Let me preface this by saying I believe the process of more conscious manifestation is available to all of us. However, in order to have the capacity to entertain what we want in a productive way, we first have to have what we need. (See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). The conversations around manifestation and desire are sometimes oblivious to the specific privileges or basic human rights that must be fulfilled in order to engage in this process.
It is my hope in entering into this conversation that those of us privileged enough to have our basic needs met will consider using the process of manifestation to be of service for the highest and most grounded good of ourselves and all. May all people have access to clean water, food, shelter, safety, and community, so the tools of manifestation become available for everyone.
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What happens in your body when you think of wanting something very badly?
Give yourself a moment to really envision something you desire, and notice any changes through your breath and muscles.
Did you observe any kind of tightening, a sense of restriction, or shortening of your breath?
Wanting begins with needing, food and sleep, and connection with other human beings for example. As babies and toddlers, on an embodied level, needing and wanting may be expressed through crying and reaching out to grasp. The baby reaches for the mother’s breast, the bottle, as a plea to be picked up and held; later on we may cling tightly to our favorite toy.
However, the ways in which we express and aim to fulfill our desires may develop inefficiently. We may learn to reach out and attempt to grasp what we want both literally and figuratively in restrictive ways, or to try and deny our desires in full. This diminishes our connection to living in the flow that leads us toward more embodied freedom and the fulfillment of our desires in the first place. We might obtain some of what we think we want through grasping, grabbing, and hanging on for dear life, but at what cost to our health and well-being, and that of others around us? This kind of relentless laser focused rumination on the fulfillment of desire no matter the consequences, can be exhausting, joyless, and unsustainable.
Alternatively our needs and desires can energize us to move forward, as we are able to translate them from thought into embodiment and subsequent action. As the instruments of action, our mind-body-selves are the structures through which this translation occurs with ease or difficulty. Alexander Technique offers a framework through which we can explore how we want what we want on an embodied level to bring greater clarity to the process. We’re all engaged in the act of wanting at all times (even if what we desire is to be free of wanting), so the more consciousness we can bring to the process, the more we can use it to benefit ourselves and others.
In The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra writes, “Intention is the real power behind desire. Intent alone is very powerful, because intent is desire without attachment to the outcome. Desire alone is weak, because desire in most people is attention with attachment.”
Chopra goes on, “Your intent is for the future, but your attention is in the present. As long as your attention is in the present, then your intent for the future will manifest, because the future is created in the present. You must accept the present as is. Accept the present and intend the future. The future is something you can always create through detached intention, but you should never struggle against the present.”
So how can we embody the shift from desire with attachment to a specific form or result, to attention in the present and detached intention to manifest our future?
Embodied attention means we become aware of our whole selves within our whole environment simultaneously. We enter into the unfolding continuous flow of the present by giving our attention to all of the points of contact we are making with the chair/sofa/ground as we read this post, the sensations of our digestion, the sounds near and far, the textures, light and shadows in the space around us, how the shape of our bodies fill the space, the gentle inflow and outflow of our breath -- any and all opening through our senses.
This process cannot be underestimated, rushed, or skipped over. This is to “be here now”, with what is, as we are, and to surrender and say, “yes” in total acceptance of the moment. We release to wake up. It’s letting go through our mind and muscles what we think this moment should look like in order to be with it and ourselves more objectively. Inherent in this process of opening up through our senses is the release of attachment to a specific outcome. We cannot remain attached in a fixed way to a desired end result and simultaneously engage in the act of “presencing” ourselves.
As we continue with our embodied attention in this whole, present, interconnected way, we introduce embodied intention without attachment. If the future is created in the now, we’ve got to work with desire in relationship to our own present time being to cultivate a “self-instrument of action” that’s unobstructed, well-tuned, and ready to respond to whatever the moment calls for in a way that keeps us oriented in the direction we want to go. In other words we’ve got to engage in a reliable process that helps us become the change we’re hoping to manifest.
Since the relationship of our heads to our trunks is responsible for coordinating the rest of us, we can foster these conditions of being and action with the introduction of the intention, “I want my neck to be free.” Try it for yourself and notice what happens.
Then shift the thought to, “I allow my neck to be free.” Drop that in, and let go of your attachment to whatever you think it means.
And now experiment with, “My neck is free,” as if the thought could move through all of your cells of your body without trying to make anything happen.
How are those three experiences different for you?
Wanting through allowing and/or positive affirmation creates space for the manifestation of that wish to unfold through numerous if not infinite possibilities. When we allow our necks to be free we are giving ourselves permission to surrender to a new and different experience. We don’t have to micromanage exactly how this wish will be fulfilled; we just intend it and stay curious about what happens next. This engages the process of wanting more efficiently. We don’t have to try to want something through excess muscular effort, we just consciously acknowledge the desire and let it go, as we stay connected to ourselves and our environment.
The tuning of our self-instruments continues with these intentions:
1. My neck is free
2. My head is free to release away from the top of my spine
3. My whole spine is free to lengthen
4. My whole torso is free to widen
5. My legs are free to release away from my back
Try this whole series of intentions again as though the thoughts could move through all of the cells of your body without any attachment to the results.
Now imagine wanting the same thing you practiced wanting in the initial exploration at the beginning of this post. Can you stay with your free, breathing, embodied expansion while you do it?
When we continue this coordination while setting intentions for the future, we are wanting from a place of openness and connection. We are growing into our own physical abundance by releasing into expansion. Once our self-instruments are prepped, through embodied attention and embodied intention, we begin to know how to respond innately and spontaneously in life-affirming ways. We open ourselves to more frequent synchronicity. When we want with a different kind of effort, the pathway can unfold before us. We are awake and alert, but calm and collected, so the next step becomes obvious, because it is what is required of us in the present moment.
Do we know exactly where we’re going? No. Do we know if we’ll get exactly what we think we want along the way? No. But the end goal becomes secondary to our desire to tend to the process of how we go after what we want in the first place. Rather than the fulfillment of what we want being the primary concern, we see that we are free to enjoy our journey and share our innate gifts generously along the way. Yes, there will inevitably be times when we still sacrifice the means for the end, but we enter that territory better knowing the price we'll pay.