Manifestation Manifesto

Over the past few years, I have heard more and more people talk about “manifesting.” From what I can tell, the going definition of manifestation is “learning how to use spiritual principles to get what you want out of life.” Of course, it is usually stated in more palatable language like “how to realize your dreams” or “how to create the life you want.” Often, when I hear people describe this view of manifestation, I find myself feeling irritated. So, I decided it was time to write my own “Manifestation Manifesto.” (As you can see, I’m using this Publisher’s Blog as a chance to constructively express – at least I hope I’m being constructive – many of the pent-up frustrations I have been feeling as a publisher in the field of personal and spiritual transformation for the past 24 years.)

So in response to all of the manifestation talk I‘ve heard over the past few years, here is my “Manifestation Manifesto”:

Step 1. Listen to your inner voice.

Step 2. Do what your inner voice says.

Step 3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

That’s my manifesto (very short!). And although it sounds quite simple – and it is from a conceptual viewpoint – that doesn’t mean it is easy.

Step 1: Listen to your inner voice.

I believe we all have a trustworthy inner voice. You might experience it in the form of words spoken internally or as a gut feeling, an intuitive vision, a flash of insight, or a spontaneous sense of knowing. In traditional religious language, this inner voice might be called “the voice of our conscience,” which may not be too far off the mark. I do believe we each have an internal guidance system that is always available, if we are willing to stop and listen.

You might ask, “Where does this inner voice come from?” That’s a good question – and I don’t have a good answer. What I do know is that for me this inner voice is a compass. It feels to me like a reliable, benevolent, evolutionary messenger service, something that is guiding me to express more, to love more, and to extend more for the benefit of others.

It’s my experience that there is no shortage of available inner guidance. What is in short supply, however, is our willingness to tune in and listen. Most of us are too busy, busy, busy (ironically, trying to manifest our dreams, right?). Imagine how much power and impact we could have if we paused and listened to make sure we were actually scurrying in the right direction.

If we are interested in manifesting more in our lives – more abundance, more happiness, more contribution to others – one interesting question to ask ourselves is why we don’t spend more time listening to our inner guidance. Caroline Myss, the medical intuitive and author of Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, has investigated this question in some detail. She posits that the reason many people don’t listen to their inner guidance is that they don’t actually want to change – certainly not in dramatic ways. We may say we want change in our lives (we want to “manifest” something that doesn’t currently exist, right?), but we usually want it on our terms, not on unconditional terms, not if it costs us something like our current sense of security, our current network of relationships, or our current identity structure.

And this brings me to why I often feel irritated when I hear people talk about “manifesting their dreams.” It is as if this all-powerful ego-based person wants to orchestrate a new world order according to their likes and dislikes, as if this whole universe exists to line up around our personal wishes. I really see things in quite the opposite way. The way I see it, we are servants, not masters. What are we serving? That is for each person to answer in their own being. In my case, I am serving a higher field or finer dimension of vibration that has qualities to it like truth, beauty and justice. I am also serving and partnering with all of the beings, seen and unseen, who have worked and are working to bring these qualities into form. To put it another way, for me the central question around manifesting is not “What do I want?” but instead “What is wanted from me?”

Step 2: Do What Your Inner Voice Says

Once we hear our inner guidance, we need courage – or to use Caroline Myss’ language, “a backbone, not a wishbone” – if we are to manifest in the world. This is complex territory, because there are all kinds of unconscious reasons we don’t want to act on the messages we hear.  I will give you an example from my personal and professional life:

For about 5 years, I knew I needed to hire a President at Sounds True. The company needed day-to-day operational leadership, and I needed the time to explore other avenues of self-expression and contribution. I was, however, terrified about making this change. What if I hired someone who ruined the 20 years of work I’d put into the company, eroding the value of the business? What if I hired someone who was better than me at running the company, and I ended up feeling like a horse put out to pasture? What if and if and if?

Finally, my inner voice stopped talking to me in clear sentences and started creating difficult circumstances in my life – including a schedule that was totally unmanageable and a love partner who could not tolerate how little time and attention I had for our relationship. It was as if my guidance system could no longer get my attention by whispering so it started shouting through the circumstances of my life.

A year and a half ago, the shouting got so loud I couldn’t help but listen. So I finally made the decision to hire a President. (Happily, April 1st 2009 will be the one year anniversary of a fellow spiritual traveler and business professional named Grant Couch filling this role.) Why did it take me 5 years to take this step? Because, as Caroline Myss says, I was afraid of how much and how quickly my life would change. In a certain sense, I was “hiding” behind all of the tasks that I had to do. I knew this just below the surface of my consciousness, but I didn’t really want to acknowledge this knowing because I was hiding for some very good unconscious reasons. Suffice it to say I was protecting my heart; it can be quite scary to change in ways that radically – and publicly – increase our level of vulnerability.

