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A notebook with an orange pen on top. In orange writing it says "I am the author of my story". The notebook is set against a background of a white knitted woollen blanket

What is Manifestation and How Does it Work?

A notebook with an orange pen on top. In orange writing it says "I am the author of my story". The notebook is set against a background of a white knitted woollen blanket

What Actually is Manifestation?

In manifestation we use imagination and emotion to become as familiar with a speculated version of reality as possible. We imagine from the assumption that it has already happened, or well on the way to fruition. This imaginative process is repeated daily until it manifests as a new habitual experience, or a new event occurring.

This repetition and layering of a speculated version of reality, often referred to as “visualisation”, is considered fundamental to manifestation. If it is overlooked it is easy to see how one might mistakenly conclude that manifestation does not work.

How do we Know Manifestation Works?

We know that imagining something can make it more likely to happen. We also know that being positive can make us happier, which can make us more successful.

Science can’t explain why manifestation comes about, whether the law of attraction, quantum theory, an unstoppable mindset, or something else. While science manifests an answer to that question, there is nothing to stop us exploring and taking full advantage of this phenomenon.

A swimmer doing butterfly stroke from left to right in a swimming pool, from above

Visualisation in Athletics

It is common practice for athletes to visualise throughout their development and in preparation for races, matches or events. Michael Phelps, Novak Djokovic, Mohammad Ali, Lindsey Vonn, Christiano Ronaldo and Usain Bolt are all well-known visualisers.

Manifestation Requires Visualisation and Deliberate Action

It should be highlighted, of course, that there are no athletes who only use mental manifestation, without physical training. Similarly, you can’t expect your a million pounds, or irresistible charm to fall into your lap with visualisation alone. Manifestation synergises visualisation with deliberate action steps.

“Visualisation” is “Foresense”

Rather than “visualisation”, however, I prefer to use the term “foresense”, since effective visualisation is not only visual. It involves a richly multi-sensory blend, including that which we can see, hear, feel, taste and smell, that brings a speculated reality to life.

Affirmations Describe What you Manifest

Affirmations work hand in hand with foresense. They are emotionally supportive and encouraging declarations that bring new possibilities into being. Affirmations can be declared and repeated as thoughts, or out loud. They are an important part of manifesting because they can conjure foresense, or vice versa, because they become internalised as thoughts, then beliefs and because they can override limiting thoughts and beliefs.

A decorated gold-coloured genie's magic lamp for granting 3 wishes

Manifestation is not Magic, but it Can and Should Feel Magical

This is an oversimplification, but let’s say you want a Tesla car. In all likelihood you’re not going to wake up tomorrow morning with the keys to your Tesla in your hand. Would you really want that, even if it were possible? If you have manifested a Tesla, beneath that would be your commitment to believing in the process and yourself. It will be because you have put in the action steps and made waves in the world. You will have flexed your internal locus of control. You will have demonstrated to yourself that you are capable, significant and resourceful. These qualities are worth a thousand Teslas!

If this is what you get, manifestation is working for you. If you miss these cues and your Tesla leaves you feeling empty and unfulfilled, you may be chasing your tail. You may be unaware of your innate and abundant value.

There is nothing wrong with believing the universe is on your side, with a little serendipity, and that when you take yourself and the world on, the universe steps in to lend a helping hand. Think of this as a reward for your input.

Whatever you believe, manifestation works within your understanding of the universe.

If however you know you are prone to delusional thinking. If your understanding of the universe diverges wildly from the reasoned consensus of human thought, I recommend you only engage in manifestation practices with the approval of a medical professional. Manifestation should be a practice that harmonises the relationship between the imagined, or interpreted world and shared physical reality.

A turquoise Tesla car in a showroom

What do you Really Want?

Will it give you what you think it will give you? Have you given it much thought? Many people don’t. If you were to perform a survey of all the people who own Teslas, I doubt you would find a significant correlation with fulfilment and life satisfaction.

If you obtain a Tesla (or if you become a millionaire, for example), does part of you feel like it could empower you, give you resourcefulness, significance, attention, approval, love, or contentment? Could it make you feel more worthwhile?

These qualities exist within, or between people. When you become familiar with these qualities within you (spoiler alert: you already have them!), you may simultaneously realise that you are capable of obtaining way more than just a Tesla and your priorities may change completely.

Grid of multiple photos of the same person displaying a variety of emotions

The Importance of Emotion in Driving Manifestation

You will know when affirmations and foresense are working because you will feel it. The more you focus, the richer the sound of the affirmation, the greater the colour and motion of the foresense, the more likely you are to feel something.

This emotion is another important marker. This is the feeling that, when habituated, drives us forward in our deliberate action and helps us to identify opportunities in our environment that are conducive to our manifested outcomes.

The same parts of the brain are active during imagined inner experience and real external events. When these interacting affirmations, foresense and emotions are at play, our bodies are more likely to naturally output behaviours and modes of operating that bring about our manifested outcomes. This reduces the need to push ourselves to think, or feel the right way, or do the right thing, for example.

Close up of a blank stare on a young child's face in black and white, as if to represent disconnection, or isolation

Understanding Resistance to Manifestation Techniques?

This phenomenon of manifesting the mental and physical condition as if you are in a certain situation can work against us as well as for us. Trauma can inhibit your self-esteem, your ability to move towards goals and motivate yourself.

Any internal experience of trauma that may have been picked up during the course of life can replay and loop itself during a variety of different external encounters where it is not needed and not helpful.

The Still Face Experiment highlights how even a short moment of absent expression on the face of a parental figure can leave a child distressed. You could be the greatest parent of all time. If a timely opportunity is not provided for them to return to positive, comfortable interaction with the parent, the formation of a traumatic experience can follow. An event such as this may be generalised by the child as not feeling they are good enough, or not lovable, as caregivers, or people in general being unavailable. This kind of interpretation may be all an infant is capable of, that seems to them like the best way to safeguard their survival for the proceeding moments, or days. These manifested rules can persist throughout a lifetime and colour our relationships with ourselves and others, if not addressed in therapy, or meditation, for example.

Trauma Can Function Like Negative Manifestation

Such interpretations function just like affirmations. However, they often contain a polar opposite message to the abundance, or confidence, or love you might choose. So, whether or not you have obtained traumatic experiences, you may have a build-up of existing negative manifestations. You may, or may not be completely aware of them, or any resistance they present to the manifestation process.

It may be that this can be overcome through committed habituation of affirmations and foresense alone. On the other hand it may be that, significant emotional, or behavioural resistance arises, blocks you from effective manifesting. In which case, you may choose to seek professional help in working through that resistance. The key here is not to try to push these feelings and interpretations about yourself and others away. As Carl Jung said “What you resist not only persists but will grow in size”. The key is to learn to remain with them with calmness, to be curious and responsive, not reactive.

This kind of assistance can reduce the fear enough to release its power and control over you, leaving you free to manifest as you would choose.

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