That is a very interesting question. Specifically, the ancient Stoics, whose overall philosophy I admire, recommended certain meditative exercises that I assume you’re talking about here.
You can find these and other exercises described here.
The two exercises in question are:
1. Practice misfortune.
Quote from the website:
It’s important to remember that this is an exercise and not a rhetorical device. He doesn’t mean “think about” misfortune, he means live it. Comfort is the worst kind of slavery because you’re always afraid that something or someone will take it away. But if you can not just anticipate but practice misfortune, then chance loses its ability to disrupt your life.
2. Practice negative visualization.
Quote from the website:
Seneca, for instance, would begin by reviewing or rehearsing his plans, say, to take a trip. And then, in his head (or in journaling as we said above), he would go over the things that could go wrong or prevent it from happening—a storm could arise, the captain could fall ill, the ship could be attacked by pirates.
“Nothing happens to the wise man against his expectation,” he wrote to a friend. “. . . nor do all things turn out for him as he wished but as he reckoned—and above all he reckoned that something could block his plans.”
I would agree that it makes sense to think about all eventualities (without necessarily expecting them), BUT… their method of choice is visualization.
And that’s, in my opinion, where the problem lies.
If people could only understand how powerful their imagination is, the world would be a completely different place.
So if you practice poverty by dressing in rags, smearing dirt on your face, and sleeping under a bridge three days a month, AND if you pretend it’s totally real and not just some morbid kind of dress-up, then there’s a good chance it will become your reality at some point.
Same with vividly imagining how all your loved ones are gone and you’re deserted by everyone.
Although in that case, the manifestation might be counteracted when you then feel the overwhelming gratitude of actually having your loved ones around (which is the whole point of that exercise).
In any case, I wouldn’t chance it.
So don’t dress up as a panhandler every Halloween, don’t tell all your friends that “I am so f****ing broke,” and don’t make “Money doesn’t grow on trees” your personal mantra.