November 15th, 2006

The Intention-Manifestation Model of Reality


The Law of Attraction

Our feelings of frustration and stress are not symptoms of our interaction with the world. They are active, creative energies, busily manifesting the world as we expect it.

The same, of course, goes for our feelings of peace, excitement, and abundance.

Moving toward Awakening (a state of having no model of the world — just seeing it ‘as it is’), can be a lot easier if we can learn, for ourselves, that the world isn’t as we usually think it is.

To understand this, we have to see that our model of reality is the biggest force shaping our lives.

In the Standard Dualistic Model (SDM), our basic assumption is that the ‘world happens to us.’ And lo and behold, the world manifests for us just as we believe it will.

We might understand the Intention-Manifestation model (often referred to as the ‘Law of Attraction’) by saying that its basic assumption is that ‘we happen to the world’. And lo and behold, the world will manifest just as we believe it will.

The Intention-Manifestation Model

The I-M model is incredibly simple. It notices that our dominant thoughts and feelings regarding life dictate how our life unfolds. This is easy to understand in, say, person-to-person interactions, but more difficult to understand when it comes to manifesting health or wealth. (See ‘Levels of Influence’ below.)

If I’m constantly thinking about how money is scarce and worrying about how I’m going to meet my financial obligations, I actually create a lack of money in my life. If I’m constantly thinking about how abundant my financial situation is, I’ll find that money almost magically appears in my life.

Yes, it’s that easy.

The reason it seems difficult is twofold. First, we don’t want to believe it, because the SDM has taught us that life should be difficult. Second, most of us are completely unaware of our thoughts and feelings. All day long, our thoughts and feelings are flying on autopilot, dictating what’s going to happen in our lives. And for most of us, our autopilot thoughts and feelings are set on self-destruct. They carry messages about how rough life is, how we never have enough, and how our lives will fall apart if we don’t constantly work to hold them together.

The I-M model has been detailed in The Secret, though perhaps with too much ‘fluff’. It is also spoken about extensively by Steve Pavlina, as well as described in a podcast by Erin Pavlina.

It’s All The Intention-Manifestation Model

From one perspective, you’re using the I-M model whether you know about it or not (unless you’re a non-dualist and have no model at all). If you don’t think you’re using it, you’re using it without conscious guidance, and your background assumptions about lack of health, wealth, or peace are constantly being created.

Why not just give I-M a try? What do you have to lose by thinking positively? If thinking about abundance, health, and other life matters positively has even a tiny chance of creating a more positive life situation, why not try it out?

If It’s So Easy, Why Isn’t Everyone Doing It?

Everyone’s not doing it because they’re convinced that life has to be difficult. And just as I-M asserts, our beliefs about the world create our reality. The I-M model doesn’t make sense according to most people’s version of reality, and thus they’ll never give it a serious try.

One common critique of the I-M model is that if it were true, it would lead to everyone in the world having all their dreams come true. Clearly, people argue, that wouldn’t work!

Well, if everyone begins manifesting their dreams, why don’t we just deal with that ‘problem’ when it arises? For the moment, most people aren’t going to try it, because they’d rather stick with the ‘safety’ of their familiar mentality.

The question is – what are you going to do?

How Do I Do It?

First, take a look at your life history and notice the correlations between your assumptions about the world, and how your world manifests. You might argue that you have, for instance, a pretty negative viewpoint of money because it’s always been scarce in your life. But it makes just as much sense to assume the correlation in the other direction. Whichever way you draw the line of cause/effect, the point is this – your thoughts/feelings and your life situation have a strong correlation.

Then, make a commitment to give I-M a try. To make it work effectively, you simply have to pay attention to what you think you want, and what you really want. Once those two match up, you’ll begin manifesting.

When you know what you really want, just ask for it. Don’t direct the request toward any god or entity – just toward the world or the universe in general.

It’s important to ask for the end goal – not for the steps in between. In effect, you’re allowing for a natural, organic method to unfold. For instance, if you want a new aquarium for your spotted newt collection, just ask for a new aquarium. Don’t ask for a new aquarium from Aunt Judy, just because Aunt Judy loves your newts and is very rich. Just ask for a new aquarium, and then watch, perhaps with a bit of excitement, for it to come into your life. Somehow or another, an aquarium will come to you.

It may sound pie-in-the-sky, but it works.

