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The Shadow Side of Manifesting




by Teal Swan -

You know the upsides to creating your own reality but do you know the potential pitfalls?

A great many of my teachings are about how the mind creates the reality you live in. I teach people how to create their own reality. Many spiritual teachers do.

The benefits of doing that are obvious. I’ve spoken about it in many videos and seminars and workshops but what I want to talk to you about today is the shadow side of manifestation, the shadow side of “create your own reality”. 

I want to outline some common pitfalls that we might unintentionally tumble into once we have committed to the path of manifestation. Keep in mind that there is a lot of nuance in spiritual practice.

1.) Once we find out that we can make whatever we want to be true, become true for us, we will actually make true whatever we want to be true for us. 

We enter lala land. That may not at face value sound like such a bad thing. But take a look at the downside to this, if we have not fully questioned WHY we want something to be true, or WHY we want something to happen for us, we could be manifesting directly from our suppressed shadow side.

For example, one woman who was an avid manifestation practitioner, but who was also an environmentalist, started dating a man who was an off-roading enthusiast.

She loved this man, but the thing that was preventing her from being close to him was that he did not seem to care about harming the environment. He was not open to changing his principal past time so she was in an existential crisis.

She decided that to be with him, she needed to have an open mind to off-roading. So she went with him on an off-roading trip. On the trip, they ended up killing a small sapling that was in the middle of one of their steepest routes and they ended up driving over some cryptogamic soil. 

She was thrown into a guilt spiral. She wanted desperately to be free of guilt.

So she began to subconsciously and also consciously manifest proof that what she did wasn’t all that bad. Sure enough, she was a match to a meditation experience where she saw that death must occur for anything that is created and that the destruction of the environment was inevitable because it was created.

She began to see proof that by adding to destruction, she was clearing the path for new creation and that death could not be wrong so inherently, killing cannot be wrong either. She was right.

That is one perspective about destruction. But it is not the only perspective. It is not the only truth. And it is certainly not the full objective truth. She decided to invest further in the past time of off-roading in order to be close to her boyfriend.

Did any of that feel off to you? If the answer is yes, here’s why… You can manifest whatever you want to be true. She wanted it to be true that what she did wasn’t a bad thing.

So she manifested proof of it. But the thing to consider is why did she want it to be true?

Because A) she wanted to not feel guilty and B) she wanted to be close to her boyfriend.

Instead of asking for those two things directly from the universe, she began to manifest justification for something being right that she in fact knew felt wrong to her. She was unaware completely of the shadow aspect behind why she wanted it to be ok to go off-roading.

The shadow aspect must be COMPLETELY unveiled for a manifestation to actually be completely in alignment. A serial killer can convince himself that by killing women, he is keeping them safe from an even worse fate.

He will be able to argue that this is true. He will make it true for himself. But does that make it objectively true? More importantly, is it healthy or in alignment for him to make that thing he wants to have be true, actually be true in his own reality?

Being able to convince yourself of anything is only as good a mental tool as it does. In order to really create well, you need to come out of denial and use the shadow to enhance the light. Use the awareness of what is unwanted to design your perfect life and move towards that instead of trying to change the unwanted into wanted.

We need to question why we want to manifest the reality we want to manifest, especially the shadow reasons. This is how to avoid becoming a serial killer who can justify killing people because in his reality, he is keeping them safe.

2.) Often when we practice manifestation, we begin to disbelieve in objective truths that we don’t want to have be true for us. We go into a state of denial. 

For example, many of us don’t want to believe in danger. But danger exists for people on earth.

We may not want to believe that children are sold as sex slaves but they are. We don’t want to believe that there is radiation in the ocean, but there is. We don’t want to believe that the holocaust happened but it did. We don’t want to believe that corporations sway the government, but they do.

There’s a great many things that exist on earth that are real and objectively true that people don’t want to include in their subjective reality.

Is there an objective truth outside of subjective truth?

Yes. Everyone and everything’s subjective truth combined into one big picture is objective truth.

To be aware and enlightened, we need to remain open to seeing that truth. Regardless of how tempting it may be, you cannot progress on the spiritual path and live your life inside a bubble reality made for only one. It is a disconnection.

We live in a consensus reality. Even though we absolutely can create a reality that is separate from everyone else’s reality, we came here to this consensus reality to co-create, not exempt ourselves from the co-creation.

Why might I say the opposite to someone who is in a state of victimization and why might you hear me contradict this last statement while talking to someone in the future by telling them to “create your own reality without caring what is objectively true?”

