As a child, my parents told me that visualizing what I wanted would draw that thing or experience or person to me. This has worked, to varying degrees, throughout my life. But I didn’t just say, "I guess it only works sometimes" and accept that reality. (That's not what someone who believes in the power of manifesting would do, after all.)
Instead, I worked to identify the common factors between my unsuccessful attempts at manifestation. I discovered that if I focused more on the negative feelings — "I don't have this thing I want" — rather than fully committing to the belief in a future in which I did have that thing, the outcome I was pursuing never came to fruition.
Hungry to understand the mechanics of manifestation and enrich my own practice, I started exploring the science of visualization, and have continued for years.
What I Learned
I came across data describing how athletes who visualized a desired outcome daily (like dunking baskets in basketball) increased their success rate almost as much as athletes who practiced free throws daily. And how an increase in meditation has been correlated with a reduction in crime rates over a period of time. (This is known as the Maharishi Effect.)
So, is this manifestation? The power of positive thinking? Coincidence? Well, it’s never really that simple. Science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin, each informing and shaping the other.
While there might be a higher power or deep, inner wisdom that answers the call of the desires we manifest, you don’t have to believe in that to see the potential of a manifestation practice to change your life. The way I interpret this data, it suggests that brain function could be the sole origin of the positive results of and fervent belief in manifesting.
How It Works
As the proverb goes, “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions. Watch your actions for they become habits. Watch your habits for they become your character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.”
Repeated thoughts and behaviors form neural networks (clusters of neurons in the brain) that grow stronger and larger each time they’re activated. Eventually, the neural networks clump together to form neural pathways. Think of these as well-worn highways that our brains prefer because they are familiar and thus more easily accessed.
By consciously choosing a certain way of thinking, we slowly shape both our subconscious and our conscious mind. That is, the way we interpret and experience the world.
All of these pieces of information combine to make me believe that manifesting is really just the power of positive thinking. Consciously forming new neural networks — and eventually neural pathways — associated with feelings of joy, abundance, and possibility opens up your whole world.
People often say, what you think, you become. Well, there’s science to back that up. Our experience of life is shaped by how we perceive it. And it doesn’t matter what you call it. If you can do it, you’ll be on your way to a deeply fulfilling life.
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