On one of the tape sets, Wayne tells about a book someone gave him ST FRANCIS by Nikos Kazantzakis
I had read another book by him (the books are translated into English) THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, years ago, when the movie came out and there was a big controversy over it. I read the book from the library and thought it was wonderful! Even tranlated, I felt like I was right there in the time of Jesus and what he and his life might have been like. I was later disappointed when I saw the movie made from it.
Wayne said that ST FRANCIS was an out of print book and hard to find.
Very expensive if you could find it. Maybe because of him saying this... I found this to be true. Paperbacks of it were for sale on ebay for $35-60! And hardcovers over $100. This was about 2- 2 1/2 years ago.
I wrote about this on some discussion boards, and someone who lived in Seattle said she called her local bookstore and they had 2 copies and since she was now interested in reading it, she would get them and send me one as a gift. She said they were "affordable".
Well, I couldn't get through more than half of the book. The person who sent it to me said the same, and she had sold her copy back to the bookstore. I am keeping mine (I should sell it on ebay ) because I keep thinking maybe it's me, and I'm not GETTING it?
It's the most depressing and UNabundant- positive book you can imagine!
I even rented a movie that was made suring the hippie era, about Francis "Brother Sun, Sister Moon", and couldn't follow it. It made him seem like some kind of a nut (until the end when the Pope recognized him and the Franciscan order was formed).
He got the idea early on that one can't get into heaven if they have anything and are happy and feel good. Though he did wear a robe, tied with a cord and sandals, so he had SOMETHING. In one scene he took off all his clothes in the marketplace and stood preaching naked. In another he went into his father's material (cloth goods) shop and threw everything out the window. He was always on the verge of being locked up as a lunitic.
He later went out into the fields and lived and fixed up an old stone church that had been abandoned. Of course, his family and fellow villagers couldn't understand him.
I do see the point of not putting material things first, but I also believe we can be happy and peaceful AND have them. Francis would preach one couldn't have ANYTHING (and he ended up with some followers who believed this) in order to please God and get into Heaven.
At times he's go stay in a cave for days at a time, and beat himself with thorn branches, and pour ashes into the little food he allowed himself to eat.
I know Wayne uses the prayer he supposedly wrote ("Let me be an instrument of your Peace...etc") and, of course, I see the beauty and meaning of that.
I just found this book (the part I read, and the movie I saw about his life) very dark and depressing. He not only lived simply and harshly he made sure he did. If he felt too good or happy, he'd do something to punish himself even more.
He preached to others about this, having good clothes and food, for example. And if they wanted to please God and get into Heaven they had to do without and suffer.
There was some inspirational places mixed into it. If I remember right, in one part he walked up to a leper and embraced him and kissed him on the lips. In those days lepers had to carry bells so people would know they were coming and avoid them.
He also believed in begging (alms it was called) and said the rich have an obligation to give to the poor.
Maybe it's me, but I didn't get what Wayne found so positive and enlightening and inspirational abotu this book. Maybe that St Francis could live like this (on purpose) and still have faith in God?
I really don't believe God wants or requires that we go without and suffer. And Wayne's books don't reflect this.
He's told about how much money he has, and how he enjoys it and how he gives every chance he gets. Which I think it a great attitude to have about it.
Just for possible discussion
Hi Carrie - first of all, I have not read the book discussed here, and I thank you for a great synopsis of it. Perhaps Wayne was seeing the following about St. Francis when we do not conform to the "norms of society" we are usually labeled radical and/or nut. And often the deeds one does in his life are not noticed until many years after his death. Getting to heaven is nothing more than seeing heaven here and now. This is where it is at. If we see only our possessions, and act possessively, then we can not "see heaven". If however, we give what we have - we share with others - we give to the "poor" - our vision becomes clear. What we give, we receive.
As for St. Francis preaching in the nude - what he might have been showing is that the body is not what is real in this world. That the body is nothing but the demonstration of love - of giving - is.
Metaphysically speaking, his going into the fields and fixing up an old church could be symbolic of our want to go within ourselves and "fix up" our own sanctuary of our soul.
One not having anything is again the thought that what one has is so important to them. They have placed great values on something that is not real, while they have placed little values on the truth that lies within them.
The dream we dream that we call life is often pictured as dark and dim, until we allow the light of love within us to shine forth. When we allow that light to shine, all the dark corners are seen, and the negative, dark thoughts seen in love.
Embracing a leper for me is symbolic of not seeing our brother as sick, but seeing him as whole and healed. Sickness is of the mind alone. In our own life, we often will take other routes to avoid our brother.
