Note: I’m going to break up this post into three or four parts, due to the length of his presentation and the quantity of information provided.

A couple of months ago, I was browsing the Hay House website for the first time, looking for books on Dr. Wayne Dyer. I came across a link to purchase tickets for a PBS program that Dyer would be taping in San Diego on May 23rd. I bought a ticket and continued my search for books, not giving the ticket much thought.

I attended the taping on May 23rd, along with about 300 other people. I was SHOCKED when Dyer announced that tickets for this event had sold out in one hour! Talk about being in the right place at the right time when I bought the ticket! Divine intervention? You know what they say: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

For his new book, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”, Dyer applied each of the 81 verses of the Tao Te Ching to his life. Over the course of one year, he read, studied, and lived the ancient Chinese philosophies and recorded the changes he noticed in himself. During the talk, he highlighted some of the most important concepts taught by the Chinese texts.

According to Dyer, reading and applying the wisdom of the Tao will allow the qualities of integrity, joy, peace, and balance to flow into your life. You will return to “the place from whence you came”. In other words, you’ll re-align with your source energy, your true nature. We all come from the divine, and for the nine months that we lived in our mother’s womb we trusted in this divine nature to create our lives. However, once we’re born and develop an ego consciousness we lose trust in our own nature and depend on others to show us the path to happiness.

What is ego? Dyer defines it as: Edge God Out. Ego consists of false beliefs, including material possessions, extrinsic rewards, and likability. Children’s egos develop early in life; in kindergarten, they are rewarded with gold stars for their achievements. As they grow, their self-worth becomes dependent on awards, material possessions, and a sense of belonging to the “right” crowd. However, when one of these “foundations” crumbles (as they are prone to do, being built on false premises), the person is left confused and disoriented, having lost touch with source energy.

If you believe you are what you do, when you don’t, you aren’t.

Tao, which in Chinese means “the way”, guides us back to where we started and encourages us to trust in our own nature by retraining the ego in the following ways:

Shift from fear to curiosity. There’s nothing more liberating and life-affirming than discovering a new passion, talent, or calling, but many times we’re held in place by fear of failure. Push aside your convictions of what’s doable and what’s impossible, and trust that your divine nature will guide you.

Take the need to be in control and shift it to trust. You weren’t in control of your physical development while you were in the womb, yet everything was created perfectly by your source energy. Allow it to create everything else in your life with the same perfection and ease.

Shift from a sense of entitlement to a sense of radical humility. Live in awe of everything that surrounds you, and be grateful for each person, thing, and situation your life is graced with. “Stay humble, stay low,” Dyer recommends. He goes on to explain that the sea stays low, yet rivers and streams flow into it. Isn’t that imagery beautiful??

Be kind to the kind and the unkind alike, because our true nature is kindness. If you want to live in a more thoughtful, positive, and caring world, you have to start by being the change you want to see. Each act of kindness you put forth encourages others to act in turn.

Shift from “needing more” to “living contentedly”. Our society is constantly reminding us that we need to have more. The media, our peers, and even schools encourage consumerism at a frightening scale. However, it’s been demonstrated that humans live by the 80-20 rule: We only use 20% of what we have; the other 80% goes to waste. The Tao says, “When your cup is full, stop pouring.” Dyer encourages us to give away the 80% that we don’t use. Perhaps even more importantly, he touts the virtue of giving away something that we really like. The act of sharing with others something that has brought you immense happiness will undoubtedly bring more joy into your life.