The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking: Skillful Thought for Successful Living

The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking: Skillful Thought for Successful Living

by Christopher Hansard


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The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking
Tibetan Bön medicine is one of the world's oldest and most sophisticated systems of healing — and the only one endorsed by the Dalai Lama. In The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking, Christopher Hansard draws upon the practices and principles of Bön, along with his own knowledge of Tibetan teachings, to offer a series of simple, soulful meditations and exercises that can help you achieve spiritual, emotional, interpersonal, and professional success. You'll learn how to:
• connect to the energy of positive thought — one of the most powerful
energy resources
• trust your inner wisdom and make decisions with greater ease
• confront your fears, accept disappointment, maintain hope
• enhance your relationships by giving unconditional love and helping others

...and much more. You are what you think — and with this book as your guide, you can direct yourself toward greater freedom, meaning, and lifelong happiness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743483261
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 08/02/2005
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 864,537
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Christopher Hansard is the author of The Tibetan Art of Living. Trained in the spiritual and healing traditions of Tibetan Bön medicine from the age of four, he is now the leading Western practitioner in the field and the director of clinical affairs at the Eden Medical Centre, Chelsea, London. He is married and has a young daughter.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Power of Thought

Every drop of rain that falls holds a thought within it ready to be woken from its dormant state. Every leaf that falls in winter or flower that buds in spring also holds the birth of countless thoughts. The infinite power of thought is in every creature, plant, and object in the world around us. From the beating of our hearts at birth to our final breath in death, a continual stream of thought flows through us, making us, forming all our desires, and directing unconscious actions, yet always guiding us toward greater self-knowledge.

The power of thought is immense. With simple effort and direction you can open your mind to an endless resource of thought energy. And having connection to this thought energy will open the way to a profound spiritual and material reality that will bring you financial, emotional, and spiritual success. True thinking changes lives, yours and others'.

Yet many people have no idea that this great resource is open to them. Often they feel helpless and seek meaning in the world outside themselves, without any awareness of the wonderful potential they have within. They don't realize that most of what they imagine to be their thoughts are nothing but the echoes of instinctive reactions to their environment and other people. There is a huge difference between the ineffectual, reactive "thoughts," which can so easily occupy our minds for most of the time, and true original thought, which is filled with energy.

Your life is affected by unskillful thinking. Your future can be changed by casual thoughts or powerful emotions. By seeing and understanding what streams of thought flow through you and by taking control of your thinking, you will be able to start clearing away thoughts that hold you back or keep you suffering, and start choosing thoughts that will create happiness and well-being in your body, mind, and life.

Knowing how to think creates huge personal power. It brings compassion to the way you see the world and awakens you to the thought energy in everything around you. It enables you to discover the deepest meaning of your life so that you can make it the life you truly want to live.

The ability to harness the power of thought was developed by the ancient Tibetan people in pre-Buddhist times. They had many of the same problems as you and I, and through the Boen culture they discovered techniques with which to create a more fruitful and fulfilling life by transforming their thinking. This is part of a system called the Way of the Shen of the Cha, and from it has developed the Tibetan art of positive thinking, a blend of practical wisdom and spiritual knowledge designed to increase happiness.

This art of positive thinking is alive and well across the world today and is still as effective as it was thousands of years ago. Through a series of simple meditations and exercises, I will show you how to begin to experience and harness the great waves of thought that sweep through the world and how to use this energy for personal, material, and spiritual empowerment. Through the power of skillful thinking you will be able to remove negative thought patterns, transform your emotions, and develop effective, life-changing ways of thinking.

"You are what you think."

My teacher's words hung in the evening air. We sat together high on Mount Pihanga, in the center of New Zealand's North Island, looking down at Lake Rotopounamu, as the winter sky turned from bronze to black around us.

"Thought directs all things," he said. "People pride themselves on how they think, but really it is thought that moves through people. Our thoughts create our lives, they make us sick, happy, or successful. Our thoughts can pollute our planet through the actions we take. Thoughts on their own will gather like clouds in the sky, good thoughts coming together with other good thoughts and unskillful thoughts attracting other unskillful thoughts."

I listened to his words with care. For years I had been learning about the Bön way of thought development, and how to use thought energy to heal, protect, and overcome obstacles. That afternoon I was preparing for an ancient Boen ritual of rebirth. I was fourteen years old and felt excited that he considered me ready for the ritual, but I was also apprehensive about what I would have to do.

I was placed in a hole several feet deep, with a tube to breathe through, and the earth was replaced above me. Buried alive, I remained in darkness for twelve hours while my teacher performed special ceremonies to transform my mind and body.

