Part One: Buddhists believe that our suffering comes from our wanting. And while I am oversimplifying, when we stay in a state of wanting or longing for things we don’t have, it does tend to make us miserable - we are focused on lack or what we don’t have. Yet how do we set goals and move toward everything from dog titles to work promotions without the wanting and misery?
Part Two: Manifesting is very “in” these days - it seems that everyone is talking about it and working hard to manifest their dreams. What you think about you become. Remove your resistance and the abundance will flow in. But can you really create something out of thin air? Well, yes. And no.
Both of these concepts are strongly related for me as they would seem at first blush to be incredibly passive and against our goal setting and our action-packed planning. Afterall, I can’t just hope to get a Q but never train my dog.
I also really agree with both: If we focus on lack, we will be miserable AND if our thoughts are lack-tastic, then more lack is what we will get. What we think we become. Sold.
Still, every guru will agree that we can’t just sit there, all lotus-like. The phrase I use is, “we have to show the universe what we want,” or take a step in that direction. So yes, train your dog and show up fully at work. Take action toward your goals every single day, even if small steps.
So what the hell am I saying?
I’m saying that I struggle sometimes with balancing the letting go with the working hard. Balancing trusting with taking control. Balancing focusing on what I do have with wanting what I don’t.
When I realize I’ve gone too far in either direction, I feel it. Going after something too hard feels like forcing it; feels frenetic at times; feels desperate and maybe even angry. Letting go too much feels helpless, too woo-woo and a bit fearful.
I think when the Buddhists talk about suffering in the wanting, they are referring to our “attachment” to the outcome. Meaning that if we don’t get what we want, we feel miserable because we attached our happiness to it. Ah, there’s the rub: Attachment.
We can - and should - still invest in and care about the outcome, but pinning expectations of fulfillment to that outcome is the fastest way to suffering when we don’t get it.
As for manifesting, we have to remember that we don’t necessarily control HOW that goal comes to us. In other words, it might not go “according to plan” or in the way our limited imaginations conceived it. Allow for what you want to come to you however it comes. Accept that you might not always have perfect control ;)
- Fall in love with the process and the joy of the journey. Remember you are not your latest Q or your job title. Go back to why you play the game to begin with.
- Practice gratitude. Remind yourself what you do have. Hug those dogs, be thankful for the people around you and even that job that sometimes frustrates you.
- Let go of controlling the HOW. Trust that you are working toward your goal but how it comes to fruition might be in a way you never expected. Stay open for the miracles (even the “explainable” ones!)
- End your goal or manifesting statements with the phrase, “this or something better” and mean it. Sometimes what you get is even better than what you dreamed up!