We’ve come to our final phase of The Olive Branch meditation challenge, and it’s time to focus on manifestation. This concept is pretty trendy lately, particularly in yoga and wellness circles. It seems like you can’t go a day without seeing some kind of article or blog post about manifestation.
Manifestation is the idea that through affirmations and visualizations, you can create the things you want in your life. For example, by saying “wealth flows to me and I am professionally successful” every day, wealth will indeed flow to you, and you will begin to experience professional success.
Affirmations are the present-tense phrases that embody the things you want to come into your life. This process of having them appear in your life is called manifestation.
Sometimes people reference The Secret, a concept that theorizes that the energy we put out into the universe quite literally attracts similar types of energy. I talked about this a little bit a few months back when I wrote about how I’m using positive thinking to help manifest my freelancing goals – and I’m not going to lie, it’s been working (more on that in a different post, but things are really going well!).
If the theory of The Secret is to be believed, we create an actual, physical energy or vibration with each thought we have. These thoughts and feelings then go out into the universe around us and attract similar vibrations.
While I’m not down on New Age philosophy necessarily, I’m not going to base my reasoning off of theories like this. But when you consider the idea behind The Secret, it really boils down the the concept that “your vibe attracts your tribe.” I know you’ve seen that quote floating around the internet, and I know it sounds cliche, but I think it’s true. I’ve certainly noticed that my positive thinking seems to translate into success in my travels, physical fitness, personal relationships, and growing freelance business. I think this is because when you can establish a positive thought pattern in your brain, you’re likely to be less daunted by setbacks, and therefore, you are more likely to achieve your goals and meet similarly like-minded people.
So, the theory behind manifestation meditation is that you combine the idea of affirmations with visualization techniques. Manifesting is actually not that different than having a really positive, happy, elaborate daydream, only you are likely going to be pairing it with words and imagines that concretely establish your goals.
On a personal note, I recently read the book “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. I totally recommend it, and Hay’s other affirmation books, to anyone interested in affirmations or manifestation. Her message is that by analyzing your past (especially your childhood), you can discover what has hurt you, and use affirmations to forgive those who’ve played a part, learning to view those individuals with compassion. You also take responsibility for your thoughts. Hay says that you must recognize that regardless of what people have done to you in the past, only YOU have power over your thoughts tomorrow. Or 5 minutes from now. Or 10 years from now. You are the only person who can create your thoughts and feelings, so it’s your responsibility to heal your past wounds and embrace a better life.
So, how is this related to manifestation? I think that visualizing and affirming our intentions are the first steps to manifesting a happy, unencumbered, successful and peaceful life. This is where the four types of meditation that we’ve been working on come together, full circle. This is how they relate to each other.
To tie all four types of meditation together, consider your intentions as you create affirmations. Then visualize those affirmations with words and images in order to manifest them into your life.
Moving forward, you can practice manifestation, and improve your life, by doing some of these things:
- Create a vision board. I prefer to do this on a cork board rather than online, and then I display it in the area where I meditate. This keeps my focus on my affirmations and the things I’m trying to work on personally.
- Write down your affirmations. Louise Hay recommends writing down your affirmations 5-10 times in the morning and 5-10 times at night. As you write, really focus on their meaning. Remember, these affirmations should be in positive, active voice … things like “I am loved by my friends” or “I have lots of energy and vibrant health.”
- Get into a meditative state right after you’ve focused on your affirmations or visualizations. This gives you the time to relax and recharge, letting your affirmations sink in. This is where you’ll use meditative tools such as mantras or visualization techniques.
- Give it time. Big changes don’t occur over night.
In closing, I’d like to throw the science-minded people out there a bone. I’m spiritual, but I also believe firmly in scientific evidence and research. Science has shown that we establish neurological patterns in our brains. So, when we have a fight with our partner and we feel like “s/he doesn’t love me, I’m the victim here,” we strengthen the neurons on that physical path in the brain. This means that every time we experience a similar stimulus (other fights with our partners, confrontations at work, feeling let down by friends), our brains respond in the same way.
To change our thinking patters, we need to give active effort into strengthening different neurological pathways. Forcing ourselves to think positively through manifestations and affirmations helps us with this. A few months into our practice, we might start to think “I’m the victim” during a fight with our partner, and suddenly recognize this mental flaw. So, we take a step back and acknowledge that this is our neurological response tricking us – actually, we’re not victimized, we’re angry about something else altogether. We can recognize our part in the argument and respond more calmly, or opt to take a walk and talk about the issue later. Over time, this new instinct becomes stronger and stronger, and we make a positive change.
Whether we call it meditation or not, training our brains to think differently is tough work. This is why so many people fail to blaze the trail through new thought patters, resulting in hardened synapses and, ultimately, hardened hearts. Over the course of the meditation challenge, I’ve learned that I do indeed have mental power, and that my mental power is best put to use for good. That power needs both time to recharge (through relaxation and meditation) and time to grow (through affirmations and visualizations), and it most certainly requires a daily, long-term practice.