As I lay, cold and still in the darkness, I saw and confronted the nature of my own negativity. In those twelve hours my mind and body went through a kind of death. In this state I experienced the shadows and radiance, good and evil, the corrupt and the inspirational aspects of my human nature — all stemming from the energy of thought. And as I confronted my negative thoughts, within them all shone a light, clear, unstained, and pure.

From deep within me I felt the power of thought and the power of life. For there, buried with the worms, going through this ancient Bön ceremony, I discovered that true thought creates and remakes every part of us, second by second, and that our bodies and personalities are just the wrappings of a consciousness far more profound.

After he had dug me out of my grave, my teacher sprinkled me with a mixture of Tibetan beer, water, and milk and brushed me with branches of juniper. As I sat next to him, exhausted and cold, I felt and saw a great plume of dark smoke rise from within me and enter the clear burning ceremonial fire he had lit in front of us. Ürgyen had psychically directed my old consciousness into the fire. I had gained a new life — a life where thought in all its magnitude flowed through me, where I could start to connect consciously to all life and participate in it.

The mountain upon which I now sat, the lake, and the other great mountains nearby all sang a deep droning song of the earth's powerful undercurrent of thought energy.

"You can hear it now, that's good," whispered my teacher, and with that he went to sleep.

I gazed out at the landscape, and there within the mountain range I felt the thought energy pulsing, as though the great mountains themselves were nothing more than waves of rock being tossed up by a great ocean. From the small town nearby I felt the thoughts of its inhabitants, floating like the smell of cooked food on a Sunday afternoon. Some were loving, pleasant, and happy, others were sad, despairing, jealous, and angry. All had different sounds and smells; every one of them had a history of a life wanting to be better. So one by one I listened to them all and sent them healing and the power to overcome difficulties. As I finished, the stars were gathering over the mountaintops and the air was heavy and chilled.

"Everyone wants a better life; it starts in the heart and ends there also."

Ürgyen's words filled the silence. His body was asleep, but his thoughts were wide awake. Suddenly everything folded in on itself and all that was left was one continuous pulse of thought. Then came a brilliant light, and then silence.

The silence filled my heart, and as I looked out over the land I knew that the entire world is a thought and that we all are thoughts within it.

What I learned on the mountain that night long ago, in that profound and ancient Tibetan ritual, changed my understanding of the nature of thinking forever and created in me a longing to pass on to others the things I had learned. Please don't try such a ritual, because it requires a specially trained master to perform it safely. By performing the exercises and meditations I will outline, you will be able to reach a deep understanding of thought energy in a similar way.

Negative Thoughts

The first step to harnessing thought energy is to understand the power of negative thoughts and to learn how to banish them.

No one on this earth is alone. We become alone or lonely only if we believe, at an unconscious level, that we are separated from the thought energy of the earth and the many people it connects us to. This separation belief is fertile ground for negative thoughts. It can begin in the womb. Pregnancy is a great expression of thought and its energy in the material world. We can pick up negative thoughts as we grow in the womb, and those very first thoughts can influence our behavior throughout our lives.

If you constantly think in a negative way, you shorten your life span. Relationships become fearful and problems increase. You lose your ability to discover joy in simple things. This creates further negativity. Life becomes complicated. Negativity adores all things that are overly complicated. Complication conceals negativity, keeping it safe from exposure. You get so caught up in the complications that you lose sight of the underlying negativity that is creating the problems.

The Twenty-Eight-Day Removal of Obstacles

This exercise can be used for any kind of obstacle or problem and works very effectively. It removes patterns of negative thinking and replaces them with strong, positive thoughts.

Do the exercise morning and evening, always at the same time. Sit comfortably either in a chair or on the floor. Take at least twenty-five minutes for the exercise and carry on for longer if you wish.

Mornings are the best times to start, and Thursday, regarded as a day of prosperity, is the best day on which to begin, according to Boen beliefs for the overcoming of obstacles. You would finish on a Wednesday, which is a day of action. You must continue for twenty-eight days because this length of time helps to develop mental energy to a level of power and intensity that will create effective change.

Start each session by focusing your mind on your problem or obstacle. As you focus on it, think of it being burned away by fire, or smashed to pieces by a large hammer. As it is destroyed, the negative thoughts behind the problem will be revealed. Don't search for them, just allow them to surface as you focus on smashing or burning your problem.

As you continue to do this, all your negative thoughts toward your problem will be purified, creating sudden and powerful bursts of positive thought energy that will solve your problem and heal the situation.

When you have finished, sit in silence, giving thanks for the hardships of the past and the good things this prac-tice will create in the future.

Remember, the world, you, and your mind are all built on thoughts. The more you do this practice, the stronger your ability to create change will be and the stronger your mind will become. But always allow at least seven days of rest before beginning the twenty-eight-day exercise again. This gives time for change to become evident.

