Chapter One of Wayne Dyer: Wishes Fulfilled book: Changing Your concept of Yourself
There’s a level of awareness available to you that you are probably unfamiliar with. It extends upward and transcends the ordinary level of consciousness that you’re most accustomed to. At this higher plane of existence, which you and every human being who has ever lived can access at will, the fulfillment of wishes is not only probable—it is guaranteed. This chapter is simply a preparation for entering into that realm wherein you have much more say over what comes into your life than you might have envisioned.
After 18 months in relative seclusion, studying, meditating, and literally experiencing what it is like to live in this miraculous plane of existence beyond anything that might be labeled ordinary or normal, I’ve undertaken this joyous task of writing about having wishes fulfilled. I’ve seen firsthand how virtually every wish or desire I’ve placed my attention on has transformed from a mental thought into an objective fact. I’m not proposing memorizing an esoteric formula leading to a theoretical nirvana. My emphasis throughout this book is that manifestation is real and that it occurs when you make a specific decision to change your mind about who you are and what is possible for you to achieve in this parenthesis in eternity called your life.
I’m inviting you to be receptive to a radical new idea about yourself. It’s radical because ever since you left your mother’s womb you’ve been subjected to cultural conditioning designed to help you be content with living a normal life at the level of ordinary consciousness, which generally means accepting whatever life hands you. In many ways, you’ve been programmed to believe that you do not possess the wisdom or ability to manifest the fulfillment of your wishes and desires. I am saying as clearly as I know how to say it in these opening pages; There’s a plane of awareness that you can opt to live at, wherein you can, if you are willing to change your concept of yourself as an ordinary being, find yourself fulfilling any and all wishes that you have for yourself. Throughout this book I’ll explore with you what I’ve studied, learned, internalized, practiced, and yes, lived regarding the powers of manifestation. It begins with changing your concept of yourself.
So let’s take a look at this idea and then examine what you need to do in order to make your self-concept congruent with how you want to live your life, and the powerful role you can begin to assume as a co-fulfiller of all of your rational/sensible wishes and desires.
What Is Your Self-Concept?
Simply put, your concept of yourself is everything that you believe to be true. And everything that you believe to be true about yourself has landed you precisely where you live and breathe every day of your life. Your beliefs about yourself are like the ingredients in a recipe that you use to create your self-concept. Those ingredients or beliefs fall into two specific categories: your outer self-concept and your inner self-concept.
Your Outer Self-Concept
These ingredients include everything you accept as truth concerning what the physical you is capable of. There’s probably a certain amount of intellectual acumen that you agree is necessary to your outer self-concept. Smart perhaps—but not really a genius—more capable in some areas than others perhaps, such as technological knowledge. Perhaps you add a measure of writing ability, but detect more fluency with numbers and mathematical problem-solving than your ability to write prose. Your beliefs about your outer self may be well seasoned and strong in some areas and almost hopelessly incapacitated or weak in others. You very likely have a conceptual framework of just how smart you are and have carried that belief with you since you were a youngster in elementary school.
Your outer concept of yourself includes everything you believe about your innate and learned talents and abilities. Your beliefs about your clumsiness, coordination, athletic, musical, and artistic talents are a partial list of the ingredients that comprise the recipe of you. These descriptors also apply to everything else about your outer self. Your outer self-concept includes how you view yourself in relationship to health, your immunity to, or inclination toward, illnesses of all descriptions. You know if you are prone to being overweight, addicted to various substances such as sugar, caffeine, fat, meat, dairy, and the like. You define yourself as prone to catching colds or immune to such things; likely to gain weight, inclined toward skin rashes, or predisposed to low energy or high sleep requirements.
The point is that your outer self-concept comprises essentially everything that you believe your body is capable or incapable of. Given a true/false test on yourself you’d be able to say with certainty, Yes, these things are true about me. They are the beliefs—the ingredients—that you use to create you.
In addition to your intellect, talents, and physical body traits, you spice up your outer self-conception with your personality traits. You know if you are assertive or shy, loud or quiet, pushy or obsequious, fearful or courageous, daring or frightened, which is only a partial list of personality descriptors or spices. These individual qualities are interpreted as truisms defining yourself and how you function socially.
I could continue detailing all of the other ingredients that go into making your outer self-concept, but I’ve chosen to keep this book short, succinct, and to the point. At this point I’m simply encouraging you to recognize that your self-concept contains a myriad of self-descriptors regarding this thing that you call your physical body, and that you probably regard them as absolute truth.
