We have probably all heard of manifestation in different contexts. But how many of us actually know what it means? How is manifestation actually practiced? My text will focus on how different types manifestation actually is, from the way it is depicted on social media. And also how disregarding the history of manifestation has led to it’s malpractice.
We all wish to wake up one day, drive our dream car and live in our dream house. What would we not give to have our dream life, am I right? Until only recently, lockdowns compromised people’s free will. When everything seemed to go wrong, many turned to spirituality to find answers. BBC cites how interest in birth charts and astrology reached its five year peak in 2020. Manifestation is another concept that has gained popularity on platforms including social media. This has introduced a deep problem that lies with the way manifestation is practiced now, where the true purpose of manifestation and the traditional roots no longer is a factor in it.
The concept of manifestation has been found in various religions like Christianity and Hinduism. In Hinduism, manifestation is based on the idea of visualising your goal and actively working towards it. “Whatever destinations and objects of pleasures, the man, whose mind is free from impurities, he obtains those destinations and those objects of pleasures.” This is one of the oldest mentions of manifestation which dates back to the 2nd century BC in the Hindu Vedas. ‘Free from impurities’ describes someone who has good Karma. In simplified terms, someone who is a relatively decent human being and works hard towards their goals, will have their wishes come true.
However, manifestation is depicted differently on social media platforms. By typing #manifestation in your Tiktok search bar, you will see Tiktok sounds that apparently have manifestational powers in them. So if you make a video with the sound, all your dreams will then come true. This is unlike the original practice which focused on a person’s good deeds. To paint a picture, according to social media I could be a murderer but because I made a Tiktok using a manifestational sound wishing to never end up in jail, I most probably never will and should continue murdering without a care in the world.
The main issue here is not that a concept derived from a different culture is being normalised in the European and North American cultures, the problem is the lack of acknowledgement for the phenomenon’s roots. The same counts for Box-braiding, a hairstyle black women used to do to protect their natural curls, especially women who were slaves in America. This association of box braids with slaves has caused many black people with the look in the US to be subjected to harassment. This, however, changed when ethnically white women (European to be more precise) like the Kardashians started getting box-braids and paying loads of money to get it done. This eventually led to box-braids becoming more accepted in a predominantly white society.
Normalising a concept without understanding its history does not only lead to misinformation, but also erases important parts of a culture or religion. It disregards the experiences of people who have been practicing the tradition for centuries, trivializing somebody’s culture and turning it into an aesthetic. Manifestation is more than just wanting something. It is to strive to be a good person, and to work hard to make your dreams come true. Because if my dreams were a mere Tiktok away, I would definitely not be sitting here writing this text; I would be in Leonardo DiCaprio’s penthouse enjoying my 5th Mimosa.