When it comes to creating the life you desire, the concept of simply *manifesting* your dreams can seem like an overly idealistic approach. Some people may be skeptical of the everyday manifestation practices that healers, life coaches and even therapists give their clients. How can one simply think their way into their desired life? The truth is that manifestation is less about bringing forth material items or magically making true love appear, and more about embracing life for what it is while maintaining a clear vision of your goals.
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Many manifestation sceptics feel justified in writing off this visualization method as escapism because of how overly simplified it has become. It’s true that the concept has been thrown around quite a bit on social media. This can, perhaps, cause people to develop unrealistic expectations that this alone is all they need to simply will their best life into existence. Yet, underneath layers and layers of Instagram infographics, rests one simple truth: we think, therefore we are. Having clarity on what you want to bring into your life may direct your mind (even subconsciously) to seek out opportunities related to that vision.
We spoke to meditation teacher Liza Colpa to learn more about what manifestation truly means — and the methods we can use to benefit from it in an honest, tangible way.
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What exactly is the law of attraction?
At its core, manifestation is the practice of making something theoretical become real. However, it’s important to understand that something like “my dream job” is less theoretical and more a desired outcome. In manifestation practices, theoretical ideals should be thought of more like “renewed energy to work towards getting my dream job.” The law of attraction, Colpa says, is life in motion.
“The Law of Attraction is simple: the energy you give most likely will be the energy you receive,” she explains. “For example, if your flight is delayed and the airline manager is in an awful mood, getting nasty with them probably won’t allow things to go any smoother. Yet, if you are kind and see them as a human being who is going through their own real-life problems, they are more likely to see you and possibly help you. That’s the Law of Attraction and allowing yourself to manifest compassion for yourself and others.”
Manifestation as reframing what you see
Another important factor to consider is that manifestation doesn’t solely lie in thinking positive thoughts in order to live a happier life; consistency comes with acceptance. “There are things within our control, and things out of our control,” says Colpa. “There is luck that happens, there is the luck you work for and there is the luck you make. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to ever argue with your loved one, or a pandemic isn’t going to happen. It’s what you do with those challenges that make things truly limitless. It’s turning the obstacles and the hard moments into opportunities for growth and healing. I say if the universe throws a curveball at you, it’s what you do with the ball and the experiences that make life limitless.”
Colpa adds, “We are limitless as human beings. But again, we must accept that change, death, pain, hurt, sickness and the journey to healing are also a part of our human experience, as much as we don’t always love it. We are limitless because of how we can transform limiting situations into opportunities.”
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How to begin your manifestation journey
While there are many different ways to manifest — be it meditation, journaling or dreamboarding — the most practical approach is to build habits around what you envision for yourself. The other methods help to shift the mind into a positive space, but nothing comes to fruition if you’re not taking action in your day-to-day.
“The manifestation practice I teach is to change the narrative or the storyline,” explains Colpa. “If you’re having a challenging day and truly believe nothing will change that, then nothing will. But if you can change the narrative to ‘I believe that even though my day is challenging it cannot define how I approach it or my intentions,’ or ‘This day doesn’t define my life,’ it’s changing the narrative to invite opportunities for a different outcome.”
Do we subconsciously manifest negativity too?
“We need to understand that the world is a naturally chaotic place,” says Colpa. “In fact, the reason why we have such beautiful canyons in North America is most likely because comets hit this planet, over and over again. Or, if you want to get on a spiritual level, God created the comets that hit the world to create a canyon. Therefore whether we are thinking spirituality or scientifically, chaos exists. Trauma exists. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you thought it into existence.” It’s the natural way of the world and life, explains Colpa.
“The curveballs propel life’s story. But you didn’t ask for any traumatic experience,” she adds. It’s how you deal with the experiences, good and bad, that shift your life forward. “We need to be careful with how we shift blame when it comes to negative things happening. There needs to be an acceptance of both fact and faith, as well as embracing the whole human experience.”
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What to do when it’s not all coming true
“A vision should be your North Star and a journey, not a destination,” says Colpa. Losing all hope when it doesn’t go your way is how we lose sight of the bigger picture.
“Your visions are clues and messages on your life journey,” Colpa explains. “Meaning, your dream house you thought you would find may be the dream house you need to build. The dream job you always wanted could take you to a new destination you didn’t even realize would be an option. Your vision keeps you on track and keeps you balanced, but you may not always be able to predict the future. Take it as clues and hints [into what you want], not must-haves. And for those rare moments that you do have unexplainable premonitions, remember that you’re still human… Rely on the underlying feelings and messages around your vision. That’s your intuition and subconscious letting you know where you need to go. Don’t worry about how things look on the outside, worry about your inner journey.”
By shifting focus onto the process, rather then the outcome, you also remove the pressure you place on yourself when things are simply beyond your control.
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What are the greatest benefits of manifestation?
“Positive transformation on real and magical levels. Whether you are practical or spiritual, the power of manifestation changes the world around you, by changing the world within you.” The bottom line? Manifestation isn’t daydreaming, but grounding; it is using the tools you have within you to navigate life with more peace and clarity.