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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Are You in Alignment with the Real You?

Let’s look at the concept of alignment first. It basically refers to positioning, to being in a line with something else. We get our tires aligned. We align a text in a document we write in such a way that the margins are straight and uniform. Wikipedia tells us that alignment is the adjustment of an object in relation to other objects.

How does this apply to us as human beings?

Better Results

To answer that we might like to look at the effect of aligning any of the examples mentioned. Aligned tires run in unison. Because of their alignment, the car works more efficiently. In a document that is aligned, the text looks more polished and pulled together, more professional. An object that has been adjusted in relation to other objects generally works more smoothly, and we can count on better results.

When we look at ourselves, it’s a similar story…we get better results, we work better, we function better, things go more smoothly. You might say that being in alignment is like getting a regiment of soldiers all lined up…and so it is if your inner and outer selves are aligned

How To Tell When You Aren’t Aligned

When you are feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, not calm, not peaceful---agitated, mixed up, at cross-purposes, jittery, and so on, you can pretty well count on the fact that you are not aligned with who you really are. Can you imagine lining up a banana with a walnut? It just doesn’t work, does it? One is more or less round, and hard, and brown. The other is elongated, curved, soft, and yellow. They align in the sense that both need their outer shell or peel to be removed in order to be eaten, but other than that, there is little alignment that takes place between the two.

And so it is with you, when you are aligning yourself to some way of life, or living your life, or some purpose that has nothing to do with who you really are at the core of your being. The feelings of uneasiness, discomfort, agitation, etc. are showing you as clearly as if there were a signpost on the road: This is not the way to go forward.

Where Does This Really Take Us?

If we really wanted to unravel the thread from which this whole topic hangs, we would in fact need to look not only to who we are in the flesh-and-blood sense, using all those labels that help us understand who someone is in the greater scheme of mundane activity, but we would also need to look far beyond that. I loved Gary Zukav’s term – now much-used – but when I first read it in May 1989 when I discovered his The Seat of the Soul in a tucked-away-in-the-corner bookshop in Geneva on a business trip, no one was really using the term he liberally sprinkles throughout the book of multi-dimensionality. We are all multi-dimensional.

Being of this world is part of it. But we are so much more, and that is where we often wind up out of whack, so to speak, because we are simply not listening to our inner voice, our inner guidance system, call it intuition (even Antonio Damasio, the world-renowned neuro-scientist – famous for his Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain calls it intuition, as do researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, which has just published a book by Gerd Gigerenzer about this subject called Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious), call it what you will, but it’s that part inside of us that knows very well what is the best way for us to go each day so that we get to the place we had initially intended to aim for. That wonderful series of books, also in the 80’s, by Jane Roberts, about Seth talking about the eternal validity of the soul, takes the topic one step further.

I know those last paragraphs carry a lot of punch. I won’t make it even heavier by going on and on, but consider this: how do you know that you are just the you that you see in the mirror and that you feel when you touch yourself, and that feels something not so good when you are sad or angry? That is your personality and your ego. There’s so much more to you than that, you know..

And that’s what gets misaligned when you are not paying attention to it. (See also my May 2007 Newsletter: Tending Your Inner Garden).

(If this sounds confusing or bizarre to you, you could start with the idea of the observer, or witness, as it is often called in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation techniques (see books by Jon Kabat-Zinn). Eckhart Tolle also speaks of it. The observer is that part of you that is observing what you are doing or commenting on what you are doing – to yourself – as you do it, as in: you are such an idiot, you couldn’t even get the ball over the net. The one who observes and criticizes is one part and the one who played and didn’t get the ball over the net is another part. As you explore this path, you will find that the observer is capable of becoming more and more detached from the part that we generally call our body or personality or ego. That’s where it starts to get interesting from an alignment point of view.

The Long and Winding Road…

Where does that part of you that you call intuition come from? Out of a mote of dust? A ray of sunshine? The ether? And where does your inner knowledge that you and Suzy or John have some kind of connection come from, when the two of you have just met right now? From logical, empirical thought? And why do you think of your cousin just moments before he calls you? Was that coincidence? Or ESP? Or maybe it was a deeper knowing that you have inside of you that comes from a part of you that you simply tend not to pay attention to because it’s not considered a priority in this world of external, material results.

