In The Zone

“Urgency without alignment is wasted energy.” I read this recently in a business article and was struck by the parallels to a spirit-filled life.

In business terms, alignment is about being in synch with the vision of the company or organization, and having all action flow from there. If your employees are taking action that isn’t lined up with the company’s vision, it is seen to be a waste of money and time.

If we see alignment as being in synch with our soul or higher self, then any action we take from an aligned place must become infinitely more powerful. In the field of positive psychology, they call it being “in flow” or “in the zone.” Some people refer to it as “a peak experience.” We’ve all been there. Those moments where you feel more alert than usual, where you trust your instincts to respond in all the best ways. You can see it in the way an athlete moves across the court or the way a dancer flows across the floor.

And the concept is by no means new. It’s been discussed throughout history and across cultures. The teachings of Buddhism and of Taoism speak of a state of mind known as the “action of inaction” or “doing without doing.”

So, what does this alignment feel like to you? Maybe it’s being so in the moment that you completely lose track of time. Maybe it’s an energy coursing through your body that gives you goosebumps. For some, it might just be a feeling of well-being that the universe seems to be reflecting back to them through non-stop green lights on the way to work, already-paid parking meters, all their favourite songs on the radio, and smiling people on the street.

My experience is that when I’m “in the zone,” the universe (or god, source, the divine) kicks into high gear to help me out. Like what happened after I began a daily “appreciation” practice. I love thinking of the universe as not only responsive, but playful and joyful. Always there, waiting for me to tune in and engage, and then joining in with a sense of fun and abandon.

For me, one of the first signs that the universe is on board is the experience of synchronicity. Carl Jung coined this phrase to describe “meaningful coincidences.” Picking up the phone to call someone who is already on the other end of the line calling you. Thinking you haven’t seen someone in a long time and then running into them the same day. Planning to buy a rake for your garden and you find one on the street in front of your house (that actually happened to me once!).

Another strong indicator that I’m in synch and the universe is playing along, is delicious encounters with nature. These are most powerful at my annual monastery retreat, like the times I’ve leaned down to take a photo of a butterfly and not only does it stay in one place for me, but it opens its wings even wider. As if to say yes, yes, aren’t I beautiful? And thank you for appreciating me. Or the time a crow flew so close to my head that I felt the tip of its wing brush my ear. Or once on holiday with my sister in British Columbia, I asked for a sign from the ocean and was presented with a sighting of killer whales on the Cortes Island ferry. It was so close and rare an encounter that the ferry actually stopped in transit as the whales swam under our boat and surfaced magnificently on the other side.

Being aligned with the power of the universe makes magic happen. When we take the time to get in synch (through prayer, meditation, a long walk, or whatever your practice is), all that we experience in the run of a day is more interesting and stimulating. Conversations are juicier and colours are brighter. Our minds are sharper and our hearts more open. We feel keenly alive.

One of the best analogies I have found for aligning with that broader, more expansive part of me is falling into a river that is already running, that is already going where I need to get to. No effort. Just flowing with the river. When I’m there, I am more creative, more resourceful, more intuitive, more efficient, more fun, more real. More me. The best me.


Originally published on my blog “This Sweet World”