I believe popular new-age thinking has tended to distort the idea of manifestation, often to the detriment of folks who have chosen to work with it. I reject the notion that a sparkling spiritual practice will bring the Publisher’s Clearing House guy to the door with a gigantic check or cure Mom’s cancer (but only if you are good enough at it, of course). It’s not that I don’t believe in the power of prayer, far from it. It’s that the inverse of these ideas can be so darned harmful. Let me explain.
Life can be challenging; in fact, life should be challenging. Imagine sitting through a 3-hour movie with absolutely no dramatic tension, no obstacles to overcome, no conflict. Boring, right? But it’s more than that. It then becomes a story without growth, without significant opportunities for learning, without pathways to living and loving. I recall sitting through one of my favorite series. The characters had been beat up in every imaginable way, (I think it involved a tsunami). Of course, by the end, they had overcome the obstacles and forged a fresh camaraderie. At that moment, the wiser-than-me voice in my head said: “You see, this is when the love comes out.” That became a new mantra for me, helpful in turbulent times, “This is when the love comes out.” Entirely reminiscent of the wise counsel of Mr. Rogers who told kids in times of trouble, “Look for the helpers.” The helpers: bringers of love. Re-seeing the crisis, re-knowing the hardship, that, to me, is true manifestation.
So where is that harm I spoke about? Certain ideas about manifestation hand us an equation in which the inevitable outcome of anything less than what we were seeking is blame. Is my painful, swollen, arthritic knee the result of me being a bad spiritualist? Did my Dad die of cancer because he didn’t pray enough or drop enough coins in the basket? In many ways, I believe it is important to ditch the notion that our ideas of imperfect human reactions would engender a lack of goods and services. That type of thinking can take us down a very unhelpful path.
I have seen time and again how folks believe they are just not trying hard enough in their spiritual practices when life throws a speed bump. What a hurtful equation! If we subscribe to the idea of a loving Universe, we cannot possibly also believe that challenging life events are retribution for missing the mark. Even though it flies in the face of a good deal of traditional thinking, it just cannot be so.
The dictionary definition of the word manifest is all about perception, how we see.* As it turns out, the Guides use it in much the same way.
“And by manifest we mean realized Divine in form. … Imagine that God itself is present in every human being, in everything you can see, conceive of, or imagine. The presence of the Divine, once claimed, calls into manifestation the inherent divinity in this thing you perceive, and claims it in vibrational accord to the Divine Self, who has claimed it in witness. This is how a world is made new.” (Beyond the Known: REALIZATION, Page 6)
We don’t manifest a new sports car; we manifest to re-see the lovely transportation we have.
This call to re-see things to embrace the inherent Divine is not always easy. Our collective history has handed us a playbook that defines things as good and bad, worthy and unworthy, light and dark. Yet manifesting the Divine in everything we encounter is such a peace-bringing, vibration-raising practice. We change the outcome not through some mechanical process but through understanding, through an energetic transformation that can bring an entirely fresh and often unexpected way of viewing what is before us. That, I believe, is true manifestation, and it has the power to meet us whenever and wherever we are.
Word I Am Word.