How Intentions Manifest

This is a description of the general pattern I experience in manifesting intentions.

Creating the intention

First, I get clear about what I want to manifest. Through meditation I put myself into a very relaxed state of mind, and I implant my new intention by concentrating on it for at least 60 seconds. The meditation is nothing complicated; I usually just do a few minutes of deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.

I imagine my intention visually, so in my mind’s eye, I picture what my life will be like once the intention has already manifested. I inject a lot of positive emotion into these visualizations as well. If I can’t create strong positive emotions, then I know there’s no real desire. In that case I’ll either drop or alter the intention. Intentions without desire have very little power to manifest. If I don’t really, really, really want it, there’s no point in intending it. For example, intending a big screen TV for myself doesn’t work because I just don’t care enough about that sort of thing.

Alpha reflection

Usually within 24-72 hours of putting out a new intention, I experience the alpha reflection. I receive validation that the intention has taken hold. Normally this takes the form of a very noticeable synchronicity. Sometimes the synchronicity is part of manifesting the results; other times it just seems to be an acknowledgement that the intention was received. Many Million Dollar Experiment participants report alpha reflections within the first couple days of joining, like finding some extra money on the ground.

Last week I put out the intention to double my monthly income. A couple days later, an article I wrote last year got an unexpected link from a major media outlet, which sent me tons of new traffic. In one day I received almost $300 in donations, not to mention a significant boost in ad revenue (more than double my daily average). This temporary boost was congruent with my original intention, and it’s a good example of an alpha reflection. The intention didn’t actually manifest yet — it’s simply the universe’s way of saying, “Thanks, got it!”

Interestingly, I’ve noticed that the more I trust and expect my intentions to manifest, the weaker the alpha reflections are (in terms of their magnitude). I think this is partly because I’ve grown so accustomed to working with intention-manifestation that I don’t need to be beaten over the head with validation anymore. I’m just able to trust it. I still see the alpha reflections, but they aren’t normally as jolting. I don’t recall putting out an intention this year and not seeing a clear alpha reflection within a week, so I’m pretty sure it’s always there when the intention is properly formed. Recently I’ve put out over a dozen new intentions, and I enjoyed seeing all the creative winks from the universe to acknowledge their receipt.

Calm before the storm

The alpha reflection dies down pretty quickly, and then there’s a lull that can last anywhere from several days to several weeks. This period used to frustrate me because I thought my intentions had totally fizzled, and I know it frustrates many Million Dollar Experiment participants too — lots of people give up during this time. Big mistake! This is just the calm before the storm. It’s also the period where it’s most crucial to continue holding the intention and to carefully avoid putting out conflicting intentions. If I start harboring thoughts like, “Why isn’t this working?” or “I wonder if this will work,” I kill the intention. I must know it will work. Sometimes I kill intentions on purpose during this time when I realize I don’t really want them or if I think of something better to intend. It took me years of practice to develop the mental discipline to control my thoughts well enough to stay focused on what I want and not allow myself the luxury of contemplating what I don’t want. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m finally halfway decent at this now, and it makes a significant difference.

Beta reflection

As I continue to hold the intention and faithfully expect its manifestation, I eventually experience the beta reflection. Typically this begins more than a week after the intention is first formed. Whereas the alpha reflection is just an acknowledgement that the intention has been received, the beta reflection is the substantial beginning of the real manifestation.

The beta reflection is much longer, stronger, and slower than the alpha reflection. Imagine a thunderstorm. If the alpha reflection is a lightning flash, the beta reflection is the rolling thunder that arrives much later. Both originated with the same event, but they reach you at different times.

The beta reflection generally arrives in three forms: ideas, opportunities, and resources.

First, I experience a noticeable surge in ideas related to my original intention. These ideas may come in the form of spontaneous inspiration, or they may arrive through other people. For example, I might get a new optimization idea that takes only 20 minutes to implement and instantly boosts my income. Sometimes a good idea is all I need to manifest what I want, so I can carry it to completion on my own. But if the intention is big enough, then ideas and direct action won’t be enough by themselves.

The beta reflection also brings new opportunities. Often these seem to come out of nowhere. Someone I don’t even know may bring me a juicy opportunity related to my intention, even though I haven’t told anyone about it yet.

Lastly, the beta reflection brings new resources, which may include information, people, money, etc. Whatever is required to manifest the intention eventually comes into my life. Often I’ll experience three or more random people recommending the same book to me on the same day, and that book will just happen to contain exactly the answers I need to manifest my intention.

