By: Janette Dalgliesh – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
to manifest: (v) to create something or turn something from an idea into a realityTchiki Davis, Founder Berkeley Well-being Institute
Is it really manifesting, or is it merely privilege?
A pretty, young, slender, blonde, white girl gushes all over TikTok about how she always gets everything she wants.
A man stitches it and shouts ‘you’re not manifesting, you’re just privileged!’
He’s not wrong about her privilege. It’s not her fault she’s pretty, blonde, white and young – but maaaaaaaybe what she thinks is manifesting is merely the consequence of living in a world which tends to favour young white women who are blonde, pretty and slender.
And it wouldn’t matter much, except there is a corner of the manifesting / Law of Attraction / New Age world, which is at risk of sliding into a deeply toxic, privilege-based soup of inhumanity.
- I was told (more than once) that the only reason I ever experience a depressive episode is because I mentioned that sometimes I have depressive episodes
- Abraham Hicks notoriously engaged in victim-blaming on the topics of rape, murder, 911, slavery and even The Holocaust
- People in New Age circles regularly ask ‘how did you create cancer in your body?’ and ‘what negative thoughts were you thinking that made him attack you?’
- A failure to fulfil a desired dream – no matter how ambitious – is often met with a shrug and the response that the dreamer must not have been thinking enough positive thoughts; and that’s a pretty damn inhumane response when perhaps the dreamer’s barriers to access are significant
- Spiritual bypassing shows up as a lack of empathy for the suffering of those in pain, and a suggestion to ‘just think happy’ – a policy which is known to cause a downturn in mental health
The inhumane manifesting world worships at the feet of Rugged Individualism, and makes no space at all for the impacts of systemic oppression, unconscious bias, constitutional unfairness, collective trauma or individual life experiences.
So it’s a very short step from that, into the toxic nonsense of ‘people are poor because they’re lazy’ and ‘Indigenous Australians are only overrepresented in jail because they break the law more’ and ‘people only catch Covid because they eat badly / believe in it’.
The notion that only those who know how to manifest ‘properly’ deserve a good life is horrifyingly close to fascism, and it’s not surprising to find evidence that New Age circles are also prone to believing in QAnonsense and other right-wing conspiracy theories.
Inhumane manifesting, as a way of short-cutting to a result, has become highly weaponised in some circles, to the point of catastrophic damage.
We CANNOT dismiss or ignore the impact of systemic oppression, real-world disadvantage, family dynamics, intergenerational trauma, and our own individual past experiences and trauma.
That is privilege writ large.
And … the concept that ‘thoughts become things’ is not exactly wrong.
Manifesting means we take something ephemeral – an idea, a concept, a thought – and turn it into a tangible object – a table, a book, a business.
According to neuroscientist Anil K Seth:
‘we predict ourselves into existence’
During childhood, our brains acquire an opinion about who we are and what is possible for us.
Our brain then filters the reality around us accordingly, to deliver experiences of reality that match who we unconsciously believe ourselves to be.
- “I am unloveable” produces an experience of reality where people find it hard to love us, or we don’t notice their love, or we can’t accept it or trust it.
- “I am clumsy” produces an experience of ungraceful interaction with the physical world around us, and even affects our own sense of balance and proprioception (where our body is in space).
The good news?
The brain itself is plastic and changeable, and we know that over time, we can retrain our own brain to predict a new version of ourselves into being, by practising a new set of habitual thoughts about who we are.
And that will, indeed, lead to a different experience of reality as we make new choices, take new actions, and our brain filters reality in new ways to match the different self.
But the evangelists for toxic manifesting preach as though we start the manifesting process with a clean brain.
We almost all reach adulthood and step into life with a fucked-up brain which – through patience, compassion and (sometimes) a shit ton of work – can be healed and changed, so we can begin to predict ourselves into a new trajectory and a new experience of reality.
Many practised and focused thoughts over time can, indeed, create different things.
None of that will stop a bad thing happening, or guarantee a smooth journey.
It might just make us better equipped to deal with it, that’s all.
It’s high time those of us in the coaching world accommodated the imperfectly perfect humanity of both ourselves and our clients.
That’s the humane way to approach manifesting.
Janette Dalgliesh is a gifted life coach and astrologer based in south-east Australia. She helps women of all kinds, from all walks of life, to set themselves free from the unconscious, toxic BS of the patriarchy in which we all grew up – through the lens of astrology, mythology and archetypes. Her signature work is Liberation Zodiac, and you will find her at www.janettedalgliesh.com