I go to see Wayne Dyer to hear his latest thoughts on the oneness of all; along the way, he shows us our own individual sparks of possibilities, while all the while helping us to see that we are one.
He never uses the word, non-duality, but Wayne Dyer paints a picture in a day of lectures and meditation that brings me closer to a sense of nonduality, of something I might call universal consciousness. I watch this man who has spent a lifetime studying, thinking and teaching us, the masses, and who’s come to a place of spirituality in his 70th decade. How did he get here? And where is “here”, I can’t resist asking.
It’s April 19, 2015. We sit in the Portland Convention Center on marginally padded chrome chairs and begin the day with Wayne Dyer’s daughter, Skye, singing “I am Light”, an India Arie song. Music sets the tone for the day, becomes a refrain and hums in the background of the hours. Skye will return to the stage after lunch break and sing the song again. It’s a nice touch, I think, but I soon find it’s more than a “touch” because, as we’ll see, Wayne is attempting to take us beyond intellectual understanding of his topic. He wants us to feel it as he does, and what better way than to immerse us in beautiful music?
He follows up the music with a video of a NASA Hubble image reaching deep into Andromeda Galaxy and with that, he has hold of the two threads that he is tying in a bow for us.
Courtesy of NASA – a small segment of the Andromeda Galaxy from a Hubble photo.
Here is what he sees when he looks at the billions of stars in these pictures of the galaxy:
he sees limitlessness.
He “sees” Infinity, if one can see that.
Or better said, he feels it.
He grasps the oneness of it all. And simultaneously, he feels the immensity of it.
“This is who we are,” he says, standing beside the big screen with the Andromeda Galaxy spread above him and the camera revealing more and more stars as it dives further and further into the panorama photo. We are this “infinite nature.” There’s no beginning and no end.
I’m mesmerized by the millions of stars in this one small segment of this one single galaxy in a universe of millions of galaxies – and more – billions, I have no doubt.
But Wayne Dyer does not leave us floating in the unimaginable stretches of space, time and universe. He moves on, connecting the dots he’s laid out for us.
What a privilege, he says, to be incarnated in this body and to be able to explore such depths![my paraphrase]
We Are Light
Wayne Dyer has the gift of carrying us along with him as he tells his story. “We are light,” he says, and we agree. The audience of almost 1,300 souls relaxes into their convention floor chairs. “We are infinite,” he says, and we grasp this, too. I follow him as he talks and I capture a glimmer – just a twinkle − of my own feeling of nonduality.
He quotes William Blake, one of his favorite poets:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
[William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell]
Throughout the day, Wayne will return to these thoughts again and again. He’ll have several more quotes from several other authors and poets. We’ll meditate. We’ll also listen to Anita Moorjani tell her riveting story of awakening. Wayne will present us with metaphors and stories. I’ve heard many of these before. I’ve heard his metaphor of the clay pot – it is the space in the middle of the pot, not the clay, that makes it a pot. I’ve heard most of his stories and jokes. And I’m not alone in the room, as very few people in the audience are brand new to Wayne Dyer.
But I do not go just to be entertained by stories; I go as I would to a good friend, to walk alongside him, to attempt to dive as deeply into the world of life as he has − to have him lead me into Blake’s cavern so I sense my unwanted creation of that dark cave, so my desire – my need to see more than what the narrow chinks in the wall show − will demolish the cavern and along with it, the illusion in which we spend our days.
Many philosophers talk of non-duality, and they explain the concept clearly; I read them and I appreciate them. But for me, understanding the philosophy and feeling the oneness are not the same.
As I metaphorically walk with Wayne through the day, I catch a glimpse of what he wants us to achieve − the complete acceptance, expanse and joy of being. Capture that, I think, and you have captured the meaning of life. Or, no. You have captured life itself.