I don't see much of a difference in what people are saying here. The difference is in the emphasis.
The mechanics of the mind are the mechanics of the mind. Thoughts, emotions, beliefs, delusions and all mental constructs happen. That's not to say they are random. But they are compelled in the sense that the conditioning in the mind will influence what happens in the mind. I don't think there is any volition in the mind--but that's a pretty controversial subject here, and can be put aside for this discussion. But we can agree that conditioning will affect mental constructs including beliefs.
The conditioning goes beyond influencing beliefs. I think it in fact is a compulsion. In other words, what we believe and want to believe, we do not really have a choice in. But we do seem to have a choice in controlling attention. It seems we can influence the entire vessel in which all this happens.
If this accepted, there are at least two approaches. One is the movement to make our thoughts and beliefs sweeter. We can make our beliefs more positive, sweeter, more inclusive, more spiritual, more compassionate, more open, more helpful, and so on.
And, why wouldn't we want this? Why wouldn't we want a more positive and sweeter life? Beliefs affect the experience of life and positive beliefs bring about a more positive outcome of life, so why wouldn't we want that?
Well, because in my experience, it takes tremendous effort to make thoughts and beliefs more positive. It takes conscious effort and continual practice to sustain positivity through beliefs. And who has not had the experience of false beliefs? Who has not had the experience of ardently believing something, and then later come to the experience that, well, maybe that was not quite it?
It's not that beliefs are random, and it's not that beliefs cannot be made sweeter, and it's not that beliefs cannot reflect truth, and it's not even that beliefs do not affect the experience of life. All of this can be true.
And yet, there is something prior to beliefs which has a greater influence.
In my experience, at our basest and most natural, we are already abundantly positive. How can we not be? The gift of life, the gift of simply being aware is huge.
What is negative in us starts as a delusion of fear. A delusion. A belief.
Ian pointed out Anita Moorjani. I don't usually follow NDE, but I like what she says, and I like that she is not trying to promote any particular belief system, and I see what she is says as essentially that we don't see who we are because of an illusion. It's not that our beliefs are not sweet enough; it's that what we do believe is based in fear.
"Thinking positive" can be tiring, and to some people it can mean "suppressing" the negative stuff that happens. And it ends up being more draining.
This is how I see the approach toward reaching for positive beliefs. But that's just me--it would be hard to dissuade anyone who is trying for a better perspective and better experience of life. This is what we all want.
I prefer the other approach. It's certainly not easier. To reach in and bring to consciousness the original fear, and in the seeing of it destroy the delusion--well maybe that's not easier. But in the seeing of it, no practice or subsequent conscious effort is required.