Word-Of-the-Week #879: Manifesting

June 10, 2021 by  

Manifesting – the practice of thinking aspirational thoughts with the purpose of making them real.

Do you believe in manifesting? Have you ever manifested an outcome for yourself, or tried to? Did it work?

This week features excerpts from Callie Holtermann’s article titled, “Do You Believe in Manifesting? Does this kind of positive thinking help you find hope in the face of uncertainty? Or is it just too unrealistic?

“Do you believe that it is possible to make good things happen for yourself simply by thinking about them? Have you ever tried?

If so, you are among the many members of Gen Z who practice manifesting, or “achieving material and psychic rewards through sheer force of mind.”

Do you think that this method of positive thinking is a helpful tool for coping with uncertainty, especially during the coronavirus pandemic? Or do you agree with some critics of the practice, who argue that it is an unrealistic fad embraced by misguided or entitled practitioners?

In “Manifesting, for the Rest of Us,” Ruth La Ferla writes about the manifesting trend among young people:

By the time he was 9, Jerome Lamaar had learned how to seize on his heart’s desire. “I was hoping to get my hands on the Power Ranger Flip Heads,” said Mr. Lamaar, a 35-year-old, Bronx-bred fashion designer. “I never told anyone, but I wanted these toys so bad. I sat in my room holding this scenario in my head of how I would feel when I got them.”

He had, in his New Age-tinctured phrase, “launched his dreams into the universe.” And, as he tells it, the universe heeded his call. “The very next day, my dad got me the Flip Heads,” he said. “That’s when I realized that there was something to this.”

He could not have named it at the time, but Mr. Lamaar says now that he was manifesting — achieving material and psychic rewards through sheer force of mind.

Part magical thinking, part struggle for agency at a time when it is in short supply, the practice he described, an eons-old variant of positive thinking — or at least the term that describes it — has re-entered the mainstream.

Manifesting sits alongside a smattering of belief systems — astrology, tarot, paganism and their metaphysical cousins — being resurrected by a youthful generation in the name of wellness. “For Gen Z in particular, it can be a form of self-soothing,” said Lucie Greene, a writer and trend forecaster in New York. “It’s a way to make sense of things in a moment where nothing makes sense.”

This born-again phenomenon is dismissed in some quarters as little more than a quarantine fad, “like bread baking, tie-dyeing or learning TikTok dances,” as Rebecca Jennings put it in a recent post on Vox. “Shut up I’m manifesting,” she said, “has become one of the defining memes of 2020.”

Its practitioners, in contrast, view it as a coping mechanism, a legitimate alternative that organized religion or psychotherapy may not always provide. The “law of attraction,” a belief that your experiences have a direct correlation to your thoughts, is one aspect of Princess Asata Louden’s spiritual practice. Others include journaling and meditation, which Ms. Louden, a 24-year-old dancer and graduate student at U.C.L.A., likes to perform by candlelight or near an open window.

“I also communicate with my ancestors and spirit guides,” Ms. Louden said, rituals that make her feel “divinely protected and guided.”

“Manifesting has gotten me through all of this pandemic stuff,” said Ms. Louden, who goes by the stage name Sygga. She is not religious but takes on faith “that we have this power to manipulate energy.”

The author notes that manifesting has entered the mainstream alongside practices like astrology and tarot as part of a wellness trend driven by social media. Which of these practices have you encountered, and how do you feel about them? Why do you think these practices are gaining popularity among teenagers online? Why do you think they are making a resurgence now?

If manifesting is not for you, are there other methods of self-reflection and self-care that you enjoy? Do you exercise, journal or engage in meditation or therapy? Religion or spirituality? What role do these practices play in your life?”

Well, I personally believe “What you think about, you bring about.” I have been setting intentions (which feels the same as manifesting) for over the past 30 years. They must be clearly stated and in present tense. One thing to be very careful about is thinking and talking about what you don’t want. You could just end up manifesting more of it!

This week’s focus is on manifesting. Is it realistic? Do you think that manifesting discourages people from doing the hard work necessary to accomplish most goals? Might the process of identifying and reflecting upon your goals be valuable, even if doing so does not guarantee that they will come true?

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