Not long ago I had a bit of a spat with a friend on facebook about manifestation. I know, I know “A spat? On facebook? No!” Specifically, the practice of manifestation. I say specifically, because that will become significant in a few moments. First, a little background info.
I was joyfully procrastinating through my news feed when I came across his post. To protect the innocent (who are welcome to comment below), let’s call my facebook friend Apollinaris Paul. Hey, I didn’t choose it, this random name generator did. Now I’ve pretty much thought of Apollinaris as a reasonable and intelligent kind of guy. I’ve been friends with him on facebook for years. My friends on on facebook include a very eclectic group of people from all walks of life and many different belief systems. The reason for that is, I don’t judge. I absolutely love the mixed up mix of people in my friends list. There are times when I don’t agree with what someone has posted and sometimes I feel like I have to put in my two cents and sometimes I just don’t think it’s worth it. Apollinaris made a post attacking people who practice manifestation, (especially for their own gain) as selfish at best and resorted to name calling and insinuation of complete, moronic, stupidity right out of the gate.
Obviously Apollinaris has a bug up his butt about something. Maybe he lost a friend or family member to manifestation. Maybe he attended a seminar of some kind and came away less than enthused. Maybe he was just having a bad morning. I don’t know, but I was moved to say something. I commented that there was nothing wrong with focusing on bettering myself or my circumstances. After all, how could I make the world better if I couldn’t make myself better? He said I had the wrong context and the wrong conclusion.
Wait a minute? Who died and made you the stupidity labeler? It was then that I decided to bow out and that my response required way more than a facebook post. I posted that I agreed to disagree and that was that. How about we break down some definitions here.
According to Dictionary.com, prosperity is a successful, flourishing, or thriving condition, especially in financial respects, good fortune. Manifestation is an outward or perceptible indication, materialization, or spiritualism. I think the latter definition of spiritualism is more applicable in this case and I still stand by my statement that it is not wrong for me to focus on my own betterment, including my financial situation.
In fact, according to the bible, God encourages manifestation through spiritualism. It’s called faithful prayer and it is generally not considered a con or woo-woo horse crap. In fact, God makes a habit of promising prosperity in exchange for believing in him, having faith, praying to him, and following his word. I can’t make this stuff up. It’s already written down. There are dozens of verses in the bible that mention going to God in prayer for whatever, anything, including prosperity. I think this one sums them all up: Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24. This is the definition of the practice of manifestation, as is praying to God about your problems and laying them at his feet, then trusting that he will help with them. Most spiritual practices use something similar. Ask for it. Believe it. It will be yours.
Apollinaris also used the not quite seaworthy statement that there was no way that the starving little girl in a 3rd world country could manifest her way out of it by humming about it. Whatever that means. But would the visiting Christian missionaries tell her to pray about it and quote a verse like the one above? You betcha. He also charged the manifesters with manifesting food for the world’s hungry and manifesting world peace. Who says we aren’t already working on that???
Later in the discussion, long after I had stopped commenting and someone else who was not quite as nice as me had begun defending the practice of manifestation. Apollinaris admitted the mistake that had caused the whole argument. He conceded that he had made a sweeping generalization about those who use manifestation, mentioning me specifically as someone in the tiny minority with actual good intentions. He later deleted this comment along with the comments of the other manifestation defender, leaving only the comments of the one person who agreed with him and my initial comments which he ridiculed and tried to make me look the fool for. He continued the conversation with his comrade, bashing people who had the audacity to desire prosperity. I shake my head in disgust. At least have the courage to let the conversation stand as it really happened. But hey, it’s your wall, you get to do what you want. This is my blog. I get to manifest whatever I want on it.
The problem with sweeping generalizations is that they tend to skim over the very people who are trying to make a positive difference in the world. Sweeping generalizations at best, become arguments and at worst start wars (the Christians are infidels and must be cleansed, the Jews are inferior in every way and must be cleansed, the Muslims are bloodthirsty warmongers and must be cleansed, people who practice manifestation are stupid sheep, people who follow a God that has no name are stupid sheep, people who don’t believe in God must be saved or die, all Native Americans are lazy alcoholics, White people think they’re entitled everything and are better than everyone else, all black people are criminals, the rich are inherently evil). You get the picture, right? Sweeping generalizations are obviously quite dangerous. Apollinaris defends this as the generalization of the masses being observable. What? Rather than the few or the one? So…
Jesus wasn’t observable? Died for our sins. Prayed to God to forgive us.
Ghandi wasn’t observable? Starved while praying for peace.
Buddah wasn’t observable? Left the palace to pray for enlightenment.
Martin Luther King wan’t observable? Changed the face of human rights.
I thought Apollinaris would be respectable and had the ability to have a civil conversation, or debate. Instead, he came off as a condescending, rude, bigot. And now, after discovering he deleted portions of the conversation, I must add, coward.
Look, I’m not trying to bash a religion, a belief system, a way of thinking or even poor Apollinaris. I just call ‘em like I see ‘em. I’m not saying that we don’t need to think of all the starving people in the world (by the way, let’s think about the starving families, and forgotten veterans in our own country before we start sticking our noses in other people’s business and save the word, shall we?). I’m saying that maybe before you post a sweeping generalization on public media that calls into question the foundations of people’s very belief systems, you might want to think it through just a little bit more and be prepared to have an honest, open, and civil discussion about it.
For the record, my manifestation practice includes, but is not limited to: praying for world peace, the starving, the homeless, the forgotten, the forgetters, my daughter, my grandkids, my son, my husband, my mom, my granny, my family, my neighbors, my city, my state, my country, my planet, the dogs, the cats, animals everywhere, the good people, the bad people, Apollinaris Paul, and yes, myself. I practice random acts of kindness, I save empty medicine bottles because there are places in the world where they have to put people’s medicine in folded scraps of cloth or paper and I have to take a lot of meds because my body doesn’t work right, I donate to local humane society, I recycle, I help out where I can. How about you? Sometimes I’m petty, sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I’m jealous, sometimes I’m lazy sometimes I’m mean. I’m not perfect, but I strive to be the best I can be in my own way. How about you?
Apollonaris had his say on facebook. Now I’ve had mine. Feel free to comment and/or discuss below to put in your two cents.