Perhaps the most used word that ‘woke’ people use these days – whether they are in spiritual circles, wellness circles, or even personal development / business coaching circles – ‘manifesting’ is the ubiquitous buzz word and ever the dangling carrot for many.
Manifesting as a principle is not new, though has become more mainstream in recent years. Individual healers, coaches, teachers share some subtle differences in how the principle works, but pared down, manifestation is where your sense of personal value, feeling, thoughts, or general energy can create your reality. It is not unlike the Law of Attraction or even some tenets of positive psychology, but these days, the talk of manifesting has taken centre stage in mass consciousness.
I want to continue this conversation from April’s newsletter, and wanted to include two paragraphs from it for some context:
Many of us have had issues with security (financial), many of us are actively working on cultivating an abundance mindset. If you were to scroll through all the offerings on social media and general digital media, you will notice that most leaders are focusing on the topic of manifesting. It may seem like a new-age term, but it is not too different from the business coaches and self-development programs from the 80s and 90s. It sounds dated one when sells their program as 'how to make millions', 'how to retire by 45', so now it's called, 'how to manifest your dreams', 'be magnetic and attract the life you want', 'become an influencer and travel', and so forth.
Many of these offerings are looking to the law of attraction and self worth as a basis for drawing luck, money, and abundance. To a point, I agree with that. But to another point, I completely don't. It is problematic when someone says that we have attracted poverty, struggle, health issues, disadvantage, or anything else undesirable as a blanket statement, because it does not address the systemic issues of many socio-economic, political, cultural and other factors that have contributed to these situations. It also rids a community's social responsibility and shifts all ownership on the individual.
And from here, I’d like to elaborate and provoke your own relationship with the manifestation principle:
It’s easy for someone who is wealthy, successful, healthy, and generally in a position of advantage to take credit for their privilege by saying they attracted those desirable things. Suppose an immature, superficial person of privilege wants to flex their muscles. If they did it in an obvious way, it would be called out as cocky/distasteful. But if they used some spiritual lingo as they shared how they “manifested” their external markers of privilege, then they are called a spiritual badass boss. All this reveals is how culture prefers false modesty over overt bragging, and how we have stretched a basic principle that can be applied sometimes to explain certain outcomes — we have added sophistication and extremities— to hide the bragging, snobbery and made it fashionably concealed.
Folks, be discerning. Just because someone has a lot of followers does not mean what they are saying is truthful and helpful for you. There are people who call themselves coaches, healers, teachers of energy healing or the quantum, who say you aren’t as rich, healthy, or successful as you’d like to because you lack self worth (even if only at a subconscious level). And it’s all your doing because only YOU (without acknowledging systemic or cultural or socio-political factors) are stopping yourself from getting what you want, even though you don’t know how to get there. (But, conveniently, their coaching program or modules or whatever else will… Be wary of these figures. They will continue to tell you there is something wrong with you so that you continue to purchase their manifestation program, training, membership, etc). And to treat healers, gurus, teachers, coaches and the like as the gatekeepers of your well-being and happiness is an archaic idea that guards the status quo of dominant social norms and protects people of privilege.
If one can feel, fake-til-one-makes-it, or raise one’s vibration to match the frequency of peace, health, stability, safety, and other fundamental human rights, then tell that to an orphan in a war torn region. Tell that to a child sex slave. Tell that to a child struggling for life at BC Children’s Hospital or their parents. Tell that to any child who has been bullied, marginalized, ignored, neglected. I cannot imagine anyone having higher vibrations than children – so tell me, where is the manifestation principle now?
As many times the manifestation theory can be applied to explain desirable outcomes, it can also be refuted that many times. When people take credit for their successes in such a way where they are not considering and acknowledging a number of factors that may have contributed to their said success outside of their own control, it can be more of a confirmation bias than the law of attraction. It’s dangerous correlating the wrong things.
All that consists to make life or the Universe is vast, complex, and nuanced. To use a principle to explain why you have what you have or why you don't have what you don't have is suggesting that the Great Mystery can be explained in a linear, cause-and -effect way. We have come to assume that successes and failures are "manifested" acts for which an individual is responsible. Likewise, the manifestation principle becomes problematic when we use it as a measure to form opinions or judge others, such as "you must be 'bad' or of 'low self worth' since you have attracted any given shitty situation".
Equally dangerous is when we combine the manifestation principle with other spiritual ideas, such as past lives, to avoid our responsibility to confront social injustices. I am not denouncing past life work - patterns can be identified from past/parallel lives that can present healing in this life, but it's important to examine agendas. To blame the undesirable that one is supposedly "manifesting" because of a past life rather than confronting classicism, oppression, and injustices TODAY in this present life, is spiritual bypassing.
It is also dangerous because then one can abuse the manifestation principle and use it to say something monstrous, such as saying the Holocaust obviously wasn’t that disgusting, horrible, and traumatic for multiple generations because look at Viktor Frankl— he not only lived but also became a bestselling author...
Are those that you are following perpetuating inequality? Are they reinforcing, using spirituality and the manifestation principle, as a framework for exploitation or to avoid their own responsibility? I am also always very curious about these same spiritual teachers who claim to hold the manifesting keys to our happiness and vitality. Where is the evidence of them sharing their manifesting powers to 'up level' others? To bring healing? To root for the underdog?
I have yet to meet someone who is disadvantaged or has experienced trauma say they have attracted it. In many ways, manifestation, if one is not careful, can become a harmful weapon used by privileged people to shame others and justify their arrogance. In short, abusing the manifestation principle is spiritual rape culture.
I have focused my energy in this article on the dark side of the manifestation principle and what happens when it is misued. You may be asking how I relate to the force of manifesting and why I even have an aura mist that is set to its frequency. More on that in next month's newsletter. :)
Lastly, if this piece has been of value to you, please share it with your friends.
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist
This article was first published on my monthly newsletter. If you enjoyed this post, and would like more, please feel free to share with your friends. I also welcome you to follow Ceremonie on Instagram or the email list! My neurofeedback work can be found via Open Minds Performance, also on IG.
Image credit: Iulia Agnew for Ceremonie