Manifesting and Magical Thinking
There has been a lot of talk lately about Manifesting. Oprah does it. "The Secret" has been a bestseller for years. And each day, my inbox is teeming with offers to manifest my dreams (not to mention a new BMW in the driveway) in 90 days or less. Seems too good to be true? I know, which is why I decided to delve into the details.
Let me begin by saying I'm wary of magical thinking - you know, the belief in the ability of the mind to affect the physical world. The reason I raise an eyebrow every time it is mentioned is because, as a teenager, I was diagnosed with OCD (for me, the dark side of magical thinking). For many years, I tortured myself with counting rituals- believing that if I didn't do them, something bad would happen. Some believe OCD is caused by a chemical imbalance, some say it's a coping mechanism to deal with a world seemingly out of control. I've come to believe it is both. Dr. Daniel Amen, in his book, "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" explains how the pathways in our brain are shaped by our thinking - and he tells us how we can alter our own brain chemistry with the foods we eat, the amount of exercise we get, and yes - the thoughts we have. Interesting, isn't it? By focusing repeatedly on certain thoughts, we can alter our own brain chemistry. Perhaps, then, by focusing repeatedly on positive thoughts, we can alter our chemistry in a way that benefits us?
Most of us acknowledge that there are currents moving outside our everyday conscious perception which we do not fully understand, forces which have the power to affect our lives. We have all heard the stories about twins who can sense what the other is feeling, the laying on of hands which have cured people of terrible illnesses, clairvoyants who are very successful with their predictions, even cats with an internal GPS who find their way home over thousands of miles. I do believe that there's a large part of the human (and animal) brain which remains relatively untapped.
In books such as "The Celestine Prophesy" (James Redfield), "The Artist's Way" (Julia Cameron), and "Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life" (Wayne Dyer), the authors encourage the reader to believe that positive change will indeed come if we simply put forth our intent. They ask us to pay attention to synchronicity and coincidence, and to believe that forces will come to our aid. They instruct us not to push, not to force, but to follow our intuition and be present.
In my career transition, I'd like to believe in this power of intention. I want to believe that if I state, "Universe, I'd like to work in a creative capacity where am giving something of value back to the world, where I am connected to my community, where I feel fulfilled, and where I make a comfortable living doing so", the universe will begin moving to make this happen. All I need to do from there is to be open to how this will manifest and follow the signs.
But a tiny voice in the back of my head whispers, "Are you sure about this? What if it doesn't work? Should you put all your eggs in this basket?"
My solution to this is simple. While I am stating my intent and following my intuition, I am also meditating, rewriting my resume, exercising, networking, getting enough sleep, researching career and education options, eating well, reaching out to friends for advice and support, and applying for positions which will bring me closer to the work that I want to do. As my husband says, if you're sitting on the couch and you want to manifest a beer, the best way to do that is to get up, walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and pull out a beer. I do believe that the universe helps those who help themselves.
As we all know, this society is jam-packed full of quick fixes: diets which require no exercise, pills to fix everything from bad breath to restless leg syndrome, and junk food for $1 ready in 60 seconds flat. Consumers suck this stuff up faster than it can be churned out. So, of course it would follow that some folks got the idea to sell cheap manifestation over the internet with money back guarantees. Let the old adage ring in our minds: caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. That doesn't necessarily mean all manifesting is unreliable. We should discern the potentially helpful from the decidedly phony.
Let us go ahead and allow a bit of "magic" into our lives! For, what is magic other than a way of shifting our focus and motivating ourselves? Give it a try - think of something that you would like to manifest in your life. Put a picture of it in your office to remind you. Then, live your life, follow your intuition, and see what happens next. I'd like to hear what kinds of experiences result from this - positive and negative. Because, I believe that our collective bodies and our psyches need to slow down a bit. We need to relax. Breathe. Meditate. Go for a run. Do some yoga. Just be. Without the myriad distractions we fill our days with, who knows what things we might be able to accomplish? I, for one, am willing to try.
I leave you with a quote which has been attributed to Goethe in Faust, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."