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How to Shift from Ambition to Meaning: Film Preview & QA with Dr. Wayne Dyer
Dr. Wayne Dyer — who appears as himself in The Shift, this month's inspirational movie from Spiritual Cinema Circle (catch a preview below) — is affectionately called the “father of motivation” by his fans.
Dyer began his career as an author in the early 1970s by traveling the country alone and selling his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, from the trunk of his car. That book went on to sell more than 30 million copies and became the best-selling book of that decade.
Despite a childhood spent in orphanages and foster homes, Dyer has overcome many obstacles to make his dreams come true. Today he spends much of his time showing others how to do the same. As an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development, he has written more than 30 books, 18 of which have been national best-sellers. Several of his books have been featured as PBS specials, which has resulted in raising over $150 million for national public television. When he’s not traveling the globe delivering his uplifting message, Dr. Dyer is writing from his home in Hawaii.
We recently spoke with Dr. Dyer and got the inside scoop on the making and spiritual meaning of his new film The Shift and how he has coped with some of his own unexpected life challenges. First, here's a preview of the film:
Q. What kind of shift will your film help people make?
A. It’s a shift from ambition to meaning. Moving away from identifying ourselves on the basis of ego, such as how much we earn, what we do, etcetera. I’m in the process of turning this into a movie that everyone will know and talk about. My goal is to have 10 million people watch this movie, to truly make a “shift” in this country. I chose 10 million because that equals pi, or 3.14 percent, of the population. When you reach that number, you reach phase transition or critical mass, and then the rest of the population begins to align. They say that only 10 percent of Americans regularly read books. Making this movie provides a vehicle to be able to reach a lot of people who will never read a book.
What’s a memory that stands out about the making of the movie?
That’s easy. At one point, after I had done a scene many times, I realized that I was trying too hard. I even asked myself, “Why am I doing this film?” I realized I was trying to be an actor and remember my lines. Then I remembered that the words in the script were only guidelines; I just needed to be myself.
What’s the most important, life-changing thing you want people to learn from this film?
That every one has a dharma, a destiny, a “calling of the soul.” Every bird, every tree, every person comes into this world with something it is destined to do. All of the other creatures on the planet don’t get confused about this; they are what they are. Human beings, because they take on a false self, or ego, start to believe that what they do or what they have defines them. The Shift illustrates that when you are at peace and you let go, you will be guided into your dharma. You will be living a life of meaning rather than ambition.
What are some of your all-time favorite movies that have touched or inspired you?
My very favorite is Déjà Vu by Henry Jaglom. I’ve seen it 50 times. This film opens up all the possibilities about life, love and fate — you begin to realize that this Universe has endless possibilities. Brother Sun, Sister Moon, the story of St. Francis of Assisi, is my second favorite movie. I also loved Forrest Gump and A Man for All Seasons.
You’ve recently been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). What can you share about this experience?
When you come into this world with big dharma, you get big challenges. This is just another one of them. As a child I lived in an orphanage. My parents left me when I was little. My wife left me. I have had serious addictions in my life that I have let go of. I will be able to understand it, make it work for me and help other people. I haven’t judged it or been angry with it. I am not worried about healing it. I am working to live with it. I think when you fight anything, you weaken yourself. I am inviting it to stay in peace and harmony with me or leave. It’s up to it. It’s just another life force. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross said, “When you shield the mountain from the windstorms, you will never see the beauty of the carving.” That’s how I feel about it.