We are gathered in a large convention centre, one usually used for corporate conferences and swimming pool expos, with the lights dimmed, our eyes closed, attempting to call forth our "spirit guides”.
One woman sees the Archangel Michael, another envisions Gandhi, and one says she was "visited" by the high priestess of mind-body-spirit connection, Louise Hay, who placed angel wings on her back.
Gabrielle Bernstein, a “spirit junkie” who claims to be able to help people learn to attract the life they want.
I might have been envious of these otherworldly encounters, except envy is an emotion of low "vibrational energy" and that’s not where you want to linger. Not when you’re in the presence of Gabrielle Bernstein, the American motivational speaker and life coach who’s created a lucrative global business by helping people "manifest" their dreams.
That's who we came here to see this day (at a cost of $245). The angel guides were just a bonus. This sassy New York-born "spirit junkie" in skinny white jeans and ankle boots and perfect GHD waves draws "seekers" from all over the world clambering for a dose of her wisdom.
I am one of them.
I have read a couple of Gabrielle Bernstein’s seven books including her #1 New York Times best seller, The Universe Has Your Back, I’ve listened to her Oprah Super Soul Sessions talk, am one of her 743K Instagram followers, and, more recently, signed up for her online 21 Day Manifesting Challenge.
She has a way of cutting through the demands of daily life to compel us to step up, to do better and be better, satiating our collective yearning for more meaning. For me, she makes sense of the ethereal concept that we create our own reality by cultivating unwavering faith in "universal law", and surrendering to a presence greater than ourselves in order to become what Gabrielle calls a "super attractor" by changing our thoughts, and ergo changing our lives.
“Every one of us has super attractor power”, Gabrielle tells us. “Thoughts become reality and they settle in”.
She draws on a roll call of teachers of new age wisdom, quotes from the 1976 book by Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles and the Bible, choosing sections that project the old-as-the-hills doctrine that what we put out we get back: we are the masters of our own destiny.
Her unique offering is her relatability. This is a woman who peeled herself off the floor of her apartment one day in 2005 after years of alcohol and drug abuse, lured by a voice "from spirit". “Get clean and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams," it said. And so began her mission to be a “source of love and inspiration in the world”.
In this room, you’re either in or you’re not.
She tells us that to become a "super attractor" you have to start from the premise that there is a higher power. Or at least be open to the idea. “Spirit, universe, angels, god, I don’t care what you call it”, she says. “I just care that you call upon it”.
For me, Gabrielle has made spirituality cool. She makes it hip to put your faith in an infinite power, a "non physical presence". “I decided to push the metaphysical envelope," she laughs. Cool by us. It’s perfectly normal to speak of "the universe" and spirit guides here, of losing your way and finding it again. Of seeing signs, hearing voices and reading into everything.
Bernstein believes she was able to "manifest" a pregnancy for a baby who took three years to conceive, and that "handing it over to the universe" also pulled her out of chronic post-natal depression.
“Does anyone have a deep desire they feel far away from?” She asks. Ah, don’t we all? “Commit to shift your mindset," she says. “People think when I get that thing I’ll be happy but it’s the other way around. When I’m happy everything begins to unfold”. I, for one, am willing to try this on.
Jacinta Tynan is a Sky News Presenter and author of 'Mother Zen'. @jacintatynan
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