So for me, when it comes to manifesting, a useful line of inquiry is “Why am I not doing what I know I need to do right now”? That is a totally different approach than “visualizing what I want” or expecting hoped-for external events to happen. It’s about deeply inquiring into our own resistance and what lies underneath it. My experience is that when I can archaeologically dig up that unconscious material, feel it and release it, it’s like untying a knot. Once that knot is untied, the energy to manifest flows swiftly and generally, unimpeded. Doors fly open. Surprising allies arrive. Magic happens.

Step 3

Repeat steps 1 and 2

There is no end to manifesting and expressing who we are. I recently spent some time with Eckhart Tolle. We were filming a trailer for Eckhart Tolle TV, a new online television service that Sounds True is launching in partnership with Eckhart Teachings. I asked Eckhart why he was bothering to create this new service at all. I wanted to understand his motivations. Obviously, Eckhart can be spending his time in whatever way he wishes; why get involved in a multi-year commitment requiring so much energy and creativity? When I asked Eckhart the question “Why are you bothering to create Eckhart Tolle TV?” he paused for about a minute. Then he looked directly at me and said, “I am responding to the evolutionary impulse.”

I love that answer. When we are responding to an evolutionary impulse, we manifest in a way that is pure and selfless. We tune in. We are given instructions. We respond boldly, wildly and unconditionally. And as a result, we manifest in ways that serve evolution itself.

–Tami Simon
Publisher

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14 Responses to “Manifestation Manifesto”

  1. manny Says:

    Thanks for this "manifesto," Tami. I also think it important to note that in order to be most effective, manifestation principles as outlined and popularized by Abraham-Hicks and others rely on a strong meditation/contemplative practice to be the most effective. Not only do such practices raise the level of subtle energy resources needed to effectively manifest, they also raise awareness of the multiple and oftentimes conflicting impulses within the psyche that you’ve already identified as stumbling blocks on this path. Joseph Campbell really articulated the spirit of the subject of manifestation as well as I’ve ever heard it when he advised his students to “Follow your bliss.  If you follow your bliss, doors will open where there weren’t doors before and where there wouldn’t be doors for anyone else.”  As you’ve articulated so well, manifestation is ultimately about finding and settling into the flow of the life that you were intended (by Force?) to live.  When you live that life, you’ve found your bliss …you’ve connected with your purpose.

  2. Karyn Young Says:

    Hi Tami,
    So wonderful to see you blogging. As I read this, I realized that you have a unique view from all of your years of service in providing a way for people to express their guidance, teachings, knowledge, gifts, etc. You’ve probably heard it all in one flavor, form or expression and can integrate and separate pieces in and out. I feel like you provided a map of manifestation for me with this blog — you related it to other topics and said what you think is useful and not so useful about it. Wow!

    Eons ago, I listened to the Caroline Myss material (probably got them from Sounds True) for Why People Don’t Heal and you noted the one point that most stuck with me — how we don’t want to recognize or act on the guidance. When I first heard it, I didn’t understand it at all but I remembered her words like they were haunting me for years. It is only through my development of a spiritual practice with a teacher that I now know what she means.Your example of your struggle in changing your relatioship with Sounds True is such a powerful example. The guidance can completely change the direction of our life but it can be a terribly uncomfortable process. It isn’t like some magic fairy shows up and gives us all that we need and then we glide along on the breeze giggling along the way. Nope.

    So thank you for this and for all that you bring the world.

    Karyn

  3. Deborah Shemesh Says:

    I’ve studied so much material, exploring and adventuring into the various realms and modalities of healing. Serving myself, and being honest with
    my Intentions and Desires really expanded when I allowed myself to
    live up to my potential. I was stuck into “what will other people think” mode.

    Not allowing myself to accumulate anything more than just health. Moving into the What Do I Want mode took me into Universal/Cosmic Potentiality.
    At first I thought that by asking myself that question “What Do I Want”, seemed self-obsessive and was frightened by the possible answers. At first, the answers to that questions were materialistic, then as I began to embrace my potentiality; the question “What Do I Want” expanded into universal connectivity. Like you; I want peace, harmony, health, expansiveness, balance, love, creative and financial fluidity.

    Tasking, doing, and serving others is easy, serving your own wants first opens up and expands into a universal consciousness. I remember when I would first “serve others” – not allowing myself the freedom to really ask myself the big questions. When you approach your wants from a cosmic, global perspective as opposed to personal “I” or ego, it’s amazing
    how much the universe supports your deepest desires comes true.

    What I do now, is I actually allow myself to Intend my desires by planting the seed, and surrender to the outcome. Surrendering becomes easier when we actually allow ourselves to Intend through the immediate ego needs, which moves into community, then global desires until you find the vastness of cosmic consciousness. Ask: Who AM I – What Do I Want – How Can I Serve? Powerful questions only for the courageous.

    http://www.deborahshemesh.com

  4. Angele Says:

    Great insights – I love Eckhardt’s response..

