Reflections: Manifestation explained from an “outsider’s” perspective

[5 minute read] (ESL learners – click on the bolded words to see explanations and notes. Try the exercise at the bottom after! πŸ™‚ )

Have you ever looked something up from sheer curiosity, and ended up going down a deep rabbit hole?

That’s been my journey with manifestation so far.

I’ve always known about the concept, and been intrigued by the idea.

I read The Secret a few years ago, but I found it brought up more questions for me than it answered.

But a few weeks ago, I somehow stumbled on a particular resource, which led me to another one, which led to another, and now I seem to find more and more wherever I go. (Thanks, Google Ads).

Most people seem to say the same thing, but presented in a slightly different way. Yet, nobody seemed to give me answers to what I really wanted to know.

And that is: how does this actually *work*?

I mean, I know it’s about knowing what you want, setting intentions, raising your vibration to match the vibration of the reality you want to bring about, and all that jazz.

But I mean, what happens next?

Here’s an example.

One manifestation coach shared a story of how she was standing in a 2-hour line in front of a restaurant, in freezing cold weather. Every group in front of her was a group of 3 or more people, and she was with just one friend β€” a group of 2.

So she decided to manifest skipping the line and getting into the restaurant in the next few minutes. She imagined the restaurant getting a table free that could only fit 2 people, and a waiter going outside to find the first group of 2 in the line to offer it to them.

And lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.

The coach used this as an example that manifestation “works”. But the question remains, how???

Did her thoughts somehow travel telepathically to the minds of a couple in the restaurant and compel them to get up and leave?

That seems a little too far-fetched even for a concept like this β€” not to mention, a bit sad, as that means any person could influence another to do something through manifestation.

So let’s assume the couple was going to get up anyways, manifestation or not.

So what’s the next possible explanation? Maybe manifestation meant that this woman’s thoughts would somehow put the idea in the waiter’s mind to go look through the line for the first group of 2 waiting.

That’s possible β€” ideas come to our minds in all sorts of ways. Who’s to say it can’t be from the influence of energy from someone else?

But honestly, I think the restaurant would have done that too, regardless. Their primary goal is to make money, and why would they leave a table for 2 sitting empty when they could fill it? They clearly don’t want for potential guests.

So if manifestation doesn’t *cause* something to happen because you decide you want it to β€” at least not in this example β€” the conclusion I’ve come to is that it was more of an intuition.

This woman somehow had a gut feeling that this would happen. She imagined it vividly, and then it played out in front of her very eyes.

But in my opinion, it’s not because she imagined it that it happened β€” rather, the opposite. Because she intuitively felt it would happen, she could imagine it before hand.

I thought about this a little more as I did my own little “experiment” a few days later.

I had gone to a restaurant with a friend, and I distinctly remember placing the water bottle I had been carrying with me discreetly on the floor.

The next day, I realized I couldn’t find my water bottle. I must have left it in the restaurant, I thought.

I called them, and they told me there was definitely no water bottle left in the restaurant. “That’s odd… well, I guess I’ll have to buy a new one,” I thought, glumly.

But I had a nagging feeling that it just had to be there. It’s the last place I’m sure I had it, and I didn’t go to the gym or take it with me anywhere else since then.

I decided to try this manifestation thing, and imagined a waiter in the restaurant finding my bottle after all, or the manager noticing it tucked away in his office where someone brought it for safekeeping.

I imagined them calling me back to tell me this, and me holding the bottle again and feeling the texture in my hands.

They didn’t call, but the next day I went down in person to ask. And as I neared the entrance, I could see through the huge restaurant window my bottle was perched on the counter right next to an extremely bored-looking waiter.

I was amazed for half a second β€” and then I realized that like the coach’s story, this had nothing to do with my manifestation, unless my thoughts could somehow give a worker the urge to look in the place where my water bottle was left.

So once again, I would see this more as a form of intuition β€” I had a feeling that my bottle really was at the restaurant after all, and I probably would have found it there the next day even without my little manifestation experiment.

But I mean, even so, it was a fun experience, and it certainly helps to think positive. As I’ve made clear, I’m certainly not an expert on the topic, and I’m definitely open to exploring it more.

What have been your own experiences with manifestation? How would you explain how it works?