God does not want us to suffer - that is a choice we make alone. God does not want us to be "without" and looking in, we find that we have all that God has - we have no needs, wants, or desires for more - because beyond what God is, there is no more.
I believe Wayne has adopted a lot of St. Francis's ways in his personal life. Grant you he does not live in caves, etc., but that is not what the story of St. Francis is all about. It is about living the truth we are and forever shall be.
The Prayer of St. Francis is welcome reading each day for it reminds us of what little we can do to see the world we made better.
Namaste - Ron
Having connection problems today, it's raining and I think my phone line coming into the house (under the porch) gets damp. The connection doesn't stay on and connects really slow. Then I checked a SPAM filter this new ISP has- which is great to take out emails with viruses from Outlook Express and it had the notification of responses to this group listed as "possible spam". I think because of it mentioning Wayne Dyer, it thought someone was trying to sell me books? I set it to be excluded from the filter now.
I think there is a lot of metaphysical points in the St Francis book, like not having your peace depend on "having things". But, Francis was so much the extreme in the other way, it seemed he couldn't be peaceful if he felt the least bit happy! Or thought he had something. Like pouring ashes in the little food he ate, whipping himself with thorn branches till he bled, and continually harrassing others about "having"- like they shouldn't be wearing warm clothes when it was cold, or find shelter when it rained.
Overall, it might have had good messages, but it wasn't exactly a positive book, to feel uplifted and abundant from! Which is the main message Wayne teaches, I think. Like "Real Magic" and "You're See it when you Believe it", and now "The Power of Intention". It's more that having things isn't wrong and we can be open to this. And if I am open to having (and giving and sharing) I don't have to feel guilty about it.
I didn't even think Francis was "giving". If I remember it right it wasn't even him not owning because he wanted to give to the poor or something. Because if he had given to others (and preached this) than the "others" he gave to would have THINGS, and his message seemed to be all about not having "things" at all. Like you can't get into heaven if you have anything. I noticed he did keep a robe and rope belt and sandals, even if they weren't fancy. But, things are things.
And, I think the Franciscian Friars (which was founded from St. Francis) beliveves in living very simply and (maybe) "giving to the poor"? This seems like a contradiction, because if they believe in living simply and doing without, seems like they'd be seeing this as okay for others, too. Doing without and not needing something seems so relative. Like, it's okay to have beans (with ashes in them to make them unpleasant) and a rough robe, rope belt and sandals, but it's NOT okay to have bread, or soft cloth, and warmth when it's cold? Seems like putting so much attention on NOT having and NOT feeling good, this is the opposite side of wanting to HAVE and needing it good. It's still focusing on "things".
I think the idea (like A Course in Miracles seems to teach, too) is "we can have things, as long as our peace of mind doesn't depend on having them (or not) or having them a certain way. And we have an open, giving attitude". How can we give if we don't have?
Anyway, it's just a comment about the book, and not a criticism about Wayne Dyer and his choices to teach and be inspired from.
Ron, are you on other lists like Abraham ones? I think I've known you (seen you) on some. I recognize the "Namaste" .
Hi Carrie - It has been a long time since last we chatted - either from the Dyer Board or the Course Board. I certainly do remember you. You were always a great teacher with the questions you asked. And you have brought some interesting ones here as well. By the way, thanks for joining this group, I'm glad your here.
St. Francis certainly does appear an extreme, but he had to to make his point. The stories could be just stories, but if he went around reminding people of how warm they were compared to other people who were out in the cold, well, he was out there sowing love - and even guilting a few into giving to the poor. Perhaps the book is seen as depressing by some, but look at his story - it was a depressing life he chose to live.
Having material things is not bad unless we believe we are better than someone else because we have them. Having material things reminds us how well our life is compared to someone on the street. Those on the street are not needing our judgment, they are needing our help. Have you looked at a "street-person" and saw yourself reflecting back to you? Pretty scary sight - a reminder that that person could be you.
The Course, which Wayne often quotes, tells us that to give is to recieve, meaning to give Love, we receive Love. When we give to the poor or some needy cause, there is a feeling of bliss that sweeps through us - that feeling is Love.
Living simple has got to be the only way to live, right? Living simple, having no immediate needs, doing without whatever because you can do without it, and so on. It is hard for us to comprehend living like that, because we were brought up believing so much in material values.
Somehow, I just can't picture St. Francis not smiling each time someone was taken care by a gift from someone else. St. Francis saw within each person the link that many of miss when we look - the link that identifies us all as One.
