Cause-Effect vs. Intention-Manifestation
by Steve Pavlina
One of the key models for goal achievement is that of cause and effect. This model says that your goal is an effect to be achieved, and your task is to identify and then create the cause that will produce the desired effect, thereby achieving your goal.
Sounds simple enough, right?
However, the main problem with this model is that nearly everyone seriously misunderstands it. And that misunderstanding comes from not knowing what a “cause” really is.
You might assume that the cause of an effect would be a series of physical and mental actions leading up to that effect. Action-reaction. If your goal is to make dinner, then you might think the cause would be the series of preparation steps.
To an outside observer, that certainly appears to be the case. The scientific method would suggest that this is how things work, based on a purely objective observation.
However, within your own consciousness, you know that the series of action steps is not the real cause. The actions are themselves an effect, aren’t they?
What’s the real cause? The real cause is the decision you made to create that effect in the first place. That’s the moment you said to yourself, “Let it be” or “make it so.” At some point you decided to make dinner. That decision may have been subconscious, but it was still a decision. Without that decision the dinner would never manifest. That decision ultimately caused the whole series of actions and finally the manifestation of your dinner.
Where does that decision arise from? It might arise from your subconscious, or in the case of conscious decisions, it arises from your consciousness. Ultimately your consciousness is the greater power, as it can override subconscious choices once it becomes aware of them.
Missing this very simple distinction has contributed to quite a number of failed goals.
If you want to achieve a goal you’ve set, the most crucial part is to DECIDE to manifest it. It doesn’t matter if you feel it’s outside your control to do so. It doesn’t matter if you can’t yet see how you’ll get from A to B. Most of those resources will come online AFTER you’ve made the decision, not before.
If you don’t understand this simple step, then you will waste a lot of time. Step 1 is to decide. Not to ruminate or to ponder or to ask around and see whether or not you can do it. If you want to start your own business, then decide to make it so. If you want to be married and have a family, then decide to attract a mate. If you want to change careers, then decide to do so.
It blows my mind that people think that something else has to come before the decision. People waste months trying to figure out, “Is this goal possible?” And this makes a lot of sense to do so if you’re at a certain level of consciousness. But all you’re really doing is creating delay, and you’ll simply manifest evidence to suggest that the goal is both possible and not possible. You think doubt in your head, you find doubt in the world.
Time and again I’ve seen evidence that not only people, but the universe itself, can sense a lack of commitment to a goal. Have you ever heard someone tell you about a goal of theirs, and you can just sense how wishy-washy and uncertain they are about it? They say things like, “Well, I’m going to try this and see how it goes. Hopefully it will work out OK.” Is that evidence that a clear decision has been made? Not remotely. Are you going to help this person? Probably not — who wants to waste their time on someone who isn’t committed?
But what happens when you sense total certainty in the other person? Will you help them if they ask for it? You’re far more likely to help a committed person because you can tell they’re eventually going to succeed anyway, and you want to be part of that success. You even feel more energized and motivated yourself to contribute to the success of people who are very clearly committed to a goal that resonates with you and which is genuinely for the greatest good of all.
Don’t you think this process works the same way within your own mind? If your consciousness is divided against itself, do you think it will commit all its internal resources to your goal? Will your subconscious give you all the energy and creativity it possibly could, or will it hold back? Think of your subconscious mind as a multi-tasking computer processor. What percentage of resources will it devote to a task that you’ve told it to execute with the words, “Run this for a little bit and see if it works, but quickly dump it if it seems too difficult”? Now what if you gave that CPU a process labeled, “Run this now”?
The universe itself works on the same principle. Think of it as the superconscious mind. When you’ve made a clear, committed decision, it will open the universal floodgates, bringing you all the resources you need, sometimes in seemingly mysterious or impossible ways.
Whenever you want to set a new goal for yourself, start by setting it. Take the time to become clear about what you want, but then just declare it.
Say to the universe, “Here is the goal. Make it so.”
Do not ask the universe for what you want. Declare it. Don’t ask. This is very similar to prayer, but you are not praying FOR what you want. You are praying WHAT you want. You are simply saying, “Here it is. Make it so.” It is like planting a seed in the ground. You do not say to the ground, “Here is the seed. Please, can you make it grow?” You simply plant the seed, and it will grow as a natural consequence of your planting and tending to it. It is the same with your intentions. Simply plant them. There’s no need to beg.
Intend that your goal manifest in such a manner that is for the greatest good of all. This is very important, as intentions that are created out of fear or a sense of lack will backfire. You may get what you want, but it will yield a bitter aftertaste. Or you may get the exact opposite of what you want. But intentions that are genuinely made for your own good and the greatest good of all will tend to manifest in a positive way.
