When I lived in Sedona, I had two things going for me that make me uniquely qualified to answer this question:
a) I was dirt poor, and
b) I had plenty of time to experiment with manifesting stuff.
My friends and I were all part of the vast New Age community in Sedona. They called me “the manifestation queen” because I would think of something and, pop! it would appear in my physical reality within a few days.
Everything except money.
No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t manifest enough money to make ends meet.
I was working several odd jobs, most of which paid minimum wage. I even tried coming up with creative things to sell to tourists to make some money on the side, but everything I started turned to crap.
It felt like I was cursed.
Oh, there was the occasional windfall… for example, the time when I ran out of money and didn’t even know where next month’s rent would come from.
I literally shouted to God that He had brought me here and that He should—dammit!—take care of me now.
One week later, I got word from a German life insurance company. It turned out that my mother had years before started a cheap policy under my name and kept paying the premiums, but now that she was in a nursing home, she couldn’t afford the payments anymore.
She’d never even told me about the life insurance. I was able to cash it in and get a few thousand dollars out of it, enough to hold me over for a while.
But I was never able to consistently manifest money… even though I had made quite a nice salary back in Germany when I worked in advertising.
I realized that my life in Germany represented everything that I now despised and rejected: consumerism, greed, and the “zombie mentality” of the unwashed masses.
After 15 years in advertising, I was burned out and depressed and disgusted, and I vowed to myself that I’d never again work in this materialistic, fake glamour industry.
It was a gradual change, but when I immersed myself into Sedona’s New Age community, I completed the 180-degree turnaround regarding money.
Granted, I’d always heard from my working-class parents that “money doesn’t grow on trees.”
But what I was now buying into was even more screwed up: the idea that you can’t be spiritual and make money at the same time.
In my mind (and that of many of my New Age brethren), money had become a dirty, filthy thing that had to be tolerated because everyone needed food and shelter—but pursuing it in any way would be despicable.
This is not unusual: I know many Reiki practitioners, for example, who struggle with taking money for their services. If they do, they feel guilty; if they don’t, they starve.
And it doesn’t particularly help that other people make snide comments like, “I don’t know how anyone can take money for healing people with energy that has been given to them by the Creator.”
Sure, if you don't need to eat, drink, or live somewhere (or are a trust fund kid like some of the people who make those comments), you can give everything away for free.
Otherwise, TANSTAAFL, my dear.
I didn’t completely get out of this money funk, though, until I got married, moved to Vermont, and had a child.
All of a sudden, my financial obligations involved not just me, but a whole family—especially a baby, which needed diapers, food, clothes, and lots of other stuff.
I didn’t have the luxury anymore that I had as a single New Ager in Sedona: to just scrape by somehow and not care about where the money would come from.
I took a job with a company that published investment newsletters. At first, I was very reluctant to get too close to the “filthy money industry,” but at some point I had an epiphany.
That was when I saw the first letter from a subscriber—an old lady who profusely thanked us that after the death of her husband, we had helped her become financially secure for her retirement.
That’s when I realized that even by publishing investment newsletters, I could do good… and that money itself wasn’t the enemy.
That was the turnaround for me, and from there on out, I found it easier and easier to attract money. If I needed extra money to pay for unexpected expenses, I’d manifest it quickly and easily.
So the obvious moral of the story is that it’s all in the eye of the beholder. If you believe that “money is the root of all evil,” you’ll have a hard time manifesting any.
(By the way, the actual Bible quote says that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” quite a difference when you think about it.)
If you have strong moral values, try to think of money as just another form of energy that flows and can be harnessed for good, and you’ll have a much easier time manifesting it.
I think it's a bad idea trying to explain the Law of Attraction (which I don’t actually believe in) with science. The reason: It’s way too easy to refute for the skeptics because, let's be honest, how many laypeople really understand the finer aspects of quantum physics, string theory, or the multiverse theory?
(Though I've seen amazingly well-thought-out scientific theories from laypeople, they will never have the credibility of a scientist, even if they end up being right.)
As a spiritual teacher—unless you happen to have a PhD in physics—you aren’t doing yourself or anyone else a favor by coming up with what you consider a scientific explanation.
For every New Age guru trying to explain a metaphysical event with science, there’s a debunker who will prove that the guru is full of crap and has no idea what the heck he’s talking about.
So why try?
You could probably say that everything that seems magical and miraculous is based on some kind of science… it’s just science we don’t yet know about.
I recommend to people who have trouble with the right mindset of “pretending it’s already there” to use the multiverse theory. I ask them to imagine a world of limitless parallel realities where everything that could possibly exist does exist, all at the same time.
Is that the truth? I don’t know, but it might be… and it helps some people with the visualization.
Personally, I believe in God and magic. I think every one of us has a God-given spark of magic that enables him or her to create alongside the Creator.
Or maybe we all live in a computer simulation.
Look, the bottom line here is: Nobody knows anything for certain.
Let me repeat that: NOBODY KNOWS.
The "spiritual gurus" who claim so confidently that they can explain how manifestation works, are lying. Either to you or to themselves.
Everyone’s theories are just that—theories and opinions. And that goes for a lot of so-called “science” as well.
So what should you do?
You do what works and what makes you feel good.
No matter how—manifestation does work if you follow the "guidelines." So go ahead and manifest what makes you feel good. I'm not talking about being a shopaholic here.
Do what makes you feel like you’re evolving and not devolving.
Do what makes you feel like you’re becoming the best version of yourself.
Do what makes you smile at yourself in the mirror.
And that—when you think about it—is really enough at the end of the day.
My answer to that depends on what brand of LOA would be taught.
Most LOA books teach a type of manifestation that is completely detached from any kind of value or belief system. In my opinion, when you do that, thereby leaving people without moral guidelines, you encourage them to become selfish pricks who will only chase after more toys, more riches, and more instant gratification.
Service to Self instead of Service to Others.
If I were speaking in religious terms, I’d say you put them on the road to Hell.
So if you told me to teach our youngsters manifestation—which really is a sort of magic innate to human beings, a divine creative spark, if you will—I’d start by telling them that with great power comes great responsibility (thank you, Spiderman’s uncle!).
Next I would tell them that the reason we’re all here is for spiritual evolution.
You throw that raw gemstone that’s your soul into a tumbler and watch it bounce around until it has lost the rough edges and is polished and smooth and shines. The end result, ideally, is that you’ve become the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.
Some of us are being taken through a special process, being hand-selected and cut and polished over and over. If they don’t break, they’ll emerge as an exquisite, sparkling jewel.
Those are the people who triumph over especially tough circumstances in their lives and come out the other end as teachers for mankind and an inspiration for everyone they meet.
You don’t get that by scrambling to keep up with the Joneses, or making it your life’s goal to own a yacht.