Share your ideas in the comments below! πŸ™‚

ESL Notes (21 words / expressions)

Definitions written with reference to Cambridge Dictionary

Sheer: this word is used to emphasize how very great, important, or powerful a quality or feeling is; nothing except. Some more examples: “The suggestion is sheer nonsense.” “His success was due to sheer willpower/determination.” “It was sheer coincidence that we met.” (Back to the text)

Go down a rabbit hole: to start a process that’s difficult, problematic, strange, chaotic, or complex, and usually very long. In this case, it means I started a long and complex process of researching the topic of manifestation. (Imagine yourself falling down a long rabbit hole, like Alice of Wonderland β€” this is a metaphor for that). (Back to the text)

Intrigued: curious and interested. (Back to the text)

Bring up: to cause something to appear. Another example: “Clicking on the icon brings up a dialogue box.” (Back to the text)

Stumble on: to discover something by chance. (Back to the text)

And all that jazz: this is an informal expression used when speaking to mean “and other similar things”. For example, “They sell televisions and radios and all that jazz.” (Back to the text)

Lo and behold: this is something that you say when you tell someone about something surprising that happened. For example, “I was in Vienna sitting quietly in a cafΓ© when, lo and behold, my cousin walked in.” (Back to the text)

Compel: this verb can mean “to force someone to do something”, but in this context it has a softer meaning. It means “to produce a strong feeling or action.” In other words, the manifestation could make the waiter have a strong feeling they need to go outside to look for a group of 2 people. (Back to the text)

Far-fetched: unlikely to be true and difficult to believe. (Back to the text)

Not to mention: this is used when you want to emphasize something you’re adding to a list. For example, “He’s one of the kindest and most intelligent, not to mention handsome, men I know.” (Back to the text)

Want for: to lack something you need. This is a more advanced and much less common use of the verb “want” β€” note that to have this meaning, you must use “for” as well. Also note that “want for” is most often used in the negative sense β€” we want for nothing (we don’t need anything, we already have everything, in other words we lack nothing), or “we don’t want for food” (we have enough food). This expression can sound unusual and formal when you use it in very basic contexts. (Back to the text)

Vividly: in a way that’s very clear and has a lot of detail. (Back to the text)

Play out: happen; develop until the end. (Back to the text)

Distinctly: in a way that’s clear and definite. (Back to the text)

Discreetly: in a way that does not call too much attention. In writing, be careful not to mix up the spelling with “discretely”, which is pronounced the same way, but has a different meaning. (Back to the text)

Glumly: disappointed or unhappy. (Back to the text)

Nagging: used to describe an unpleasant feeling that continues for a long period of time. (Back to the text)

Tucked away: hidden or difficult to find. (Back to the text)

Safekeeping: protection from harm or loss. (Back to the text)

Perched: to sit on or near the edge of something. This is usually used for birds, or living beings. However, you can also use it with objects to create a bit of humor or make the story more interesting. (Back to the text)

Urge: a strong desire. (Back to the text)


Want to start using these words and make sure you don’t forget them? Try this exercise! Think about these questions (discuss them with someone) or write down your answers, using the word or expression in your discussion or answer.

  • Do you think success can happen from sheer luck? Or sheer determination? Or do you need a combination of both?
  • What has made you go down a rabbit hole? (a topic you started researching, or a small problem at work that became a big one, etc.?)
  • Are you intrigued by the idea of there being life on other planets?
  • Is there a song, object, or smell that brings up a lot of emotions or memories for you?
  • Do you have a hobby, favorite restaurant, or TV series you like that you stumbled on by chance?
  • Think about a restaurant or store you know. Describe what they sell, and use “and all that jazz.” (See the example in the definitions above if you’re not sure how).
  • Think about a time when something surprising happened β€” you met someone you didn’t expect to see, or you were looking for a lost object and you found it in a surprising location. Tell the story using “lo and behold.”
  • Has something ever happened that compelled you to call a close friend or family member? What happened? (was it a gut feeling, or something strange you noticed, or something someone else said?)
  • What story do some people you know consider to be true, but you think it’s too far-fetched? (a historical legend about your town, something that happened to someone, etc.)
  • Think of someone you admire. Talk about their great qualities, and use “not to mention.” (See the example in the definitions above if you’re not sure how).
  • Do you know anyone who wants for nothing?
  • Is there a childhood memory you can still vividly remember?
  • When there is an economic recession or similar problem, do you think there’s nothing we can do except wait and let it play out? Or is there something regular people (not politicians or billionaires) can do to improve the situation?
  • Have you ever lost something, but felt very confused about how, because you distinctly remember putting the object in a certain place?
  • At a social event, has anyone ever discreetly told you that you have something in your teeth, or there is a problem with the clothes you are wearing?
  • What’s something you could say glumly?
  • Do you ever get a nagging feeling that you need to do something, or that you’ve forgotten something?
  • What’s an object in the room you are in right now that most people wouldn’t notice, because it’s tucked away somewhere?
  • Do you leave any valuable items with a friend or family member for safekeeping when you go on vacation? (jewelry, etc.?)
  • Is there a place near your home where there are always birds perched?
  • Have you ever had the urge to laugh in a serious situation?

Feel free to try writing some more sentences, or a text, of your own to practice some more.

Thank you for reading! These ESL notes, links and exercises each take several hours to make, so if you found this useful, the kindest thing you can do is to like the post, leave a comment, or share with anyone who needs it. Have questions about any other words? Leave a comment and I’ll be happy to reply!

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