The Art of Unmanifesting

One of the turning points of my life happened more than 20 years ago, when I went to sit with an almost unknown spiritual teacher and writer. There were just a few people gathered together meeting with her. This was the late 80’s, when “manifesting” was the latest greatest thing. So somebody asked the question, “Do you think that we create our own reality?”

There was a pregnant silence. Finally, this wise woman answered.

“Yes,” She said. “But I also think this is a disease which is curable.”

Stunned silence.

Her answer reminded me at the time of one of my favorite poems by Sosan, the third Zen Patriarch:

“Like a fish in the water, crying out “I’m thirsty,”
Like the son of a rich man wandering begging door-to-door…”

Most of us live in various states of semi-discontent. Not enough love, so we try to figure out how to look more beautiful, smell more beautiful, act more beautiful, to attract the right kind of love into our lives. Most of us feel that we don’t have enough money, enough stuff, so we try to learn the habits of success, hang with the right crowd, discover the magic formula, so we can attract more for Me. And most of us feel, in some way, that we suffer from a feeling of powerlessness: insufficient control over our lives. So we learn how to boost our self-esteem, make the right decisions, win friends and influence people, so we can have more power.

Unfortunately, the endless race towards more of everything for Me allows little opportunity to stop, pull over by the side of the road, and ask ourselves, “Well, honestly, how’s it all working out?”

That, of course, is the benefit of going on a retreat, or even just taking a long walk on the beach. It allows you to contemplate whether the ladder you’ve been enthusiastically climbing is actually leaning against the right wall.

There is another possible way of living this life, which is exactly the opposite. Instead of manifesting more, we learn to recognize the ways we were already creating stuff, and how to relax that pesky little habit. Instead of using the law of attraction to try to magnetize the right stuff to Me, we learn to relax more deeply into the essence of that Me and discover what we’ve already got, and who we already are. We learn the practice of unconditional gratitude. Instead of setting intentions for how to clarify and implement My agenda, we learn instead to recognize that there’s a bigger plan than was concocted in the little mind of Me.  We learn how to align ourselves with that bigger plan, how to surrender to it, to be available to it.

Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby is an unlikely character to write an insightful spiritual book. He’s a medical doctor and researcher. But nevertheless, his book, “To Fly Without Wings” is packed full of really great insights, written from a scientific perspective.

One of the little jewels in the book is called “The Three Wishes,” where Dr. Scott-Mumby recognizes that we are already Love itself. We are already abundant in nature. We are already at peace. That is the original wish: the first wish out of which we are born. The second wish is unconscious, and created by negative conditioning, and so we try to cover it over with a third wish: the wish to create a new reality.

Dr. Scott Mumby’s book offers us practical tools to relax backwards: back into the first wish, which is to desire that which is already here. Which is already true.

You can grab yourself a copy of Kieth Scott-Mumby’s book here.

I wl be joining a line of of stars:  Lynne McTaggart, Rupert Sheldrake, Gary Schwartz and Albert Einstein  ( well, ok, one of those was a joke!) to talk about the awakening of consciousness from a scientific perspective.  Make sure that you join the fun here.  It is free!

See you then!

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6 Responses to “The Art of Unmanifesting”

  1. Aleksandra May 16, 2012 at 11:39 pm // Reply

    And that is what I need to remind myself everyday! That i need to rest in the one who creates not my creations. Its like we all are practicing focused-intent, and we need more beingness…Thank you for writing this. Beautiful.


  2. Justin May 17, 2012 at 3:46 am // Reply

    Very artfully said! Its real easy to relax, realizing I don’t need to do anything to manifest and love what already is!


  3. Karin May 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna, Thank you thank you thank you for posting exactly what I needed in this moment! And yes, in general been struggling a bit with this subject. To relax in the now or create my future? And who am I anyway to know what is best for me? There might be thousands of possibilities I’m not even aware of but a higher intelligence maybe is!
    It feels good in my guts to accept the thought of being happy and thankful for what Is Now. And “to relax that pesky little habit” of wanting to create more stuff for Me:-)
    Thanx again!


  4. Josephine Gross May 17, 2012 at 11:33 pm // Reply

    Hi Arjuna,

    I love this article. Working in the personal growth arena, I get tired of all the doing and willing and goal-setting and chasing that is going on to make our lives better and achieve more. To balance, I practice yoga and meditation. Love the zen poem about the thirsty fish in the water.
    Thanks and blessings, I look forward to reading Dr. Scott Mumby’s book.


  5. Sill May 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm // Reply

    Funny isn’t it I just grab a sample of 5 wishes by gay Hendricks a few days ago


  6. Anne Nayer July 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm // Reply

    Thank you Arjuna – Clearly and simply said you arrived at the vary conclusion that I arrived at today in my blog post ( it is good to hear the truth always. I realized that after some meandering the message is truly to live in a perpetual state of gratitude – a joyful solution to much suffering. Grateful for your post. xxx


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