On a forum where I’m a regular, there was a post today by someone who’s looking to learn to shield, because they’re uncomfortable with their empathy levels. A new member posted to them that they simply needed to Manifest! Good! Energy! And white light! Because what you believe is what will be!
I have several problems with this idea. First, the fact that it’s utter nonsense. My mother, as dearly as I love her, believes in her heart that she’s going to make her fortune by winning the lottery. She plays multiple times per week, spending close to $2K each year on tickets. If she’d saved the money she’s spent in the lottery since it was approved in our state eight years ago, she’d have a down payment on a house by now, instead of feeling trapped and unable to move out of my grandparents’ house. Instead, all she has is a belief and a habit. She’s won small prizes on scratch-off games here and there, but like many gamblers, she feeds her winnings right back into her habit the majority of the time.
The other problem I have with this idea that we manifest our lives through the energy we put out is its natural conclusion. If manifesting energy is all it takes to fix one’s life, then when horrible things happen to people, it’s because they didn’t do it right. And that makes it their fault. Well, I call bullshit. My close friends who live with chronic illnesses aren’t sick because they didn’t manifest the appropriate energies; they’re sick because their bodies do not work properly. Sasha Fleischman was not set on fire on the bus earlier this month because they didn’t manifest appropriate energy. They were set on fire for being agender and wearing a skirt while displaying masculine physical characteristics, and because people are capable of great cruelty.
When I called this member on the flaws in this approach, she replied that when she manifests good-day energy, it usually works for her. She then went on to tell me that she hoped I found something that brought me the joy she’s been able to manifest in her life. Now, this isn’t the first time that one of these white-light types have claimed that I don’t have joy in my life, but the truth is, that’s not the case at all. The difference is that my joy doesn’t come from looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but from seeing the world as it is and taking action to make it better. The joy of a world where children love books is the joy of reading to a preschooler. The joy of a world in which poor people have enough to eat is the joy of taking the spare change that’s been piling up in the console of your car and using it to buy lunch for the homeless veteran panhandling on the corner. My joy is the joy of feeling like I’m making a difference. My great-uncle Roger, who helped to raise my dad, once told me that every choice we make is like throwing a rock into water. It might look small when we’re up close to it, but that ripple effect touches people in ways we don’t imagine, for good or bad. These small choices build up, and if we try to pretend we already live in a world that’s better than this one, we miss the chances to create that world.