All human beings want the same thing: to be happy. And yet you have heard that so many times, happiness is not a destination but a journey.
So much of what we do or what we think and what we feel is coming from how much we are aligned or not. Aligned with our own core values. Aligned with who we are deep down. Aligned with our feelings, and our emotions. Aligned with our logic and rationality. Aligned with our gut and intuition. Aligned with our genius inside us, aligned with our own potential.
When we feel that deep alignment not only we are highly energized, full of enthusiasm, ready to move mountains, but also we have a sense of purpose and fulfillment as well as a deep sense of connection with ourselves and with others.
The main question is: what makes us feel aligned?
In coaching we speak about holographic thinking, that ability to see many perspectives at once. That is a concept that my dear Bruce D Schiender the founder or Ipec speaks a lot of. That capacity of going through life using like a tree dimensional image: seeing a situation like a whole and in the same time, not only thinking of one dimension but of each of three dimensions. Internal alignment is part of this process. And my coaching clients probably know this by heart now, we speaking about the triangle.
Imagine an equilateral triangle where the 3 angles are logic, emotions, intuition. When we are at balanced all our angles are equals, and we are standing in the middle feeling fully connected. We hear all the messages, from our logic, from our emotions and from our intuition. And when all the messages go in the same direction, when we know that this is the way, when we feel that this is the way and when we sense that this is our way, nothing can stop us.
Why is that important?
First, because we only have one life. Imagine what kind of life we can have from that perspective? Imagine all that we could experience, all that we could achieve, all that we could build, all that we could live. For real, your own life. There is no limit to that imagination nor to the life we deserve and can have.
Second, because you, me and like all humans we want to be happy; as my dear Geshe Tenzin Damchoe teaches: happiness is not something that we obtain in a second, or in a day or in a week or even in a year; it is a permanent intention, practice, attention, we keep moving into that direction. Geshe-la speaks about how long it takes to grow an apple. We start with a seed and from there till we can pick and eat an apple a lot of things must happen. We need to water it, and allow the sun the time to do its job, and we learn patience, and joy of seeing the seed becoming a little green sprout and slowly growing into a tree and blooming its first flowers and eventually we see the fruits starting to grow, and turning red and ready for us.
It does not happen overnight.
And yet it takes just 1 minute to cut it, to kill a tree.
The same with our happiness journey. It takes the patience and the joy of growing. The truth of path. The experience of moving forward. It is a permanent practice. The apple tree does not say “right now I am too tired to grow”. “I’ll take a break”. It does not complain about the wind blowing too fast, or the sun not being too warm. It just continues its growing, and eventually it will produce its fruits.
It takes time to grow an apple tree, and most important it takes the right seed. As Geshe-la smiles about why do you plant a chili seed expecting to get an apple?
Finally, as mentioned before it is far more easier to give up, many things happen in life, we can get sick, we can lose parents or loved ones, we can get cheated on, we can get stab in the back by dear friends or partners, we can experience tremendous pain and suffering. And sometimes we just feel like giving up. It takes one big cut to put down an apple tree, with a minute or so. So being aware of that, paying attention to that and having a conscious approach on understanding when we are lacking alignment and instead of giving up to seek what can put us back in alignment it is a an amazing tool and with practice can became our norm. When we know about internal alignment we know when to stop, and instead of cutting that tree down as it does not longer produce a single apple to find out how we can get back in deep full alignment with self. When our mind, body and soul are aligned we start healing, we start growing again, we start seeing results, we start smiling again. We move forward.
Imagine we meet a person and we want to have a deep connection with that person. It can be any relation: friendship, work, business, love. Where do we meet that person? We meet them where they are at. Meaning they come with their own history, believes, values, experiences, feelings, thinking process, blockages, and so more. So ignoring that, we move directly into judgement, he/she is like that. What do we know about their journey? Who are we to say this is good or this is bad. They do live their own life.
To move forward, imagine we meet them not only where they are at but also where we are at. We come with our own luggage, of emotions, and blockages, and beliefs, and judgments, and so much more.
Imagine what kind of life experience and connection we could have by coming from a place of knowing who we are.
