Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Alignment Is in the Center of What Is

The universe has given me an opportunity lately to learn more about the nature of desire. I have been wanting something, and the wanting has been powerful. The object of my desire was something I considered not appropriate. So naturally, I tried not to want it. I failed. Then I decided to simply deny myself what I desired. That made me want it more. I judged myself for wanting it, which made me think that I wasn’t a very good person, but it didn’t make the desire go away.

All of this wanting, I complained to a friend, was pulling me out of alignment. Alignment was over there, in the land of peaceful equanimity, desireless, serene. I, however, was over here, in the land of disturbance, confusion, frustration, discomfort. I did not like it, except for the part of me that did. I wanted relief – either by getting what I desired, or by turning my back on it and rejecting it.

Desire was a problem. I decided to delve into the nature of desire, to understand it better, so that I could get rid of it and restore inner balance. I spent three days in contemplation and inquiry.

On the third day I realized that desire was not the problem. My struggle with desire was the problem. My mistake was thinking that alignment was anywhere other than where I was. Alignment can only be here, now, in the center of what is.

So I quit fighting. My job was not to make desire disappear. My job was to stay aligned in the center of desire, to maintain awareness, to tolerate the uncertainty and discomfort, to neither grasp nor repulse, to allow what arises to just be, to touch it all with compassion.

Easy? Not always. Just like physical balance, inner balance is not static. It is dynamic, requiring sensitivity, feedback, constant micro adjustments. It takes practice, especially when the winds blow fierce, yet it is a skill worth cultivating. I need not be concerned about the desire that provoked this inquiry, because when we are in alignment, we can trust our inner guidance to show us the way.

When the basis for your actions is inner alignment with the present moment, your actions become empowered by the intelligence of life itself. ~Eckhart Tolle

2 thoughts on “Alignment Is in the Center of What Is”

  1. Conveyance Doctor

    Sadly, on this date of Transition of Thich Nhat Hanh, your posting has reminded me of the Four Noble Truths…as explained by Thay. (Or happily??) As you explain your suffering, ill-being, due to a desire that you don’t want to desire, I have a deeper/different understanding of suffering. In one sense I want to say, “Thank you”, for this very personal posting. But that would be selfish of me…perhaps an ill-being that I need to address…

    1. I didn’t know that Thich Nhat Hanh had died till I read your comment. What a humble giant of gentle compassion.

      You know, once I aligned myself in the center of desire, the desire was no longer a problem. Suffering ceased, once again proving the wisdom of the Four Noble Truths which teach us that attachment/aversion (which I’m describing as struggle) is the source of suffering. Aligning myself in the center of what was happening also led to my current posts about trust. I found that when I was in the center, I didn’t need to worry about the desire. I only needed to stay focused on and trust the alignment. The desire took care of itself and faded in intensity when I was no longer fighting with it. Thanks for commenting, CD.

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