After I declare my intention, I wait for the resources and synchronicities to arrive. Usually they begin to manifest in 24-48 hours, sometimes sooner. Sometimes these synchronicities appear to be the result of subconscious action. I just happen to notice things that may have been there all along, but now I see them in a new light, and they become resources for me that I never noticed until after I declared my intention. But many times it’s nearly impossible to explain such synchronicities as the result of my own subconscious action, even if I step back and try to look at them purely objectively. Sometimes they come in such unusual avalanches that I can only explain them as the result of superconscious action. On some level the universe itself is aware of my intention and is doing its part to help manifest it. I also find that the more inviting I am of these synchronicities, the more easily they flow. Right now I typically experience about 10 per week on average, and I think that’s because I have many different intentions in the process of manifesting, so there’s a constant flow of resources coming to me.
The mental and physical planning and action steps come later. That’s how I organize the resources that have arrived. Once enough resources have come to me, I can begin to see how they all fit together to achieve the goal. But if the path seems too complicated or difficult and I don’t like what I see, I put out some new intentions to make it the way I want it to be. I declare, “Let it be simpler.” I again wait for the synchronicities to arrive, and a simpler approach becomes clear. Usually for an approach to be simpler, it means I have to get past some personal block within me. I have to grow on some level in order to be able to take advantage of a simpler solution. Or perhaps I have to learn a new skill first. So while it might be simpler, it might also be harder on a personal level. For example, by putting out the intention to do more to help people, I had to develop my communication skills. That makes the goal easier to achieve, but it’s more work up front.
It took me a number of years to be able to trust this approach before I could begin to use it as my default manner of goal achievement. I have to be open to achieving goals in unusual ways sometimes. I get what I intend, but not always what I expect. So when the synchronicities begin dropping me clues, I do not always understand how they’ll be part of the path to the goal. But invariably there’s an intelligence at work, and if I trust it, it will work just fine. Usually it will bring me new information first, so I can raise my own awareness and knowledge to the level required to achieve the goal.
For example, if you declare your goal to become wealthier, within a few days you might see all sorts of synchronicities related to spirituality. They may seem to have nothing to do with wealth whatsoever. So you figure it’s just a coincidence, and the approach isn’t working. But the approach is sound, and it is working. Most likely it’s a signal that the path to wealth first requires you to improve your consciousness. This is especially true if your intention was for the highest good of all. If you become wealthy before your energy and consciousness have reached a certain level, then greater material wealth may only feed your problems — your goal cannot yet manifest for the greatest good of all. But if you first learn to use your energy and consciousness positively, then the greater resources that wealth provides you will be a positive manifestation instead of a negative one.
In truth this is a simple and direct process. But our minds are so cluttered with the flotsam and jetsam of social conditioning that we have a hard time thinking on this level. We get so attached to seeing our goals manifest a certain way because that’s how they manifest in TV shows or in movies. Or maybe that’s how our parents or friends did it. But this attachment to a particular “how” blocks us from allowing our goals to manifest far more easily. If we could loosen up a bit on the “how” and just learn to allow the manifestation to occur in its own perfect way, goal achievement would be far easier.
So often I see people sabotage their own goals because they do not understand the power of intention. Realize that EVERY thought is truly an intention. Every thought. So most people manifest a cluttered mish-mash of conflict in their lives because their thoughts are in conflict. They simultaneously set a goal and then unset it. “I want to start my own business.” “I wonder if it will work.” “I wonder if I’ll succeed.” “Maybe this won’t work.” “Maybe John is right, and this is a mistake.” “No, I’m pretty sure it will work just fine.”
If you are trying to achieve goals on the level of action-reaction, meaning that you’re purely focused on the action steps, while at the higher level of intention-manifestation, you’re putting out conflicting thoughts, then you’re sabotaging yourself. If you go on a diet and exercise like crazy, while all the while thinking, “I’m fat. This is hopeless. This is taking too long,” then your higher level intentions will override your actions, and negative or incongruent results will follow.
If you want to achieve a goal, you must clear out all the “hopefully” and “maybe” and “can’t” nonsense from your consciousness. You cannot allow yourself the luxury of a negative thought, and that is an intention to manifest what you don’t want. This takes practice of course, but it is the essential art of learning to use your consciousness to create what you want. When you are congruent in your thoughts, your goal will manifest with ease. But when you are incongruent in your thoughts, you will manifest conflict and obstacles. As within, so without.
Why is it you’re able to do this? Because you have that power. Not believing in yourself simply means you’re using your own power against yourself. You’re like a god saying, “Let me be powerless,” and you don’t even realize it. If you think/intend weakness, you manifest weakness. If you project your power outside yourself and onto the external world, you lose your power.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to do this. It is a natural human ability. But it takes practice to develop your consciousness to the level where you can apply it and especially to learn to trust it.
What happens if you decide to manifest a really, really big goal, one that seems physically impossible? The process will still work. It’s just that there will be a lot more steps, and you may be led through various synchronicities for years before you’ve reached the point where your ultimate goal can manifest. It might take longer than your human lifetime if the goal is so big. But you will certainly make progress if you use this approach.
So what is your goal? Say it out loud right now, and let it be for the greatest good of all. Then say to the universe, “Make it so.” Wait for the synchronicities and unusual coincidences to arrive. Follow them where they want to lead you, even if it seems strange at first. Allow your goal to manifest.