I might do that because they are currently thinking they have no hand in creating reality. They are powerless. But that is not where the truth ends.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is it a virtue to disconnect from the consensus reality to the degree that you are not even experiencing the same things as anyone else? 
  • How do we maintain a view of objective reality while living in our own subjective realities? 
Last week, I was over at someone’s house and I saw multiple low vibrational beings there, feeding off of someone’s energy field. But the owner of the house is a positive focus junkie who is unaware of the suppressed shadow aspects of himself.

Because of his ‘everything is awesome’ vibration, he could not perceive them. The fact that he couldn’t perceive them does not mean that they weren’t there. It just means that he could not perceive them being there.

You could ask why it is important to see what is there if it is unpleasant. I will tell you that awareness is the answer. Consciousness is the answer.

When we discovered enlightenment and discovered how to create our own reality and started teaching it to each other, we did not mean create your own reality by willingly becoming ignorant.

I will tell you that it is important to open up and become aware enough to see all of what is not just half of the picture. Not just the light half and not just the dark half.

What causes many of us pain is that our eyes are closed to the light half. Not that they see the dark half. Likewise, what causes many of us pain is that our eyes are closed to the dark half, not that we see the light half.

We need to expand on the idea that ‘create your own reality’ can lead us into the pitfall of denial. Mankind is one of the species on earth that is the most objectively self-aware.

This has its upsides and it’s downsides.

One upside is, with such a strong sense of “self”, enlightenment is often realized in human form. One down side is, with such a strong sense of self, there is strong motivation to have a positive sense of self and world, this means anything about the self or world that is perceived as negative is often denied.

The human consciousness becomes unaware of what is negative because the human consciousness has developed many beliefs which have made negative not ok.

When we make something “not ok” we cannot admit to its existence. We must think we are good to such a degree that we cannot open up our vision wide enough to recognize aspects of ourselves that are out of alignment.

Denial prevents us from moving forward as a species because we cannot even admit to what there is to transform.

Denial is so much a part of the human consciousness since our species gained the ability to objectively conceptualize of identity, that denial is now a self-preservation function of the human brain. Denial is a defense mechanism.

It is fascinating to me (when I am not directly suffering because of it) that human consciousness tries to protect itself from itself.

Why are we unable to admit to an obvious truth we see? 

I suppose I should say, why, (when we are in denial) is obvious truth not obvious to us? Denial allows the ego to protect itself from things that the ego is convinced it cannot cope with.

For example, if we are attached to the idea of being the best mother, we usually develop extreme resistance to the idea of not being a good mother. We feel as if we cannot cope with the possibility that we are not a good mother. This is where denial kicks in.

The ego protects you from objectively seeing yourself because of the potential of pain. It sweeps the times you were a “bad mother” under the rug and only allows you to selectively remember the times when you were a “good mother”.

You have stopped seeing the truth of yourself objectively. Your reality now consists only of what you want to believe. You have whitewashed over everything unsightly.

A great many manifestation experts would tell you “good because your reality should only consist of what you want to believe is true”. I do not agree. I think your reality should consist of things you want to make true for yourself and beliefs that work for you whilst being acutely aware that other equal truths do exist in this world.

Many of our spiritual practices are in fact not spiritual practices, they are excuses not to see or feel certain things that down deep we are afraid exist or are true.

We call this spiritual bypassing, which is the next pitfall. Selective focus for the purpose of manifestation is not the same thing as denial. But selective focus for the purpose of manifestation serves as a very good excuse to go into a state of denial.

You do not have to deny something to validate something else.

Denial is not only about flat out rejection of an evident truth. It is also about minimizing the importance of something that is already evidently true in your reality.

If we are bypassing by denying or suppressing something, it means we are resisting something. So by encouraging someone to bypass, deny or suppress, we encourage them to resist.

We need to allow and explore whatever we feel the need to deny, even if it is just a possibility. The longer we are in denial, the harder it is to come out of it. It is possible to positively focus on something without denying the negative.

The rule of thumb is that if we have extreme resistance to the idea of something being true, we are probably in denial about something. And the more committed we are to AVOIDING our painful emotions, the more in denial we will be. We need to practice non-aversion.

A very common thing to see in the manifestation community is people putting a positive spin on everything.

While doing that can help you to see the full picture and discover the more objective truth behind what happened to us (and thus not get stuck in negativity), positive focus should not be used to avoid or whitewash over the negative side of the picture. 

When we do this, we are using positive focus as an analgesic.

This is symptom relief, not real and lasting change. Our car broke down because we were supposed to see the pretty sunrise. We are proud that our friend stabbed us in the back because she was getting her suppressed anger out. Our mother was a good mom to have because her addictions helped us to find out who we really are. We ignored our own intuition about going somewhere dangerous because we were the hero that was meant to ward off the bad guy. 

