I came across a book recently that has improved my attitude about others and myself. Called The Power of Intention, the subtitle is “Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way.” Who doesn’t want that?

 The premise is that we become what we think, according to an Old Testament concept from Proverbs 23:7, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

The famous philosopher and author, the late Wayne W. Dyer, expounds on this concept in his book.

Dyer’s title comes from the mind’s ability to embrace a spirit of intention that guides our lives. We all know well-intentioned people whose actions and words do not produce positive outcomes. (Heaven help us to realize that we, too, are well-intentioned, even as we fail at many pursuits.) Dyer’s “intention” involves developing seven ways of thinking in a practical sense to achieve the happiness and prosperity.

Here is the list of seven: 1. “Be creative.” (Knowing and trusting one’s purpose, “having an attitude of unbending intent” improves daily thoughts and activities) 2. “Be kind.” (Living with an attitude of “cheerful kindness” taps into a way to think with “high energy” that allows one to connect the earth, oneself, and others.) 3. “Be love.” (Acting in a loving manner creates a force that allows one’s thoughts to flourish) 4. “Be beauty.” (Inner beauty allows one to have appreciation for truth. Awareness of beauty in all life forms is essential for happiness.) 5. “Be ever-expansive.” (Be aware that inner growth expands the intention of the mind toward a higher Source.) 6. “Be abundant.” (Giving of oneself and claiming blessings allow unlimited possibilities in life.) 7. “Be receptive.” (Reverence the connection of one’s spirit in the higher Source and to others to bring about awareness.)

If reading the list of seven seems too complex, here is a practical application I will describe.

Recently, a handicapped friend asked me to run an errand for her. I found myself sitting in a crowded office far longer than I thought I would while waiting on a company representative. Being the time-conscious person that I am, at first I grew impatient. I almost wanted to call my friend and tell her the errand was taking too much time. Third, I did not want to have hard feelings toward my friend, but I was getting frustrated. Then I remembered that by simply offering to help my friend, I was behaving in a kind and loving manner (2 & 3 above). I told the representative I didn’t have long to wait, and he assured me the wait would be short.

I sat down and decided to appreciate the people in the room (7) and also to smile at those who looked at me (6). To my surprise, the representative interrupted talking with the customer before me, approached me, and thanked me for my patience. After another five minutes, he walked to the back and found someone else who could help me. I changed my attitude, and my circumstances improved.

This is one example of thinking on a higher plane, or with “higher energy” as Dyer describes it. During the month I spent reading the book, I found applications each day for applying his methods of overcoming life’s frustrations, embracing goals, improving my relationships with family members, and practicing inner contentment.

Because of the recent holidays, many of us have been with relatives and may have felt some of the frustrations we normally don’t encounter. I, for one, am at odds with the political views of several family members; and we avoided related conversations during the holidays (well, except for maybe one or two).

I thought about how Dyer overcame similar issues. He described the attitude his in-laws had about non-whites as distasteful. Then he decided to implement the concepts of higher thinking when he was with them. For starters, he quit expressing his own opinion. Also, he considered more carefully their way of thinking.

He still didn’t like their attitude; but he noticed that, gradually, they seemed to appreciate that he was respecting them. He writes in the book that, after a period of time, his in-laws completely stopped trying to elicit a response from him and actually became more tolerant of others.

I have started the process with my own family members. I have quit talking so much about my own opinions, and I’ve tried (painfully) to consider their opinions. The first thing I have noticed is that I am calmer and happier when around them. I will see how it goes.

Trying to apply Dyer’s concepts has become enjoyable, even if sometimes painful.