Louis was a musician who never got the financial rewards he deserved for the work he had done. He wrote music and lyrics for well-known bands and singers, yet he was hardly ever paid or given any recognition. With children to feed, rent to pay, and a marriage in crisis due to financial pressures, he was desperate.

When Louis came to me for help, I taught him how to discard all his negativity and bad luck and how to create positive energy and good luck by doing the twenty-eight-day practice of focusing on overcoming an obstacle. So for twenty-eight days Louis sat each morning and evening focusing on one thought, the destruction of his negativity, and the creation of vitality that would attract all the money he was owed and create opportunities for the future.

Soon after the twenty-eight days ended, Louis's life began to change. Money flowed in from past efforts, people began to think of him for projects, and he established a presence. He went from being a nobody in the minds of others to being a person worthy of respect as people acknowledged that he had written successful songs and was very talented.

Louis still does this twenty-eight-day practice whenever he wants clarity or insight into a situation, or to solve problems as they arise. His sense of helplessness has gone and has been replaced by a strong sense of his own worth and ability.

In ancient times and during the reigns of the Dalai Lamas, Tibet was a violent place. It was common for spiritual teachers to have thought wars, especially if they were asked to defend one kingdom against another. The people of Tibet were warlike, despite their spirituality and religious influence. While armies fought, these people would send thought missiles at each other, often killing people, causing defeat, or making enemies give up the desire for war. The ability to know how to use thought energy was an important survival skill regardless of a person's station in life. The stronger your thought energy, the greater your vitality and thus the greater your potential for spiritual growth.

In the same way, psychic and spiritual healing, often from a great distance, would take place. Just as these great masters of the past could do this, there are people today who also have such skills.

Through my teacher I once witnessed the practical application of this great power of thought energy in the most astonishing way. "Thoughts can kill, create, heal, and protect," my teacher had taught me. A few days later we were in a small town in New Zealand, where we saw a man and a woman arguing. The man started to become violent and was hitting the woman. From where he was sitting, a short distance away, my teacher projected the thought energy of nonviolence and stopped the man in his tracks.

The man turned in astonishment, having found himself unable to continue being violent. He knew my teacher had done this but had no idea how and didn't know what to do. As he stood there, he became scared of his own violence, and then he felt the fear and pain he had caused in the woman, and she experienced his rage.

They came over to Ürgyen and asked what had happened. He told them how thoughts of any type bind people together and how violent thoughts create violent actions, which in turn damage lives and emotional and mental balance. The couple told us they had experienced a feeling of peace, calmness, and a desire to stop fighting. Having experienced one another's suffering, they found a more skillful way of communicating and learned to love each other more kindly. Ürgyen had used thought energy in a gentle way to stop them from hurting each other.

I too have used thought energy once in this way, to stop an extremely violent situation. I saw a man draw a knife in a jealous rage, as his girlfriend stood talking to a friend. I knew that he was in danger of harming her, or someone else, so I used the power of thought energy to prevent him. Astonished, he dropped the knife, unable to understand why he suddenly felt his violent urge disappear.

Thought energy should only be used in this way in exceptional situations where you can sense that it will be of benefit. It is not good to interfere in other people's lives unless absolutely necessary in order to prevent harm.

To begin to understand the art of Tibetan positive thinking, we must first look at our emotions and how they influence the way we think. The ancient Tibetans believed that the majority of people react only through emotions or desires even though they may think that they do not. So true thought, and therefore control and direction of your life, can start only when you discover the origins and learn the lessons of your emotions and desires.

The Nature of Emotions

Happiness for most people is the result or outcome of a course of action, which in turn has come from a desire of some type. This desire is a thought, for all desires and emotions are a form of thought. Desires and emotions have different levels of intensity or duration, like wind or waves, or light in the morning or evening. Both leave traces of energy behind them after they have gone.

Each emotion or desire leaves a mark or effect within you, and by learning how to identify them you can then mentally gather them together and harness them, so that, like horses pulling a chariot, they can be of use to you. Each of these marks contains essential information about every experience you've ever had, what you learned from it and what you ignored. Knowing how to use and harmonize these emotional traces is the start of knowing about the power of thought.

How to Discover the Origins of Your Emotions

Sit comfortably. Then stretch your body as best you can. Close your eyes. Focus your mind upon your physical heart. Imagine your heart starting to soften and release emotional energy. At first lots of emotions may come to your attention. As they do, identify the ones that are most intense, and then summon them to you. Name each emotion, then give thanks for it.

After you have done this, offer up this emotion in exchange for a more beneficial energy, a transforming one, or a thought energy that can move an obstacle. For instance, you might exchange grief for acceptance or understanding, or you might exchange resentment for humility or laughter. You are ransoming the origins of your emotions for the energy of insight.

