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Is manifesting a thing? Really?

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

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Ooookay. This is quite the subject!

What I’ve seen in the online space is quite a spectrum of beliefs around manifesting - or, for the uninitiated, the power of your thoughts to create exactly what you want in life. Everything from people who would willingly describe themselves as super-woo - absolutely convinced by the power of vision boards, visualisation, crystals, energetic and spiritual work - through to die-hard scientist who wouldn’t touch a crystal with a barge pole.

So I thought I’d talk today about what I believe is actually going on when people talk about manifesting their dreams… and why those two ends of the spectrum - science and spiritual - might not be quite so far apart after all.

Manifest - to embody in visual or physical form.

To show or demonstrate clearly.

To make clear or apparent to the senses.

To show something through signs or actions.

Manifesting or making manifest, basically means creating something real and tangible - creation through thought and action.

Now in the most basic sense, if you think about it - everything around us has been ‘manifested’ from thought. You had to have the thought to go out and buy your computer, your phone, your desk. Somebody had the original idea to create that computer, phone, desk… or the components and processes that eventually led to it. When you think about manifestation on a practical level, it’s something we do all the time. It’s what humans do! We want a new car? We make it manifest. We want a holiday? We book it, there you go - manifested.

But what a lot of people struggle with is the idea of manifestation being about going from thinking about something - like that new car, or that holiday - to having it magically gifted to you from the universe, without lifting a finger. That seems impossible and like nonsense to our analytical human minds. It feels like a big leap of faith - and one that while some people are willing to take, others will absolutely never go there.

So I’ll say for the record that I’m somewhere between the two, and I have my own thoughts on what’s actually going on - how it is that people can seemingly dream up amazing things and have them almost magically appear in their lives a short time later.

So when I first started out in my hypnotherapy business I’m going to say I was very much the science buff. I wanted to make sure everything I talked about and everything I did with my clients was evidence-based, well researched neuroscience and psychology that was pretty much watertight and that I knew I could rely on to get results.

I wanted to be taken seriously - I know hypnotherapy has its own sceptics and is seen by a lot of people to be a little bit out there - but I was keen to shout about the science behind it, so I steered clear of talking about anything a bit more ‘woo.

But the more I worked with people and the more I read about manifestation in the online space and in the books and podcasts I downloaded, the more I realised that actually… for the most part, we were talking about the same thing. We were just coming at it from different angles! Me with my science hat on, and the more spiritual people with their faith & energy hat on.

You see, there is no doubt that we DO actually create the things we think about. We create the reality we imagine. Whatever you’re doing in your life right now, whoever you’re with, wherever you are - the chances are that you imagined it before it actually happened.

Often you will have had to then have taken action to follow up on those thoughts. The chances are, things didn’t just land in your lap. But there was something very specific about those actions you took: they were aligned with creating that end result.

That’s not to say things happened overnight - or even that you KNEW that the action you were taking would result in that outcome. But when you look back from the point of having achieved whatever it was you set out to create… it becomes clear that you were on the right path all along.

So what happens in our brain to manifest a new reality or ‘thing’?

Well when we really think about something in life to the point where we attach emotional significance to it and start to believe it’s possible to create that in our world, our brain registers that desired outcome - I often say it’s like programming the instructions into your internal SatNav. And the more you think about it and the clearer you are on exactly what you want, the easier it is for your brain to follow the instructions.

What then happens is that your brain starts to filter your experience based on the instructions you’ve given it. A vast amount of information is thrown at us every second - and so to make any sense of our conscious experience, we have to be selective in what we pay attention to. If we - say - have a real desire for a holiday to the Bahamas, suddenly we’ll start to see adverts everywhere for holidays (and maybe competition entries for holidays!) to the Bahamas. You’ll have noticed this for yourself - at times you just can’t seem to avoid a certain song, or seeing happy couples everywhere… and it’s likely because your attention has been drawn to noticing that thing more in your world because of something happening in your own life - not that there’s suddenly been an explosion in happy couples! So with all that filtering, we start to notice things that align with what we’re thinking about more and more - and if what we’re thinking about is something positive that we’d like to see happen in our lives, because of that filtering effect we’ll naturally notice more opportunities that might help us to create (or win!) that very thing.