Your Inner Self-Concept
This category can be pretty difficult to achieve in optimal proportions in our culture. Your inner self-concept involves your beliefs about the invisible energy and intelligence that is the most significant portion of your being. I’ve often referred to your inner world as the ghost in the machine. The machine in my conceptualization is your body and its five senses, as well as all of the physical components that make up your body. The tissue, bones, rivers of fluids, organs, teeth, brain, and everything else are all the machine. And within this machine is an invisible I that you call mind or spirit comprised of thoughts that direct the machine.
I once had a conversation with a neurosurgeon who was disputing the presence of this invisible world by saying that he’d cut into thousands of bodies and had never seen a soul. I remember his awkward look when I asked him if he had ever seen a thought while he was poking around inside a brain. Obviously there’s an invisible inner as well as an outer part of our being. You have a conceptualization of yourself that involves this formless invisible portion of your being.
You have a pretty specific idea about just how far this inner portion of yourself can take you. You may believe that your thinking apparatus is pretty phenomenal, though not understanding exactly what it is—inside or surrounding you—that allows you to scratch your forehead, or pick up a pencil, or move your feet on a dance floor, or any of the infinite commands that your mind is capable of directing all day, every day, and for as long as you are alive. You also have a self-concept about what your inner energetic ghost cannot do. Is it capable of thinking itself out of a serious disease, or is that just a lot of nonsense? Can your invisible intelligence, your imagination, perform feats of alchemy? Does your self-concept contain power to perform great—or even magical—acts of transformation?
Your self-concept is a blend of your beliefs regarding your connection to a higher power. You believe something about the existence or nonexistence of God. You have various points of view about how far faith can carry you. Whether or not there is anything within you that you can or cannot rely on to perform mystical or miraculous things is seasoned by your beliefs. You have acquired specific beliefs concerning the power of your mind. You’re generally confident that you can rely on your invisibleness to do the ordinary things in life such as remember an unseen list of items stored somewhere in your memory, and items to pick up on you way home from work. But what do your beliefs cook up about your ability to create miracles? Is healing your body, or manifesting a long-desired soul mate an ingredient in your self-concept?
Take a moment to examine that unseen list stored away in your mind. Ask yourself, Where is it? How did I put it there? Where is the place I’m calling ‘there’? What powers am I using to recall it? Where do these powers come from? This is the list of ingredients that you use to create your inner self-concept. You might then want to open to there being other beliefs or ingredients that you want to include, and contemplate other ways to season your life.
The fact is that an invisible list involves a catalog of inexplicable miracles that you take for granted every day. Your inner self-concept tells you what you believe your mind is capable of, and what it’s incapable of as well. You know your mind, that invisible ghost in the machine, is unfathomable. But you also know that there are certain limits to what it can and cannot do. Have you ever considered how you are creating your life with this inner self-concept’s list of ingredients? If it seems interesting to consider some changes, read on.
Changing Your Concept of Yourself
If you would like to become a person, who has the capacity to have all of your wishes fulfilled it will be necessary for you to move to that higher plane of existence where you are a co-creator of your life. This means that you will need to undertake what is often presumed to be the difficult task of changing your concept of yourself. Recall that your concept of yourself is everything that you believe to be true about your inner and outer self. Those beliefs have created the life you’re now living—at what I call an ordinary level of awareness. To move into the extraordinary space that I’m writing about in this book requires you to change what you believe is true. This can be a laborious project and an undertaking that, in my experience, few people are eager or willing to take on. I am writing this book to give you some very specific guidance and help in doing just that.
I’ll be quoting a man by the name of Neville Goddard who’s been a great mentor to me in the past few years. He wrote and spoke to large audiences in America under the solitary pen name Neville. A popular speaker on metaphysical themes from the late ’30s until his death in 1972, Neville authored ten books. He captured the sheer logic of creative mind principles and his work has impacted me in a very profound way.
Neville writes in a style that many might find strenuous to interpret, yet I find his teaching congruent with much of my earlier writing on manifestation and co-creation. That being said, Neville’s teachings add a dimension that I hadn’t really contemplated in depth until now. While studying The Power of Awareness I began blending many of Neville’s teachings with other great thinkers’ ideas, revising and refining his unique personal theology into a practice that feels to me is meant for the world we inhabit today.