The idea of ransoming emotions for energy is an ancient Boen concept and is safe, very helpful, and immediate in its effects. The concept of ransoming is easily understood if you recognize that we make choices and trade off one experience for another many times each day. By choosing to ransom emotions for energy you can do this with more discretion. The more you do this, the more clearly the origins of your emotions are revealed and the stronger your insight becomes. Ransoming your emotions humbles your ego, enabling it to stand aside as you gain self-knowledge.

At the heart of each emotion that is ransomed you will find love and humor. Why? Because every human being is naturally born with the ability to love and to laugh. So don't be surprised if you end up laughing at yourself and loving yourself a little more.

It was night and the waters of Lake Rotopounamu lapped around my feet. Two months had passed since the burial ritual. The water was growing stiller as Ürgyen started to awaken the lake's natural powers. Lakes, according to Bön, hold information about the land around them, as water stores energy. All lakes hold history and the thoughts of those who pass by. A lake can be used as a window to gaze into the mind of the world. As we both stood there, the wind dropped away, the sky darkened, and the lake became dead calm. Ürgyen started to sing to the lake, using sacred sound to awaken the thought energy within the lake. As I looked at it, the lake changed and did indeed become a window on the world.

There was a tap on my shoulder. One of the Maori elders who gave my teacher permission to use the lake and mountain to help train me smiled and said to me, "What can you see?"

"I can see everything!" I told him.

My teacher and the elder laughed and left me to gaze into the thoughts of the planet. First came the distant past, then the pres-ent, then the many futures open to humanity. At times I was in tears. Then I gazed upon myself, as the lake and I became the same. I awoke to find myself floating in silver water, and through a haze I saw my teacher and his Maori friend gazing at me. It was as if a curtain were drawn across a divide between the world I was in and the world they occupied.

All my thoughts started to take on shapes and identities, some pleasant, some frightening, and I felt that I was dying yet again. The lake had become universal thought energy, the planet Earth some distant island. Rivers of souls on the way to rebirth rushed past me like comets, and I was being transported into a new existence by the thought energy I was contained in.

A hand reached through the curtain and pulled me, as if through a membrane, back onto the shore. I saw the stars, but this time they were no longer distant points of cold light: every one of them had an identity, a voice. Each one was a thought in action following its own course.

Suddenly strong instant coffee was poured into my throat and sweet potato stuffed into my mouth. "Don't gaze on the universe with an empty stomach," the Maori elder said, confirming what I had already discovered, that it is impossible to concentrate fully when you are hungry.

My teacher grunted in agreement.

Lake Rotopounamu looked at me.

I looked back.

I still carry this lake with me wherever I go, for all lakes and mountains are one and the same and teach us the enduring nature of thought and its energy.

Thought Pollution

Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed, or the feeling that you know a place intimately even though you have never been there before? This is because your underlying thought energy is picking up all the other thoughts that have accumulated there in the past. Such thoughts are similar to dirt and grime that have built up in a kitchen that has never been cleaned. Before we can know all things and become empowered, we must start by preventing ourselves from being influenced by the unwanted thought energies of others. In the atmosphere around all of us is a lot of thought pollution.

Thought pollution results from the unskillful use of emotions, the most basic element of thought energy. Often when we feel down or sick, it is because we are picking up these thought pollutions, which we can absorb very easily. But we can also learn quite simply how to remove them from our minds and bodies and to extract the positive thought energies they hold.

There are eight common thought pollutions which, according to the ancient Bön teachings, affect us all. They are:

• Envy

• Jealousy

• Greed

• Anger

• Lust

• Arrogance

• Careless actions and thoughts

• Selfishness

Bön teaching suggests that if we experience these thought pollutions in a very intense way, they can affect the way our brain functions and lead to varying degrees of depression, which influences our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Spirituality is directly connected to our brain's ability to function and the way it communicates with our body. So spiritual ill health can lead to physical ill health. The brain and body are catalysts of highly developed thought energy. So it is important to develop pathways of energy between the brain and body so that thought can flow between both, and both will be inspired and empowered. These pathways are created by directing thought energy from your mind through your body and out into the world.

The eight thought pollutions carve out pathways between the brain and body that are not beneficial. These pathways can create suffering, misfortune, and emotional and physical illness. In order to find the origins of any mental or physical illness or run of misfortune that we have experienced, we should look at these thought pollutions. If you can identify the emotional force behind anything negative that is going on in your life, then you can change it. Remember, though, that the emotions are the teachers of human experience and we must always give thanks for them. They must not be denied but understood, loved, and transformed.

