“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of our minds and the art of manifestation.
From an early age, I learned how to meditate with my mom, and the two of us would sometimes do “visualization meditations” so we could manifest what we wanted. It was a fun thing to do. Sometimes we did get what we wanted, sometimes not, but it was always worth trying.
As an adult, I read a lot of books about the law of attraction and manifestation. By “a lot,” I really mean it. And I truly enjoyed them. Books such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, for example, validated my beliefs about the law of attraction. They brought me joy and faith and the promise in a better future.
While I still like some of these books and I don’t deny the messages they bring, I must say that now, knowing what I know, I wish I had not spent so much time reading that sort of material. I still keep them on my shelf, but nowadays I don’t find them so appealing. Mostly because they didn’t touch the core of my issues and just helped me leap into the future.
When I realized something was missing, I started studying meditation and the principles of Buddhism and Taoism. And God, the ground just fell under me. It hurt like hell to read them.
Those spiritual teachings seemed to be leaning a lot more on the present moment than I was used to. To be honest, they made me uncomfortable at first because I had to learn how to stay in my “sucky” present moment instead of picturing a more positive future. Compared to self-help/motivational books, they were like night and day.
Although these teachings and principles do not tell you that you have to sit on your butt and do nothing, I was always under the impression that “non-action,” like Lao Tzu called it, was the most vibrant and important spiritual lesson in life. I should also add the amazing books by Eckhart Tolle in these examples, as they also teach you how to live consciously in the present moment.
But I was way too addicted to thinking ahead to be able to shift my perspective from the future to the present moment. I was addicted to the future. It was hard for me to have one thought out of two or three that was not related to the future.
And I learned that I wasn’t alone.
There is a constant “longing” in our society, as the future has always been promised to be the best time of our lives if we work hard. We have been programmed to think like that. When we are kids, we are often asked what we want to be as adults. When we are teenagers, we are focused on studying so we can go to a good college. Then when we are in college, we think of future work and family. And the cycle never ends.
Let’s be real: most of us have become addicted to the future. We’re addicted to the hope that everything will be better one day. We project our happiness in something ahead of us more often than in the present moment.
So, of course, manifesting was a great tool for me when I used to live for the future. But suddenly, after studying more meditation and practicing it, despite my initial resistance, the future became “smaller.”
I was still confused. I didn’t know where to spend my time and energy anymore. Should I still manifest a better future? Or should I embrace my present the way it is? Where could I draw the line between living a fulfilling life in the present but also work on manifesting a better future?
I didn’t have answers at first. So I continued my mindfulness meditation practices, and on some days I would do manifestation exercises. I went back and forth between living consciously in the present moment and manifesting my perfect future. I believed that as long as there was balance between living in the present and manifesting a better future, I would be all right. And eventually, I found that yes, I would be more than alright to think like that.
Then one day I realized all my questioning had been answered as I watched the movie “The Shift” with Dr. Wayne Dyer for the second time. I finally learned the lesson I was looking for. In one of the scenes in the movie, Dr. Dyer says, “You don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are.”
With that quote, I was able to understand the meaning of what real manifestation should be. It’s not about what we want, but what we are ready to receive according to our level of consciousness. We receive according to who we truly are.
We may want to manifest a new job, a new partner, new friends, or amazing experiences. But just wanting means nothing if we don’t work on our self-healing. Wanting means nothing if we don’t work on becoming better people. If we are not ready to shed the parts of ourselves that are no longer serving their purpose. If we don’t realize that we need to learn how to “be” before “having.”
So I must confess I don’t like books on manifesting as much as I used to, specifically for that reason. Unlike Dr. Wayne Dyer’s literature, I sometimes feel that some motivational books out there cover mostly the law of attraction, but not how we have to work on ourselves to be able to manifest our desires.
Hear me, I am not saying that all New Age books are like that—I don’t want to start a war on manifestation here! Especially because, like I said, I like reading that kind of material too. There are tons of motivational speakers and authors out there who have already figured out that it’s not only about wanting.
What I am saying is that, while we work on manifesting our desires, we should also be working on our self-improvement and self-healing. I believe that once we do that, all the things we want will naturally flow and make their way to us because we are in alignment with these things.
That’s what Dr. Wayne Dyer was talking about when he said, “We attract what we are.”
When we search for our connection with the “divine mind,” as Dr. Dyer would sometimes call it, after we meditate or pray, we are in touch with our higher selves, the part of us that is linked to the universal life that resides in all of us.
Once we make that connection, everything else we need will find us. There is no need for struggling, hustling, or fighting to get “our spot in the sun.” The universe is abundant, and it has the means to provide everything we want and need.
Once we understand that we are part of everything and there is no separation between us and what we want—as well as no separation between us and our neighbors and the divine mind—magic happens. Things will come easier and at the right time.
When we decide to leave our ego behind and live through our truest purposes, abundance in all forms will flow to us.
Just a simple example. Many times I thought I’d wanted certain things, and I even did a few manifestation exercises. Then, after meditating for a while, I’d think, “You know what? Maybe that is not what I want.”
This happened many times in my life. I like to call that “mindful manifestation.” It’s the ability to manifest what we want by the needs of our higher selves. In mindful manifestation, the ego dissolves as we (our higher selves) become conscious, and we have a much clearer vision about our real needs.
And trust me, most of the time the needs of our soul are different from the needs of our ego.
That’s why now I don’t do any manifestation work without doing some mindfulness meditation first. Just a few minutes before manifesting will count. After meditating for a while, I check in with my desire. I face it without any masks, without any judgment.
“Do I really want or need this?” I ask myself. If my soul smiles at my desire, I know I’m on the right path.
Then I imagine myself in the future, living the life I want, and I imagine feeling excited as if it had already happened. If later that desire shifts and changes, I let go of it, as I understand that maybe I’m not in alignment with that desire anymore, and also the “divine mind” has something better in the works for me.
Again, there is nothing wrong with wanting material things. I even wrote an article called “Let’s Stop Telling People Money won’t Bring them Happiness,” because unfortunately, you’ll still meet some hardcore spiritualists who say money isn’t everything in our lives—like we need a reminder for that, right? I am grateful for my money, and I already thank ahead all the money that is making its way toward me.
The core of my message is that we need to find balance between living harmoniously in the present moment and manifesting the future we so want.
That means blessing and being grateful for our jobs, family, homes, or even painful experiences, so we can manifest something better at the right time. When we embrace our present with grace and gratitude and connect to that power inside us, the “perfect” future flows to us faster and without a struggle.
So it’s totally right to want things; I even have a vision board (thanks to reading The Secret). But I believe that if we don’t show up to the real needs of our soul first, the future we want may never happen, and if it does, we won’t be able to enjoy it.
After watching “The Shift” again, I said a little “thank you” prayer to Dr. Dyer, wherever he is, as he clarified a long-term concern I had, a battle between two dualities, present versus future. I just hope there will be more authors like him who teach us how to become the best version of ourselves so we can manifest a better future, instead of simply skipping to the future part.
With this current wave of “awareness” everywhere, I hope that more and more of us will soon understand that before manifesting a better future, we need to manifest a better “self.”