The overwhelming opinion I have been seeing online is that when it comes to manifestation it’s all about the power of positive thought to manifest anything one wants into one’s life. There are even people I have encountered who claim to have successfully implemented the technique and insinuate that they would teach you if only they could and suggest that it isn’t that they cannot teach, it’s that they cannot teach someone who cannot do it. Another popular attitude is that it is done through some allegedly ancient and well guarded incantation only for the few, not the many, only for the worthy, not the masses.
What I found out in conversation with people is that first off, folks who are into alternative spirituality tend to believe fully in manifestation and most claim to have the skill in their repertoire. Also, while they all claim to have the skill when asked directly how they proceed with manifestation none have a clear answer and act as though the technique is either shrouded in mystery or that they just can’t explain it because people don’t understand. To be perfectly clear here, I am talking about folks who claim that somehow, using only the power of thought, they can manifest physical things into their physical world. Things like cars, money and material wants.
Over and over one thing I saw in the majority of people who claimed to have the ability to manifest things they want or shape reality as though it were made of clay was ego. They were all cocksure and more than a little arrogant as though they were made privy to some great ability that only certain and very special people were privy to. The ego issue had me thinking of another prevalent attitude in the spiritual community and that is the unrealistic idea that we need to kill the ego or as some say “annihilate the ego.” The biggest feeders of ego are the people using it as an agenda and/or as a crutch for everything they do or assigning it blame when others act out. Ego attracts more fingers than almost anything when it comes to assigning blame, loads of folks just stand there pointing at it never moving forward or back.
The main thing that makes these two things similar is that both imply we live in a world we simply do not live in. We do not live in a world where one can go around devoid of ego. In point of fact, in the world we live in, ego is necessary to survival. Likewise, we don’t live in a world where one can cross their fingers, make a wish and have all their dreams come true, there are just too many variables that cannot be shaped like “virtual clay” and anyone who tells you otherwise is either high or trying to sell you something. It becomes clear that in some cases manifestation is just ego extension. An “I want” attitude results and that is the very definition of ego. That attitude is more realistic as well since we actually do live in an “I want” world. The important element with both the issues of ego and of instant manifestation is balance, when that is missing problems arise.
Back to the issue of circumstances. There are a good number of folks who had to overcome disadvantages to become successful. Disadvantages like poverty and abuse or even homelessness couldn't stop them from manifesting a different life. In reality, those types of stories, like rags to riches stories, are the exception, not the rule. In point of fact, more often than not those folks don’t survive these situations but are rescued from them. Imagine a kid who suffered abuse at the hands of his parents but was then, at the age of twelve or so, put into a foster home where he was loved, well cared for and supported. That isn’t survival, that’s rescue and not everyone is so lucky, in fact, most aren’t. True survivors are the people who never have anyone step in who is caring and supportive. People who have had to make it all on their own and overcome obstacles to make the best life they can despite the variables that the real world presents that cannot be removed by the power of positive thought or shaped like clay into something other than precisely what they are.
One thing most agree on is that there is a certain spiritual element when it comes to manifestation. The problem that arises when the spiritual aspect is brought into it is the implication that if one cannot shape reality like clay and manifest the material things that they want out of thin air then they must not be spiritually evolved people. The interesting part is that many people who believe they are masters of the power of manifestation prove to be spiritually lacking. There are a number of ways in which their spiritual deficit manifests itself and it is often personal thus difficult to pin-point. What I can say based on experience is that a lot people who are confident that they are the sole creators of reality rather than the creators of how they live in it are more delusional than spiritual.
There is loads of evidence that often people who have a lot of money and possessions still feel unfulfilled. However, those are the very things people talk most about manifesting into their lives, things. A bigger house, a better car, nicer things. It’s often justified by twists to intent, a bigger house to better accommodate the family I love, a nicer car so the children will be safer and so on and so forth. Spiritual fulfillment on the other hand doesn't twist the same way, it cannot be manifested in that sense. Living a spiritually fulfilling life is something you just do, moment to moment. The fact is, a truly spiritually fulfilled person finds advantage for growth in the harder times that life can throw down. Rather than attempt to manifest their way out of hard times, they embrace them and learn from them and move forward stronger and better for it.
The point is, you don’t manifest a spiritually fulfilling life you simply live one, you cannot manifest it, you have to DO it. In most cases being spiritually evolved includes acceptance of the now, being present in the moment, getting its worth and learning from it then moving forward. Manifestation in the context of manifesting THINGS into one’s life or manifesting better circumstances is just wishing away the moment, hoping for something else, something better. It's telling the "Powers that Be" or whatever your reference is, that what is there isn't good enough. There is another option though, rather than mastering the art of manifestation there is the option of moving beyond wanting to.
Truly living in each moment that the universe provides for you and learning from it isn't always as easy as it sounds but it is worth it. The reality isn't the same as what they're selling on the shelves at the Ashram or local new age shop, enlightenment isn't a possession that can be purchased or manifested and it isn't all dancing unicorns or rainbows made of butterflies practicing synchronized flight. Living in the moment means living in the "good" ones and the "bad" ones. There is a choice other than trying to manifest a jet out of thin air to take you away from the "bad."
Ultimately, the question that comes up most is, can you do it? Can you manifest things out of thin air? I know that some of the people who read this piece are smugly sitting there thinking that if what I have written here is my truth then clearly it is my own cop-out. To them, some of whom I could actually name, it would seem like my reasoning is my way of covering up the fact that I cannot do it. I cannot manifest thousands of dollars into my bank account or make a new car appear in my driveway, in that conclusion, they are correct, by their own definitions. My definitions are just a little different.
The truth is I don’t want to. I don’t want to wish away moments that I can learn from and I don’t equate the “good life" with the acquisition of things in the material world. As to my circumstances, I suppose what I manifest is contentment. The ability to adapt and find contentment in every lesson the universe presents to me in whatever form or circumstance those lessons may take. One main thing people attempt to manifest is happiness but that isn’t something one can manifest, it is a choice one makes. Happiness comes in moments, pieces of time to remember and cherish. Contentment with the now, being present and open to the moment rather than trying to wish it away is one way true spiritual evolution can take place.