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The magic that turns thoughts into reality
Q: Do you believe you can manifest what you want?
It was 9 am on a Monday morning…probably a normal start to the week for most folks. I, on the other hand, was on an operating table, lying with my belly cut open. My second child had just been pulled out a few minutes before but the doctors were not finished. I heard them ask the anesthesiologist how much time they had and whether I could be given another dose. They needed more time. I tried not to panic - I was in the hands of a very competent obstetrician, one of the best in the field. He turned to tell me that there was a complication related to my endometriosis and ended by saying - “I’m really not sure how you got pregnant. This baby is a miracle”.
Back in January, my husband and I had both been shocked when we found out I was pregnant. After a failed pregnancy in 2020, and a couple of rounds of IVF in 2021, which resulted in only one egg per round we knew the odds were not in our favor given I was already in my forties. I stopped IVF and put my energy into other things. I still wanted another baby so when I created my vision board in December 2021, I put the number “two” and an image of two kids on it.
Over the course of many meditations and in the still of the night, I put forth that desire to the divine and then let it go. I was happy with our family of three and would be thrilled to have a fourth join us but it was also okay if it didn’t happen. I worked on not being too attached to the outcome. So when we found out about the pregnancy in early 2023, I was caught by surprise. It truly felt like a miracle! I joked about his sperm connecting with the very last egg in my body. However, the word “miracle” coming from a doctor that had co-authored the Handbook on Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility used by most gynecologists in the US was completely different. It felt like Dumbledore himself giving me permission to call it magic.
For a long time now, maybe since I read The Alchemist in my teenage years, I’ve believed in the power of the Universe to deliver on that which we truly desire. It requires being really clear about what you want and being able to hold a vision of it in your mind, or perhaps within that deeper part of yourself. There have been only a handful of times in my life where I’ve had this kind of clarity and have put that deep desire forth. Each of those times after putting that desire out there, I’ve put energy and action behind it. Whether it was prepping for nine interviews over the course of seven months for a job I really wanted, or cleaning up my diet, exercising and taking a long list of supplements to get pregnant with my first child. The key has been to not get too caught up in what happens next or how long it takes. The Universe works on its own timeline, not mine.
This article “What is Manifestation?” lays out the science-based ways to make manifestation work.
“Of course we can manifest positive things in our lives—if we couldn't then what would be the point of therapy, wellness interventions, or any of the tools we use to help people?”
On a related note, I’ve thought a lot about how desire drives life and creation forward. But what about desires that are bad for you or for someone else? How can the divine, the Universe want to provide you with something that is either harmful to you or another? A few months ago in one of my readings, I finally found the words that answered this in an articulate way -
“Desires that destroy their subjects or objects or do not subside on satisfaction are self-contradictory and cannot be fulfilled. Only desires motivated by love, goodwill, and compassion are beneficial to both the subject and object and can be fully satisfied”
- I AM THAT, Nisargadatta Maharaj
Earlier this year I watched the documentary Mission: Joy and was moved by the friendship and humor between two revered teachers of different faiths - His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu1. On my own spiritual journey over the past four years, I have read everything from Buddhism and Taoism to Vedanta but this documentary reminded me why the Dalai Lama’s approach to life has always fascinated me. I started wishing for the opportunity to learn from him in-person.
“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
- The Dalai Lama
So this year, when we decided to visit Himachal Pradesh as a part of our month-long trip to India in the summer, I tried to see if we could make it to Dharamsala. This is a small town in Himachal Pradesh, India that has been the residence of the Dalai Lama since he went into exile from Tibet in 1959. Unfortunately it ended up not being on the cards as it was too out of the way for the friends who were traveling with us.
I still did not give up my dream of wanting to see the Dalai Lama. When we landed in Leh in July - the first stop on our fourteen day trip across northern India - we were greeted by billboards welcoming the Dalai Lama. What?! Was he in Leh? I checked the news and found out that the Dalai Lama had indeed arrived in Leh two days ago and was planning to stay there till the end of August. Would this be my chance to see him? But it was not on the cards again as we were leaving Leh in two days - after acclimatizing to the altitude - for our road trip across the region.
The following week as we continued on our trip, a few of us made the decision to return to Leh one day earlier than the rest of the group so that we could explore some more monasteries. As we drove back into Leh, I noticed some diversions in the traffic. I found out that the Dalai Lama was scheduled to give three days of teachings to the public starting the next day. Forty five thousand people were expected to show up for this four hour event and I was forewarned that the traffic and crowds would be crazy.
I was not fazed. I couldn't believe my luck! We were back in town barely ten hours before the Dalai Lama would appear in public for free. The universe was giving me an opportunity to fulfill a long desired dream and I was determined to make it. I started researching the process to attend the teachings and rose early the next morning to equip myself as best as I could while being on the road - cushion, rain poncho, hat, water bottle - not knowing whether we would experience rain or sun that morning. My husband and two of our travel companions joined me at five am to make the trek to the teaching grounds.
By six am, the traffic was crazy so we got dropped off a mile from the grounds and joined the throng of locals dressed up in their local finery with their entire families, walking to the ground with mats and umbrellas. Drat! We didn't have any mats that were needed to sit on the ground, wet from the rains earlier in the week. Once we reached the grounds, as luck would have it, I was drawn to an area within a hundred feet from the podium where mats had already been laid down for free use.
As we sat down, l looked around at the mountains surrounding the location and was filled with immense gratitude. As I experienced the local Buddhist traditions that morning - free offerings of tea and sweetened rice to the gathering - I found myself thanking the Universe. The opportunity to listen to a live lecture by the Dalai Lama was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.
1Here are some of the key takeaways from the film Mission: Joy -
Joy is a fundamental human emotion that is essential for our well-being.
Joy can be cultivated through our thoughts, actions, and relationships.
The practice of gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion can increase our joy.
Spending time in nature, connecting with loved ones, and pursuing our passions can also increase our joy.
Joy is a powerful force that can help us overcome challenges and live a more fulfilling life.