Emotional energy is the starting point for learning how to think, because emotions are the blueprints of the fundamental urges of humanity. We are all emotional beings, but some emotions govern us more than others, and these emotions can pollute us internally if we allow the unskillful use of them to become habitual. In truth, we all do this every day, in big or small ways. We incorporate such energies into our ways of living and they then become pollutions, obscuring our potential for clarity, thought, and success.

According to Tibetan Bön wisdom, the eight categories of thought pollutions apply to all of us, and of these, certain ones will influence each of us more than others. These pollutions are regarded as mental toxic waste, generated by emotions that are unskillfully applied.

Outlined below is a description of each of the eight, the effect they have upon us, and the characteristics they engender in us. Use them to discover which thought pollutions influence you most and which emotional type you are. It is important to note that there is no sense of wrongdoing to be associated with these thought pollutions, as there is from the Western religious point of view. You should feel no guilt about them. They simply occur through ignorance and a lack of understanding about the nature of thought. So be kind to yourself as you explore them, but at the same time be as honest as you can in order to reap the maximum benefits.

At the end of each description is a mental exercise that can help you transform each particular pollution into positive thought energy. Use the exercises for the emotions that influence you most, in order to clear the thought pollution, remove its negative influence from your life, and transform it into positive energy. These exercises may seem simple, yet they are profound and powerful and will clear emotional blockages that may have held you back for many years. Unless stated, there is no specific length of time for the thought exercises. Simply do each for as long as it takes.

The Eight Pollutions


Envy can lurk behind smiles, promises, friendship, and many other human interactions. It limits happiness and causes illness both in the person who is envious and in the person against whom the envy is directed. When you are feeling envy you lose your sense of joy and connection to others. Envy is not productive and creates unhappiness.

People who are dominated by this emotion find it difficult to take advice or to learn from their mistakes.

Thought Exercise to Transform Envy

Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Imagine yourself washing your face, hands, and head. As you clean yourself with fresh water, your heart becomes lighter. The water takes on the impurities of envy, which turn it a dark, muddy brown. As you finish washing, your heart is open and free of envy. At this point you gaze into the muddy water that has accumulated in a bronze bowl. As you peer into it, you start to see images and situations that come from your envy. You start to gaze upon the nature of your past envy and the damage it caused to you and others. As you do this, take responsibility for each situation you witness and then let it go.


Jealousy is not like envy, which is calculating and brooding. Jealousy is a moment of passionate, untamed, raw desire that someone has something, whatever it may be, that you do not. Being jealous is like having temporary blindness, because you can only see the object of your jealousy and the world seems shrouded in semidarkness.

Thought Exercise to Transform Jealousy

Though simple, this meditation is very effective. Sit by yourself in a quiet place. Out loud—very loud—ask your inner self to show you your jealousy both in your daily and inner life in every detail. Accost your jealousy by shouting at it to go away.

Give thanks for this.


Greed plans an assault, because greed is tactical. Greed is not just for food or wealth, but also for ambition, power, and even happiness. It is an unskillful emotion that seeks to accumulate anything in order to feel safe and secure. Greed creates ill health and problems with insecurity, money, and relationships. Greed is like the erosion of land by the sea or wind, invisible but real and very destructive all the same.

Thought Exercise to Transform Greed

Go to a place of natural beauty near the sea or water, and close your eyes. Listen to the wind, the sea, or the sounds of running water. Focus on one of these sounds so that nothing else enters your mind. Now direct this sound to start eroding your greed and replacing it with an appreciation of the natural order of things and an understanding that all things come to fruition in their own time.

Anger comes into being when a person is overwhelmed by the world and feels powerless to change it. This sense of powerlessness grows in intensity and creates anger that becomes part of an individual's reactions to the world, both externally and internally. Anger is unskillful self-recognition, a burst of intense energy that creates a sense of awareness.

People influenced by anger seek perfection in all things and see themselves as leaders and inspirers of other people. Anger creates an imperfect experience of divinity within such people, who are otherwise spiritually perceptive.

Thought Exercise to Transform Anger

To transform anger, first think of how you can be of service to your fellow human beings. Think about why your anger takes place in the way it does. Focus upon your thought energy to bring you a greater experience of love and spirituality in your daily life.


Lust just wants to make everything okay. Lust is the need for control over the world and the personality. Lust seeks to identify everything by its own experience; it does not believe in anything but its own actions. Lust and arrogance are related, like the two ugly sisters in the story of Cinderella.

People influenced by lust seek the company of others and tend to value community and human relations. People matter to them more than anything else, but at the same time they try to make themselves the center of any human interaction.

Thought Exercise to Transform Lust

Sit quietly. Listen to others without offering your opinion or projecting your personality. You do not have to make others in your image. Experience the wisdom and beauty of others and in turn they will discover yours.


