Alignment, as I'm talking about it here, is when you are in integrity with the highest version of yourself. If you are a spiritual person, this could mean connection to the Universe, Source, God, or flow. If you like to think of things in more earth-based terms, this could feel like a strong sense of purpose, deep satisfaction, feeling balanced and like you're exactly where you're supposed to be.
When I say "purpose" I'm not talking about vocation, although it can certainly involve what you do for a living. I want to make that point clear because I think sometimes we get dharma (our life's purpose) and what we do for a living confused. At least, I have. Sometimes I feel really connected to the purpose of simply being a kind person to everyone I come into contact with. Sometimes my purpose is to sit with a sick kid or an injured pet all day. I feel really aligned with my purpose when I am practicing complete presence with my spouse, a friend or a family member when they are sharing something important with me. When I'm in alignment I feel really present and like I'm sure that the Universe has me exactly where I'm supposed to be. For me, alignment isn't necessarily a continual state of happiness, it is more about presence, connection, non-resistance and flow.
Writing on spiritual topics makes me feel aligned. I have no clue who reads what I write and I'm honestly not focused on that, although it does delight me when someone tells me that they enjoyed what I've written. My goal is always to be of service, but I also just really enjoy the process of getting ideas "on paper" and having these conversations through writing. In this way, alignment isn't
outcome-focused for me.
Alignment also asks me to be present and open to change. Sometimes what makes me feel aligned one day or month or year completely changes. It can be a bit disorienting when something I was so passionate about no longer holds the same energy for me, but I'm learning to let go of old concepts so that I can align with new possibilities that the Universe has in store for me.
Part of being a human is doing a dance with alignment. I don't know if we ever arrive at a state of
continuous and constant balance in life, but it's a great and worthy practice to use it as a guidepost to
come back to as often as we can.
The three things that pull me OUT of alignment the quickest are: doing things only because of other people's expectations and not because I want to (people-pleasing), caring about what others think (ego) and not enough stillness (hustling).
Things that really help me with alignment are: meditation, time in nature, being truly present with my people and my animals, being IN my body (I'm often in my head), a good workout, and focusing on what I DO want instead of what I don't want. That's a challenge because we're not hardwired for happiness, we are hardwired for survival. Therefore, our brain can habitually have us looking for threats instead of what feels good.
An alignment exercise I find helpful is writing down the things that I DO want in my life. I check in with myself like this periodically because what I find meaningful and fun changes from time to time. These days, when I'm writing this stuff down, I'm focused mostly on feeling states that I'd like to experience. I want to feel at peace, creatively inspired, connected to people and animals and spiritually aligned. I want to drop fear and wear life like a loose garment. I'd like to engage in more activities that make me blissfully lose track of time. Writing this stuff down gives me ideas of what to divert my thinking to when I find myself out of alignment and thinking of what I don't want. I come up with vivid imagery of things that DO make me happy to divert my attention to when I find myself in any kind of state of resistance or negative rumination. This is one way that
I get myself back into alignment.
If you'd like to practice Meditating on Alignment, here's a suggestion....
I found a great track on Youtube called "Align with the Universe" by Inner Lotus.
Sit and breathe deeply focusing on the energy running through the physical body for as long as it takes to feel grounded and connected to your body and the present moment.
Then, inhale through the nose, exhale out of the mouth. Next, inhale through mouth, exhale out nose. Keep alternating with this breath pattern and imagine a stream of beautiful white light coming down from up above through the crown of your head and through your whole body. Allow this light to bring your energy into alignment. You don't have to figure anything out with your mind, allow the mind to relax. Follow the breath pattern and set the intention to become aligned. Do this for 5 min.
If the mind wanters, bring it back to the breath or the visualization.