Manifestation as a Spiritual Practice

by Malcolm Hollick –

The practice of manifestation is all too often distorted by individualism, materialism, egoism and greed. In this article I attempt to draw together the threads from the previous articles on manifestation and to weave them into a coherent picture of what I see as appropriate or right ways to use manifestation as a spiritual practice.

Right manifestation

The Secret talks about the importance of health, relationships and happiness as compared to wealth. But, sadly, these messages tend to be submerged in repeated stories and images of manifesting mansions, fast cars and other possessions. This materialist bias is common in modern writings about manifestation, and serves to foster addictive consumerism, greed, egoism and narcissism at the expense of deeper values such as compassion and service. Many people think the alchemists were seeking wealth through turning base metals into gold. But their real quest was to transmute the dross of ordinary human consciousness into spiritual gold. 
The true Secret is the manifestation of higher states of consciousness and spiritual wisdom.
In my view, right manifestation focuses primarily on personal and spiritual growth whilst enabling us to meet our basic material needs. From this perspective, it is a path of service, love and sharing, as these short quotes from manifestation teacher David Spangler reveal:

Often lacking in these descriptions is the idea of the manifestation of qualities rather than just things and of manifestation as an act of giving, as well as of receiving. Yet, manifestation is not the magical appearance of something from nothing. It is fundamentally the act of sharing. It depends on the willingness to be open to be a manifestation for someone else, as well as on the faith that our own needs and desires will be met. … 

… many men and women have found their most creative and empowering moments during times of severest physical limitation, such as being in prison. One need only think of Gandhi …. The number of his possessions could be counted on the fingers of both hands, but he was a source of richness for humanity. … 

In a sustainable society, abundance may manifest in physical ways as part of a material economy, but it is rooted in a spiritual reality. It is based on our ability to develop a sense of accomplishment, to develop skills that honor our individual creativity and allow us to give to our world. Abundance and love are reinforcing commodities; as Shakespeare put it, the more we give, the more we have. Abundance exists as a function of community; to pursue an isolated, individual abundance is ultimately to pursue a mirage. … 

What I set out to find was something like an ‘aikido of desire.’ I wanted a way to use the energy of my desires to take me to a deeper part of my own being that was in touch with the holistic or spiritual side of the world’s being…  Manifestation is a way of using any desire as a starting point for a spiritual journey. … 

Of course, there is much more to a spiritual practice than manifestation. … However, it can be an opportunity, no matter how trivial the desire, to explore connections, patterns, alignments, and the flow of both material and spiritual energy through your life. When you make manifestation a spiritual practice, then the perspectives it brings overflow into other aspects of your life. 

You begin naturally seeing yourself and your world in terms of interconnected and co-incarnational  patterns. The reality of the community in which we all live becomes more apparent. The vision of your incarnation becomes broader, more ecological, more compassionate. Your attitudes and actions reflect a larger, more complete humanity.

Manifestation from this perspective becomes a quality of being rather than a process of acquisition. As David Spangler expressed it: 

“We do not acquire that which we desire; we become it.”

Characteristics of this way of being include:
  • Consciousness of the Oneness of all existence and all beings;
  • An unflinching intention to align our lives and manifestation requests with the flow of the cosmos, or the will of God or Spirit;
  • Recognition that our ability to manifest lies not in ourselves but in the energy patterns of the quantum field, the sensitivity of systems to small disturbances and other properties of the cosmos;
  • Acknowledgement that manifestation is co-creative with each other and Spirit (or God), and that we are manifestations for each other;
  • A willingness to share and a desire to be of service to all beings;
  • Requests based on true needs for a modest but fulfilling lifestyle;
  • Acceptance with gratitude of whatever life brings, even when what we requested does not manifest;
  • Looking for the lessons and higher good that flow from disappointment and ‘negative’ experiences;
  • Refusal to accept or foster war, injustice and exploitation, and dedication to supporting positive campaigns for peace, justice and equity for all;
  • Willingness to go through the fire of personal transformation in order to serve more effectively.
Some of these points are elaborated in the rest of this article.

Attunement to the cosmos

The Secret talks about tuning in to our genie, higher self or guardian angel who says: “your wish is my command.” But what if our wish is not in alignment with the flow of the universe, or the will of Spirit? Our true higher self embodies and expresses values that go beyond greed, selfishness and egoism to love, compassion, generosity and service.
Right manifestation is not about bending the universe to our will. Rather, it is a process of aligning our will to that of the cosmos and working in co-creative harmony with it. 
It’s as if we’re adrift on a wild river. 
The best way to stay afloat and reach shore is not to battle against the waves and currents, but to allow ourselves to be carried by them, simply steering around rocks and whirlpools. When we are in harmony with the song of the universe, our lives flow abundantly and easily.

Wholeness, love and compassion

It may be possible to manifest material wealth for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily right to do so. I discussed in my article on abundance how the interconnected wholeness of everything means that what we manifest inevitably has consequences for others. Hence, we cannot escape the ethical implications of our requests.

Love is the highest value of life and the universe. Hence alignment with the Spirit of the cosmos means acting out of love. Love does not seek riches in ways that exploit or harm other beings, or damage the Earth. Nor will it accept riches while others remain destitute. Love seeks material sufficiency for all beings.

In The 15-Minute Miracle Revealed, Jacquelyn Aldana presents her version of the manifestation process. Step 4 includes the following sentence: “If it is in the highest good for me and for All Life Everywhere, please DIVINELY ORCHESTRATE the following in just the perfect time: …” What a difference from the approach of The Secret with its emphasis on self. This attitude, together with one of gratitude, forms the core of the practice that we present in the Gratitude Journal.
In my article on ‘What is manifestation’, I noted that Jesus’ use of the power of prayer sprang from love and a desire to serve, not a quest for personal gain. I also mentioned that manifestation has been a core principle of the Findhorn Community for 50 years. It has not been used as a tool for acquiring wealth – indeed, the community remains financially poor to this day. Rather, manifestation has been used in support of personal transformation and service to the world – what they call ‘work as love in action.’

The blessings of pain, loss and mistakes

Mistakes, pain, loss, and, ultimately, death are unavoidable parts of life. And they bring blessings if only we can accept them and learn their lessons. Looking back, many people realise cancer or other life-threatening situations were a blessing in disguise. Similarly, when Christine and I lost our savings and the house of our dreams, it helped to transform our attitudes to money, abundance and security.
Part of the secret of life and manifestation, which The Secret neglects, is to cultivate an attitude of acceptance, and gratitude for what is, for whatever comes; and to avoid falling into anger, blame and other negative emotions when ‘bad’ things happen or we fail to manifest our visions. The true gift of abundance is contentment no matter what happens, rather than focusing on what we think will make us happy at some time in the future. This is the gift of living in the present, or what Eckhart Tolle calls The Power of Now. This is the gift of personal transformation and the spiritual life.
This article on manifestation as a spiritual practice is the last in the series on Manifestation. For a menu of others, click here

About Author: Following a long academic career spanning many disciplines Malcolm Hollick left the University of Western Australia in 1997 to live in the Findhorn ecovillage community in Scotland. He was foundation Principal of the holistic Findhorn College and is an adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Water Research at the University of Western Australia. The author of many academic papers he currently works as a freelance writer. 


He is author of ‘The Science of Oneness: A worldview for the twenty first century’ and co author with Christine Connelly of ‘Sustainable Communities: Lessons from aspiring eco villages’ and ‘Hope for Humanity: How understanding and healing trauma could solve the planetary crisis’. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife Christine Connelly.


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