A word of caution - if you’re focusing on negative outcomes, even if you don’t want them but you believe they’re probable - your brain will also be doing a good job of creating those for you, too! So I thought I’d share a few quick examples from my own life of how this has worked in practice.

And some of these you may still hear and think ‘but HOW did thinking about that end up in it happening!’:

I had an inkling years ago that I would love to help coach people on their businesses one day. I never actively sought it out as a career option... I didn't even imagine it could ever happen... but it found me through a very convoluted path - from happening to have hypnotherapy for stage fright in my singing career, to deciding to retrain as a hypnotherapist, to eventually building a coaching business online and working with entrepreneurs!

After another stressful breakup I decided that if I was ever going to enter a serious relationship again, it would have to be with someone who matched my values exactly. I stopped looking, booked a dream trip backpacking in Canada... and 2 weeks later, met the man of my dreams!

I have had many times in my life where I've wished I had more money. Where the bank balance has registered zero, even, or less! But I've never, ever not had enough one way or the other.

Money has always been there and has always come through. Even when I found myself with £18k of debts to pay from my old business, things worked out thanks to the opportunities that came my way and the actions I took.

I did some thinking about what I really needed for my membership last year - and decided what would be incredible would be to run to with someone likeminded, who could offer expertise in the areas I was lacking or hadn't had time to create - and who would be like a business best buddy. And lo and behold, the wonderful Sarah Coulson approached me a short time later and ticked all the boxes!

The last one is my VW van! I’d had in mind for ages the exact type, fuel (petrol rather than diesel, which is much rarer), colour (dark grey), age, even the sort of mileage I would want. When I had some inheritance come through last year, I made a decision to use that money to buy the van - but it took us ages to get round to it. We finally set a day aside for van shopping, did an online search and 3 vans came up that fit the bill in terms of mileage and price. One was red, and diesel - and 60 miles away. One was blue - and diesel, and older - and 40 miles away. The last one was at a local dealership, a mile down the road, and happened to be petrol and the exact age and mileage I’d wanted - but there was no picture. Ordinarily that might put me off, but I emailed the dealership and it had just come in that day, so they hadn’t had time to put the picture up yet. Lo and behold - dark grey - just as I’d imagined!

I was pretty blown away by that one. Seems almost exactly like I’d put it out there and the universe had answered! Which leads me to the next bit - can science explain everything, then? I’m not so sure. I do think we have a LOT of control over the outcomes we manifest, even if we don’t realise it. So, you might see people popping up online saying “I just manifested £10k!” and maybe you’re thinking - yeah, right! I’d like £10k too, where’s mine?

The thing is, until you have that belief and that emotional buy-in to the fact you could create £10k, your brain won’t correct your filter to help you come up with or spot the opportunities and actions that could help you get there. If you’re thinking “that couldn’t be possible for me” then it WON’T be possible for you, no matter how much you’d like £10k!

The belief has to come first - THEN the right actions to make things happen will follow. That isn’t always easy, I know - but what have you got to lose? So having said we have a lot of control over what we create, I still personally think there are some things that seem just too coincidental even for evidence-based neuroscience to explain!

So maybe we’re just waiting for the day when the evidence from Quantum Physics catches up with what the spiritual guys among us have known all along… and maybe that had a little something to do with my perfect camper van.

In a way, I sort of hope so! I hope that’s been interesting and enlightening! If you’ve got any manifesting experiences you want to share I’d LOVE to hear them - drop me an email or DM me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Here are the current ways to Work With Me

Join my FREE 21 day e-course Worthy, Wealthy & Wise - and learn MORE secrets of self-mastery, ease and abundance!

Listen & subscribe on Apple, Google podcasts, Spotify, YouTube - or search ‘Align & Arise’ on your favourite podcast platform!

If you’d like to get in touch email


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