Modern manifestation

We look at manifestation, what it means, and the New Age practice it has evolved into today.

To manifest is to control our own reality – from how we feel, to the opportunities we encounter, and the things we receive. Though it’s a slightly scary thought, we are manifesting every second of the day. 

Once an ancient art, the history of manifestation is referred to in ancient scriptures and alluded to in religious texts. And in the modern day, the act of manifesting is perhaps better categorised as a New Age science. 

It’s not as simple as positive thinking, aka the Law of Attraction, popularised in 2006 by Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book The Secret

As we find out from the experts, manifestation goes beyond acquiring a new dress or a future husband (although these are incidental along the way). Manifestation is about getting closer to our true authentic selves, allowing us to strengthen our self-worth and deepen our understanding of who we are. We can then wholly believe in ourselves on a subconscious level, to achieve what matters most, whether it’s abundance, success, or freedom. 

Before we delve into the mechanisms of this seemingly mystical tool, I can wholeheartedly say from experience that regularly practising manifestation will change your life. I’m not saying that manifestation will cure your ailments or make you a billionaire (although some will beg to differ), but it can help to unleash your full potential. What more could you want out of life?

What is modern manifestation? 

My research begins by interviewing wellness practitioner Hannah Crerar. She explains that manifestation is “the practice of bringing one’s desires into reality,” and whether you’re interested in quantum physics or ancient wisdom, they are both interwoven throughout the process to attract your desired life.

Crerar isn’t the only one who delves into the science. Los Angeles-based manifestation advisor Lacy Phillips devised the popular ‘To Be Magnetic’ course, based on philosophy she says is “backed by neuroscience, psychology, epigenetics and energetics – with a little spirituality sprinkled on top”. 

Phillips describes manifesting as a process of shifting “the way we show up in the world and the level of worthiness we project, so that we can align with what
we truly desire and deserve.”

Auckland-based energy healer and wellness coach Olivia Scott has a special relationship with manifestation, having discovered the concept in her teenage years through her grandmother’s old books and teachings. 

“When you take away the word and you take away the concept or whatever the teachings or the textbooks or the movies tell us, it is simply just the repeated direction of thought, intention, focus and energy,” says Scott. 

I also speak to Jordanna Levin, New York Times bestseller and author of manifestation texts Higher Love and Make It Happen, from her home in Byron Bay. As Levin explains, for so long “manifestation was sold to us as ‘thoughts become things’, but it requires more than just positive thoughts.” Levin explains that manifestation is a combination of thoughts, feelings and faith, combined with action. “Action is the piece that has been left out of manifestation for far too long. It’s about the role that you play”. 

How do we manifest? 

While some practitioners may disagree on the finer points, it seems that the key things to keep in mind are:

Revealing our authentic selves and increasing our self-worth

Manifesting is keeping true to your authentic core and acting in alignment with your true self. 

As Phillips explains: “we all came into this world completely whole and innately worthy”. To manifest, she says we need to focus on “raising your self-worth and stepping into your unique authenticity by reprogramming the subconscious limiting beliefs that you picked up during childhood and throughout your life”. 

Only once we remove our destructive limiting beliefs and biases from deep inside can we think clearly and act as we are supposed to. 

As Crerar puts it “if we don’t believe our desires to be possible, or if we don’t feel worthy of the life we dream of, our current reality will never measure up”.


Scott explains that to feel worthy, we can start by accessing our subconscious mind, which gives us more power to direct our external reality. We can then begin to align our deep-seated beliefs to our desires. 

Healing is believing 

The process of manifestation starts by rewiring our subconscious mind to heighten our self-worth, which can be a deeply therapeutic process.

Phillips explains that “by reinforcing new patterns, you cause the old destructive neural pathways to become obsolete and you take on new magnetic patterning”. 

There are a number of ways we can rewire our subconscious mind:

Yoga nidra (yogic sleep): An ancient Indian practice, nidra is a state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, and is typically induced by a guided meditation to introduce new beliefs about our self-worth and who we are. 

Crerar explains that yoga nidra “slows the brain waves down. The body is lulled into deep relaxation while the mind is alert and receptive. Stagnant energy
and old trauma can be released while positive intentions can be planted in the subconscious”. 

Today, yoga nidra is used by the United States Army to assist the recovery of soldiers from PTSD. Studies suggest it helps relieve stress, and that around half an hour of practice is equivalent to around 2-4 hours of sleep. 

Human design and astrology: By reading and understanding our astrology birth charts and human design ‘BodyGraphs’, we have a roadmap for “how to use our energy, connect with our intuition, interact with others and make decisions so that life flows with ease and a sense of fulfilment,” says Crerar.

Reiki Scott: uses the ancient Japanese practice of reiki to clear and release blocked energy, old patterns and trauma. 

Journaling and visualisation: Writing down or visualising what you want, or writing or acting as if you already have what you want.

There’s a variety of ways to reprogramme your subconscious: do what works for you. Levin says: “the trick is to figure out what strengthens your vibration and do more of those things. But know this – your ability to manifest and your level of self-worth are directly correlated. So in the areas of your life where your self-worth is a little low you’ll find it tricky to manifest. In the areas where you have a high level of self-worth you’ll likely find it really easy to manifest”

How to do it?

  • Get clear on what you want: to become more self-aware and find self-love. Who are you at the core? And looking beyond your current reality, what do you desire in your life, experiences, and relationships?

  • Look to the people you admire: you don’t have to like these people, but you can take aspects of what you admire e.g. their jobs, their confidence or even how they dress.

  • Tests from the universe: you may think you’ve manifested something but there’s something not quite right. Trust your self-worth, discard you fear (which can direct your limiting beliefs) and keep searching until it feels right.
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