Arrogance is lack of confidence. Arrogance is unsure about what to do, so it creates a defense system of emotions. Arrogance sits at the heart of all the emotions listed here. Arrogance would like not to be arrogant but is too afraid to stop; it doesn't know how to change.

People influenced by arrogance believe that things don't last and that they can rely only upon themselves. They often seem apart from others because they lack skills in creating friendships.

Thought Exercise to Transform Arrogance

Sit quietly. Consider what you have achieved. What is its real value? Are you happy? Do you know anything about yourself? Do others know anything about you? Do you share yourself with others? Do you have any real friends? Consider these questions with absolute seriousness. Then as you gain insights, cultivate them with self-love so that you will be able to recognize opportunities for positive change.

Careless Actions and Thoughts

Careless actions and thoughts are emotional and material events that are spontaneously thoughtless and careless and that then have long-lasting effects and repercussions: for instance, being spiteful, hurting another person, or passing on gossip. Careless actions and thoughts can often come about when we are strongly influenced by the other emotional pollutions.

People influenced by this emotional energy have not yet learned how to tap in to their stillness and make use of their emotional resources and can be careless and clumsy in thought and action.

Thought Exercise to Transform Careless Actions and Thoughts

Spend thirty minutes first thing every morning doing this meditation. Sit in a chair, arms in your lap. Focus your attention on your day. See your day becoming a faultless event in which you control each outcome with harmony and balance.


Selfishness comes about when an individual has no self-awareness, either physically or emotionally. This lack of self-awareness leads to loneliness, which in turn affects the chemistry of the brain and the body's limbic system, both of which are intimately connected to our emotions.

Selfishness becomes addictive. The more a person experiences it, the more they are prone to becoming dependent upon the energy of selfishness. Being selfish steals your vitality and leaves very little time and energy for anything else.

Thought Exercise to Transform Selfishness

Lie down on your back with your arms and legs stretched out comfortably. Imagine your body starting to dissolve and slowly turning to ash. All that is left is your physical heart, beating, and your mind, which inhabits your heart. From this point, your mind starts to regenerate new thoughts, which create new emotions, which create in turn a new, more complete physical body free from selfishness.

So, now that you have understood the role and importance of your emotions, and the thought pollutions that can impede your development of skillful thought, it is time to look more closely at the way thought energy can be used to create happiness.

Thought Energy and Happiness

Every person on this planet is linked by their thoughts to every other person. Each one of us can use thought energy to create happiness. True happiness is a balance of thought energies, woven together so that they support each other and create harmony.

You have a right to this happiness as long as you share it. This is true of money, wealth, and spiritual achievement. If you do not share these you cannot hold on to them for long, or you will end up damaging your ability to think and feel. We have the right to own things but not to abuse ownership. We should own our inner achievements and share those achievements with others, but we should never give away the thought energy behind our achievements. This energy is sacred to each of us and is unique once developed.

Thinking in a positive manner in the Tibetan way simplifies all things, and naturally creates happiness, success, and love. The more love you can create within yourself, the more useful your thinking becomes. Thinking well means taking control of your life. That can be a scary thing to do, because it means taking responsibility for the way your life turns out. We are not subject to some greater force that dictates our every move. As individuals we can determine the outcome of each moment and thus the main events in our lives, by paying attention to the details in order to direct the outcome.

Thinking Success into Reality

Establishing three ground rules can create success of any type. These are:

1. What you want should be for your ultimate good and benefit.

2. You must be able to carry the creation of what you want through to completion.

3. You must decide how, once your aim is achieved, you will apply it, what you will do with it, and how achieving it will change you.

Success is not an ultimate conclusion in itself but the result of a series of steps made possible by creative thought. Success comes about through thinking it into action. Once you are comfortable with each of the three ground rules, you must think about success of whatever type you want to the exclusion of all else. You need a time frame. Give yourself a calendar year as the time in which to achieve your success. You need belief in your ambition and not to fear the possibility of failure. Your life must change in order to be successful.

In other chapters you will learn specific techniques to apply to achieve success in specific areas of your life. But this general approach is the basic foundation to activate the dormant power of your positive thought energy.

Dealing with Difficult People

One of the major obstacles on your path to success is likely to be difficult people. We all encounter them and the difficult situations they create in life. So before we go any further, let me explain how to use the power of positive thought energy to help you to deal with such people and situations.

How do you define what a difficult person is? The Tibetan Boen tradition describes it in this way: A difficult person is someone who throws their emotional energy at you, causing you upset and shock and making you feel defenseless. A difficult person is someone who persecutes you or obstructs your path in life. A difficult person is someone who tries to cause you emotional or physical harm or to damage your reputation. A difficult person is someone who tries to steal your belongings, wealth, or creativity.

