Photo Credit: Stéphan Valentin, Unsplash.com

Written by Raluca Gomeaja
July 1, 2020

All human beings fundamentally want the same thing: to be happy. And yet you’ve heard so many times, that happiness isn’t a destination, but a journey.

So much of what we do or what we think and what we feel’s 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 are we highly-energized, full of enthusiasm, ready to move mountains, but we also 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. This is a concept that Bruce D Schneider, Founder of iPEC, speaks of often. That capacity of going through life while using a three-dimensional image: seeing a situation as a whole and all at the same time, not only thinking of one dimension but of each of the three dimensions. Internal alignment’s a part of this process. And my coaching clients probably know this by heart now, when we’re speaking about the triangle.

Imagine an equilateral triangle where the three angles are logic, emotions, and intuition. When we’re balanced, all our angles are equal, and we’re standing in the middle feeling fully connected. We hear all the messages coming in 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 can we 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, for your own life. There’s no limit to that imagination nor to the life we deserve and can have.

Second, because you, me (and all humans alike) want to be happy, as Geshe Tenzin Damchoe teaches: happiness isn’t something that we obtain in a second, or in a day, or in a week, or even in a year; it’s a permanent intention, a practice, an attention; we keep moving into that direction.

Geshe speaks about how long it takes to grow an apple. We start with a seed, and from there a lot of things must happen before we can pick an apple up and eat it. We need to water the tree and allow the sun the time to do its job. We learn patience and the joy of watching the seed become a little green sprout and slowly growing into a tree (and blooming its first flowers). And eventually, we see the fruits start to grow, turning red, and ready for us to eat.

It doesn’t happen overnight.

And yet it takes only one minute to cut and kill a tree.

It’s the same with our happiness journey. It takes patience and the joy of growing. The truth of the path. The experience of moving forward. It’s a permanent practice. The apple tree doesn’t say “right now I’m too tired to grow,” or “I’ll take a break.” It doesn’t complain about the wind blowing too fast or the sun not being warm enough. It just continues its growing—and eventually, it’ll produce its fruits.

It takes time to grow an apple tree; and most importantly, it takes the right seed. Geshe smiles when pondering about why one plants a chili seed, expecting to get an apple.

It’s far 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 stabbed 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 take down an apple tree within a minute or so. So being aware of that, paying attention to that, and having a conscious approach to understanding when we’re lacking alignment, instead of giving up we can seek out what can put us back in alignment. It’s an amazing tool, and with practice, it can become our norm.

When we know about internal alignment, we know when to stop. And instead of cutting that tree down, we can find out how to get back in full alignment with our 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 someone 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’re at. Meaning, they come with their own history, beliefs, values, experiences, feelings, thinking process, blockages, and so on. So, ignoring that, we move directly into judgment, 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 live their own life.

To move forward, imagine we meet them not only where they’re at, but also where we’re 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 just that: being open to listening to all the information we have. In any particular situation, what’s 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 to 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’re not aligned? The short answer is, “we’re disengaged from our own life.”

Remember Our Triangle

In our western society, we’re trained to use our brains. To be rational, to be Carthusians, to think everything through. The brain’s a beautiful instrument, yet at the same time, what’s happening when it’s overused? It no longer works. Like a knife, we over sharpen it and it no longer cuts.

How many times have you felt that you keep going again and again and again around a problem without finding a solution? We go into overthinking. We get trapped. Because, in our minds, we’re always right.

Logic’s a fantastic decision tool. We need to be able to use our own logic in order to operate in life, to make decisions, and to move on. Yet it can easily overdo it as well. In trying to prove we’re right all the time. Finding arguments why this should be like this and not like that. And when too many conditions have to happen in the same span of time—and some things aren’t as they “should” be—the logical connections can no longer operate.

Then we turn in circles again and again and again. Thinking, “I can’t find a solution,” or, “there is no solution.” Remember how many times you’ve felt this way . . .

No matter how much we think we can’t see it. We’re blocked by indecision, and also increasing our mental tiredness, thereby making the decision process even more complex.

Going back to our triangle, what happens when the logic angle becomes too big? What becomes of the other two angles? They become smaller, almost nonexistent. When overthinking we cut ourselves off from the other information that could provide the right data to move forward.

The same thing happens when we’re using too much of our own emotions. Emotions are the most beautiful things to experience life. Humans come with emotions.

Now most of us in western societies are trained to move away from our emotions, likely not to be seen or judged as weak, etc. When we feel too many emotions, we can quickly become overwhelmed by them. When we feel too much sadness, we feel numb and not able to take any action. When we feel too much anger, we could do things that we regret a long while, having been 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 can no longer see the danger. Now, imagine what’s happening with our triangle when we have that. The logic and the intuition angles are so small we can certainly not get much use of them.

Finally, what’s happening when we don’t consider our intuition? When do we think that voice inside of us isn’t real?

What happens when we ignore it, when we cut it down by overthinking or overwhelming emotions?

  • What dreams will we not fulfill?
  • What journey will we not take?
  • What life experience are we left with?

What an immense source of sorrow and regrets. We know this deep down, yet we don’t want that voice to speak aloud any longer.

Working on internal alignment’s 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’s worth it. It may not be easy, yet it’s worth it. And most important, there’s a way to get there.

Happiness isn’t an intangible, unachievable, unrealistic target.

Happiness 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. As Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we do better.

Three Steps to Keep Moving Forward

  1. Create your own triangle. You can draw it on your journal, on a vision board, or you can take a picture of it and save it as a screen for your phone or your computer. Make it visible for you so it can be a simple reminder that alignment’s the key and that it’s up to you to be aware and to achieve it.
  2. Start this practice every day, every time you have a decision to make:
    • What is it that I feel right now about this step? What is the message of this 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 and sometimes not. Yet even when they’re not, you’ll be able to take a logical decision, or an intuitive decision, or an emotional decision, and any of these three will be taken while fully conscious. Not out of fear.
  3. Ask yourself: right now, what decision do I want to make? What kind of life experience do I want to have? Who’s in charge of making that decision? Most people live like they’re immortals. Yet, when you look back at your life, what’s something you know you’ll wish you could have done, experienced, felt, sensed, or known—and 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.

This article contains interpretations of the concepts taught by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)
Photo Credit: Stéphan Valentin, Unsplash.com