When it comes to abundance, a lot has been written about how to manifest what you want in life. How to make manifestation lists, how to set goals and visualise them, how to create vision boards, how to do affirmations, how to do mirror work etc.
All GREAT stuff.
Manifestation works, and I’m a great believer in it, having seen its power in my own life on many occasions.
AND it’s also something that I feel is often misunderstood. Because it is so misunderstood, it doesn’t always work for people. And when it doesn’t work, sometimes people get frustrated and give up, or dismiss it as the kind of “woo woo mumbo jumbo” that doesn’t deserve their attention.
That’s a shame because I think when it’s done right, manifestation practices are really powerful.
There are lots of reasons why manifestation doesn’t work for some people. And in essence these reasons boil down to one truth: you manifest what you ARE, not what you want.
This is a distinction that was emphasized over and over again by the late Dr Wayne Dyer, whom I consider to have been one of the greatest communicators of essential truths that we’ve seen in the last 100 years.
What does it mean that you manifest what you are, and not what you want?
Really, it just means that if you show up in the world as an abundant person – if you’re abundant on the INSIDE – then you’re much more likely to experience abundance on the OUTSIDE.
In fact, it will happen totally naturally and inevitably. You won’t feel like you’re struggling to make it work, like pushing a boulder up a hill. You’ll be rolling down the hill of abundance instead, gaining momentum effortlessly and having an absolute ball!
So how’s it done?
Well… if you manifest what you ARE, then the place to start is by cultivating the key character traits and attitudes of an abundant person.
I believe there are 5 key attitudes of the abundantly minded person:
Attitude #1: Gratitude
This one is listed as #1 for a reason, because it’s the most powerful place to start. If you actively cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your life, you’ll very soon access an inner experience of abundance. Recognising and celebrating the value of what you’ve already got in your life, on a daily basis, is THE fast-track technique to attracting more gratitude-inducing relationships, experiences and stuff into your life.
Attitude #2: Compassion
Compassion is when you have an awareness and a deep emotional connection with the plight of others (also called empathy), AND that awareness is combined with a desire to do something to help.
When compassion is combined with gratitude, it’s even more powerful. Neuroscience shows us that the pursuit of gratitude plus compassion creates more happiness in our lives than the pursuit of happiness itself. (I wrote about that here, where I shared a powerful process for combining these two attitudes in your daily life.)
It’s kind of counterintuitive that pursuing happiness directly is not actually the way to achieve it. But trust me, once you try the gratitude plus compassion approach instead, you’ll see what I mean.
Attitude #3: Generosity
Once you have the desire to do something to help others (compassion), then you can put that into practice by cultivating an attitude and habit of generosity. This is known in Buddhism as maitri, or ‘Loving Kindness’.
Loving kindness can take many forms. Praying for the well-being and peace of others is one form of loving kindness. Performing random acts of kindness, where you anonymously do kind things for others is another example.
Why do anonymous acts of kindness?
It’s a way to avoid creating an expectation of reciprocity on the part of your ego (like, “I was nice to you so you should now be nice to me… yeah, I’m keeping score here!”). It’s also a way of avoiding a subtle inflation of your ego around identifying as a ‘kind person.’
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be kind when the other person knows it’s coming from you… like buying flowers for someone who’s sad, or cooking a meal for your sick friend… definitely still do those things because they’re nice and they build good connections in your relationships. What I AM saying though, is that if you ONLY ever do kind acts when you get credit for them, then you might develop a kind of ‘spiritual ego’ around this trait.
Giving generously and anonymously as well as giving when you get the credit (and yup, anonymously means not telling ANYONE) can help you to cultivate this inner character trait in a way that the ego can’t latch onto and use for it’s own self-aggrandisement.
Attitude #4: Accountability
This one is about how we approach the ‘story’ of our lives. Basically we’re all born, a bunch of stuff happens during our time here on Earth, and then we die. No exceptions.
However, how we interpret the stuff that happens, and whether or not we learn from it, makes ALL the difference.
Do we have an attitude of personal accountability and responsibility? Or do we have an attitude of victimhood and blame?
Are we willing to take the hand we’ve been dealt by our birth, upbringing, nature and nurture… which is different for every single one of us… and make the most of it in this life? Are we willing to play the game of life full tilt, and to the best of our abilities?
Or… are we going to spend our life force energy lamenting the hand we were dealt, being angry about it and blaming our family, fate or traumas on the way things are in our lives… giving up on making things better, and resigning ourselves to the idea that this is how it always will be?
Everyone gets dealt a different hand. Some are harder than others, there’s no doubt about that. There’s no denying that. People who gloss over this fact usually do so because they don’t want to acknowledge their own privilege. Privilege exists, it’s a real thing. And so is accountability.
In order get to this accountability piece it helps to bring all of the first 3 Attitudes of Abundance to bear. So, we acknowledge and have gratitude for what is good in our lives, we acknowledge and have compassion for others who are struggling (and sometimes this means trying to understand the motivations and circumstances that drove our own ‘abusers’ to do the things they did), we cultivate loving kindness, and we take responsibility for how we show up and use our gifts, regardless of the challenges we face.
We don’t let our challenges or our circumstances define us. Like the great teacher and poet Maya Angelou espouses: we rise.
(Check out Maya Angelou reciting her iconic poem “And Still I Rise” here).
Attitude #5: Forgiveness
Forgiveness is the greatest healing attitude of all. And, sometimes, the hardest thing to do.
The flip side of forgiveness, its antithesis, is judgment. So long as we judge, we’ll find it impossible to forgive.
The best way to let go of judgment, is to acknowledge that everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about… so until you’ve walked in their shoes, you probably shouldn’t judge. And because each one of us has a unique set of gifts, challenges, opportunities and trials that we face across many lifetimes, you can NEVER truly walk in another’s shoes.
Your job is not to judge others for their transgressions… they will do that themselves with the assistance of their soul guides and elders, when they do their life review in the hereafter. It’s not your job to dish out punishment either, karma will take of that.
(For more about the concept of a life review, check out the amazing book A Journey of Souls by Michael Newton PhD, available on Amazon here.)
Karma and judgment are complex spiritual concepts and they raise a lot of questions. It’s a tricky area, and deciding that you are the arbiter of justice is shaky ground. Many religions have perpetrated great crimes in the name of judgment, justice and punishment.
But, if it’s not your job, then whose job is it?
I’d like to suggest that perhaps that’s the wrong question.
Maybe a better question is this: will judging others make me happy?
If you think it’s your job to judge and punish people here, in this life… I’d like you to consider this: that path leads to MISERY.
That’s a pretty good reason not to do it!
If you think it’s your job to judge and punish, well, that job is never done. It’s an endless cycle of negativity. It will suck the life force right out of you, and it does NOT lead to an abundance of good things. It leads to an abundance of things like disgust, hate, retribution, and revenge.
Instead, consider it your job to be kind to yourself and others, to be compassionate to yourself and others, to be grateful for all you have, to be accountable for your actions (and only your actions)… and to forgive yourself and others.
That’s it. Simple.
Cultivate these 5 Attitudes of Abundance and your life will be flooded with an abundance of miracles.
I’m not saying it’s easy… just that it’s simple. The truth always is.
Let me know in the comments if this post has helped you in any way.
To YOUR Abundance,
By Julie Ann Cairns