Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Manifesting or Unfolding?

A Star is Born The Visions Oracle Card

From time-to-time, I use The Visions Oracle cards for inspiration, guidance, and direction.

Recently, I received a card called “A Star Is Born”, which said:

How have your thoughts and imaginations shaped your surroundings?
Take the time to create your own reality on the inner planes, first.
Trust you can manifest your intentions.
Let go.”

I immediately thought:  “Why would I want to manifest something other than this perfect present moment in which my karma is unfolding seamlessly before my eyes?  This karma – the fruit of my past actions – if understood correctly – is replete with boundless insight and potential for transformation.”

Isn’t it human nature to always want something different than what is?

Will I trample this moment and attach to creating something I perceive as better, more suitable, and more to my liking?  As soon as I begin wanting something different – improved health, more security, the dissolution of pain, a new gadget, the perfect house, or anything else – I’ve entered into the realm of attachment and grasping, the very source of suffering.  I’m living in the future or motivated by the past.  I’m living on the fuel of hope and fear.

Wouldn’t it be exhilarating to be completely free of hope and fear, attachment and aversion?

Letting Go

In his book The Great Path of Awakening, the great spiritual teacher Jamgon Kongtrul suggests an entirely different approach to living:  letting go.  He shares this aspiration:

“If it’s better for me to be ill,
I pray for the blessing of illness.
If it’s better for me to recover,
I pray for the blessing of recovery.
If it’s better for me to die,
I pray for the blessing of death.”

Surrender.  Be fully present in this moment.  Isn’t that the ultimate freedom?

Creating Goodness in this Moment

At the same time, we are creators.  If you want to have a happy life, it pays to act judiciously.  Because, as the Buddha said,

“We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind,
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with a pure mind, And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakeable.”

Everything depends upon how you perceive.  It’s the mind that’s in charge.  Words and actions merely follow suit.  Whatever you think, say, or do has an impact on your own mind and well-being.  And it impacts others as well.

Are You in Charge of Your Mind?

But are you in charge of your mind?  Or is it like a rambunctious monkey leaping from one thought or emotion to the next?

The secret to a positive future is creating goodness in thoughts, words, and deeds in the here and now.  It’s not about hankering after something different or better like a new car or idealized partner.  The great spiritual masters of the past remind us:

“Wealth, possessions, health, happiness and popularity are all the efforts of past positive actions.  If you have accumulated positive actions in the past, all these things will come to you naturally as a result, whether you want them or not.  But without those positive actions, no amount of effort will ever get what you want.  All you will get is what you want least. So when you practice dharma [the spiritual path], rely on the inexhaustible wealth of whatever comes.”

– from The Words of My Perfect Teacher by Patrul Rinpoche

The key to a happy future is practicing goodness right now.

That requires getting hold of your mind in a gentle, humorous, and spacious fashion.  Slowing down and carefully choosing thoughts, words, and actions.  Practicing patience, commitment, and presence.

As your karma unfolds, you are simultaneously creating your future.  It’s not a question of either or.

“If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition;  if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions.” – Padmasambhava

This doesn’t mean I disagree with the Visions Oracle.  I agree our thoughts are very powerful, indeed.  My mind is sometimes like a wild monkey too.  But I know that taming this mind is the essence of transformation.  So, each day I practice – as best I can – creating goodness in this moment – for this moment and the future – while I respect the karma that unfolds simultaneously before me.

Are you a fan of manifesting or unfolding?  What future are you creating through your intentions and actions today?

Image:  ©Omra Fochtamn-Kubby – Omra Art

Thank you for your presence, I know your time is precious!  Don’t forget to sign up for my e-letter and get access to all the free self-development resources (e-books, mini-guides + worksheets) in the Always Well Within Library. May you be happy, well, and safe – always.  With love, Sandra




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  1. lovely thoughts. aren’t manifesting and unfolding just different parts of the same picture?
    perhaps manifesting represents your vibration and unfolding represents the universe bouncing it back. i think that manifesting can be seen as the desire to continue and expand the perfect present and spread it into the world. part of maintaining that perfection is letting go of the attachment to how it unfolds.
    today, i will do my best to send love and light outward without struggle, and accept gratefully what returns.
    thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  2. Helllo Christopher,

    Maybe they are! There seems to be more writing/focus on manifesting than on unfolding so it was fun to explore both. I don’t know about vibrations and bounce backs! But I do love the aspiration to be and spread goodness in the world while at the same time letting go of attachment to how it unfolds. And I love the notion of letting go of the struggle! Thanks for sharing this inpsiration.

