In 1998, my awarding-winning journalist husband, Benjamin, interviewed Dr. Wayne W. Dyer for Cleveland Life, an African-American magazine published in Cleveland, Ohio. In light of Mr. Dyerís passing, I thought reprinting the piece would be a touching tribute to a man who helped so many of us Ė and went far too soon.
A Moment WithÖ DR. Wayne W. Dyer
Q: Why are you so well-received in the African American community?
Dyer: I donít know. I think of people, not races. Thereís just one race: The human race. When I hear people talk about the "black community," then I know weíve still got a long way to go. The kinds of things I talk about arenít unique to any race or regional group. Put simply, we all have the power to attract the kind of life we want to live. Itís common sense. I donít proselytize; I talk of health and well-being. You are a product of the choices youíve made in your life.
Q: Isnít cultural pride a good thing?
Dyer: You should honor the body you showed up in, not the color of your body.Cars donít care what color the garages they stay in are painted. We have to learn to leave behind our tribal consciousness, and be independent of those in our immediate surroundings who tell us how to act. Weíre people of soul and spirit. When we stop looking at each other as races, cultures and religions, then our racial distinctions will disappear.
But you were born white. Might you think differently if you were born black and experienced racism, or if you were denied admission to college because the playing field wasnít level?
Maybe youíre right. I often wonder if I would be able to say these things had I been born differently.
How would I view life if I was a Jew in a concentration camp? Thereís an enormous number of people who have been abused, but I still believe that what matters is weíre all one people, and we need to realize this so we donít return to previous self-destructive behaviors. See, we have a tendency to go back to things we want to avoid. Itís like yelling at your kids to get them to stop yelling. We need to practice more love, kindness and spiritual forgiveness.
Q: What holds us back from achieving that goal?
Dyer: Laws, for one thing. Laws make discrimination possible. Iím so irritated when people talk about whatís going on with the President and they say itís wrong because "Weíre a nation of laws." You donít just follow laws. Look at Rosa Parks. She had such a visionary consciousness. When she said, "I wonít sit in the back of the bus," so many movements were born Ė civil rights, feminism, ecology, consciousness enlightenment. Everything grew out of that particular moment, because she refused to follow an unjust law.
Q: With all your notoriety, how do you stay humble?
Dyer: (Laughs.) I have eight kids and they donít listen to a thing I say. To them, Iím just daddy. Nobility is being better than you used to be, not being better than anyone else. I always forget that Iím famous, which surprises me when someone recognizes me in a restaurant and asks for an autograph.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
Dyer: I like the pleasure I get from listening to shock jocks like Howard Stern. And I love Chris Rock Ė he puts me on the floor. I enjoyed the movie Thereís Something About Mary and my mother-in-law was horrified. Iím a peaceful man. But I also like bathroom humor, I guess. I donít take myself too seriously.