Monday, August 25, 2008

The Art of Manifestation

Ganesha, the patron saint of manifestation

Recently I've been thinking about manifestation -- the process of bringing into reality that which we envision. How is it that sometimes manifestation seems to happen so magically and easily, and other times we have to struggle with every ounce of our might to birth something into the world?

One writer that I appreciate on this topic is David Spangler. He makes a big distinction between manifestation and its shallow twin, "The Law of Attraction," as made famous in the vapid movie "The Secret." (Okay, I admit I haven't seen the movie, but I saw the preview, and it was vapid.)

The Law of Attraction tends to be a self-centered exercise in getting what we want, like lots of money, or a beach home, or the perfect lover.

In contrast, Spangler writes, "Manifestation… can be an opportunity, no matter how trivial the desire, to explore connections, patterns, alignments, and the flow of both material and spiritual energy through your life. When you make manifestation a spiritual practice, then the perspectives it brings overflow into other aspects of your life. You begin naturally seeing yourself and your world in terms of interconnected and co-incarnational [mutually evocative and co-creative] patterns. The reality of the community in which we all live becomes more apparent. The vision of your incarnation becomes broader, more ecological, more compassionate."

The way I understand this best translates as a question: What kind of environment/people/work do I need in my life in order for me to offer my greatest gifts to the world? To be my largest self?

I've been playing around with what this might look like. People love lists, so this comes in the form of a four-step list (kind of looks like a recipe!).

Maia’s 4 Steps for Manifestation

1) Go through a process of inquiry.
Journal on these questions, in relation to whatever your manifestation project is:
  • What is truly important to me in my life? What do I value?
  • What kind of change do I want to see in the world?
  • How can I contribute to this change? What are my unique gifts that I can contribute to this change
  • What kind of [work, home environment, partner, etc.] do I need to support me to offer this gift to the world?
  • How do I want to feel when I am [in my home, with my partner, working…etc]?
Be very descriptive and specific in answering these questions. Use lots of adjectives.

2) Brainstorm concrete steps that I can take to do my part in this manifestation process.
Ask yourself: What can I do to create the conditions for this alchemy to take place? (e.g. put out the word to friends that I am looking for a certain kind of job, home, etc., take classes to develop my skills) Manifestation is not a passive process... it requires good effort. (Although there is a receptive quality to it, which leads to the next step...)

3) Wait, and be receptive to grace and surprise and the generosity of the universe.
You never know how long this will take. The timing is not in our hands. A ritual to Ganesha always helps.

4) Final step: Gratitude!
When the manifestation is successful, don’t forget to express thanks and gratitude. This is critical… the energy field responds to it, and responds to lack of it. It’s possible to undo a wonderful manifestation by neglecting this step, so be mindful!

Another of my favorite writers, astrologer Rob Breszney, sums it up well:

"You can have anything you want if you'll just ask for it in an unselfish way. The trick to making this work is to locate where your deepest ambition coincides with the greatest gift you have to give. Figure out exactly how the universe, by providing you with abundance, can improve the lot of everyone whose life you touch. Seek the fulfillment of your fondest desires in such a way that you become a fount of blessings.”

I'm curious about your thoughts on and experiences with manifestation...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Maia's FAQs, updated!

Back in June I posted this set of questions and answers... here's the latest 411 on my life.

Where do you live now?
At the moment, I am living in at Upaya Zen Center, on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I actually do have a plan (!) to be here until the end of September. Then my tentative plan is to spend October in Sedona, AZ, with Gina where she'll be immersed in a five-month massage therapy training program. That's as far as I've got planned!

What are you doing for work?
Well, I like to think that I'm still on sabbatical, but the truth is I have been fairly busy. But it feels good.

For several days a week, I coordinate Upaya's Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. This means that I answer email and phone inquiries about the program, I mentor some of the students in the program, and help to envision the future of the training, both programmatically and administratively, with Roshi Joan Halifax.

In addition to that, I sometimes take on freelance projects. The most recent has been for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, for whom I edited a research paper on the use of meditation in higher education.

My Five Directions Consulting firm is how I connect with people and organizations that I want to support. See my business website:

What's next?
While I'm leaving things pretty open for the future, I do have one North Star that I am rowing towards. Seven years after declaring my intention to do so, I am finally sewing my rakusu and will receive jukai (initiation as a Buddhist) at San Francisco Zen Center on November 15. So I know I'll be back in the Bay Area then, at least for a little while.

I'm feeling a pull towards spending the rest of winter in northern New Mexico. The quality of light here continues to stun me with its beauty, and there is something magical about the high desert in the deep winter time.

Do you have more questions for me? Just ask!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Postcards from the Edge

Okay, well maybe I have fallen off the edge of the world. Gina and I have landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and are in the midst of a month-long Ango (Buddhist retreat, literally means "peaceful dwelling") at Upaya Zen Center.

I am half in and half out of the Ango, which is why I'm still able to go online. If I were doing it hardcore, like Gina and everybody else here, the computer and phone would be off limits. It's a good way to clear the mind and heart, and I'm getting a contact high just being around the folks who are doing the whole program.

Meanwhile, some photos from our road trip that took us from Monterey to Santa Fe:

Big 'ol elephant seals, just north of Hearst Castle

Gina in front of her pool (well, it really belonged to William Hearst)

The road-trippers near Jerome, Arizona

Goodbye Pacific Ocean, hello Southwest (Sedona, AZ)