There is this body of thought out there that says you can “manifest” things in your life by simply acting “as if” your fondest dreams have already come true and abundance will come rushing into your life! You can make Ponies and Cadillacs arrive at your door if you believe hard enough. These proponents of “The Secret” (a ten year old self help book and video) are still out there, more than willing to take your money to coach you through the proper rituals of “manifesting,” because you must say the positive thinking words in JUST the right way. Too smug and modern to believe in anything as quaint as “God” they are followers of the “Universe,” a Star Wars like life force that is in the pony and Cadillac business, a source of all our dreams ready to give no strings attached gifts to all who really-really believe. Anything in your life, they will tell you, is there because you attracted it and this Universe is a strict grammarian, if you say “I am not rich” than you never will be because this Universe doesn’t understand grammatical tense (or truth), it only understands present tense. If you want to be rich, you can’t say “I want to be rich” because that is what the Universe hears, it hears “want” which means “lack”. Lack is bad. Once you admit you have lack, you will always have lack.
Are you getting this?
Their “Universe” is merely a super sized ego, the self as God: if you will only see yourself as God you will create anything in life that you want: the adult version of getting participation trophies.
I want things, the universe will give things to me if I want them badly enough, so: I want things. (Only you can’t “want” you have to say I “have”) Does anyone else see the problem with this closed logic? ME ME ME: Everything you want comes from within, you just have to focus on ME. From Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer to the life coaches who can help you sell more Amway vitamins, all you have to do is believe that you are a god and you will begin to create a new world, you are limitless.
Here’s what one of them ,Neil Donald Walsch, a man who claims to speak for God, said yesterday:
…that if you see yourself as prosperous, you will be. If you see
yourself as continually hard up, that is exactly what you will be.
Robert Collier said that, and he was right. Every spiritual book in contemporary times sends us the same message. Live the reality you wish to experience, beginning now.
Not only see yourself as prosperous, act this idea out. You can do it in small ways. The Universe doesn’t care. It’s the energy behind the gesture that counts, not the size of the gesture. So go ahead.
You are the Little Engine that Could! If you want something bad enough, all you have to do is fool God! Have cancer? Act like you don’t! Born into a lower caste Indian family in the slums of Mumbai? Go buy a pony! Got laid off from your manufacturing job? Buy a bigger house! The problem isn’t that you can’t make the payments on a house that you can’t sell: its that you have too small a house!
Only: they got it wrong. Very wrong. Not the unlimited part, I believe in living an uber-positive approach to life and that you have the potential to create a life that is memorable, remarkable, and meaningful: only I don’t believe that you get it by wishing it were so or by some semantic incantation that tricks the universe into thinking that you are already rich. These People of The Secret tell you that if you go buy ponies and Cadillacs the Universe will send you poop shovels and gasoline. Let me tell you: You aren’t acting rich, you are acting irresponsibly. The Universe has a reward for that too: it’s called bankruptcy. My experience is that rich people act responsibly.
How do you create success? Easy: by hard work, service, and discipline. Meet anyone who is an overnight success and they’ll tell you about the years of preparation, training, and knowledge it took to get there. Hard work is persistent activity towards achieving your goals; it does not involve sitting with your eyes closed and “manifesting.”
Service is the opposite of serving your mighty ego, it is the humility born of knowing that you need others to succeed, that you are called to make the world a better place (rather than simply collecting ponies and Cadillacs.) You can choose to serve anyone or anything, your God, your country, your family… the point is: it is in losing ourselves that we find ourselves.
And discipline is the time and effort required to practice and fight through the hard times to become skilled and accomplished (for example: if you want to be a “life coach” have the discipline to go to grad school or med school and get your credentials). I work with a lot of creative people and a lot of artists: they have taken the time, resources and energy to master their skills, they didn’t learn these skills from someone who taught them to wish really hard. They did the kind of work other people didn’t want to do and they put in the hours that other didn’t feel like putting in.
I can tell you this: there is no secret. No magic meditations that will deliver ponies and Cadillacs, no Universe that you can trick into making you rich and famous, and no life coach who will help you magically find the keys to manifestation. If you want to live a better life roll your sleeves up. If you want to make a difference in the world find a place to serve. If you want to reach goals, set them, make a plan, and do something every day to get there. Then, one day, you will look back at all your hard work, service and discipline and explain to your Grandkids your secret.