2020 is a time of great uncertainty. In March, the Coronavirus pandemic swept through our nation, establishing a new, socially-distanced reality. In May, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor reignited the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. These events, among others, have changed the way we navigate our daily lives, and have crudely reminded us of how unpredictable life can be. With that said, these events have also prompted a spiritual awakening among students across the country. Amidst the chaos, we strive to feel a sense of control over ourselves and our surroundings. To try and establish this, many young people have fallen into the spiritual practice of manifestation. With a bit of faith and self-reflection, our future goals and plans can become a tangible reality.
The concept of manifestation has been thrown around by influencers on popular social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s become a 2020 buzzword and a coping mechanism. The practice of manifesting, in short, is the act of aligning oneself with a desired goal or outcome. It’s different from the law of attraction, focusing on attracting who you are rather than what you want. This attraction is firmly rooted in the perception of your self worth. It can also be associated with the energy you release into the world through your actions. According to Adam Sicinski, a life coach from the Matrix Blog website, “Your thoughts affect the structure of the molecules that create your cells and shape the world around you.” Our thoughts have immense power when it comes to determining our future and responding to experiences within our lives. Manifestation involves the process of restructuring our thoughts in a way that benefits us.
In order to fully understand this, we must assume that time does not exist. Our memories give us the illusion of time and, if we erase these memories, we will only have the present. This means that our past, present and future selves all exist simultaneously. Somewhere in this universe, you are living with all of your fulfilled desires and existing at your highest potential. In order to align yourself in this dimension of your life, you must have immense faith in your goals. Rohini Mauk, a content creator known as Rohini Elyse, discusses manifestation in her podcast, “Acting My Age.” She connects manifestation to faith within common religious practices, and quotes a verse from the Bible, “If you lack the faith that you can achieve something, that something will remain illusive to you. But the moment you develop faith in yourself and in your abilities, you will be able to manifest your desires,” (Matthew 9:29). This suggests that many people have participated in manifestation without realizing it. The practice highlights the core values of various religions: faith, self-reflection and a general commitment to a higher power or a force of life. In addition to religion, manifestation can be seen in the context of a loving relationship. In order to attract your ideal partner, you must believe that you are deserving of this partner. You must love yourself first before you can attract a loving relationship into your life, while also taking the necessary steps to achieve this goal.
Manifestation ultimately begins with a specific goal or outcome. Rather than saying “I want to be happy in 2021,” focus on the actions you can take to achieve happiness. For example, “I want to find an internship for the summer of 2021.” Following this, it is important to remember that you attract what you think you deserve. Any doubtful or negative thoughts in regards to your goal will hinder your ability to achieve it. Visualization in tandem with journaling and meditation can help you develop a positive and intentional mindset. You can practice visualization by writing down everything you are grateful for on a daily basis. You can also write down everything you would like to accomplish with your specific goal in mind. This will allow you to remain passionate and focused.
Keep in mind that we are in complete control of how we respond to negative experiences within our lives. Rather than punishing yourself for feeling dejected or emotional, try perceiving negativity as a sign of what you need to work on in your life. The Coronavirus pandemic brought an overwhelming amount of negativity into our world. Manifestation can allow us to reshape the way we respond to the weight of the pandemic. This has been an important practice within my own life. I have always been a planner and I have a nasty habit of focusing my energy on future plans and commitments. Over the last few months, I’ve seen these plans fall through in every possible way. As a result, I’ve learned to accept the unpredictable nature of life and focus on the present moment with a glass-half-full attitude.
An activity that has helped me develop this positive mindset involves restructuring negative experiences in a positive way before I fall asleep at night. I imagine that they occurred in a way that makes me happy. For example, if I embarrassed myself by stuttering during a public speech, perhaps I will imagine that my speech went smoothly. Perhaps I inspired my peers with my words and received a great amount of admiration.
When I began learning about manifestation, I stumbled upon various success stories. One story was submitted by a woman named Rachel to the “Acting My Age” podcast. Rachel described how she returned to her home state of Tennessee in 2019 after completing her masters degree in New York. She was in a poor mental state during this time and was feeling discouraged about her job prospects. She wrote, “One day I remember being at one of my lowest points and thinking ‘I’m going to write down what I want and I’m going to manifest it’ because I felt like I had nothing to lose.” She proceeded to write down her goal for the coming year: moving to Washington state. Rachel described how she began practicing meditation regularly and telling herself “I’m moving to Washington” multiple times a day. After months of dedication, she received an interview for a position at the University of Washington and landed it. Now, Rachel is living in Seattle with a successful career and love life. Her story is one of many that reveal how manifestation and a positive mindset can set you up for success in life.
Recently, I was introduced to an artist, entrepreneur and spiritual thinker named Kai Mae, who graciously shared their story of manifestation with me. Kai prefaced their story by describing the idea of manifestation in relation to the deepest part of our psyche, stating, “Everything in your life is a manifestation of your thought[s] and energy—all things manifest from a place of deep feeling, whether you ‘think’ you want it or not.” Similar to many of us, Kai was sent home from school at the beginning of the pandemic. During this time, Kai desired freedom beyond the confines of their institution. They made the decision to focus on their spiritual journey as well as invest in a business venture. Unfortunately, Kai needed to acquire $10,000 for this business investment. They ultimately turned to manifestation as a means of raising the money.
Kai explored the spiritual practice of mantra prayer and read “Shakti Mantras: Tapping Into the Goddess Energy Within” by Thomas Ashley-Ferrand. For reference, mantra is a word or sound that is repeated to aid concentration in meditation. Kai told me that their life changed completely as a result of daily mantra prayer and repeated affirmations with mala beads. At the beginning of the summer, Kai began experiencing the benefits of their dedication to manifestation. They wrote, “I barely had to work and I had people purchasing art and crystal healing jewelry from me.” Over time, Kai raised enough money for their business investment. They emphasized the importance of gratitude and conscious living in pursuit of their goals. Kai encouraged me with their story, saying “Anything we put energy into, be it thought or feeling or time, we will see it manifest in our life . . . anything that is aligned with our path is already ours.”
To summarize, manifestation is the practice of attracting what you want into your life through self acceptance, visualization and mindful action. It is the act of approaching life from an optimistic standpoint and learning how to maintain faith in your aspirations despite any setbacks. These ideas have been crucial for many of us during the chaotic year of 2020. As we continue through these uncertain times, positivity and self reflection are more important than ever. That being said, it is an immense privilege to be able to focus on ourselves. There are many people in this world who do not have the financial, physical or mental capacity to manifest a better future for themselves. They are selfless in their pursuit of stability and happiness.
We have navigated this socially-distanced world for quite some time now. The pandemic has forced us to develop a closer relationship with ourselves and our deepest desires. There is a lot of power that comes from being alone with your thoughts and reflective of your actions. Through manifestation, we can regain a sense of control within our lives and also reprogram our mind and body to benefit and learn from negative experiences. Manifestation has the potential to transform all of us into better versions of ourselves for the post-pandemic future.
Art by Maddie Markley