Alignment (having a mechanical connotation) signifies correct or appropriate relative positions. Proper alignment is a desirable state and portends coordinated functioning. It also has an abstract character and may thus describe a position of agreement. In either case it is both an arrangement and an alliance, rather like getting the constituent parts configured and working together. I apply this metaphor to my current thinking, at least the model of my current thinking. l am determined to align my thoughts, to set myself upon a proper path and to get everything working in partnership.
This favourable predilection is however not a seasoned disposition and it is quite remarkable how misdirected I have become as the result of improper alignment. The lack of focus on this critical posture has weakened the strength of my components. One wouldn’t think of operating the most trifling bit of machinery out of alignment yet we routinely ignore the far more important mechanics of our personal relationships. Through lack of at least periodic adjustment I have allowed myself to become “out of alignment”; that is, lacking coordination and regulation.
The persuasive influences in one’s life are of course too numerous to mention, pressures and magnetisms of one sort or another which push and pull upon one’s natural trajectory. Many of the more commanding authorities have at first glance the benefit of elemental characteristics, things like family and friends, shelter and food, money and position. It requires little creativity to describe the scores of ways in which each of these essential qualities manifests itself in nurturing and predicting one’s behaviour. It is however critical to arrest the power of such inspiration to avoid the government of one’s life being overtaken by extraneous resources. I have for example discovered that certain principles which propelled me for the advantage of others were not in fact reciprocated for my benefit. This is not to suggest that there must always be reciprocity; rather that blind commitment to what is often nothing more than social convention can be for naught. I have likewise discovered that the submission to fundamental sway is at times mere brainwashing, the purifying element of which is expiation of one’s guilt. As laughable as it might sound, I have at times harboured the belief that having no children has contributed to my being an exceptionally spoiled individual and that as a result I have a duty to compensate. Even if one prefers to dismiss the Biblical mandate to “go forth and multiply” there is still strength in the clinical context of Darwinism. All told the supremacy of the concept of family, for example, is difficult to ignore the more so if one suffers the indignity of not being so inclined. Nonetheless these feelings of inadequacy even if engendered by societal myths and matriarchal reproach nonetheless deserve analysis and filtering, or in my case alignment, getting things on the right track.
Once one has aligned the rolling stock of one’s life everything else is of necessity brought in line. It is the very difference between getting on one’s horse and riding off in all directions. Alignment can be a punishing adaptation, but its beneficial repercussions are not only intellectual but also social, moral, emotional and even physical. Certainly I have the privilege at this stage of my life to accommodate pervasive alteration to my thinking and conduct. It would have been quite simple for me to have perpetuated what already existed, but the relief arising from alignment is palpable even though the accommodations of which I speak are hardly overwhelming except in my own mind. Alignment though highly rewarding is not a demonstrable condition.
Many things have become clear as the result of the alignment of my thinking. It has been a tumbling evolution, the collapse of so many stilted dominos. I emphasize that the clarity springs from the alignment itself; that is, the very act of putting one’s thoughts in the proper order brings about complete absorption in the process. The best I can describe the process is that of an awakening, stirring oneself from the tomb of habit and expectation. Once relieved of the chains of conventional behaviour the sole alternative is naturally that which promotes itself. At times the recognition of one’s uninhibited inclination can be quite startling. Trust me, I am not here talking about schoolboy discovery. No, I’m talking for example about writing people out of my last Will and Testament. The object is not expression of anger and disenchantment (though that too prevails); rather it is commandeering one’s own destiny for one’s exclusive advantage without consideration of what is either proper or expected by some irrelevant standard. It also entails sharp thinking about the people who really count, the ones who have helped along the way, the ones who have made a difference, the ones I want to remember.
It is but a modest extension of clear thinking to disinfect other less compelling though equally annoying incidents in one’s life. How readily we permit ourselves to become contaminated by false notions and untenable alliances! It perhaps speaks to my limited capacity that I have on occasion allowed myself to be overwhelmed by the purely selfish interests of others. I can’t say that I have ever objected to pragmatism from others (especially when there was something in it for me, even if not entirely balanced). But getting things properly aligned at least clarifies the exact nature of the beast and affords the opportunity to withdraw from the uncomfortable contrivance if desired. I realize I am being tiresomely oblique so I’ll be blunt – there are certain people whose company I can live without. I have in a crusading moment decided that some of them are bad apples. I specifically avoid lapsing into the dangerous vernacular of personal criticism, that never works. Part of the uplifting nature of aligning one’s thinking is that it doesn’t entail making oneself taller by standing on others. It is a purely clinical process of figuring out what matters to oneself and acting upon it. It is an absurdly simple exercise yet it is historically clouded by so many biases, intolerances and partialities. To believe what one sees is not always easy.