BeamTeam Books header - getting real

What is the connection between

The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul


Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life?


Since the release of Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life in Denmark and many other countries, Barbara has been getting the same question from quite a few people. So she decided to try and answer it…


Here’s the question:


I am confused and wondering – what is the connection between The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul and Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life? In The Road to Power, you say you can change your life by changing your thinking. You write about the power of the mind, positive thinking and focusing on the Nature of Reality which is Good. In Are You Happy Now, you talk about accepting reality for what it is and you say that nothing in the external can make us happy. Isn’t there a conflict between these 2 points of view?


Here’s Barbara’s answer:


Dear readers, I truly thank you all for this question because you are only reflecting back to me something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about myself. (And to be honest, something I still spend a lot of time thinking about).


Here’s what I’ve discovered so far: I wrote The Road to Power / Fast Food for the Soul in 1994 and at that time in my life, the techniques I wrote about helped me turn my life around and create the life I wanted to live. That time for me was the dawning of understanding that all our experiences in life are a reflection of our thinking and that by changing our thinking (changing our focus); we could change our experience of life. It was a radical and groundbreaking discovery for me – the fact that we live in a mental universe. In fact, it was a revolution for me! I was enthralled by the implications and ramifications of this discovery. It was amazing. And it helped me move (in consciousness) from feeling I was a victim of outside circumstances to understanding the part I played in creating my own life experiences. When something negative turned up, I learned to focus my attention on the Good in the situation and the results were often amazing. And by using the techniques I wrote about like affirmations, creative visualizations, mental treatment, etc. I really experienced miracles in my life.


But there was more going on… As some of you may know, my life has been a very dramatic one with all kinds of problems and challenges. In fact it was these challenges and problems that motivated me to ask questions and explore the nature of this thing called Life. The techniques that I described in The Road to Power were my attempt at sharing what I had discovered and what was helping me at that point in my life. The techniques in the book really helped me find peace and for many years I felt good and experienced real joy and success in all areas of my life. It was great, but also not the answer to everything.


So as life went on, I continued my searching and continued to explore the great questions of life that have always occupied me. I studied Buddhism and Christian Science (the healing work of Mary Baker Eddy) and started going to therapy. I studied psychology and discovered The Work of Byron Katie and found new tools and new ways of looking at reality.


With these new tools and insights, I started to see that there often is a big difference between reality (i.e. what is) – and my stories about what is going on. And I discovered that it is when there is a discrepancy between my thoughts and reality that problems arise.  I discovered that when we are anxious or afraid it is because we are lost in our stories and un-investigated beliefs about life and the Nature of Reality. This was quite a discovery and my book, Are You Happy Now? 10 Ways to Live a Happy Life is based on this new, expanded understanding of what reality is. And I present new tools and techniques we can use to question our stories and look more closely at our un-investigated beliefs about life.

And now here comes the answer to your question dear readers! I’ve discovered that when we question our stories about reality as I recommend in Are You Happy Now, we discover that the Nature of Reality (the here and now) is actually exactly the same as what I said we should affirm in my previous books like The Road to Power. When we question our stories, we discover that the Nature of Reality really is altogether Good! That the affirmation “Only the Good is real, all else fades away” really is true. It all turns out to be so interesting because we find that by questioning our fearful thoughts, we reach the same conclusion as we do when we focus on the Nature of Reality and affirm that God is All and God is Good!! It’s really quite amazing. Both techniques or approaches lead us to the same place – and we discover that it’s really true that we are Good, that Life is Good, that God is Good…


So when people ask me the above question, I’m in the habit of saying my 2 books or approaches are like the two wings of a bird. The one wing or way is the approach I wrote about in The Road to Power which was that when negative thoughts arise you can shift your attention and change your life by changing your focus. In other words, by focusing on all the Good, you experience more Good. And of course this is still very true. But now I know there’s another way too – which is the other wing of the bird and which is what I wrote about in Are You Happy Now. And this is… we can look at the negative thoughts and beliefs we have and question them, really question them – until we discover that they are just stories and beliefs which have nothing to do with the reality that’s unfolding right before our eyes this very moment.


So in brief, the 2 approaches are:


Approach 1. Focus on the Good, the Nature of Reality by means of:

Studying the Nature of Reality (see also my book Mental Technology)

  1. Affirmations


    Scientific mental treatment



    Approach 2. Question your stories and negative beliefs by means of:

  2. Practicing present moment awareness / mindfulness

    Focusing your attention on the witnessing consciousness instead of identifying with your thoughts

    Asking the 4 questions (The Work of Byron Katie)

    Cognitive therapy (question your catastrophic thinking)



    You can read more about the 2 approaches in my book The Awakening Human Being - A Guide to the Power of Mind.