Such people can be easy to deal with, but the golden rule is that you should not at any juncture wish them harm. What you must wish them is self-knowledge. You can direct the thought energy of self-knowledge to them in such a way that they will lose their sting toward you. Do this exercise twice a day, in the morning and evening.

Sit quietly, focusing upon the individual and picturing them in your mind. Then direct this thought toward them, speaking it out loud either three or nine times:

"May all blessings flow to you. May self-knowledge flow to you. I reclaim the power you have taken from me, it is mine to take back, it is my right. May love and good fortune come to you now. As I speak now you are no longer a problem for me! Your difficult energy dissolves into wisdom. You regard me with respect."

At the end of this clap your hands three times very loudly to seal your invocation.

This exercise works with great effect. Think of this as a spiritual kick in the backside that leaves no bruise, creates no harm, and gives you a compassionate view of the situation and the difficult person or people concerned. Compassion cannot be derided or made small, for it is the biggest force in the mind of humanity.

Jenny was a teacher whose career and life were almost destroyed by a woman at her school. This woman was a senior teacher and was also Jenny's boss. She decided for no obvious reason to make Jenny's life intolerable, and for two years Jenny suffered humiliation, extra workloads, and accusations of dishonesty. Although Jenny was found innocent of the accusations, the head teacher did nothing about her tormentor. This woman then began to telephone Jenny at home and verbally abuse her.

At this point Jenny was seeing me for a physical condition. One day she broke down in tears, telling me of her dreadful situation. I showed her how to use her thought energy as in the exercise above, and Jenny went away delighted that there was something she could do herself about the situation.

To Jenny's astonishment, within hours of her starting this exercise the head teacher suddenly decided to act on Jenny's behalf and dismissed her persecutor. Free of the woman's damaging behavior, Jenny was able to continue happily with her teaching career.

Two years later, Jenny was at a conference when another young teacher told her how he was being bullied by his boss. To Jenny's surprise it turned out to be the same woman, who had simply moved on to torment someone else. Jenny taught him the "dealing with difficult people" exercise and heard later that the woman had been banned from teaching permanently.

Turning Negative Situations into Positive Ones

As you go through life, using skillful thought to create success in your life, you will, at times, need to change a negative situation into a positive one in order to move forward.

To do this, it takes the power of strong, positive thought energy. So how do you start to identify the negativity of a situation and its potential for change? You need to do the following three things:

1. Identify the cause of the negative situation and determine how long it has been going on.

2. Look at the way people concerned with the negative situation react to it, how much negative energy they invest in it, and whether they believe it can change.

3. Look at what the possible outcome will be if the negative situation is changed into a positive one and whether, once changed, it will last and become stronger.

Once you have done these three things, honestly and with care, you will find the raw material for change. This is what you do with it:

Sit quietly. Imagine that a fire is burning in front of you and that you place sweet-smelling oils onto the fire. Then take what you have discovered the raw material of the negative situation to be and cast it onto the flames. There you see it begin to melt, and as it melts, with the power of your thought and the heat of the fire, you mentally direct it to become positive, pleasant, powerful, and beneficial. As the situation changes, the fire changes too; the orange flames become a brilliant blue-white column of light. This column then moves into your body and into your spine, then flows into your brain and your heart. From within you it flows out into the world, broadcasting the powerful and positive thought energy that will change the negative situation into a positive one.

You will get results immediately after using this exercise.

Lydia and Ian were a young couple who had met in my clinic. They were very much in love and wanted to see the world. So they decided to travel and get to know each other better as they did so.

In a certain Asian country, as they were about to leave on a flight home, they were arrested by local police and charged with not paying their hotel bill. This was wrong, but they had no choice and went to jail, separately, terrified for themselves and each other. Thankfully, before their trip I had taught them certain skills in case they got into trouble. The exercise for turning negative situations positive was one of them.

Having a strong mental link with each other, they did this meditation on their own and for each other. Forty-eight hours later they were both released without explanation, their passports returned with their luggage. However, they found that all their money was gone, as were their tickets. So they sat down in the busy street and did the meditation again. At this point two elderly tourists offered them a lift to the airport in their taxi. When they arrived at the airport, this elderly couple guessed something was up, and Lydia and Ian told them the whole story. The couple paid for their tickets home.

Lydia and Ian took their address, and when they returned home they sent them the money.

When Lydia told the story to her uncle she discovered that her uncle knew the elderly couple and had not seen them for ten years.

There was a debt repaid and a very happy reunion.

A Thought for the Day

Each day we wake in the morning with a thought in our minds. This thought, whatever it may be, sets the tone for the rest of the day. This is not always a good thing, as we may wake up in a rush for work or school, with a hangover, feeling depressed, or generally in a state of confusion. Therefore it is a good idea to learn how to create an original thought to begin each day, and to make the day a perfect expression of your original thought.

