Tag - manifestation

Is The Law of Attraction Scientifically Valid?

by Kaia Roman

The word “manifestation” triggers different responses for different people. For some, it’s a woo woo concept based in fantasy. For others, it’s a belief that drives a way of living.

I was introduced to the concept of manifestation as a child, told by my parents that I could visualize whatever I wanted and that would draw it to me. This has worked, in varying degrees, throughout my life.

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But it’s not always that simple. Imagining what I want while feeling bad about not having it creates a mixed message—a split focus for both the brain and the Universe—and it never works to give me the outcome I desire. So how do you manifest something you don’t have yet, without focusing on lack?

The Joy Plan

Longing to know the truth about manifestation, I’ve explored the science behind it for years. However, my exploration into the topic took a turn from curiosity to full-on science experiment when I reached a particularly low time in my life.

In desperation, I grabbed onto an idea that I’d heard based on “The Law of Attraction,” as if it was a life raft. The idea was that 30 days of focusing on your own joy is long enough to completely change your life. Calling on the body of scientific and personal research into hormones, neurotransmitters, mindfulness, and manifestation I had amassed over many years, I calculated a synthesized plan to go after joy from all angles. I called it “The Joy Plan.”

And it worked! Over the next 30 days and in the months that followed, my life and the lives of those around me transformed. I was shocked at how fast it happened. Once I figured out how to harness the neurobiology of joy and apply it in simple ways every day—my life morphed before my very eyes.

I chronicled my experience in a book called The Joy Plan; it’s my 320-page sticky note to refer back to when hard times rock my boat again (which they undoubtedly will). But while The Joy Plan is my story, it’s not just about me. Ultimately, it demonstrates how to find joy in your current life, even when it feels out of reach, and then watch your life transform to match your joy. 

Here’s Why I Think it Works:

Numerous studies in the arena of sports have shown that visualizing an outcome daily, such as dunking baskets in basketball, is nearly equal in effectiveness to actually performing the action, such as the daily practice of free throws. Group meditation with a focus on peace in certain urban areas has been correlated with a reduction in crime rate.

So, does manifestation really work?

First of all, I believe science and spirituality are two sides of the same coin, each informing and shaping the other. While there may be a higher power or deep, inner wisdom that answers the call of the desires we wish to manifest, our brains also play an important part in the equation. 

Neural networks—clusters of neurons in the brain—grow stronger and larger each time we repeat thoughts and behaviors. Eventually, after they’re activated frequently enough, neural networks clump together to form neural pathways, like favorite highways our brains prefer because they are well-worn and familiar.

Our repeated thoughts eventually shape the way we see and experience the world, and thus inform our actions and reactions.

Our minds become pre-disposed to return to repeated thought patterns which activate the neural pathways our brains have become accustomed to. In fact, we unknowingly seek out evidence to confirm those thought patterns because our neural pathways are always hard at work.

As the ancient proverb says, “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.”

Albert Einstein said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” He also explained, when describing his famous equation E=mc2, that “Mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing—a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.”

So if thoughts create our world and energy is just as real as mass, we can utilize the energy of our thoughts to create tangible results in life. This is not just philosophy; this is physics.

What You Think, You Become

Quantum physics has proven that, at the subatomic level, all matter is made of energy and our thoughts influence the behavior of that energy. Scientists have found in study after study that our observations of reality alter the reality we observe. In fact, quantum physicists claim it is the very act of observing reality that creates it in the first place. Essentially, our thoughts shift subatomic particles and create our physical world.

Our brains have an inbuilt experiential bias, favoring memories with a strong emotional charge. We’re also programmed with a cognitive bias that requires three positive experiences to balance the impact of one negative experience. Stored memories are often played on a feedback loop, activating strong neural pathways and triggering repeated thoughts, behaviors, and thus, experiences—whether negative or positive.

Knowing all of this, I’ve come to the conclusion that positive thoughts really are the key to manifesting what I want in life. By consciously forming new neural networks, and eventually, neural pathways, associated with feelings of joy, abundance, and possibility, I can open up more than my brain—I can open up my world.

When we find joy in spite of the conditions we’re currently experiencing, those conditions morph to match our joy. By intentionally practicing thinking new thoughts, we can create new patterns in our brains, which ultimately translate into a new experience of life.

Buddha said, “What you think, you become.” And I believe neuroscientists would say the same. Our experience of life is shaped by what we think about it, and whether you call that “manifestation,” “The Law of Attraction,” or simply “the power of positive thinking,” if you can do it, you’ll be on track to a joyful life.

