I took a deep breath and drew a fake cheque onto a blank piece of paper. I wrote it out for a generous sum of money and specified that it was to be paid to me for my book Thirty Things I Love About Myself. Then I dated the cheque – March 2019 – and signed it from the universe.
I closed my eyes and meditated with the cheque for a while, imagining how it would feel when this book I was writing was finally finished, and I had a publisher who wanted to buy it. I smiled at how good it would feel, I let myself enjoy it all as though it had already happened, and then … I let go of the vision. I put the cheque into the back of my journal, and promptly forgot about it.
A few months later, I finished the book I was working on – a comedy about a woman going on a self-love journey, experimenting with everything from astrology to the magic of manifesting – and sent it to my agent. She wanted me to do another draft before we sent it out to publishers, so I did. At the start of 2020, it was ready to be sent out. In March 2020, my book went to auction and one publisher offered to buy it for the exact sum I’d written on the cheque a year earlier. My manifesting worked.
This is the story I always use when I talk about manifesting because it sums up exactly how this spiritual practice can create miracles. The idea of manifesting has been around for decades. It became popular in the 80s with the likes of Louise Hay and Esther Hicks explaining that our thoughts can become reality. It officially hit the mainstream in 2006 with the publication of Rhonda Bynes’ bestselling The Secret which talks about the “law of attraction” where positive thoughts can lead to positive outcomes.
But recently, manifesting has had another resurgence. Everyone from Fearne Cotton to Cara Delevingne is talking about manifesting, with the latter saying she buys baby clothes to manifest one day becoming a mother. Not everyone is convinced by it – sceptics say that, at best, it’s harmless nonsense and, at worst, that it can lead to people blaming themselves if the things they’re manifesting (like motherhood) don’t work out.
I used to be one of those sceptics when I first came across manifesting almost a decade ago; I was terrified by the belief that any negative thoughts I had could stop my dreams from coming true. How was I meant to be 100 per cent positive 100 per cent of the time? But now I understand that manifesting isn’t about trying to control outcomes; it’s about working on your self-belief, and then trusting in the universe/energy/god/whatever you believe in.
When I manifested my book deal, I wasn’t just drawing pictures and meditating; I was also actively working on my goal to share my message of self-love with the wider world. And even though I believed in the book and truly wanted it to be published one day, I was okay with it not working out as planned. I had a back-up plan to self-publish if necessary. All I knew was that I wanted to do everything in my power to make this dream happen, and if not, I’d trust that it wasn’t meant to be.
This is the crux of manifesting; it’s a balance between belief and letting go. Now that I’ve understood how to achieve that balance, I use it in every area of my life. I’ll manifest before a date, before going to a party, or before a work meeting. I won’t manifest a specific outcome because that falls into trying to be controlling, but I’ll focus on manifesting things like meaningful conversations or positive connections.
I did it recently before I went to a house party where I knew no-one. I didn’t think I’d meet anyone I had much in common with, but I decided to manifest a conversation that would be genuinely inspiring. Two hours later, I met the amazing life-coach Ashley Marcinek. We spent the whole evening chatting about everything from bereavement to relationships, and five months later, we’re firm friends.
I’ve also used it in my career. When I have a quiet month as a freelance journalist, instead of manically sending off emails pitching work, I simply relax. I’ll do a meditation where I focus on feeling good and grateful, and then I’ll enjoy the free time that’s come my way. Every single time, I’ve come home to emails from editors asking me if I’m available to take on work.
And last year when I wanted to develop as a screenwriter, I manifested getting onto the BBC’s Writers Room. They get thousands of applications each year and only take 20 people, so I knew that no matter how good I was, it was also a question of luck. After a few months of hearing nothing, I sat down and manifested receiving an acceptance email from them. I closed my eyes, meditated and focused on feeling the joy I’d feel at being told I had a place. Immediately afterwards, I scrolled through my emails and had an acceptance email from the BBC.
I know people might say this is all just coincidence or good luck. But whatever it is, I know it works for me. And as long as I remind myself that it isn’t about control – it’s just about trusting in the universe and staying positive – then there’s no downside. If my manifesting comes true, I’m beyond grateful. And if not, I accept it because I know that something better is waiting for me.
Thirty Things I Love About Myself by Radhika Sanghani (Headline Review; £15.99) is out now.