The goal of nearly every religion has been to figure out how we can get our wishes and needs granted. If only we pray the right way, bow the right way, dress the right way, eat the right way, behave the right way…only then will God listen to us and give us what we want.
Throughout time and numberless civilizations, people have burned incense, chanted, danced, sacrificed animals (or even other human beings), and have suffered through countless other ritual acts, from the horrific to the silly, in this attempt to get God to grant to us what we want. There is even today a primitive tribe where the culture centers around this act: boys and men make a rope from jungle vines, tie one end around their ankle and the other end high up in a tree which they have climbed, and then jump out of the tree headfirst. With luck, they only just graze the earth with their head and the vine prevents them from crashing into the ground. Deaths and injuries, however, are not unknown. Why do they do this? So that God will grant them a good harvest.
The ideas of getting what we want (e.g., manifestation)
that are currently popular in Western society are often simply continuances of the same principles behind
lighting a candle, praying to the four directions, rubbing a magic lamp to get
the genii to appear, or saying “Hail, Mary.” We are absolutely fascinated by anything that
may help us to get our way.
The laws governing manifestation that are popular with the New Age community today may well be correct–our thoughts and emotions have an effect on our circumstances, and we are told that we must think, feel, and believe in certain ways if we are going to be able to get what we want–but these laws are far more complex than most people realize. Sadly, for many people the idea of manifestation has turned into something superstitious and magical, not unlike jumping out of a tree headfirst to permit a good harvest, or sacrificing an ox to assure victory in battle.
To understand these complexities, it is important to recognize that our souls are infinite. Many people now accept the idea that we come into human form many times rather than just once. If this is true, while every sincere thought we have and every action we take may indeed come back to us in exact measure, it can take centuries before we reap the results, positive or negative, of these thoughts and actions. Even more, we live in a fractal universe that is constantly rearranging and shifting in response not just to our individual thoughts, but to our mass consciousness as well.
Moreover, our souls have chosen to have a human experience, and that experience is full of polarities: both good and bad things happen to all of us. Nobody is immune to this.
Not long ago a man criticized a dear friend of mine who had a chronic, debilitating illness, saying to her, “If you didn’t believe in that illness, you would be okay.” A short time later, after suffering loss after loss, he was in a terrible car accident. His beloved dog was killed, and the man had to be airlifted to a hospital because of the seriousness of his injuries. Did this happen because he, as he had accused my friend, held incorrect beliefs?
There are actually many reasons why things like sickness occur. Even the great intuitives like Edgar Cayce have said that while physical debilitation may indeed be the result of assorted thoughts and emotions, sometimes sickness just happens. When a colony of honeybees collapses and dies, is it because the honeybees had the wrong attitude? If a tree gets a disease, does that mean the tree hosted negative thoughts? When a dog is hit by a car, is it because the dog believed incorrectly? Nonsense. Similarly, when our souls come into human form, part of the deal is that we participate in the laws that govern human form, and those laws include the possibility of disease, accidents, and other common earthly occurrences.
The events and circumstances that occur to us are influenced by far more than our beliefs, emotions, and thinking. Among other things, our souls have come into human form to learn valuable lessons. Someone with a chronic illness may have signed up for that illness as a way of learning patience. Someone who is always broke may have signed up for that lesson to learn the lessons of loss and surrender. Someone who is addicted to alcohol or drugs may have chosen that problem on a soul level so that they could learn humility. We are not consciously privy to the lessons for which we have enrolled, and we are even less privy to someone else’s lessons. It is cause for tolerance both for others and for ourselves.
Despite this, trying to get the Universe to work so that we can have our wishes granted is not only ancient; it seems to be part of the human condition. While there are certainly successes, putting out enormous effort in an attempt to control our circumstances so that we can get things to work out in precisely the way we want can also lead to massive frustration and self-blame. It largely does not work any more than jumping headfirst from tall trees or sacrificing virgins works, even though the cultures that engage in those acts are adamant that their method is the best, and is necessary to make their lives better.
This does not mean that we should completely avoid the idea of manifestation. Discretion and awareness are necessary. Asking for and inviting things like daily needs, repair of relationships, healing of the body, or safe travels either for ourself or for others are naturally acceptable. There is a thin line, however, between this and the superstitious, compulsive behavior that blames all unfortunate events on people not having the "correct" mindset or attitude, or the self-doubt that may come when things do not go our way.
Rather than attempting to program every detail of lives for our own personal benefit, an easier, more peaceful, and higher-level way of facing life is simply to surrender to whatever larger force one believes in, whether that be God, the Universe, or simply the tides and currents of ever-changing events. This assures that we will fit in the flow or, if you will, the soup of life, free to contribute and to experience in the best way for all concerned without the interference of trying so hard to achieve our greedy ends.
I once asked a wise old man what the secret of life was. He replied, “Life is like floating down a river. If you try to direct the course of the current, or struggle to stay in the same place, you’re going to be in trouble. The secret is just to drift and enjoy and allow.”
by Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines
All rights reserved
To Our Readers:
You might enjoy reading Mary Elizabeth Raines' nonfiction books, including
The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression: A Handbook for Real People
How to Help and Heal with Hypnosis: An Advanced Guide to Hypnotism