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.
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)
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
What makes us happy?
More than the mind
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.