There is a very big difference between creating the kind of world we would prefer (which involves admitting to the full truth of how the world is currently for us) and covering a murder scene with yellow paint so it does not feel so bad. Are you manifesting an improved world for yourself and others? Or are you manifesting yellow paint?

3.) Spiritual bypassing. 

Spiritual bypassing is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.

Never has a spiritual belief system been invented that opens the door to spiritual bypassing wider than ‘you create your own reality’. Rather than go on a spiritual bypassing tangent, I will simply suggest that you watch my You Tube video titled “spiritual bypassing”.

4.) Manifestation allows you to step into a judgmental state. 

A state that is void of empathy and compassion because you have convinced yourself that people bring painful experiences onto themselves. 

I’m not going to go easy on this one. How many times have you heard the following… “They brought on their cancer. They are choosing to be depressed and focus negatively. They created poverty. They could just as easily change their mind and create something different”. 

It is easy to convince yourself that people either want to experience the painful things they are experiencing, or that they are ignorant to creating their own reality and that’s why they are experiencing painful things. This is a disconnection in and of itself from others. And a kind of piousness.

Just because someone was a match to cancer because of thoughts or childhood pain, doesn’t mean they deserve the cancer and doesn’t mean that the cancer is not real. It also does not mean that they are deliberately consciously choosing it.

Much of what occurs in people occurs subconsciously and to act like it is just a matter of attachment to pain or stubbornness or ignorance that makes someone create negative experiences in their reality, makes it feel terrible to spend time around you.

Just because you know that you can create your own subjective reality that feels good to you all the time, does not mean that others (who do not currently know that or who have not perfected that art) are less evolved or less spiritual or are choosing to be attached to their pain and egos.

In other words, the fourth pitfall is the risk of invalidating people, trivializing people’s experiences and loosing compassion by becoming an egotistical and holier than thou manifester.

5.) The avoidance of negativity. 

Once people learn that they create their own reality, the very next step people take is to avoid all things negative. You can’t think it if it’s negative, you can’t look at it if it’s negative, you can’t acknowledge it if it’s negative, you can’t do it if it’s negative or else you will create negative things in your reality.

When we teach people to use their emotional guidance system by following their joy, people do set themselves free to create the reality that they envision. But the trap of this particular path is that all other emotions become “unacceptable” and one runs from unacceptable feelings.

Denial keeps these unacceptable feelings out of one’s consciousness. While our emotions are a guidance system, they are absolutely not guiding us to avoid all things negative.

Suppression and denial of the negative abounds as a result of create your own reality. We avoid our entire shadow side. You don’t need me to tell you just how dangerous that is.

Suppression and denial will do nothing but make your shadow larger and make it manifest even more intensely externally, regardless of how aware or unaware you may be of those manifestations.

6.) Critical thinking (not to be confused with criticism) goes right out the window. 

The baby goes out with the bathwater. Critical thinking is the act of awakening the intellect to the study of itself. It is an open-minded stance.

Critical thinking allows us to see multiple viewpoints before deciding what is actually in alignment to manifest.

Many manifestation gurus are directly opposed to critical thinking. But the reason they are opposed to it is because you can and will manifest proof for anything you believe and then call it reasonable proof or reasonable thinking.

But I happen to be of the opinion that our capacity for critical thinking actually makes us better at manifesting. It means we can develop awareness of all viewpoints before deciding a course of action in terms of creation.

The more information we have, the better decisions we make. The more awareness we have, the better chance that our manifestations will be in alignment manifestations instead of out of alignment manifestations.

7.) Never being able to access the present moment. 

If we are always focused on creation, we are never in a state of stillness and peace. We never really truly experience the now-ness of life or how the now-ness of life feels.

We are never really present with ourselves. When we are using the unwanted to move towards the wanted, we are in a state of perpetual movement, always after the next best thing. This can be a kind of suffering in and of itself.

It also makes it so you cannot fully be present with someone else unconditionally as they are right here and now so it can be a barrier to intimacy. If we are living only for what is coming and if we are living in our own LaLa land, we cannot really connect with other people.

We can potentially even manifest a reality where we cannot really relate to them and they cannot really relate to us.

We need to practice present moment mindfulness and embracing what is, along with manifestation.

We need to stop using manifestation to avoid the current state of ourselves and instead join ourselves in the now with our own unconditional presence. If you are interested in expanding on this concept, I suggest watching my YouTube videos titled Spirituality 2.0 and Spirituality 3.0.

Even the most exquisite spiritual methodologies can become traps of unconsciousness. You are practicing the art of manifestation. It is a practice that is full of nuances and complimentary contradictories.

As frustrating as it is to navigate that minefield with no real solid truth to hold on to, it is an art form that brings you back to the awareness of being the infinite creator and teaches you to sculpt reality itself.




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