It’s still important to continue holding the intention during the beta reflection, but it’s not as difficult as during the pre-beta lull because now you have some genuine momentum. It doesn’t require as much faith to see that the intention is starting to manifest — even the logical mind is able to see it coming together. The main thing is to keep your logical mind from screwing it up by trying to control the process too much.

Depending on the complexity of the intention, the beta reflection can last for months or years. In fact, I believe our overall results in life can be interpreted as the long-term summation of our beta reflections from a lifetime of intentions. Whatever you imagine with enough energy will eventually manifest. If your thoughts are clear and focused, you’ll manifest your desires relatively quickly and easily. If your thoughts are jumbled and chaotic, you’ll manifest a seemingly random and haphazard life for yourself.


With the expansion of the beta reflection, the ultimate manifestation comes together in a fairly straightforward manner. Usually there’s some form of direct action involved, but the actions that follow are smooth, flowing, and easy. No tedium or struggle is required. The universe does 80-90% of the work. The final combination of ideas, opportunities, and resources are high leverage, making it possible to achieve fantastic results with a minimal investment of time and energy.

About five years ago, this intention-manifestation process was just a curiosity to me. I remember when I first noticed, “Wow, I can create synchronicities!” I got really good at creating alpha reflections, but that was it — no betas. At first I was frustrated because I couldn’t manage to stay focused on my desires long enough. I kept falling back into old thought patterns and inadvertently killed my best intentions within a matter of days, sometimes within a matter of hours. I’d think about building my business and then worry about how I was going to manage it. I’d think about improving my marriage and then have thoughts about breaking up. I’d think about moving to a nicer home and later imagine renewing my existing lease. No results but the status quo. I found it incredibly frustrating to be betrayed by my own thoughts.

One of the keys for me was to fully accept that staying focused on my desires was absolutely critical, not optional. Regardless of whether I think the universe is objective or subjective, I know that my dominant thoughts are the key determinants of my results in life. My thoughts control my decisions, and my decisions over time control my results. When I really understood that, I assumed a new level of responsibility for every thought that went through my mind. I decided to take conscious control of my thoughts no matter what. I saw that I could no longer afford to have my mind haphazardly dwelling on things I didn’t want.

Lately I’ve developed a tremendous respect for the power of intention. As I keep experimenting with it, I see abundant evidence that something very powerful is happening behind the scenes. I’m achieving my goals more easily than ever before. I’m doing more meditation and thinking and taking a lot less direct action. I do what feels most natural to me, and it just seems to work out perfectly. I allow the universe to handle most of the details while I focus on the high-level outcomes.

I will surely continue experimenting with the power of intention. Presently I spend about 30 minutes a day just holding my intentions and letting them swirl around in my imagination. Then I sit back and watch my external reality shift little by little to come into alignment with these intentions. The cumulative effect still blows me away. If I’m right about where this is heading, we should witness some enormously positive changes in my life over the next several years. I don’t know how long these beta reflections will take to fully unfold, but I’m certainly looking forward to finding out.

Use SMOG, not MOSG

When I was first learning to drive a car, my drivers education teacher taught me the acronym SMOG, which stands for Signal, Mirror, Over the shoulder, Go. It’s the order of actions to perform when changing lanes on the highway. Note that the first action is to signal your intention to change lanes. Of course, what do most people do? In practice they follow something like MOSG: Mirror, Over the shoulder, Signal, Go. They first determine whether or not they can change lanes by looking for an opening. If there’s no opening, they wait. They speed up or slow down to find a spot. They’re afraid that if they signal first when there’s no opening, they’ll look like a dolt because no one will let them in. But the truth is that even if there isn’t an opening, many drivers will allow you an opening if you signal first. If you don’t signal, the only way they can tell you want to change lanes is via telepathy. The longer you signal, even when there’s no opening at first, the more pressure you build in the other drivers to let you in.

This is a great analogy for how intention-manifestation works. You have to signal (intend) first. Sometimes if you look before signaling, there just won’t be an opening. But signal anyway, and you’ll create the very opening you seek.

For example, if you want a new relationship, let the universe know what you want. Signal! Don’t check your mirrors first to see if there’s someone available in the next lane. You’ll miss way too many wonderful opportunities that way.

Don’t give up!

It requires significant mental discipline to manifest both the alpha and the beta reflections of your intentions. Without the ability to stay mentally focused on what you want, noisy and conflicting mental chatter will destroy your best intentions before they have a chance to take root. It may take years of practice to develop the ability to stay focused on what you want. But the time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well put it to good use. I’ve even found it helpful to simply intend to get better at manifesting. Don’t give up!