Stumbling Blocks

Be Clear! Remember the importance of knowing the difference between what you think you want, and what you really want? Many of us say we want a wonderful relationship. But what we really want is to find a person who will validate our sense of Self, or a person who will give us a sense of security. We’re giving mixed messages about what we want, and we end up getting something that’s not very fulfilling.

Or you might think you want millions of dollars. But what you really want is to have lots of free time during your day, and the ability to travel to other countries. Your life will end up giving you money (perhaps through getting a job that takes up all your time), and you’ll always be fighting to get what you really want (free time and travel). Think of what you really want, and ask for that. Money may or may not be necessary to your real desires – let the world ‘decide’.

Don’t Hope! Hope is an emotion that is often cherished. But if we look closely, hope is just doubt in disguise. If you are desperately hoping for a new aquarium, you’re really just spending a lot of time doubting that you’ll get it. And it’s doubtful whether it will come.

When you are asking for something, there are two basic ways of asking. Hopeful asking will feel tight and almost make you feel short of breath. You’ll feel like if you don’t get it, you will be unfulfilled at some level.

Joyous asking will feel excited and exhilarating. You’re asking for something with an attitude of play. If you’re having fun with it, and can’t wait to see what sort of abundance you can manifest, then it will come to you. In fact, many people who have switched over to the I-M model actually make a game of trying to manifest new and exciting things.

“I think I’ll try to manifest a vacation to Jamaica.”

“Maybe today I’ll manifest the prettiest sunset I’ve seen in years.”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to manifest that I’ll get to taste some wooly mammoth meat?”

“How about a three-figure income this year?”

Pay Attention to Your Feelings. The reason I say ‘thoughts and feelings’ is that your feelings are your greatest tool to discovering what sort of thoughts you’re having. If you’re having a ‘negative’ feeling, take a moment and see what thoughts it’s connected with. Then notice how those thoughts are manifesting the very thing you’re having negative feelings about!

As strange as it sounds, our normal way of doing things often causes the very problem we’re trying to solve. Imagine someone who fears getting old. They exercise all the time, trying to fight off the decrepitude they are sure will come. Their exercise is actually giving more power to their thoughts of certain decrepitude, and whenever they lift weights, they’re basically thinking about getting old. This person is destined to have a hard time with aging.

Now take someone who exercises because they love to jump around and move their bodies. When they exercise, they are thinking, on some level, of being more agile, stronger, and feeling more ‘alive’ in their body. Their actions aren’t based on combating a fear – they’re based on a joyous journey toward ever-more-vibrant health.

Person one will begin to get old, and say something like this – “See! I told you so! You can work out your whole life, and no matter what, your body will fail and fall apart.”

Person two will also begin to get old, but they’ve been developing positive mindsets which will help them be healthier even as they age!

Different Levels of I-M

You already know that I-M works. It’s just that you limit its ability to bring you the things you want. If we break down ‘things we want’ into three levels, we can get a clearer picture.

Direct Contact: This is where we all know it works. If I’m standing in a check-out line, and I am extremely happy and expecting to have a wonderful check-out experience, chances are that the check-out person will turn out to be friendly. If I’m stressed out, rushed, or think that check-out people are rude, the check-out person will probably turn out to be not-so-pleasant.

This is easy to understand, because we know that moods are infectious. How I approach the check-out person is going to make a big difference in how they act. You feel good when someone tells you you’re looking beautiful today, right? And you might feel bad if someone flips you off when you’re driving by, and calls you a ‘loser’.

These are basic, obvious relationships.

Things I Can Conceivably Control: What about things like our own health or wealth? We feel we have some control over these things, and thus we can usually come to validate using I-M to change these things. It’s not beyond most of our ideas about the world that positive thoughts might contribute to a healthy body, or that if you have an open and excited attitude, you’ll notice business opportunities and infect others with the desire to take part in your wealth-making venture.

Relationships also fall under this category.

Things Beyond My Control: These are the things we usually think we have no control over – such as accidents, the random behavior of other people, bad luck, and things like other people’s health. Oddly enough, this is the category of things which I-M affects most often. For instance, our friend Ricki, who recently started playing with I-M, asked for money, and soon after received a call from a young man she had been in an accident with a year past. He told her that he couldn’t get his driver’s license back unless he paid her for the damage to her vehicle. Could Ricki have made that event unfold just by thinking of it? Of course not, we say! But by asking for money, Ricki apparently enticed the ‘world’ to unfold that event and bring her cash, within only a couple of weeks of her request.

