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The Power of Intention: A Review
By Layli Phillips
Sunday, 31 December 2006 - 12:00 PM

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The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way (paperback), by Wayne W. Dyer, Hay House, 2004, 257pp.

The Power of Intention

Truth is truth regardless of its source, my father always used to say.   The strength of Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way is in its accessible presentation of truth distilled from many sources.   Dr. Dyer, a counseling psychologist who left the academic arena during his mid-30s to offer self-development guidance on a mass scale, brings the wisdom of numerous thinkers to a popular audience using contemporary language and vivid anecdotes.   In so doing, he proves that inspiration, as much as any information, is a fuel for our being our best selves in the world.   Indeed, even a cursory search of reader reactions to The Power of Intention (or virtually any book by Dyer) will reveal legions of people who proclaim, “This book changed my life.”   There’s something worth examining in this phenomenon.

What is intention?   Reflecting the evolution of his own thought, Dyer confesses that he used to define intention as “a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result,” i.e., willpower.   As a result of his own ongoing study, however, his position has changed radically.   He now defines intention as “a force that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy” – something much more effortless and immanent.   The Power of Intention is about teaching people to tap into this invisible field of energy in order to effect change in their everyday lives.   Tapping into this energy requires recognizing and then detaching from ego, identifying with the inner source of our power, discovering divine self-love, then “moving out of our own way” in order to manifest the 7 “faces” of intention, namely creativity, kindness, love, beauty, expansion, abundance, and receptivity.   A large segment of the book is devoted to discussing the practical application of each of these “faces” based on intending that which we desire and changing our own thought and behavior accordingly.   Thus, Dyer artfully combines spirituality with psychology as a means to aid and support anyone wishing to achieve elevated existence, regardless of their pre-existing familiarity with arcane knowledge sources.

Dyer’s genius lies in his ability to weave references ranging from the widely known to the relatively obscure into a seamless tapestry of profound wisdom masquerading as common sense.   In a society where most people just don’t read widely, much less deeply, Dyer corrals such diverse philosophers, scientists, mystics, healers, and teachers as Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Freud, Mother Theresa, Einstein, and Rumi (yes, you’ve probably heard of them), Krishnamurti, Castaneda, Lao Tzu, Emerson, Maslow, Frankl and Tagore   ( maybe you’ve heard of them), Hawkins, Troward, Hermes, Hunt, Hafiz, Patanjali, or Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (have you heard of them??).   In so doing, Dyer serves as a gateway to deeper study and firsthand experience of original wisdom, beginning with acknowledged masters and ending with the Higher Self within.   In our exhaustingly information-saturated society, Dyer performs a great service to many people.

Purists who argue that Dyer’s work is nothing more than a pastiche of original source material from the world’s great teachers would do well to consider both the demands of today’s society and the methods of the great teachers themselves.   One must ask, what would a great teacher look like if she or he crossed our paths today?   In what way would she or he speak or write?   What references would she or he pull to connect with us and impress us and stimulate us to further independent investigation?   What would her or his energy feel like?   And from where would she or he have gotten her or his own information, education, and illumination? Through this process of questioning, we would be forced to admit that a great teacher today would, in one respect or another, have to use the language, modalities, and reference points to which people are already accustomed.   In addition, she or he would likely have attained their own point of enlightenment from exposure to and contact with other great teachers, in books or in person.   Finally, she or he would have to be someone who touched people’s hearts, not just their minds.

In sum, the truth is deceptively simple.   As stated in the Hadith, “Knowledge is one point, which the foolish have multiplied.”   It takes great teachers like Dyer, who operate from a place of both vast knowledge and genuine love for humanity, to prove this point effectively in our cynical, skeptical, and often narrowly focused postmodern society.

© Copyright 2006 by Radical Scholar, Inc.

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