Alignment and timing are powerful fundamental principles. These elements influence your life in ways that may not be immediately apparent. So, learning how to improve them can be very helpful. Read more to find out how.
Alignment and timing are not opposites. They are elements of change in a chain reaction. To have proper timing, you must first have proper alignment. So, alignment is everything because it creates the framework for proper timing. Alignment is the preparatory stage which makes perfect timing possible.
Let’s look at two examples to illustrate the importance of alignment. We’ll use the subjects of Martial Arts and Spiritual Exploration.
Timing is Everything in Martial Arts
Guru Tua Means “great teacher”. This is what we call our Dutch-Indonesian teacher. He came to the USA after World War ll. And, he is a painter, philosopher, healer, and teacher of many varieties of Chinese and Indonesian martial arts.
Martial artists spend a lot of time training their bodies and their minds. It some ways training the body is easier than training the mind. Here’s the problem. If you train and ingrain bad habits with your body, they become reactions that become difficult to change. On the positive side, this means most of commercialized martial arts training is largely ineffective. After all, you really don’t want a lot of people learning how to be warriors.
To be sure, practicing kicking and punching makes you better at these physical movements. Boxers training to be proficient at boxing. People who practice karate are more proficient at this sport. However, it important to point to remember that these are “sports” with specific rules of engagement. This is true even of mixed martial arts.
Once you train with these guidelines, you ingrain the habits in your mind and muscle memory. I learned the hard way that these are not effective outside the dojo. Rather these are martial-art like processes. True martial arts have no rules of engagement. It means training the mind differently. People think timing is everything because they only see the result.
Alignment is Everything
Real martial arts are beyond any single style or form. There are specific types of traditions that studied how to use the mind and body in efficient and effective ways for individual combat. They understood that a warrior is faces many opponents and situations. Some larger, or faster. Some had weapons and some had armor. You needed to train the mind and body to be fluid and adaptable to the rapidly changing theater of combat.
So, training the mind and body to move only within a style or form creates boundaries and obstacles to your ability to be fluid and highly adaptable. For that reason moving at the right time, to the right place, in the right way are the keys to success. This requires an understanding of alignment. It is “proper alignment” which enables one to enter the conflict as a dancer able to move fluidly and defeat your opponents.
“Speed is bull____. Alignment is everything. ― Guru Tua
Guru Tua is fond of saying and showing how alignment is more important than speed or strength in martial arts. Timing depends upon proper alignment. It requires timing to enter the dance of conflict and prevail. Perfect timing is the quality of proper alignment. Alignment applies not only to the body but also the mind.
The mind is the real tool of martial arts. It is the supercomputer enabling one to assess the people and ever-changing environment. One of these important keys is learning to control the nervous system.
Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems
Our natural reaction to a threatening situation is to engage the Sympathetic Nervous (SN) system. This activates the “fight, flight or freeze” response. The SN increases blood flow to muscles by shutting down blood flow to the skin and intestines.
Unfortunately, the brain responds to the increased adrenalin and a host of other powerful enzymes by shutting off the higher thinking centers of the brain. That’s the problem. With the SN in control, you can move quickly, but it’s reactionary. You are using the primitive mind centers controlled by the emotions of fear and anger.
In order move with proper timing you need the higher level thinking and computing functions of the mind to be online. This is why the secret to martial arts is in learning to overrides the primitive instincts. When we act out of strong emotions like anger or fear, we are more apt to error.
So, in a combat situation, you want the “thinking” center of the mind needs to be in control. The parasympathetic nervous system controls high-level think processes. This may seem counterintuitive. However, it is the parasympathetic nervous system enables proper alignment and timing. We need the higher thinking centers to assess the ever-changing combat situation. It requires Nano-second assessment and adjustments. So, a warrior trains to activate the parasympathetic system to counterbalance automatic sympathetic. Proper timing is everything and the parasympathetic abilities of the mind make this possible.
Here is the key. The parasympathetic system has control over the oculomotor of the eyes. The eyes are the key. If you learn to control your scope of vision, you can lock in the parasympathetic.
Alignment is Everything in Spiritual Practice
Alignment is also critical in the practice of spiritual exploration. Everyone has their own path, their own unique way of awakening. And, everyone has their own unique set of alignments. So, being in alignment with what we need is important to our health and spiritual practice. Therefore, learning as many of these consciousness development tools is important.
Consciousness Development Tools
Everyone has their own way of awakening. And, each of us has spiritual gifts to aid in this quest. These gifts are sleeping in our DNA. So, waking these gifts is the key. It sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our mind to new potentials.
Accessing these gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. And so, we benefit from generations of research. The results are a set of powerful tools anyone can use. We call these tools spiritual technologies. These are sound methods for expanding awareness and exploring consciousness.
Above all these tools stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable experiential phenomena. And, higher states of awareness also have unique measurable physiological signatures. They differ from the basic states of consciousness (waking, sleeping, and dreaming). These processes do not require belief in a religion. All you need to do is follow the process. For the most part, these tools come from Eastern traditions. This probably because their focus is on developing human potential.
Other schools of thought have a similar eclectic approach. For example, Gurdjieff’s approach was to adopt what is already proven to be effective. After all, human physiology hasn’t changed in thousands of years. So, the work of the ancient pioneers stands the test of time.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.
You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group. We like this simple method.
- Tools to enhance critical thinking. This study of basic logical reasoning along with spotting logical fallacies and logical axioms. Then we also use a comparative analysis. This is a step-by-step way of comparing beliefs between different worldviews. Above all, these tools will help sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction.
- The Enneagram Personality Profile. This is an analytical tool. It provides insight into the mechanisms of ego, personality, and instinct.
- Seated meditation is often the heart of your spiritual practice. This includes a range from Beginning Meditation and Mindfulness Meditation through Japa Meditation and more advanced Siddhis of Patanjali.
- Moving meditation helps us strengthen the mind-body connection. It is also an important key to our health and wellness. This progression includes several methods of energy collection, such as Forest Bathing, Qigong, and Tai Chi.
- Pathways for expanding and exploring awareness. This progression includes a range of processes from lucid dreaming, the Shamanic Journey and Guided Meditation to third-eye awakening and soul memory awareness. Practical tools to guide your path, a spiritual journal, and automatic writing.
- Healing practices are the final group. This branch includes Pe Jet, Reiki, and Shiatsu. Self-care is also a part of this group and is vital to our overall health and wellness.
Timing is everything in many aspects of life, not just martial arts or the use of spiritual technologies. There is a larger picture to proper alignment which has to do with our state of mind. When our mind is alignment, we experience life on a different level. We recognize sychronicities; we hear the voice of our intuition. Are you living in proper alignment?
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia