You, And The Manifesting Of Reality
Psychology supports the idea of manifesting one's reality; at least in part.
Posted Dec 01, 2013
The idea of manifesting one’s reality has been around for a very long time. James Allen wrote about it in the early 1900’s in “As A Man Thinketh”. Some of William James’ writing, shortly thereafter, is likened to manifesting reality. Likely it was around, in one form or another, even before that. Most recently in print it was the rave in “The Secret”. Even Oprah and Deepak’s recent meditation challenge was based on it (Desire and Destiny). Despite it’s esoteric nature, psychological studies have supported some aspects of creating your own reality, and called it, “self-fulfilling prophecy”.
When one manifests his or her reality, one simply imagines what one wants, believes he or she has it, and eventually brings it into being. People do this for success, money, losing weight, or any other aspect of their life they’d like changed. In order for it to manifest (at least according to some of the writing) one must weed out opposing beliefs. For example, if you desire to be wealthier, you must get rid of any negative beliefs surrounding wealth and those that have it. You behave as if you have a little more money, and with strong belief, (and some work) you manifest that reality.
If psychology were to explain this phenomenon, it would look at the affect of one’s focus on perception, and how other, contrary, data are being minimized or ignored. There is a way in which psychology supports this idea, and that is with the idea of self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-fulfilling prophecy is when one’s current thinking affects their performance. In an example of Stereotype Threat (a type of self fulfilling prophecy), women who were “reminded” that females generally aren’t good at math did not fair as well on a math test as did the control group of women who simply took the exam (Steinberg, 2011). These types of studies have been replicated with other minority groups, and remain steadfast in their findings.
Therefore, the beliefs one holds about his or her stereotype can affect performance. And although yet unproven, there is a good deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest one might otherwise act in accordance with an accepted stereotype. Think of how men attempt to be stereotypical men. Then there is how mothers behave in a stereotypical motherly fashion. Society has beliefs about groups of people; individuals often accept those beliefs on an unconscious level; then people behave in a stereotypical fashion. This is social psychology.
In an online class I conduct, while buying into the stereotype students have too much work and too little time, students justified taking ADD medication to cram (not as prescribed, if prescribed at all). We all know the stereotype of the harried and frazzled student. Although there is some legitimacy (as there is in some stereotypes) just how much do people allow the stereotype to dictate their behavior? Are they even aware of how they are unconsciously buying into an expectation?
There is so much that is unconscious in daily life. It is reasonable to believe that often people accept beliefs that seem reasonable about their roles. Sometimes this is a result of the focus of one’s perception. For example, I forget my flash drive which is attached to my car keys in the university computers quite regularly. This can be considered a result of being an absent minded professor, or simply attributed to old age and stereotypical short-term memory problems. But what of all the things that aren’t forgotten, or how often I don’t forget the same things, or, as some who have known me a long while will profess, that I’ve always been somewhat forgetful. Sometimes it is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy (believing, for example, that as one ages one will forget more, and then doing so unconsciously as the female students did in their exam).
The solution is to consciously decide to create oneself. To begin, one should look at the beliefs carried about oneself. What roles are you in, and what stereotypes do you believe about those roles? How are you buying into your culture’s beliefs about you? From there, an evaluation of how this aligns with whom one wants to be is in order. One might use creative visualization (a technique common to manifesting one’s reality) to envision the person she wants to be. Then, one must consciously begin to create herself, in the imagined image. This begins by mindfully deciding moment by moment (or in as many moments as one can) who one will be, how one will behave. It requires mindfulness of the present moment, awareness, and acting with intention. This can be accomplished by using the breath as an anchor.
It is not an easy task. It is much easier to return to old, unconsciously accepted patterns of behavior. It is natural to fall back to this the majority of the time. The important thing is to question who you are, who you want to be, and work at creating yourself mindfully more and more. It is difficult, and it is tempting to give up. It requires less energy. But that is being a slave to conditioning. You have the freedom to create a major aspect of your reality, you.
Copyright William Berry, 2013
Allen, James; 2008; Originally published 1903; As A Man Thinketh
Steinberg, Laurence; 2011; Adolescence; pg. 376
Winfrey, Oprah; Chopra, Deepak; 2013; Desire and Destiny: 21 Day Meditation Challenge