“I’ve found that every spiritual advance I’ve made was preceded by some sort of a fall – in fact, it’s almost a universal law that a fall of some kind precedes a major shift.”  

THIS was the sentence that stopped me cold in my reading of Wayne Dyer’s new book, “The Shift: Taking your Life from Ambition to Meaning.” 

I was reading – and loving — this book, a companion book to Dr. Dyer’s movie of the same name, ‘The Shift,” that came out last year.  I watched and enjoyed that movie then and  — loyal Wayne Dyer fan that I am — always intended to re-watch it so I could take notes on his always wise observations on life.   I never got around to that.    

I was relieved when I heard he had written a companion book – “How considerate of him to realize that we frustrated note-takers would appreciate a summary of everything he said in the movie.”   I was so involved in the stories in the film — the stories that illustrate, in each case, a character’s or a couple’s fall, or near destruction as a result of the ego’s  striving  — to a choice for meaning — and love — in each character’s life.  

As I read the book, I arrived at that passage and stopped to reflect – “Yes, that’s exactly how it’s gone for me” — personal and career falls, followed by a yearning for something more, a shift to something greater in my spirit, that often resulted in some beautiful revelation about myself or the world or the Universe, or God, Himself – and generated a transformation of my own world view, my own Being – so that the competition I felt before transformed into willingness, the judgment transformed into empathy and compassion, and the feeling of “I’ve got to make this happen” transformed into surrender to the God of my mind and heart. 

Dr. Dyer’s new book, besides being the companion book to “The Shift” movie, is also a lovely sort-of “handbook” to his spiritual philosophy –  not an in-depth  analysis of the “Tao Te Ching” that his previous book, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”  is,  nor a how-to book like “Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits,” both of which I also read and liked very much. 

 “The Shift” is a synopsis of a spiritual world view grounded in purpose and meaning. 

It is, at 112 pages, a short book for Wayne Dyer, and for that, a very appealing one.  Dr. Dyer gets to his point quickly – a life based in ego thoughts can never be ultimately satisfying, given, as the ego is, to always wanting more. And, then, the dreaded sentence: “a fall of some kind precedes a major shift.”  Somehow or other, there is some kind of “fall” – a set-back, a disappointment, a divorce – or almost one, losing a job or a project – something that takes us down so low that there is a danger of losing our way in life.  It is often at those low points that we see something we never saw before. 

What is possible to see in those falls is that there IS another way – a way that leads to fulfillment and joy –  finding, or suddenly realizing, one’s purpose. 

Dr. Dyer’s books always seem to come to me at just the right time in my life – I often get the feeling that he sits in his study in Maui writing just for me.  I think his message this time could very possibly be for the entire world.  

We’ve just been through a financial crisis – one marked by the drive of greed, ambition, and cut-throat competition – all ear-marks of the ego gone wild.  If this isn’t a fall, I don’t know what is.

What do we do now?  Dr. Dyer paints a clear choice.  We can either go back to the ego driven world we had before – and, I say, there are signs that is happening in many quarters.  Or, as Dr. Dyer suggests, we can look within, and find those places where we can make a difference – and look to serve an end beyond ourselves. 

The journey to Meaning, Dr. Dyer asserts, is to raise our consciousness from our own material wants and desires and find that for which we came – to serve others, to serve humanity, to serve the world.    

Dr. Dyer’s message is,  “…making the shifts to humility, trust, and letting go feel natural because we’re rejoining our original nature.  A life of meaning is only a thought away.” 

What will you choose?

Deliciously yours in the Source of it All, Linda

Here is the link to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s, “The Shift:  Taking Your Life From Ambition to Meaning” at his website:  http://www.drwaynedyer.com/

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and ”Spiritual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you.

This little Easter story is about one of those serendipitous moments that I so love…

It happened on Holy Thursday this past week.  I invited my friend, David, to go with me to hear readings from Dante’s “Inferno” – all the way uptown, to the 4th largest cathedral in the world, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York City.  It had been years since I’d been there – not since the fire and not since the scaffolding had been up in a vain attempt to finish it…  Started in 1892, “St. John, the Unfinished” as it is affectionately known by New Yorkers, is no less glorious in its Majesty and no less a contribution to the rich and varied cultural life of New York City.

As for Dante’s “Inferno” – I hadn’t cracked that book open since I studied it – in Italian, yet – in college over 40 years ago.  The nuances of Florentine politics were challenging enough at the time – I could not imagine that I would remember the story of it in one sitting on Thursday night.