Carrie, again it was great hearing from you. Please come back often.
Namaste - Ron
Somehow, I just can't picture St. Francis not smiling each time someone was taken care by a gift from someone else.
That's not what the book was about (ST FRANCIS). Unless I was taking it totally wrong (and the person who bought it for me and one for herself also felt that way) it had nothing to do with helping others. Maybe that's what the Franciscian friars do NOW. Do without themselves in order to help others.
Francis preached (and lived) that we should do without all we can, and not have any pleasures. Even like enough (good) food or being warm and comfortable. He was unhappy over the fact he had to eat SOMETHING and wear a cloke (and picked the roughest one he could find). He mixed ashes with his food so it wouldn't be enjoyable in any way.
To him, poor people would have been that much closer to heaven, and he tried to get people who had enough into that state, by choice.
It had nothing to do with doing without and giving to the poor. It was about doing without, as in suffering, because he felt this was the way to heaven. To have nothing and not enjoy anything in the world. He felt guilty if he had to eat at all.
I read half the book about two years ago, but from what I remember I don't think he smiled much at all. If he had, he'd have gone and spent 3 days in a cave in the cold and rain, not eating and only coming out occasionally to beat himself with branches covered in thorns till he bled.
Anyone who "had enough" should feel bad and guilty and impovish themselves and create suffering. Like he would pour ashes on any food he ate. If someone gave them (him and his group) something good, like a loaf of bread (that wasn't moldy or unpleasant) he would throw it away. Maybe this was a lesson in not needing anything but God? But he would preach to others, to make them feel guilty because they had THINGS in their life. LIke a family, home, money to live on, etc. They shouldn't be comfortable- and expect to get into heaven and please God.
He wouldn't give food to people who were starving, he believed starving and suffering were the way into heaven and what pleased God. Having something good to eat (that tasted good, wasn't moldy or mixed with ashes) was something to feel guilty about. And do pennance, punish oneself.
I think he must have been mentally ill. The movie made of his life made this out, also. I think his family and people around him were either afraid of him, or ashamed to know him.
Aside from that, I don't know how it fits into a belief system like Wayne teaches, where "you can have it all". And it's not wrong and unspiritual to have money, and enjoy it, and meet one's needs. He has told on tapes about all the money he's made (and all he gives). This is the total opposite of what Francis taught (and lived) and I never could see the connection with it, and what Wayne teaches. Which is enjoy life and be open to abundance and good things.
Maybe just the idea our happiness and peace shouldn't depend on HAVING things, even though it's okay to. But, Francis didn't seem happy and peaceful at all, he seemed continually obcessed with NOT having and being happy. With doing without, suffering and pain. In order to pleace God and get into heaven. And this is what he preached to others, some threw away all they had and joined him.
I know the prayer attributed to (but I don't think anyone knows for sure he wrote it) Francis is beautiful, and meaningful and Wayne used it in one of his books/tape sets as a base.
I'm not saying Francis wasn't a nice person, and I know he was made a saint. And at this point who really knows WHAT he was like then? I just don't see the connection between his life (and beliefs) and what Wayne teaches.
And ACIM, for that matter. Which says we're not supposed to feel guilty and believe in sin and the need to suffer and be punished (punish ourselves) for this.
Maybe Francis was a capricon. They only seem to be happy when they're worrying and depressed about something (LOL)
~ Carrie (the Sagittarius)
Perhaps the teachings of the examples Dyer uses are meant to be how to think and not what to think. )
kjkane wrote "Perhaps the teachings of the examples Dyer uses are meant to be how to think and not what to think."
Is there really several ways to think? What Dyer's books contain, as well as all other books, are but seeds we gather at random and plant within the garden of our mind - there we watch over them carefully and cultivate them - eventually perhaps even manifest them. We know how to think, but we can use all the help available to us as to what to think.
Namaste - Ron
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. )
Does thinking make something bad or good, is it our judgment from a past that never was that makes it that way? When we observe, as Wayne often suggests, we simply see without judgment - we see as if we have never seen that before. Think of the last time you saw something new - something different - something uique. What was the first thing that was going on - you were trying to decide what it is based on your past - you were judging.
Namaste - Ron
Amazon lists two books by this author "Saint Francis" and another called "God's Pauper St Francis of Assisi", which appears to have been published by a British publisher. Perhaps it is the same book but just titled differently.
This is the same author who wrote "Zorba the Greek" which Wayne endorses for the way he demonstrates Zorba's sheer enjoyment of life.