Our Story

For myself, this model of reality has always made sense. In my relationship with Rebecca, we began to notice that what we were giving emotional and thought-energy to would happen to us. If we were sure we were going to get sick, we would. If we were sure we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t. When we needed something, like a bit of money or a new computer, we would just sort of ask for it, and before long we’d have a free new computer.

That was many years ago. We continued to notice the parallels between our thoughts and expectations, and how our life would unfold. It wasn’t until a few years back that we became much more active in utilizing the model, on a small scale, to manifest things. Then The Secret came along, and proposed that we use the I-M model on an everyday basis. We thought we’d give it an experimental try, and thus far, it’s actually gone a little overboard. Here are the orders we’ve placed, and what we’ve received, all unexpectedly.

Our experiment began when we saw The Secret, which was almost exactly one month ago.

Money: We thought we’d ask for some additional money in our lives. Lots of it. Thus far over $4,000 has come into our lives, from totally unexpected sources.

Laptop: Now that I’m doing this blog, we thought it would be nice to have a PDA or a laptop so that we could write when we’re away from home. In the last month, we have had two free laptops – nice ones – come into our lives . . . again, from totally unexpected sources.

Jam: We had forgotten to purchase jam at the store one afternoon, and were lamenting it when our friend Ricki came over for a workout. She happened to be bearing a gift – a jar of lingonberry jam.

Equipment for our horse: We had been borrowing a friend’s bridle and stirrups for our horse, waiting to place an order for our own equipment online. Before we could do so, our friend thoughtfully accepted a pair of stirrups that were being thrown out at another barn and gave them to us to use. We are still awaiting the bridle.
I-M assumes that our thoughts and feelings directly shape what ‘happens’ to us. Because most of us have been taught that life is hard work and not fair, that’s how life manifests for us.

Giving I-M a try will, at the least, give you more awareness of the thoughts and feelings that make up the majority of your mind’s energy output. At best, it will deliver the ability to shape your life, almost as if you were a magician.

Of course, I don’t encourage you to stop with I-M. As a dualistic model, it’s amazing. But it still creates divisions in the world, and divisions tend to get us into trouble. Even if our entire life is a dream of getting one wonderful thing after another, we’ll find ourselves, at the end of our lives, not wanting to die, because if we just lived for one more day we could manifest some new and amazing thing! Any model is going to have trouble dealing with the basic problems of life – feeling alone, dying, or helping us to understand why we are here in the world.

At best, models can only make imaginary answers. We might become satisfied with one of those answers, but we always fear, deep inside, that we might be wrong. At best we bury the real problems until they are forced upon us.

Going the non-dualism route, or seeing the world ‘just as it is’, is the only way to see what’s actually going on. We’re free, as non-dualists, to play with different models of the world, but we understand that those models are only models. They’re not reality.

Switching to I-M, however, will show you that the world isn’t as ‘solid’ as you once thought it was. And that can be just enough springboard to launch you into non-dualistic thought.

6 Responses to “Intention-Manifestation”

  1. Jess McCullough says:

    I’ve had things like that happen to me before, but I don’t really know how to.

  2. Kenton Whitman says:

    I’ll write something on the practical application of I-M before too long =)

  3. arshasb says:

    my fear is that people who are not familiar with zen , take this concept wrong and assume that anything is possible. true to a extend but also individual must also understand the concept that go beyond this in zen.
    again good article

  4. arshasb, you’ve hit a great point. That seems to be what a lot of folks are struggling with when they experiment with I-M and find that it is not, perhaps, capable of granting their every wish. More frustration!
    As you seem to ascertain, this article isn’t really about I-M so much as it’s about learning to see that our models are pretty arbitrary — pointing us toward the discovery that any model we choose to live by is only a choice to ‘frame’ the world, instead of seeing the world as it is.
    I’ll be posting another article tomorrow which deals with Intention-Manifestation — my hope is that this one will be even more clear regarding how I-M’s real value isn’t as a means to an end, but as a pointer toward Awakening.

  5. Ariel says:

    Probably one of the greatest articles on the LoA ever. Bravo, Kenton!

  6. Thank you, Ariel, for the great compliment.


RSS feed for comments on this post. And trackBack URL.

Leave a Reply