  3. galenpearl

    You have touched on something that I have noticed myself in reading various blogs about setting our intentions and manifesting them. I like your quote about seeing everything as a blessing. How do I know what my path should be? It simply is.

    On the technical side, I tried your comment trick, but it asked me for a password to the made up email. Hmmm. I’ll add the link here as another option. Not sure what do do about that. Disqus is trying something similar. A blog post about barriers?! Ha!

  4. Hi Galen,

    That’s really the question: “How do I know what my path should be.” Ego can easily slip in there. Thanks for hitting the nail on the head!

    Oh darn about the comment issue. I’ve tried this and it worked for me so darn! Thanks for adding your url. I want my commenters to have a trackback, of course!

  5. Sandra, thought provoking post. I am all for unfolding and accepting the moment as is. Eckhart Tolle said: ““Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.” It is so hard to get to this place, but I aspire to it in every situation.

    I have seen situations which I thought to be undesirable when they first presented to turn out to be perfect. In other words, I know enough to know that I do not have any idea what is best. I know enough just to take what is before me and work with it.

    However, I posted this Tolle quote on Facebook recently and had a long, commentary with someone who disagreed. Their perspective was that to accept the present moment as is was settling. I tried to point out to them that it was not the same as condoning or giving in. They did not buy it.

    What is the difference here in your mind?

    • This isn’t an easy question, Debbie! What comes to mind is the Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Aung Sang Su Kyi. Are they / were they settling? “Karma” is not predestination. It’s just the unfolding of our past actions. In this moment we have the opportunity to make new choices so the future unfolds differently. “Accepting” the present moment means not creating conceptual struggle with it. When you find that freedom, you are able to act more appropriately and more effectively in every moment.

      I’m probably not very convincing, but it seems we each need to come to this experience and conviction ourselves in our own time.

      Thanks for the Eckhart Tolle quote. It is a good one! Because we have chosen this moment by our past actions!

  6. Iove you and to what you do, Sandra <3

  7. I enjoy thinking of every little thing as a blessing. And yes, practicing goodness definitely brings more peace than anything else. I liked this post. 🙂 The artwork’s coloring is beautiful – so much in sync.

    • What a beautiful and simple practice: to see everything as a blessing. You skillfully collapsed the whole post into one line! Thanks for your positivity.

  8. I love this post Sandra. It addresses a dichotomy that plagues us all:

    On the one hand we are yapped at by those who insist that we have the freedom to create our life, (and are therefore subtly to blame if we have failed to manifest the ultimate scenario) – and on the other, we (might) have discovered for ourselves the illusion of “self” (and by extension, “self-determination”), clearly understood what the word “karma” actually refers to, and understood the wisdom of embracing the “what-is” as a blessing.

    I straddled these positions for yonks before contracting cramps that tumbled me into the great Unknowingness that accepts both – equally, lovingly, without the slightest preference. From this perspective even words like “appropriate” and “effective” are … choreographic notations. The Dance proceeds regardless, and we spin and whirl and we fall and rise …

    Your wisdom and its expression are priceless, thank you.

  9. Just the reminder I needed this day. Wonderfully written.

  10. Mirain,

    You’ve articulated the divide beautifully as well as the angst that can occur in our mind and life as a result. I too find the idea of manifesting or attracting on its own is limited and doesn’t fully explain life and reality as it is. It helps to be aware that everything depends upon perception and motivation, but at the same time there’s this great intersecting force called our past actions. I love the way you’ve come to accept both equally and continue to dance along.

  11. Hi Sandra,
    I love this topic! And I didn’t even need to read your article in full. You may wish to think about this:
    desire is the opposite of attachment, not the same thing. When one desires one is absolutely free, there is absolutely nothing one cannot desire. With desire comes imagination, which is as we know: the greatest gift of humanity. “Everything that exists, was once imagined.” How good is that?
    As a suggestion, if you have not come across the authors Esther and Jerry Hicks through the “Teachings of Abraham”, I very strongly suggest you do… you will be thanking yoruself you did.

    Blessings to you for a positive experience, whatever is the one you desire 😉

    • Hi treespirit,

      That’s an interesting take on “desire” – quite different than Buddhism. I suppose though it all depends on semantics and what exactly is meant by one’s definition of “desire”. Positive aspiration is a beautiful thing. In my mind, it all depends on our ability to let go. Thanks for your recommendation. Be well!

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