Published in Woonsocket Call on September 6. 2015
On August 30, 2015, the internet was ablaze with the news that Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, one of America’s most popular self-help authors and motivational speakers in the field of self-development and spiritual growth, had died one day earlier at his home in Maui, Hawaii. He was 75 years old.
On his very popular official Facebook page (with over 2.5 million likes) Dyer’s family announced: “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”
Who was this man, raised by an alcoholic father and in orphanages and foster homes as a child, whose books, lectures and workshops, CDs, DVDs, streaming videos and weekly radio show, would strikes a chord with millions all over the world?
A Prolific Writer
According to a statement released by Hay House, over four decades the internationally acclaimed author, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, penned 42 books, 21 of which became New York Times bestsellers. Devoted fans would give him the affectionate moniker “the father of motivation.”
After a four-year stint in the United States Navy, Dyer would go on to earn his doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University before serving as a professor at St. John’s University in New York. Throughout his early years as a college educator, and as a clinical psychologist, he realized that there was a need to make the principles of self-discovery and personal growth more accessible to the public.
In 1976, Dr. Dyer began his writing career as an author by traveling the nation selling his first book, “Your Erroneous Zones”, right from the trunk of his car. The self-help book went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time, with more than 60 million copies sold, printings in 47 languages, and 64 weeks spent on the New York Times bestseller list. This put Dr. Dyer firmly on America’s radar screen, resulting in the bookings on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson a whopping total of 37 times.
With the publishing of a number of best-selling books on self-improvement under his belt, Dyer turned his attention to exploring the spiritual aspects of human experience. “My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts,” Dr. Dyer noted at that time. “Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits. Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings without label is a way to transform the world and reach a sacred place for all of humanity,” he said. Throughout his life this theme would be woven into all his writings, lectures and workshops.
In 1993, Dyer began publishing his books with Hay House, founded in 1984, and he quickly became one of its most prolific and popular authors. The company, with its headquarters in Carlsbad, California with international offices in the United Kingdom, Austria, South Africa and India, has published over 300 books and 450 audios from 140 authors.
At Hay House, Dr. Dyer also created several audio programs and videos, and appeared on thousands of television and radio shows over the course of his long career. His books “Manifest Your Destiny”, “Wisdom of the Ages”, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem”, and the New York Times bestsellers “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace”, “The Power of Intention, Inspiration, Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life, Excuses Begone!,” “Wishes Fulfilled”, and “I Can See Clearly Now”, have all been featured as PBS specials, raising over $200 million for public television stations nationwide.
Dyer did not even forget his alma mater, Wayne State University. He raised over $1 million for the educational institution.
Dyer’s Death Hits Local Followers
In 1974, Gary Calvino, 62, remembers reading his first Dyer book, the “Erroneous Zones,” one that would totally impact how he would live his life. “It changed my life and got me to think about looking inside my being for my happiness rather than seeking it from others.” The author’s “authenticity” who lived his principles and “walked his talk” kept Calvino reading more of Dyer’s books that ultimately would total 42.
Calvino, setting up a new nonprofit, Mindful Rhode Island to create an interconnected web of mindfulness throughout the Ocean State, also treasured a chance meeting with Dyer at a lecture in New York City, he says. The Providence resident described a 10-minute private encounter with the motivational speaker, “a gratitude conversation,” he says that would ultimately give him a way to communicate in more “heart-felt way” with his dying father.
“It hit me very hard when I heard of Dyer’s death,” says Calvino. “I know he had no fear of dying and he is now in a great place,” he adds.
“Reading and watching him on videos over the years actually allowed me to grow with him,” says Calvino, stressing that he was able to follow the author through all phases of his personal and spiritual growth. “Every book he wrote was a learning experience for him. With his passing I will miss his inspirational wisdom.”
Wanda Morrison, whose family business, Mind Body Barre is located in three locations in Southern Massachusetts, has followed the teachings of Dyer since her early teenage days. The fifty-two year old says “I have always known when his books came out and I probably have read them all,” she says.
Morrison’s says Dyer had the “most soothing presence and aura about him,” adding that people felt his “powerful presence of love and healing.”
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” is one of my favorite Dyer quotes, says Morrison, stressing that it’s made her more aware that she is a co-creator in her world.
“I was speechless and so sad when I heard of his passing,” Morrison says. “There will never be another person like him. His wisdom and way he chose to dedicate his life to help others with writings that were so simple and easy to understand will be hard to duplicate,” she noted.
“I will be reading his books and listening or watching his lectures for the rest of my life. He will forever be a part of my world,” says Morrison.
Yes, Dyer taught us to overcome both their perceived and real physical limitations to make their dreams come true. If his life mission on earth was to teach his loyal following to connect with their “Highest Self,” he truly succeeded.
Dr. Dyer was married three times, separated from his third wife and had eight children and nine grandchildren.
To order books, videos, CDs, go to www.drwaynedyer.com.
I suppose we all expected he would live to be a hundred.