The Shift: Taking Your Life From Ambition To Meaning
By Dr Wayne W. Dyer
Dr. Dyer is an internationally recognized author and speaker on the subject of self-improvement and growth. Shift is another worthy addition to the dozens of books and scores of CDs and videos that he has to his credit. Dr. Dyer holds a doctorate in educational counselling and this is evident in his earlier writings, since his initial approach to solving human problems used to be psychologically based. His later works assume spiritual overtones.
The author finds that during the human journey, there seem to be four 'shifts' - from 'non-being' to 'being' or from 'formless, pure spirit' to 'form' - then from 'form' to 'ambition' - then from 'ambition' to 'meaning', and thereafter a u-turn back to the Source or Spirit.
While elaborating these points and abstract concepts, the author quotes a number of philosophers, eastern as well as western, modern and ancient alike, to make his ideas easily intelligible. He reminds us that "particles themselves don't originate from a particle", that "the formlessness that produces matter is called energy", and "everything is energy; it's all vibration at a variety of frequencies."
Building on this philosophy, Dr. Dyer goes on to explain that thoughts of the highest vibrations are always aligned with the Source-energy of the Spirit, and thus keep us strong in the energy of love - a pure, indescribable bliss from where life emerges. That's why it is said: God is love. Our authentic self is the same as that from which it came from.
The author explains how "matter" enters after the shift to "form"; then comes ambition and ambition brings ego. Then humans set out to be stronger than the strongest, richer than the richest. From the beginning we become conditioned to listen to opinions rather than to our own inner voice. Our importance is measured by what we have, not by what we are.
Dr. Dyer points out that the spirit teaches service before self but ego teaches self before service. It engenders a sense of "separateness", as he calls it, whereas since we come from the same "Source" we are actually one and the same. He goes on to emphasize: if we start believing that we are permanently attached to God, ego's reason for existence disappears.
The stress and the strain of the pursuit of ambition leads to (or should lead to) the next 'shift' - search for the meaning of life. Humans go on collecting more and more, and when we finally leave this body, it all remains here. We had nothing when we came into the world, and there is nothing that we take with us from the world.
The author advises us to sit in silence and meditate on the important questions of life. Who am I? Wherefrom I came, and whereto from here? What is the purpose of life? It is true that some people may find it hard to sit quietly and reflect since their life is all taken up by the daily toil and turmoil. The author cites a Zen Proverb to reassure his readers: it is the silence between the notes that makes music.In quietude we often realize the futility of the rat race, the hollowness of false self-importance, and the harmful results of greed. We tend to see the usefulness of sharing, and of humility. "Trees bend low with fruit, clouds hang low with gentle rain, and noble leaders bow graciously".
The last 'shift' is from 'meaning' back to the Creative Source, the Spirit. We return where we started from - wiser, purer and better. The observation of Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet drives the point home:
The spiritual path wrecks the body
and afterwards restores it to health.
It destroys the house to unearth the treasure
and with that treasure builds it better than before.
Or in the words of William Wordsworth:
--- trailing clouds of glory do we come
from God, who is our home.
In Shift, Dr. Wayne Dyer teaches us how to make a complete U-turn back to the Source. That's homecoming! Find this book at both branches of the Prince George Public Library in the adult non-fiction collection.
Reviewed by Bal Sethi, trustee forthe Prince George Public Library Board.
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
If you only buy one book on the subject of baking this year, this is the book to buy. Dorie Greenspan, author of the best-selling Baking with Julia (Child), won the James Beard Foundation Award for this, her ninth book.
The best cook books are filled with photographs of finished products and this book doesn't disappoint. There are plenty of mouth-watering photos that will inspire you to get into the kitchen and then invite friends over.
Recipe instructions are clearly laid out and follow a logical sequence. Particularly helpful are the sidebars that accompany each recipe that include serving sizes, storing tips and accompaniments. Also helpful are the 'Playing Around' options for experimental bakers who like to switch around flavours and ingredients to the basic recipe.
Those who are familiar with Dorie's website (www.doriegreenspan.com) are already familiar with her delightful writing style that is full of fun and whimsy. Each recipe in the book is prefaced with an anecdote explaining why a particular recipe is the author's favourite, or how it came to be included in the book. Dorie Greenspan's enthusiasm for cooking is evident on every page. She brings such joy to her work that this massive tome (514 pages) makes for delicious bedtime reading - even if the book is heavy to hold.
All of the recipes in Baking are over-the-top delicious, but preparing the Tall and Cream Cheesecake for your friends and family will garner you accolades for months to come. Guaranteed.
Reviewed by Patricia Gibson, Inter-Library Loans Librarian at the Prince George Public Library