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What is manifestation? And how can you actually manifest it?

woman spreading her arms

It makes sense that people seek meaning in a year filled with so much sadness and grief. A spiritual practice known as manifestation is seeing an increase in popularity.

You’ve likely encountered manifestation if you are into healing crystals or astrology. It’s not a new concept. But it is a growing trend in popular culture. From editorials on Goop to TikTok videos, to Lizzo telling Marie Claire how she achieved her success.

All of this begs the question: What exactly is manifestation?

In its simplest form, manifestation means putting your intention in the direction of something you want to happen and then seeing it come true. It’s a way of saying that if you believe it, it will come true.

It’s more complicated than that. Natalia Benson is a woman’s empowerment coach and astrologer, who uses manifestation to help clients. She says manifestation is basically creating the life you want.

Benson claims that we are always creating and manifesting our lives, even if it’s subconsciously. When we are conscious of the power that we have to make our lives what we want, manifestation is possible. Benson says, “It’s very powerful when we are conscious enough to say: This is something that I would really like to experience” Let’s assume it’s a job, a relationship, money, or a feeling within your body. Manifestation is about understanding your life and creating the outcomes you desire.

Five things to know about manifestation

Are you interested in trying manifestation? Experts share their top tips for manifesting.

1. Spirituality and manifestation can go hand-in-hand

It can be helpful for a newcomer to manifestation to realize that it is often combined with other forms of spirituality or mysticism. This makes sense when you stop and think about it. Ellen Bowles, intuitionist and founder of The Woke Mystix, says that both have a way to connect us with ourselves.

This can take many forms, but manifestation practitioners often speak of setting intentions or deciding what you want to happen in the future. The new moon is a good time to set intentions. Bowles and Quinn agree that the new moon is the best time to plant seeds. This is only one example of how manifestation can be interwoven with other practices within this space.

2. It’s more than The Secret

Many people are familiarized with manifestation thanks to The Secret movie and book about law of attraction. It’s simple. Like attracts like. You get back what energy you put into the world. Negative thoughts will lead to negative experiences. You’ll have more positive experiences if you are in a high vibration state.

The truth is that manifestation pros believe there are eleven other laws that govern how the universe works. Benson states that the law of attraction is only one of many laws.

You could go through them all, but there are some more:

  1. The law of action is that you can take faster action if you are focused on what you want. Sending applications to graduate programs in therapists is a good way to get things moving energetically, for example, if your goal is to change careers and become a therapist.
  2. The law of relativity states that we are the ones who attach meaning to our experiences. However, in reality it is all relative. No matter how difficult something is, there are always others going through more difficult situations.
  3. The laws of the universe is a great topic for anyone who is interested in manifestation.

3. Energy flows from where your focus is

According to Benson, daydreaming is one of the best ways for manifestation to begin. She says that most people use their minds to worry about the future or to make a list. Instead, she suggests that you use your mind to be excited about the possibilities of life and start visualizing what you might experience.

She suggests that you think of five things that you’d love to do, regardless of whether you are pursuing immediate or long-term goals. Do the same before you go to sleep. Use your imagination to create a bigger vision than you have right now.

This is sometimes called creative visualization by some practitioners. This strategy is not only logical, but it’s also mysticism. You’ll be more aware of opportunities to reach those goals if you keep your vision of the things you want to experience in your head.

4. It’s not about you

Sometimes manifesting can be criticized for having “good vibes only” feelings. Practitioners want to make it clear that it is not about ignoring what’s going on in the world.

Positive thinking is part of manifestation. However, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the problems in our lives or in the wider world. Benson says, “We can recognize what we want to see in our lives and in the lives of others.” It is a powerful way to manifest your desires for the betterment of the world and others.

5. It’s not a quick fix

It is easy to see manifestation as instant gratification. Benson says that a manifestation practice should not be viewed as a way to expect immediate results.

The Woke Mystix state that it takes faith, patience, and the ability to allow for actualization and alignment of intent to occur. It is important to understand the context of manifestation. They add that manifesting is about acknowledging the fact that we live in a capitalist system with advantages and disadvantages. It can be difficult to manifest if you have less because of your class, race and gender, education, or other factors. These areas may be easier to manifest if you are privileged. “Accepting our disadvantages and priviledges helps us stay grounded in the real world while still allowing for the magic of manifestation.”

“Manifestation is not something you can just ‘think it’ and it will happen,” says Lindsay Herr, founder of Inside/Outside. It takes hard work and de-programming to manifest.” She practices manifestation as part her self-care routine. It works best for someone who is open to facing their fears and allowing them to trust. Herr recommends seeking out outside help (e.g. a therapist) for difficult issues. You might also revisit traumas that you have tried to avoid, such as your parents’ divorce or being bullied in school.

Herr says the results are well worth it. “I have everything, from a scholarship to being a partner.”

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