And if that is so, wouldn’t it make sense that you need to be aligned with that part? That part that gives you such normally unavailable information? That part that somehow seems to know so much more than your personality or ego part. That part that appears to be connected to an inner knowing to which your outer personality or ego has no access. Imagine it like an external hard drive that you have just discovered. It’s always been there, but you never perceived it. Now you are learning how to connect it to your laptop, and now you are beginning to recognize the incredible richness of material already stored on this hard drive that you are only now learning how to access.

Your eternal self, your intuition, your inner knowing is like that external hard drive, except it is not external to you, but right there, part of you, and has always been part of you, despite the fact that you may never have been aware of it, or, despite the fact that you may have always denied its existence each time it tried to communicate with you.

Simple, really

When you have been sitting for too long hunched over the computer, or at an assembly line, your body screams for a stretch, right? And once you do, your stiff muscles loosen and you feel better. You feel more physically aligned. And being aligned with who you really are is kind of like that.

You go on every day doing things that may or may not be right for you, and sooner or later you notice a stiffness, you notice that something is not right. That’s when you are not aligned. That’s when you need to consider some of what this article is about. Because if you are not feeling right in your skin, it’s a message from that same inner part of you that knows about the connection with Suzy or John, or that thinks about your cousin moments before he calls. That inner part of you is just as much a part of you – if not much, much more – than those muscles that get stiff after too much hunching over the computer.

The difference between it and the muscles is that we have no anatomy books that tell us about it. We have no empirical information that tells us where we can see it or study it. All we can do is go by what we sense, and when we feel unaligned, at least a part of the reason that we feel that way, is because that part of us, that unseen, but very much sensed and felt part of us, is not in alignment with what we are doing and thinking and saying in the outer world.

Here’s a thought: if you are saying this is nonsense, I don’t believe this, we don’t have such a part…if we did, we would be able to show it, prove it, demonstrate it empirically, then you might think of the radio, or your TV, or brain waves, or sub-atomic particles. We know there is electricity. We know frequencies allow us to hear the radio, or watch TV. Quantum physicists tell us about sub-atomic particles that change, just because they have an observer, and cellular biologists tells us that the way we think changes our very DNA (see also Bruce Lipton, The Biology of Belief, and the Wisdom of Our Cells) and we believe in all those things despite not being able to see them. All we see are the results. So it is with this, our inner sense of knowing and intuition, our inner observer. We can’t touch it. But we can see the results.

Getting More Aligned

What is the best sign of alignment? Inner peace. So simple. And so wonderful once it is achieved.

So how can you get there? Start paying attention to those feelings of misalignment that come about via your body, your mind, and your feelings. Recognize that you have these wonderful built-in devices that help you figure things out. (Also see my article: The Energy Barometer: Make Your Mind-Body Connection Work For You). Don’t ignore this treasure trove of information that you get from yourself by telling yourself that it’s lacking in empirical proof, it’s not rational or logical. Recognize that this is a part of you that is eternal and it is giving priceless knowledge to the part of you that is finite and passing.

What this whole thing concerns is the alignment of that finite part with the eternal part. That gives inner peace. And inner peace is a prize far more valuable than any that might please your finite, more mundane part. This is another step to inner freedom…this is one of the most important ones of the many you have encountered in this series of articles I have been offering over the past years.


  1. Fantastic article.

    I find that transition times whack me out of alignment. In fact, many things are able to make me feel unaligned, so I have chosen to see my state of alignment as a destination inside me - a place I like to be. Every time I feel unsettled, I ask myself: "What is the path back to inner peace?" That helps me focus on finding the way rather than berating myself for getting off track again.


  2. Brenda: that's a great way of looking at it. I wish more people were as self-aware as you appear to be ... it (self-awareness) is such a wonderful tool to help oneself get back on track, as you say.