The word “manifesting” has been rising in popularity on social media again. Is it real? Spiritual hoopla or a success strategy? Most importantly: Can “manifesting” really help you reach your dreams?
Manifestation can be a turbulent word for some, depending on their belief system or lack of belief system. So, let’s neutralize it, take the emotion out of it. (Trust me, you won’t see this coming!)
People of various backgrounds have claimed manifestation within their own belief systems. Many religious communities believe that if you pray with pure faith, God will manifest absolutely anything that you desire every single time – anything from a million dollars to a cure to cancer (often controversially referred to as the Prosperity Gospel). (Here, God manifests.)
Practitioners of the Law of Attraction (first claimed in 1877) believe that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on and embody – a job, positivity, a partner. (Here, the universe manifests.)
Individuals weary of any mention of spirituality write manifesting off as fake spiritual hoopla and a multi-billion-dollar scam industry. (Here, no one manifests.)
However, this one truth neutralizes the core of manifestation:
Manifesting itself is not spiritual. It’s psychological.
There is a bundle of neurons at your brainstem called your RAS – your reticular activating system. (The Organized Mind, Dr. Daniel Levitin)
Your RAS is your best friend in helping you reach your goals. She is the ultimate life coach and hype girl. What does she do? In short, your RAS works as a filter. We are bombarded with billions of messages and thoughts in a day. There is no way for your brain to give the same amount of attention to every bit of information. (*That’s your queue, RAS.*) Your RAS decides what information you process consciously and what to disregard.
She’s why you don’t turn your head when someone calls the name, “Cindy Lou Who” when you’re walking down the street. But when a stranger calls your name (whether they are talking to you or not), you’re pulled out of your Instagram scrolling and look up.
Your RAS is the original Instagram algorithm (but way nicer): She shows you what she thinks is important to you.
This is where your dreams and goals come in! Can “manifesting” really help you reach your dreams? The real question is how do you tell your RAS what’s important to you? I’m so very thrilled you asked…
“The act of clearly defining your dream will tell your brain that this thing should take priority.” (Everything is Figureoutable, Marie Forleo)
5 Steps to Manifest Your Dreams with our girl RAS:
Get Specific on Your Goals
Write down your goals. Don’t limit yourself, make them BIG and honest. Then, write them down again – this time with more specific detail. (FYI, more Instagram followers is not a specific goal. What will those followers bring to your life? What is your relationship like with them? What kind of community by what date do you want?) Repeat these steps 2 more times. Yes, get that specific. The more specific you are, there’s more chance you will manifest it because you’re RAS will be on the lookout for opportunities.
Write a Journal Entry 10 Years into the Future
Imagine your dream life. Now, write down a journal entry as if you are already living that life, 10 years from now. Where are you? Who is with you? What are you wearing? What is your health like – do you feel strong or energized? What do you have to do today? What do you smell? When you look up from your journal, what do you see?
Meditate on the Feelings of Your Dream Life
Now, we’re going to do some meditating and visualization. (It’s not scary, trust me!) Turn on some relaxing music (you can search meditation playlists), sit comfortably, and close your eyes. When you imagine the details of your dream life, how does each detail make you feel? How do you want to feel in 10 years? Secure? Warm? Thrilled? Comfortable? Strong? In love? Close your eyes and connect to the feelings – not the detail itself. Focus on the feeling. Why do we focus on the feeling?
1.) Emotions are motivating (remembering how your success in 10 years feels will spur you on to get through troughs of work now).
2.) Emotions are potent, and sending that message to your RAS will ensure it knows whatever is associated with it is important.
Love and Release Expectantly
You know in romantic comedies how the main girl is always chill and cool and gets the good guy at the end? And you know how she always has a supporting-role best friend who is kind of a desperate mess and wonders why she can never get a date? The friend is dateless because her obsession is repelling what she longs for. This is why we must love our dreams/goals/feelings and then release worry. We trust. We are expectant. Thoughts like “But how will it happen? Is it even possible? Should I be doing even more?” – are repelling your dreams. You’re coming off desperate in your interviews, your IG captions, your networking emails, etc. When we are expectant, we do the work and believe that what is of our highest good is on our way to us.
Take Inspired Action
In the previous step, we train ourselves to release the “how.” How it will happen is not your responsibility. However, it is your responsibility to act. You want a New York Times Bestselling book? Great! But you can’t just meditate and have it manifest in front of you. You have to actually write.
Don’t know what actions to take? Just start doing something. We’ve all caught ourselves stressed about what to do, thinking we can mentally work through it. Why do we think we can solve our biggest questions just by thinking? It’s like doing long division in our heads. You’re not going to get the right answer that way. Real clarity comes from action, not thought. Take a job, book a class, meet that person for coffee. If you don’t enjoy it, that doesn’t mean the action was wrong. That action is giving you direction to what you really want. Clarity. Manifesting and your RAS doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the work, but they help you identify ideas and opportunities to reach your dreams.
Your RAS is your ultimate wing-woman
Why do you think you stumbled upon this article, my friend? Because you saw it will help you create the life of your dreams. Your RAS was your wing-woman who stopped you and whispered, “Um, yeah, you’re going to want to sign up for that.” The fact you are reading this is no coincidence. It’s proof that you are on the right track, and you have all you need within you to reach your dreams.
One time I told my therapist that my biggest fear was developing schizophrenia. She grinned and said, “Elisabeth, people who worry about developing schizophrenia aren’t the ones who develop schizophrenia.”
Similarly, women who are actively seeking out the life of their dreams always create the lives of their dreams. Using manifestation with the help of your sidekick RAS is on your side!