By Hanna Burns: Columnist
It’s all about that
energy and focus
This increase has been mostly buoyed by a new interest from the younger generation. Social media channels such as X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, YouTube and others have given a platform for beliefs, tips, tricks and trends of manifestation to take flight.
So what exactly is Manifestation?
Manifestation is widely cited as primarily originating from Byrne’s book and film ‘The Secret’, both works explore the possibilities of positive thought.
TikTok in particular is the most notable, with #manifestation boasting 51.5 billion views, and growing. Boiling it down, to the core, manifestation is the act of wishing, thinking or willing something into existence. For example, you may want to find your dream job as a garden designer.
Manifestation dictates that if you put energy and focus into becoming a garden designer, if you really believe it will happen, it will.
This is the basis of manifestation.
“THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS”.
There is a myriad of texts and resources available for beginners to the art of manifesting. Depending on the focus, there will be something in your niche.
Not five minutes into the 2006 film Bob Proctor, the author of best-selling ‘You Were Born Rich’, reveals the ‘Secret’. Right there. Right then. For Proctor, the ‘Law of Attraction’ is at the core of achieving what you desire. He declares, knowingly, “everything that is coming into your life you are attracting into your life by virtue of the images are holding in your mind” (The Secret).
So in sum, if you hold an image in your mind, eventually you will attract it, or ‘manifest’ it.
Byrne herself was inspired to write The Secret after reading Wattler’s The Science of Getting Rich (1910), a book described by Penguin Random House as a ‘landmark guide to wealth creation’ with ‘direct methods that awaken it (wealth creation) in your life’.
Wattler prefaces the book stating: ‘This book is pragmatical [sic], not philosophical; [it is] a practical manual’.
Interestingly, many of the older ‘manifestation’ source texts are focussed around the procurement of money and/or power (Think And Grow Rich, You Were Born Rich etc.)
In 2024, with manifestation having an increasingly large following, objects of manifestation are not restricted to money and success. There are tutorials and classes on how to manifest a partner, good exam results, a new Lorde album even.
The possibilities are endless. Everyone has access to the power of thought, there is seemingly nothing to lose and your deepest desires to gain.
Manifestation is deeply attractive.
Thus, modern day manifestation trends such as ‘369 Manifestation’ (using these ‘powerful’ numbers as a means to attract good things), or the more recently popular Lucky Girl Method (telling the universe you are fortunate, until you are), emerge from works that align themself with absolute truth and science.
Continue reading below…
IS MANIFESTATION PROVEN TO WORK?
You can even take your pick from celebrities such as Jim Carrey to Lady GaGa. They both report to have directly manifested their wealth and fame
In short, no. Whilst there are a million ways to manifest, with dedicated YouTube pages,
professional manifest coaches and even courses on educational sites such as Udemy, manifestation appears to have no scientific grounding or proof.
Testimonies, and lived experiences will have to suffice as your evidence - but there are
plenty of those. You can even take your pick from celebrities such as Jim Carrey to Lady
GaGa. They both report to have directly manifested their wealth and fame; Carrey writing a $10,000 cheque to himself to cash in the future when he was rich (Glamour).
However, actual scientific proof is few and far between. In fact, recent studies are beginning to warn of the dangers of manifestation.
A Vice article suggested that manifestation beliefs are similar to those of ‘likelihood thought-action fusion’ thinking patterns which are observed in people with mental health disorders such as
OCD and eating disorders.
They suggest that manifestation could be damaging by creating recurring thought pattern cycles and obsessive rituals that could heighten anxiety and lead to magical thinking.
A new study has even found that people who believe in manifestation are more likely to go bankrupt then those who don’t (The Psychologist, 2023).
There are, of course, good things within manifestation. First and foremost, the power of positive thought. Manifestation centres on positive thought, ultimately, you need to picture good things (unless you’re trying to manifest something bad, which is far less common for obvious reasons), to receive good things. People who manifest actively practise optimism.
And, whilst manifestation itself is not scientifically supported, the power of optimism is, the Mayo Clinic linking optimism to improved physical and mental health, and ‘a healthier and happier in general’. It’s not all doom and gloom for the outcomes of manifestation.
However, looking at prominent examples, to see how manifestation may cause unrealistic thinking:
You want that gardening job? You will get it if you work for it.
Cover Photo: Tumisu, Man with Rubix, Joshua Coleman, Hands drawing: CDD20
Undoubtedly optimistic. However, perhaps erring too far on the side of certainty. You can never guarantee something ‘will’ happen, not really. A more appropriate phrasing may be: You want that gardening job? You can get it if you work for it.
Here, we can see that optimistic thinking can be retained without creating potentially unrealistic or harmful patterns of thinking. Beliefs that may lead to dissatisfaction or even bankruptcy (!) in the future. It may be more powerful to see elements of manifestation as useful, and not necessarily the act itself.
As manifestation grows and metamorphosizes, springing new memes, trends, followings and businesses it is not hard to come across rave reviews and tips 'guaranteed’ to work on the internet. If manifestation interests you, then there are thousands of resources out there to get you started.
However, the advice to take from this article would be, if you wish to explore elements of manifestation there is much to experiment with, but also, be aware, and do not take it as a fix-all solution.