After giving each of my eight children a copy of Neville’s The Power of Awareness, they individually expressed a variation of: I love his ideas dad, but I have to read each paragraph over and over and stop to think about what he’s saying. I know he’s right and it makes perfect sense but I need it explained more—in words that I can understand and apply. Their comments fueled my desire to share many of Neville’s ideas, most of which are compatible with my own, and create a synthesis addressing the power you have to fulfill your twenty-first century wishes. I want to share with you my sense of what this great teacher’s ideas can do for you, as they have done for me. I know that Neville wouldn’t mind because he freely allowed students and audience members to tape his talks without charge. His tapes continue to informally spread his message today, and I’ve listened to them while preparing to write this book. I feel as a kindred spirit to Neville since I too have had the same policy during my entire speaking career, and have been immersed in the same kinds of spiritual inquiry as this great teacher who preceded me by a single generation.
Here is what Neville had to say regarding changing your self-concept in order to elevate your life. “If you refuse to assume the responsibility of the incarnation of a new and higher concept of yourself, then you reject the means, the only means, whereby your redemption—that is, the attainment of your ideal—can be effected.” (PoW, p. 12) Get this clearly in your head in this first chapter: A higher concept of yourself involves taking on new truths and shedding your old views of what you can achieve. This is the only way you can achieve your desires. That is the reason I’m stressing this early in this book. You must begin by replacing your old set of truths with a belief in the existence of a higher self within you. This is something that you may not have contemplated at an earlier time in your life.
Your concept of yourself that includes any limitations can be revised by you, and only by you. Nothing I say or write will do that for you. I have done it for myself and I can assist you along this path, but it is your decision to change that creates the possibility of change within you. A new and higher concept of yourself may be shocking and perhaps even rejected by you, depending on the amount of conditioning you have absorbed throughout your life. That is for you to ponder and contemplate in the next two chapters. At this point simply allow yourself to imagine that you can create a new and higher concept of yourself. Resistance is what will almost immediately appear for most people, and I encourage you to recognize the resistance within yourself.
Making the transition from the level of ordinary consciousness to the level of super consciousness involves a fundamental renewal—a dramatic change of personality. Very few are prepared to commit to this fulfillment of their divine purpose. What I’m inviting you to do, if you wish to be truly fulfilled, is to overcome your resistance to including all that you are in your earthly life. You have the ability to enter higher regions so as to consciously fulfill your highest desires here, now—for the greater benefit of all. This is akin to doing a somersault and landing in a new reality, a reality in which all things are possible, a reality where you no longer identify yourself with all of those cultural memes and mind viruses that were programmed into you as a young person, preparing you for an ordinary life.
You begin this exciting adventure of changing your concept of yourself—by being willing to die to your present self. That’s right, by relinquishing your personal history as the arbiter of your life, you cease to resist your fuller potential. You simply no longer choose to identify yourself on the basis of what you’ve been taught. Remind yourself that everything you’ve believed to be true has brought you to this point where you want to explore rather than resist your higher powers.
Years ago while reading Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, I recall him saying that there’s one distinguishing characteristic of those who live life at a higher level with a richness that’s not just about monetary gain. It is that these unique and rare individuals have a burning desire to succeed. Now a burning desire is much different than a regular wish or desire, it burns inside—once ignited, it never goes out regardless of what transpires. This is a quality that I know well. Often it feels like an obsession—and I have been labeled obsessive many times in my lifetime. Yet it hasn’t been a curse because it has always served me in the fulfillment of whatever yearning I felt inside of me. I often think of it as an inner candle flame that never even flickers, though the worst goes before me. All transformation begins with an intense burning desire to be transformed.
An inner knowing along with a burning desire are prerequisites for becoming a person capable of manifesting their heart’s desires. In The Power of Awareness Neville emphatically explains that, “To be transformed, the whole basis of your thoughts must change. But your thoughts cannot change unless you have new ideas, for you think from your ideas.” (p. 9-10) How do you find the way to ideas that will help you change your thoughts? Start by saying and writing an affirmation that appeals to you. Create your unique heartfelt affirmation such as, I have a burning desire, an inner flame that will not be extinguished by outer forces, to know and live from higher regions, to be transformed so that my new concept of myself will no longer include any limitations. I am willing to challenge and change any thoughts that impede my having a higher vision of myself.
Before closing this introductory chapter, it will be helpful to explore your beliefs about the nature of those things we call thoughts, and how to change them.