Internal alignment is that : being opened to listen to all the information we have: In this particular situation what is my logic telling me? what are my emotions telling me? what is my intuition telling me?
We all have access to this information, it just takes practice to tap into those messages and be able to observe.
It takes trust that one could listen, one could access, one could decide not out of fear but in a conscious present way.
And what happens when we are not aligned: the short answer is “We are disengaged from our own life”.
Remember our triangle:
In our western society we are trained to use our brain. To be rational, to be Carthusians, to think through. Brain is a beautiful instrument; In the same time, what is happening when over used? It does not longer work. Like a knife we over sharp it no longer cuts. How many times have you feel that you keep going again and again and again around a problem without finding a solution? Why, because we go into overthinking. We get trapped. Because, in our mind we are always right. Logic is a fantastic decision tool, we need to be able to use our own logic in order to operate in life, to make decision and to move on. Yet it can easily go in overdoing as well. In trying to prove we are right all the time. Finding arguments why this shall be like this and not like this. And when too many conditions have to happen in the same time, and some are not there, the logical connections can no longer operate. And we turn in circle again and again and again. Thinking: “I cannot find a solution; or, there is no solution”. Remember how many times you felt this way… No matter how much we think we cannot see it. Now by doing so not only we increase frustration, we are blocked by no decision, we are also increasing our mental tiredness. Therefore, making even more complex the decision process. Going back to our triangle, what happens when the logic angle becomes too big; what happens with the other 2 angles? They become smaller, almost inexistent. When in overthinking we cut ourselves from the other information that could provide the right data to move forward.
The same when we are using too much our own emotions. Emotions are the most beautiful things to have to experience life. Humans come with emotions. Now most of us in the western societies we are trained to move away from our emotions, like not to be seen or judged as weak, etc. When we feel too many emotions, we can quickly be overwhelmed by them. When we feel too much sadness, we feel numbed and not able to take any actions. When we feel too much anger , we could do things that we regret after a while, blinded by our anger. When we feel too much fear we could be completely paralyzed and not able to move forward. And when we feel too much joy, we could take inconsiderable risks as we cannot longer see the danger. Now imagine what is happening with our triangle when we have that. The logic and the intuition angles are so small we can definitely not use them much.
Finally, what is happening when we don’t consider our intuition? When we think that voice inside of us is not real. When we ignore it, when we cut it down by overthinking or overwhelming emotions? What dreams we do not fulfill? What journey we do not take? What life experience do we have? And overall what an immense source of sorrow and regrets. We know this deep down ourselves, yet we don’t want that voice to speak loud any longer.
Working on internal alignment is one of the best things we could do to live life at our full potential. It does take practice, and the right coach to help you with the process. And the process may not always feel fun, but it is worth it. It may not be easy, yet it is worth it. And most important, there is a way to get there.
Happiness is not an intangible, unachievable, unrealistic target. It is a way of living when we learn how to practice and honor life. As long as we know and trust there is a way. Awareness is the first step, when we know better we do better.
Here are 3 steps to keep this moving forward:
- Create your own triangle, you can draw it on your journal, on a vision board, you can take a picture of it and save it as a back screen for your phone or your computer. Make it visible for you so it can be a simple reminder that alignment is the key and that is up to you to be aware and to achieve it.
- Start practice this every day, every time you may have a decision to take:
- What is that I feel right now about that step? What is the message of that emotion? Write it down.
- What is my logic telling me about it? Write it down.
- What is my intuition telling me about this? Write it down.
- Sometimes the messages will be perfectly aligned, sometimes not, yet even when they are not, you will be able to take a logical decision, or an intuitive decision, or an emotional decision, and any of these 3 will be taken in full conscience. Not out of fear.
- Ask yourself: right now what decision do I want to take? What kind of life experience do I want to have? And who is in charge of taking that decision? Most people live like they are immortals. Yet when you look back at your life what is something you wish you could have done, experienced, felt, sensed, known… Now that you know better what are you willing to do?
Today you can still write the script of your life, you are the author, and you are the actor. Enjoy.