The term manifestation brings to mind stereotypical Los Angeles residents claiming they "totally just put their spiritual energy into creating the best morning matcha ever consumed."
But manifestation is far deeper than that. According to Laura Reave, former assistant professor of management and communication at Ivey Business School, the act is more spiritual. Manifestation, widely known as the law of attraction, involves believing in oneself and turning positive emotions and ideas into external truths through continuous action.
Manifestations suggests that desires and dreams can be reflected in reality if you're committed to positive, constructive thought. Through this practice, one is able to consciously choose thoughts and emotion.
As explained by Reave, manifestation refers to the idea that we each have an energy or vibration created from our thoughts and feelings.
“There needs to be a certain level of self-awareness first … some people don’t realize that they are thinking negative thoughts, often about themselves, all day long,” says Reave. “Sometimes we learn negative self-talk from our parents or from our environment or sometimes from our friends and that kind of stuff gets imprinted on you.”
Students looking to start with manifestation and reverse those negative thoughts should start with affirmations.
“Write down what you want to manifest in your life, but you have to have the element of ‘feeling’ that goes along with it," says Reave. "As you’re writing, you have to have that feeling of excitement, anticipation, looking forward, happiness — just in thinking about it.”
Sowing doubt on the process makes it increasingly difficult for affirmations to manifest — attitude can change the entire practice.
Creating a "vision board" — a collage of words and pictures that encourage positive feelings — can help students visualize a more desirable reality. Placing this board in a location where it can be viewed throughout the day can encourage motivation.
The key component to it, like with the affirmations, is acknowledging the feelings evoked and in turn, morphing them into self-confidence and achievable goals.
“Sometimes it’s just little things too. Build some success[ful] experiences for yourself with little things, then you might have more confidence,” says Reave. “You can’t be working against yourself. I would say … between thoughts and feelings, maybe feelings are even more powerful.”
Start small — manifestation does not have to be for grand scale career aspirations or a dream relationship.
“Unfortunately, many people believe that you can just sort of fantasize about what you want in your life with the law of attraction and then it’s supposed to manifest and they get annoyed when it doesn’t work,” explains Reave. “You have to take some action too. We each are part of the spirit. We have this connection to creative flow and we can strengthen that connection … you learn to follow the intuition that you have.”
The term “spirituality” in itself can seem mystifying, even a little bit intimidating. Yet with the right techniques and approaches, everyone has the capacity to make productive impacts on their lives — no matter how seemingly big or small.
Your happiness and fulfillment are all it comes down to.