Do You Really Think?
No one has ever been able to say from whence a thought comes, or what that thought is made up of. It’s generally accepted that we think up things and we make up all of our own thoughts. To be perfectly honest, for a large portion of my life, I held these same views on thoughts originating with each individual. At this juncture I tend to see the entire process as more of an act of observation, contemplation, and choice. I enjoy noticing that I have a continuous stream of thoughts that come from—who knows where? They have no boundaries or forms to examine, and apparently are unlimited in number and permutation! I think of the stock market ticker tape that runs along the bottom of a screen, with each stock price representing a simple thought.
You are capable of thinking many opposing thoughts in just a few moments—jumping helter-skelter from one idea to another—exhilaration, frustration, fear, ecstasy, worry, and so forth. Unguided and unguarded you serve up an endless array of thoughts continuously from waking to falling asleep. Even while sound asleep your mind continues observing, grabbing, and contemplating, these omnipresent thoughts. There’s very little respite from this mental thought-producing process throughout your entire lifetime. If you really believe that you are the creator of all of your thoughts, and control the entire process, then simply stop. That’s right, just try to stop thinking. You may be able to slow the stream of thoughts down considerably but to simply stop thinking all day and stay in a thoughtless state is quite impossible.
I am suggesting you open your thought processes to a new idea that will help you as you begin changing your concept of yourself. You can think of yourself as a divine limitless being rather than a person who doesn’t have choice when it comes to your thoughts. Think of yourself as an observer, contemplating and selecting thoughts that you choose from that never ending stream of thoughts on your inner screen 24/7—365. Watch thoughts stream by from wherever they originate and observe them rapidly transitioning and combining and appearing and disappearing. Snatch a thought from the running ribbon of thoughts and contemplate it. As you toss it around notice how you feel—sad, depressed, happy, frightened, and so on. Every thought going by has an imprint on your concept of yourself. First be the observer, and then the contemplator. Now become the choice maker who can consciously decide to put that thought back into the running stream and pick a different one, a thought that perhaps allows you to feel better.
I am okay, I look fine, I will lose a few pounds, I am loved, I am divine, these and millions more like them are thoughts that you can opt for rather than the ones you’ve become accustomed to choosing in the past. This is how you begin a new process to change your concept of yourself. You accept as irrevocable that it is not you setting the stream of thoughts into motion, and that stopping thinking isn’t possible at this stage of your evolution. At this stage the essence of your being is to observe, contemplate, and then choose. This can all be done in a fraction of a nanosecond. The thoughts will keep appearing on your mental TV screen just like the stock quotations. But you are choosing the ones you want to focus on, gather, retain, or let go.
I’m encouraging you to initiate a habit of choosing thoughts and ideas that support feeling good, powerful, and that elevate you to a higher level of consciousness where your self-concept welcomes your higher self. I love U.S. Andersen’s description of this process and leave you to contemplate it as you prepare to befriend that indwelling self that is desperately wishing to be fulfilled at the extraordinary rather than the ordinary level where you have lived for far too long.
“. . . we are now about to develop the habit of choosing only those thoughts and ideas that will constructively add good unto it. We are teaching ourselves to accept only good. . . . We are deliberately compelling ourselves to accept all love, all kindness, all hope, all joy, all expansion, all abundance, all health, all vigor. We are deliberately compelling ourselves to reject all suffering, all sorrow, all depression, all morbidity, all inferiority, all aches, and pain, We are saying nothing is true but the great and the good and the beautiful, only these will we add unto ourselves.” (Three Magic Words, p.175)
This is your new way of choosing thoughts that will introduce you to what I am calling your highest self.
— Redefine your self-concept by challenging everything that you’ve held to be true about yourself up until now. Be open to examining everything you’ve previously thought limited you in any way. Affirm: I place no limits and no restrictions on all that I intend to accomplish and become from here on in.
— Allow yourself to become aware of the nonphysical reality that you are a part of. Reach out to the angels or occupants of this higher invisible plane. Know that you can access guidance from those who’ve lived here before. Spend time in meditation accessing the feelings of a plane of higher consciousness.
— When you are experiencing discomfort or sadness, rather than trying to change the thought behind your emotional state, instead just put it back onto the never ending conveyor belt of thoughts, then select a different thought. Keep doing this until you’ve selected a thought that allows you to feel good and you are no longer condemning yourself for creating unhappy thoughts.