Partially excerpted from The Joy Plan: How I Took 30 Days to Stop Worrying, Quit Complaining, and Find Ridiculous Happiness. Available everywhere books are sold July 11. Pre-order on Amazon.

About the author

Kaia Roman is the author of the upcoming memoir, The Joy Plan, coming July 11, 2017. She teaches Mindfulness to elementary school students and is a blogger for minbodygreen and other sites. She’s also a communications consultant to some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies. She writes about how she went from joyless and anxious to grateful and optimistic so she can remember how she did it if she forgets. You’ll find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at TheJoyPlan.com.

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Four Basic Steps for Effective Creative Visualization

By Shakti Gawain

shakti gawainIf anyone can be called a self-help, self-actualization pioneer, it is Shakti Gawain. Years before “manifestation,” “the law attraction,” and “the secret” entered the lexicon, Shakti was sharing daily affirmations, meditations, and mental imagery practices that millions found could help them achieve goals, change habits, relax deeply, and significantly improve overall health and well-being. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from the new 40th anniversary edition of her international bestseller Creative Visualization.

Creative Visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life. There is nothing at all new, strange, or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute, in fact. It is your natural power of imagination, the basic creative energy of the universe, which you use constantly, whether or not you are aware of it.

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To use creative visualization it is not necessary to believe in any metaphysical or spiritual ideas, though you must be willing to entertain certain concepts as being possible. It is not necessary to “have faith” in any power outside yourself.

The only thing necessary is that you have the desire to enrich your knowledge and experience, and an open enough mind to try something new in a positive spirit

Four Basic Steps for Effective Creative Visualization

1. Set your goal

Decide on something you would like to have, work toward, realize, or create. It can be on any level — a job, a house, a relationship, a change in yourself, increased prosperity, a happier state of mind, improved health, beauty, a better physical condition, solving a problem in your family or community, or whatever.

At first, choose goals that are fairly easy for you to believe in, that you feel are possible to realize in the fairly near future. That way you won’t have to deal with too much negative resistance in yourself, and you can maximize your feelings of success as you are learning creative visualization. Later, when you have more practice, you can take on more difficult or challenging problems and issues

2. Create a clear idea or picture

Create an idea, a mental picture, or a feeling of the object or situation exactly as you want it. You should think of it in the present tense as already existing the way you want it to be. Imagine yourself in the situation as you desire it, now. Include as many details as you can.

You may wish to make an actual physical picture of it as well, by making a treasure map (described in detail later). This is an optional step, not at all necessary, but often helpful (and fun!).

3. Focus on it often

Bring your idea or mental picture to mind often, both in quiet meditation periods, and also casually throughout the day, when you happen to think of it. In this way it becomes an integrated part of your life, and it becomes more of a reality for you.

Focus on it clearly, yet in a light, relaxed way. It’s important not to feel like you are striving too hard for it or putting an excessive amount of energy into it — that tends to hinder rather than help.

4. Give it positive energy

As you focus on your goal, think about it in a positive, encouraging way. Make strong positive statements to yourself: that it exists; that it has come or is now coming to you. See yourself receiving or achieving it. These positive statements are called “affirmations.” While you use affirmations, try to temporarily suspend any doubts or disbelief you may have, at least for the moment, and practice getting the feeling that what you desire is very real and possible.

Continue to work with this process until you achieve your goal, or no longer have the desire to do so. Remember that goals often change before they are realized, which is a perfectly natural part of the human process of change and growth. So don’t try to prolong it any longer than you have energy for it — if you lose interest it may mean that it’s time for a new look at what you want.

If you find that a goal has changed for you, be sure to acknowledge that to yourself. Get clear in your mind the fact that you are no longer focusing on your previous goal. End the cycle of the old, and begin the cycle of the new. This helps you avoid getting confused, or feeling that you’ve “failed” when you have simply changed.

When you achieve a goal, be sure to acknowledge consciously to yourself that it has been completed. Often we achieve things that we have been desiring and visualizing, and we forget to even notice that we have succeeded! So give yourself some appreciation and a pat on the back, and be sure to thank the universe for fulfilling your requests.

About the author:

Shakti Gawain is a bestselling author and a pioneer in the field of personal growth and consciousness. The 40th Anniversary edition of her classic work Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life was recently published by New World Library.

Excerpted from Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life © 2002 by Shakti Gawain. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA — www.newworldlibrary.com.

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