What do you want from each day? Do you want peace? Career and financial success? Perhaps you want the end to a personal issue. Whatever you want, you have the power to create it, as long as you know what to do with it. Here is how you can start to empower your daily living by releasing creative and dynamic thought energy.

Begin each day by giving thanks for the simple fact that you start each day with endless opportunities for change. As you start to be thankful, you will notice that you gain a heightened sense of intuition and that this makes you more aware of how your thought energies affect your daily life and of the sense of fun and wisdom behind each habit. As you understand why you have the habits that you do, you will start to sense the energy of original thought.

This process can take place in just seven days, and then you will be able to discover what you need most each day to be fulfilled. You can then focus on that in the morning and direct it to happen during the day.

Tibetan teachings suggest that in order to gain a strong ability to make each day all that you want it to be, you must train your ability to direct thought energy using the following exercise.

Choose all that are relevant to you from the list of thoughts below and then focus on each one for three days at a time, beginning first thing in the morning.

A day of peace

A day of good relations with everyone you come into contact with

A day of tangible success in your career that is recognized by those in power

A day of attracting tangible wealth to yourself

A day of enhancing your reputation

A day when you meet a person that you can love and be loved by in return

A day when you can overcome domestic problems of any type

A day when you recover from sickness

A day when you gain independence from any negative influence

A day to find a new house or accommodation

A day to find a new job or create a new career

A day when powerful people bestow favors and good fortune upon you

A day for spiritual insight and problem solving

A day to overcome enemies or those who seek to harm your reputation

A day to make friends

A day to travel

A day to conceive a baby

If there is a particular issue you need to focus on that is not

already represented here, then you can include it in your list.

Say each thought out loud like this: "Today I will make this day a day of peace," or "Today is a day when I will attract tangible wealth to myself." Repeat the thought in this way eighteen times. After doing so, be silent for a few minutes as you see this directed thought spread out into your day, creating the opportunities that you have just invoked. Speaking each thought out loud, with strong intention, is the easiest way to release the power of your thought energy. This invocation will awaken your connection to the endless power of thought energy within you.

You can repeat the cycle of thoughts in this way as many times as you like.

When John's wife died from a brain tumor, he was left to care for their eighteen-month-old daughter. He had no relatives who could help and he knew so little about the domestic side of the family's life that he couldn't even boil an egg or iron a shirt. His wife had taken care of everything while he worked in the oil business.

Soon after his wife's death John lost his job and had to default on his mortgage. The bank was less than sympathetic and foreclosed on him. It seemed that everything had gone wrong for John. With a child to care for, he needed to find a job and new home very quickly. Yet job interview after job interview came and went.

Desperate to change the tide of events, John came to me and I taught him how to direct his thought energy toward solving his problems and finding the home and job he needed. John practiced the exercise faithfully for some days, until eventually he went for a job interview that seemed to go well.

At the end of the interview the owner of a small oil and exploration company asked him about his current situation. It all came tumbling out, and John thought he had blown it.

"I understand," said the owner. "I've been there, I know what it's like. Oh, and by the way, you've got the job and you can use the company apartment until you get settled."

That was five years ago. John went on to become chief executive officer and close friends with the generous and compassionate owner of the company.

The power of thought is everywhere, in all things. Unseen but very real, it creates the reality that we know and experience. By learning how to harness and use the Tibetan art of positive thinking, you can start to create the reality that you want and to make your thoughts direct successful actions and outcomes. Merely to react to events in your life will always leave you feeling that you are tossed and pushed around by life. By connecting to the thought energy of all things, you choose to work with life, to be in charge, rather than to be powerless.

Choose this path and your life takes on new dimensions of meaning, success, and happiness. Life works in partnership with the higher dimensions of your consciousness. You start naturally to celebrate life, and life celebrates you. Remember that all material things are thought energy in action, just as you are pure thought in action. Allow the power of thought to flow through you and begin to harness pure thought energy, using the skillful application of your will and mental intention. In this way your thinking becomes a communication with the divine within you and a direct and powerful tool for influencing the material world.

In the following chapters I will show you how to develop and use skillful thought energy in order to create benefits and success in specific areas of your life: your work, finances, health and well-being, your sense of personal freedom, and your relationships with family, friends, and partners.

I will also show you how to help and encourage others, both those you know and strangers, so that the blessings of positive thought energy can be shared and passed on. Finally, I will show you how to travel further along the path of spiritual enlightenment and how to develop your consciousness so that you can connect, at the deepest level, with the unity of all things and the single thought that links every one of us.

Copyright © 2003 by Christopher Hansard

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