    I call my voice.. the choiceless choice. My ego knows it can say no but my soul wants to do it all. When I hear the voice I often see myself saluting to the sky… it is as if I straighten up and say aye, aye .. sir.

    With time my voice has gotten more subtle – - now I am listening with more discernment and more choice.

  5. Maia Duerr Says:

    Hi Tami,

    Thank you for your blog, and for your vision at Sounds True. I spent a few days there several years ago doing an ethnography of contemplative organizations, and I was truly moved by how well integrated spirit and work is at the ST office.

    A while ago I blogged on manifestation too… thought it might be interesting to compare notes: http://maia-sabbatical.blogspot.com/2008/08/art-of-manifestation.html

  6. j s Says:

    I would like to take the liberty of responding to these three posts. All of them contain deep and profound questions or issues facing humanity today both collectively and individually. And while the answers given by Tami are certainly true and express to a large extent her own experience, nonetheless because of their importance I would like to attempt, so far as I am able, to put them into a larger perspective. The attempt is somewhat lengthy, but given the significance of the topic, I hope that it will be indulged.

    The first problem is the frustration, here in stated spiritual terms, that the rest of the world is not the way we think it should be. As we begin the conscious work of spiritual development, this often expresses itself as dissatisfaction with the level of development of others. We take one baby step forward, if I may say, and we recoil at the seeming unwillingness or inability of others to take the same step. But in fact both are expressions of an incapacity to do so, either because those others are not ready to take it, or because they need to take a different step. For in reality we are all taking baby steps, and some take them a little faster or a little differently than others. That’s the only real difference among us.

    One could also in a larger sense make the same statement about life, since it is all a spiritual journey on some level; most of us are just unaware of it. And it is the process of awakening to this awareness that is being criticized in Tami’s post. Most of us are incapable at first, or even for a long time of making the exceedingly demanding shift of focus and sacrifice in our lives needed for an open and direct path of inner spiritual development. If I had understood the real difficulty of the work, I would not have been so eager to start it myself. And I think that comment has been echoed by others as well. But what they also say is that in retrospect, even knowing the difficulties, they would not have done otherwise.

    The reality in the present state of human consciousness is that most of us either need to be seduced into the spiritual journey, by promises of some reward which we already want, or pushed into it by the pain of difficult life circumstances forcing us to seek relief by taking a direction we would otherwise ignore. Hardly anyone is capable of understanding or experiencing initially the real benefits of spiritual work. For those whose development in this life or others has prepared them for a seemingly more direct entrance into a true spiritual journey, these preparatory phases are not necessary, but for much of humanity, at least in its present state of awareness, they are.

    The second problem is that of following the inner voice. The difficulty all of us face is that we have many inner voices, all frequently pulling us in different directions. And it is one purpose of spiritual work, at least that demanded of mankind at present, to enable us to distinguish which voice we need to follow. This voice is that of the inner Guide, the Spirit within, the inner Christ, the Inner Presence, the Psychic Being, the inner Stillness, the inner Divine Fire, that portion of the Divine “no bigger than a man’s thumb” say the Upanishads, that exists within humans. What name one uses is unimportant, what matters is the contact–by whatever means–and the increasing influence of it in our lives.

    And how difficult a voice it is to truly hear! Although it doesn’t usually speak to us in words, but rather in impulses, subtle sensations, an awareness of what should be done or not; for us to separate those quiet intimations, those quiet directions from all of the mental, emotional, and physical noise not only in our own personality, but also that which is constantly being thrown upon us by our surroundings, is at first a nearly impossible task.

    And then the strength to follow them! To overcome all of the attachments, the fears, the desires, all of the mental constructions, the values, and even the moral codes, the social strictures and everything else in our nature and the world’s that often conflicts with the direction of the inner Guide, is an Herculean task. But it is a necessary one, one which is being increasingly demanded of each of us– indeed forced upon us—by all of the circumstances in our lives and the world’s.

    And there is no single answer of how to do it. The process has been compared to that of learning to ride a bicycle: you can have endless instruction, but ultimately you just have to keep doing it until you stop falling off–although my experience is that it is more like learning to ride in a windstorm with occasional hurricane force gusts. And there are many teachers and guides now offering very helpful methods suitable for many people with diverse personalities and levels of development, and which can be very helpful, even invaluable aids. But, as with learning anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. For spiritual work, this means the less painful the sacrifice, the more easily we are able to weather the emotional and physical storms constantly erupting in our lives, the more easily we can let go of people, things, circumstances, ideas, and the more we learn to trust in the infinite wisdom of that inner Guide, and its ability to take us where we need to go.

