solving involves cultivating an empty mind. In this space I listen, and allow myself to have complete faith that I will be guided in the direction of resolution. I let go of my ideas about how something should be resolved.”
All of these teachings reek of gnosticism, which is the belief that salvation can be obtained through some kind of secret knowledge – or a secret “source” if you will. Also, by professing that man can use his mind to alter realitty and otherwise control his destiny is to negate the need for God and elevates man to divine status – another distinctly New Age concept.
I see many dangers for the unsuspecting – especially those who are not particularly savvy about spiritual realities – in techniques such as the one described above. The combination of emptying the mind (the purpose of which is to achieve an altered state of consciousness) then inviting and allowing oneself to be influenced by unnamed spiritual entities is just plain reckless. This amounts to dabbling in the occult and anyone who does so ends up in trouble – either now or later.
If you really want to change your life, forget the self-help guru circuit and surrender to the real “Source” – Jesus Christ – the only One who has the power to transform your life in an instant and leave you with a peace and joy beyond anything you can imagine.