No matter.  A work of epic poetry, Dante’s great masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy,” is still one of the enduring works of genius in this world – and, I often find that, with works of genius, there is something in the energy of the space when you hear a great work of literature, see a great work of art, listen to a musical masterpiece – that resonates in our deepest, most heartfelt places – our very souls — whether we think we understand them or not.

I wanted a journey into my soul and I could think of no better guide than Dante….

I was not disappointed.    Renowned names in poetry and the arts read from various translations in English, for those of us whose Italian is a bit rusty, if it exists at all — the lamentations of those lost souls doomed to whatever circle of hell for all eternity, names familiar in Florentine times… utterly unknown or forgotten now…

Ah, but the soul’s journey to God – the allegory that this great poem is – still sings in the verse about tortured souls and burning corpses – but is really about our own distance from God, in whatever form that takes…   Doubt, fear, selfishness, indifference, violence — and resonated in my own soul after a challenging couple of years of doubt and fear and wondering what would become of me – as I travel my own “inferno” of trying to live in New York City as a real estate broker during a time when everyone is scared and few can get mortgages, and everyone I know has their own version of the separation from the inner riches of knowing that God provides always.

David and I left after about an hour and a half of rapture in that beautiful space – we flagged a  taxi to travel down what would become Columbus Avenue after we left Morningside Heights, to leave David off on the West Side, and then on to the East Side, where I live.

We talked in the cab  about what we heard and how happy we were that we had gone, and how beautiful St. John the Divine is, and then we touched on the differences in how we were raised – I, as a Catholic, and David, whose father was an Episcopal Minister.

David hopped out of the cab at West 78th Street, and I stayed inside for my journey home…

As the taxi pulled away from the curb where we had left David, the taxi driver asked me if we had been to a class.  I replied that  No, we had gone to that beautiful cathedral to hear one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written.  I explained to him what it was —  and also explained that it seemed a good time to hear it since it was Holy Thursday and what a wonderful way to commemorate Jesus’ own “descent into hell” during the three days that he was laid in the tomb.

The taxi driver interrupted me, alarmed – “Who sent Jesus to hell?  Why?”  I thought for a moment and realized that I had just repeated — unconsciously and automatically (never a good thing)  —  the version of the Creed that I had learned as a young child, but that sentence is no longer in the statement of what Catholics believe.  I remembered that it scared me as a child that I had to say, “He descended into hell and on the third day, he rose again from the dead…”

I have been back in church for almost six years now, saying the Creed at every Mass, and realized that it now says, “He  suffered, died, and was buried.  On the third day, He rose again…”

He rose again….  that is the message – the redemption of man through love and compassion…

The taxi driver shared with me that he is Muslim — and that, in the Muslim religion, Jesus is a prophet.   I knew that since I have other Muslim friends…  The taxi driver and I talked about love and redemption and compassion for all people – the Jesus Christ message – and how we both believe that that is why He came – to teach that to all of us.

My heart opened up with our shared vision of a world of love and peace. It didn’t matter at all that we were two different faiths.

We talked all the way and the time passed quickly — as I fell in love with this conversation between two strangers.   Before I knew it, we pulled to the corner of 55th and Second where I was getting out.

As I paid him the fare, I offered my hand to shake his and thanked him for a beautiful interlude in a challenging and sometimes cold world.     He took my hand in his and thanked me and said, “Love will be the way… That is what Jesus wanted.”  I started to cry.

As I walked the short half block to my apartment, it occurred to me that I had traveled uptown to a great cathedral to hear the voice of genius, always inspiring, always moving to me – and came to find something even greater — a meeting of minds joined in peace and love…  in a yellow taxicab, late at night,  in New York City….

This is how we are redeemed.

Happy Easter to All!

Deliciously yours in the Glory of it All, Linda

“But already my desire and my will
were being turned like a wheel, all at one speed,
by the Love which moves the sun and the other stars.”

Dante Alighieri, “La Divina Commedia,” “Paradiso”, Canto XXXIII, lines 142-145, on the Radiance of God.

“Why do you seek the living one among the dead?  He is not here.  He has risen.”     The Gospel of Luke, 24:1-12.

The beautiful interior of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on  West 112th and Amsterdam Avenue.

For programs and readings, go to:  http://www.stjohndivine.org

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and ”Spiritual Chocolate”  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Thank you.

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