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Soulful Sundays: Manifestation

"Where the mind goes, the Qi follows." -Tai Chi Philosophy




A few years back I bought a whitewater kayak and entered a paddle school to learn the ropes of the sport. We started on an easy river that had a lot of small exposed rocks. The teachers kept reminding us to think about paddling to the space between the rocks and not to focus on the rocks themselves. Their thinking was, if you focus on the rocks, then you will hit the rocks. Negative versus positive visualization.


It is often much easier for us to express what we don't want rather than what we do want. While this can help us to avoid negative situations, people, and behaviors, it is only one half of the equation. Without a clear definition of what we do want we can end up in the no-man's-land between aversions and desires. And paradoxically, just like focusing on the rocks in a river, by trying to avoid what we don't want, we create the very energy that attracts those things.


I have a long habit of writing down my goals. I break them into five basic categories: work, relationships, mind, body, and enjoyment. When I look back on my recorded goals from the past, many of them came to fruition. In 2015, I wrote down that I wanted to start a business and I did. In 2017, I wrote down that I wanted to start kayaking and I bought a boat and found a teacher. In 2019, I wrote down that I wanted to be in a healthy relationship and I found a great partner and married her. Our lives follow the paths that we set them on. Call it basic manifestation.


Manifestation can partly be explained by the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, also called the Frequency Illusion. When we frequently repeat something (writing down and revisiting our goals or saying them aloud or in our heads) our brains become more attuned to seeing those things in our daily lives. This explains why whenever you buy a new car you begin noticing the same make and model everywhere. We can use this phenomenon to train our brains to discover the steps needed to accomplish our goals. Let me give you an example.


Let's say that you make it your goal to be less stressed. If this is as far as you have gotten, then you will probably begin to notice stress in your life more. However, without a clear strategy of managing that stress, the more stress you notice, the more stressed you are likely to become. If instead you set the goal of breathing more consciously and engaging more frequently in stress reducing activities (like exercise, acupuncture, yoga, cooking meals, reading quietly, etc.), noticing stress will become less of a burden. You will subconsciously look for more relaxing activities, environments, people, and mindsets, and you will further attune your body to managing stress better.


Focusing on the components that create your desired outcome is a powerful tool for manifestation. Focusing on positive action gets the ball rolling and keeps it from slowing down. Whenever possible focus on moving forward from this moment onward.


As we near the end of this year, let's check in with our inner selves. Somewhere in each of us is the desire to be fulfilled and happy. We all know at least some of the components necessary for that to exist. Start with the simplest positive manifestation that you can think of to bring you there. Write it down or say it out loud every day. This process will move the world.

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