    And where exactly do we need to go? What are the real rewards, what is the real goal of all this spiritual development that we are facing? That’s a legitimate question, but one to which it is difficult to give a satisfactory answer. The difficulty is not that there isn’t an answer, but that for the most part we are incapable of understanding it, because much of it is based on direct experience, not any mental idea or picture in terms of our existing experiences, which is what most of us initially want. And that experience is something we cannot usually have at first. Although some may start with a deep or intense example of some kind, most of us have to start with the faith that there is something, some experience or knowledge or state towards which we are moving.

    But in fact we are always moving towards it, because the rewards of the Spirit are infinite. As we are able to begin to overcome the limitations of our human personality, which is the nature of the real spiritual work, we are increasingly able to taste things like the peace, the joy, the ecstasy, the increased knowledge, the expanded awareness, even the intense physical bliss that comes from the gradual movement into a higher state of consciousness. To most of us these are just words, we understand them in terms of our limited human everyday experience, and so we often dismiss them. But those who have had them in any degree of intensity begin to understand that any kind of ordinary human satisfaction, the reward of any kind of goal pursued in ordinary human life, small or large, no matter how seemingly great or grand, is insignificant by comparison.

    The further goals of spiritual development recede increasingly beyond that of human experience, and it becomes more and more pointless or impossible to talk about them. But that matters little. What is important, is that we begin the inner spiritual journey on whatever level, for whatever reason, and by whatever means we are capable of doing so, even if it means disguising it for a while until we are capable of recognizing it for what it truly is.

    For all impulses in life are evolutionary impulses. The question for us is whether we recognize them as such and how we respond to them, whether we take what the ancient Vedic Rishis called the crooked path, the path of struggle, of conflict, of the ego, of the expression of individual or collective desires, the path that humanity has followed for thousands of years, or we take what they called the straight path, the path of the inner Guide, the path of increasing effortlessness, of increasing joy, of bliss, of endless creative ecstasy, of merging ourselves into a larger consciousness, moving in the endless flow of the Tao experienced by Lau Tzu, by becoming the willing part of an Infinite Wisdom that has been expressed in so many different ways in so many different languages and cultures throughout history. And it is not a path that we choose just once, but one that we must choose at every moment of every day.

  7. Renee Trudeau Says:

    Tami–thanks for the beauty and simplicity in this message. I really resonate. I recently blogged about following my intuition and that “she” is always standing there, quietly waiting, in the center of the circle, even if I am dancing around her like a whirling dervish. When/if I choose, I can always come home to this quiet stillness and deep inner guidance that is available 24/7! I think of “her” as my best friend and who would want to go against their best friend? :) I try my best to treat her with deep respect, guidance and love and the more I turn to her for the answers, the wiser her answers (seemingly) become.

    http://www.mothersguide.blogspot.com if you want to check out my Intuition post.

  8. Mark Feenstra Says:

    I think learning to listen to my inner voice is a function of living as if what is happening in my life, inwardly and outwardly, is teaching me how to live rather than rewarding me for being good or punishing me for being bad.

    The power of big dreams came up yesterday, and seems to be relevant to the process of manifestation in life because a big dream matters more to me than my petty likes and dislikes. A vehicle for the evolutionery impulse to express through. Looks to me like you chose to let a big dream into your life which you called Sounds True and you have stuck with it. It became a kind of teacher for you, because it challenged you to allow something to be enduringly more important than your likes and dislikes, in a way that impacted on your day-to-day decision making. A kind of evolutionary bootcamp. In my experience not many people allow that kind of teaching relationship into their lives for any length of time. As a result now you know a couple of things for yourself, rather than because someone told you they were true. Well, they sound good to me anyway. Evolve on Tami.

  9. Beth Carls Says:

    Wonderful comments by all ….

    Manny mentioned Joseph Campbell “Follow your bliss. If you follow your bliss, doors will open where there weren’t doors before and where there wouldn’t be doors for anyone else.” That last phrase – and where there wouldn’t be doors for anyone else. – is new and interesting to me.

    Tami mentioned the fear of losing a life’s work by making the wrong choice for CEO. I, too, have that challenge. I’m happy to hear that you’ve made it to the first anniversary. Keep us posted!

  10. margonaut.com / “manifestation manifesto” Says:

    [...] blog entry from the founder of the spiritual media company Sounds True. Manifestation Manifesto http://shop.soundstrue.com/blog.soundstrue.com/wordpress/?p=45 Over the past few years, I have heard more and more people talk about “manifesting.” From what [...]

  11. effeprony Says:

    is that true??

  12. Bill Bartmann Says:

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  13. Margaret Says:

    So beautifully simple,so clear and changelling………. will come back and read again. Blessings

  14. Anime Hentai Schoolteacher Says:

    nice! i’m gonna make my own blog

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