The interesting thing is that both approaches will lead you to the same place – that the Nature of Reality is Good, that the universe is friendly, that God is All and God is Good.


And I’d like to say in conclusion that it’s a good idea to practice both approaches! The best of course is if there’s the right balance between the two wings of the bird, then you will fly best…


The 2 approaches support each other
Here’s an example of how the 2 approaches support and enhance each other. Let’s say you are using the first approach and are going around saying affirmations. One of your affirmations is “I’m OK”. And even though you are dedicated to the affirmation “I’m OK”, for some reason it doesn’t seem to be working for you and you keep feeling you’re not OK. When something like this happens, I’ve discovered it’s usually because deep in your heart of hearts, you have the deep-seated belief that in fact you’re not OK. So no matter how much you go around affirming that you’re OK, if you really believe deep down inside that you’re not OK, you will experience that you’re not OK. We always experience what we really and truly believe (not what we go around saying). Here is where the second approach can help us because we can learn to identify and investigate our deepest beliefs and stories and find out if they really are true – as I explain in Are You Happy Now. When you do this, you will discover that your positive affirmations really start to work, because now you actually believe them! That’s why I say it can be very interesting to work with these 2 approaches at the same time.


What makes us happy?
There’s also another area where my understanding has grown. Even though the premise of both The Road to Power and Are You Happy Now? is that we live in a mental universe and can only experience our own thinking, in The Road to Power there was still a great deal of emphasis on material success. In the 14 years since I wrote that book, I have understood more and more clearly (as I write in Are You Happy Now) that nothing in the external world can make us happy. It’s only our thoughts about what is going on that can make us happy, and thus I have come to see that if our expectations are that our happiness depends on external events and/or other people, we are doomed to unhappiness. If you think for example “my happiness depends on my health, my relationship, my kids, my job, my financial security”, you are basing your happiness on things over which you have no control and which sooner or later will change or disappear. So you are doomed to failure, no matter how wonderful your life is at the moment because whatever it is, it will change.  Thus I discovered that the only true happiness we can ever achieve is to be at peace with our own thoughts… when this happens, we discover that the happiness we were so desperately seeking in the outer world was dwelling within us all along!


Another thing
As you can see, I keep discovering new things during this process of self-discovery, so here’s another very important thing I’d like to share with you.  I also found out that just because we’re on this path of self-discovery, often called the “spiritual pathway”; it doesn’t mean we don’t have to learn to navigate the ordinary, everyday world we live in skilfully and master basic psychological and people skills like learning to set limits and take good care of ourselves. I know I made the mistake of believing that if I was just “spiritual” enough and “loving and kind” enough and saw the “Highest Good” in everyone, that things would automatically work out for the “Highest Good”. But I discovered that this is not true. You can see the Highest Good in someone and still find their behaviour unacceptable. When this happens, we need practical psychological tools and we need to know how to use them. So there is a lot about being assertive and setting limits in Are You Happy Now.


More than the mind
There’s another crucial point. The very first sentence of The Road to Power is “We are what we think” and yes it is true that our experience of daily life is determined by our thoughts. For example, when you focus your attention on the Goodness of life, on how everything in reality supports you, this is what you experience. And this brings an experience of peace and love which has a positive effect on your emotions which has a positive effect on your speech and actions which makes you happier. When you are happier, your interactions with other people are better and this affects your work and your lifestyle and your physical well-being.


But it is equally true to say (as I do in Are You Happy Now) that “we are not what we think”! It is equally true to say that we are not our thoughts. Thoughts are something which just arise in mind – and such as they are, such is our experience of our life situations. But the truth is also that we are so much more than our thoughts! We are so much vaster than just our thinking. Our thinking mind is just a small part of who we really are. In truth, we are the infinite consciousness that is beyond thoughts and words. We are the infinite consciousness that was and is before and after thoughts and words. We are the Presence, the beingness, in which thoughts arise. The great shift in consciousness that is taking place on Earth today is that we are awakening from the dream that we are our thoughts. We are awakening from our total identification with our thinking and with our stories. We are starting to see that we are not our stories. And as we make this shift – and more and more of us are making this shift – we are able to experience (usually only in glimpses) what is beyond the realm of thought, beyond the realm of the mental, beyond the realm of thinking, and rest in the beingness and peace that is our true nature. This is the happiness we seek, the infinite consciousness that we are.