This article is excerpted from Lightning Path Workbook Three: Connection.
LP Alignment Rule Set
As noted in the LP Workbook Three section on alignment, alignment is important. As we saw there, the best way to attain perfect alignment is to connect with and ascend to union/identity with your Highest Self (HS). If you already have a strong connection to your own Highest Self, if HS can express through your physical unit with purity and strength, you are going to be alignment. Of course, the catch twenty-two here is that to be strongly connected you need to attain perfect alignment, and that can be very difficult, especially when struggling in the confusion, disease, and disorder of your average “normal” life.
If an individual, that’s you, does not have a strong connection, then the next best thing you can do to move yourself in the right direction is to pay attention to Steering Emotions. As explained in more detail in The Great Awakening: Concepts and Techniques for Successful Spiritual Practice, and also in Lightning Path Workbook Three: Connection, steering emotions are positive feelings and negative feeling that indicate whether you are on the right track or not. Positive feelings like bliss, joy, love, little tingly sensations, etc., give you an indication that thoughts and actions are in alignment with your Highest Self. Negative feeling like guilt, shame, etc., indicate thoughts and actions are not in alignment. It is simple. Assuming your emotional systems are not damaged to the point of sociopathy, if you have good feelings about something, you’re on the right track. If you’re feeling ugly, guilty, or shameful, you’re moving in the wrong direction.
Steering emotions are the next best thing to actual aligned connection. They allow a disconnected individual to guide themselves towards greater alignment and stronger connection; however sometimes, for various reasons, an individual cannot follow their steering emotions. If, for whatever reasons, an individual cannot respond properly to steering emotions, perhaps because their emotional apparatus is damaged or corrupted in some fashion, perhaps because they are filled with Wrong Thought, or perhaps because they have surrounded themselves with enablers (see LP Workbook Two), the next best thing an individual can do is follow an Alignment Rule Set. An alignment rule set is a set of rules that, if they are properly designed, and if you follow them closely, will put you in relatively close alignment with your HS, even if you have no idea or clue who you are, or what you are doing.
The idea of an alignment rule set, a set of rules that allows you to step towards alignment and make a stronger connection even when you are so disconnected, damaged, and confused you cannot (or will not) listen to steering emotions is not knew. Alignment rule sets have been around for thousands of years, just under different names. The Christian Ten Commandments or the Buddhist Eight Fold Path are two well known, but quite ancient, Alignment Rule Sets. Other sets exist as well. The well-known Cloud of Unknowing, for example, is a Connection Manual that contains an alignment rule set.
Ancient ARSs like the Ten Commandments do contain legitimate alignment advice, but they a) may be confused and poorly specified, b) may be written in language and concepts that are hard for modern ears to understand, d) may come, especially the ancient ones, with cultural, political, economic, gender, etc., biases, and c) do not apply one hundred percent to our modern and rapidly transforming planet. In addition, even when ARSs contain some valid advice, the advice can only be general advice applicable to everybody. More specific guidance appropriate to you specifically is not possible. This is because a) alignment requirements change throughout a lifetime and b) we’re all different.
On the notion of lifetime changes, understand, people are different. People differ on growth, development, exposure to toxic environments, the amount of support they receive(d), and so on. In this context, what is aligned for someone dealing with developmental issues may not be aligned for people dealing with something else. People also differ by age. What is aligned for a child’s body may not be aligned for an adult body. Similarly, what is aligned for an adult will not always be aligned for a child.
On the notion of individual differences, understand, cultures are different, bodies are different, souls are different, etc. We’re all individuals. We’ve all got histories that extend far beyond the confines of the as yet still limited Earthling lifespan. We’ve all got our own reasons for being here. We’ve all got our own preferences and talents to express. No matter how clearly specified and sensible an Alignment Rule Set might be, because of all the individual variation, an Alignment Rule Set will only ever be able to get you “close enough” to engage in fruitful connection practice. Despite the fact that some “overstep” and try to provide very specific advice, they can only provide general advice. At a certain point in your healing and connection process, you’ll have to move beyond general statements in an alignment set and figure out the final refinements for yourself.
Still, despite the limitations noted, Alignment Rules sets are useful. In order to avoid the problems associated with dated Alignment Rule Sets, and in order to avoid the “overstepping” that sometimes occurs, the Lightning Path has its own alignment rule set designed specifically with clarity, transparency, modern sensibilities and modern economic cultural contexts in mind. The Lightning Path Alignment Rule Set (LPARS) is quite simple, containing only a single general statement.
To move forward towards alignment with Highest Self, establish Right Environment, engage in Right Action, and think only with Right Thought.
One of the first rules you need to follow if you want to approximate alignment with your Highest Self is the rule to create an aligned environment. This is an easy rule to understand but can be a hard rule to follow. Basically, an aligned environment is a non-violent, non-threatening, non-toxic, non-stressful environment, period. Aligned environments are safe environments. We speak about the reasons why aligned, non-violent environments are important elsewhere, in particular, Lighting Path Workbook Two: Healing. Here we will simply say, safe environments are important because safety allows your bodily ego to recover, relax, reflect, and let go. It is only when your Bodily Ego is safe and fully relaxed that it can let go and let the Flow can come pouring through. If you’re constantly stressed out by toxicity, assault, and negativity, the bodily ego stays in control, and you’ll never be able to connect. Similarly, if you are engaged in toxicity, assault, and negativity, you will never be able to connect.
Note that non-violent safety is not just about physical safety. Non-violence extends to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual realms as well. Aligned environment is a safe, calm, non-violent environment where an individual has zero fear of assault or attack of any kind. In our home we have a no violence rule. In our home, there is zero tolerance for violence and negativity of any kind.
It should be noted that aligned environments go beyond simply lack of violence. Aligned environments are also nurturing and supportive environments where all your human needs are met. For a complete rundown of the human needs that need to be met if aligned environment is to be achieved, see the article “The Seven Essential Needs.”
If you read the article “The Seven Essential Needs,” and you look at the violence in your own life, you may come away with the impression that achieving a fully aligned environment is impossible. Unfortunately, we have to say, in our current realities, for most people, it is impossible. This doesn’t mean you cannot take useful steps forward. If you are lucky, and if you can get your family on board, you may be able to achieve aligned environment at home. At the minimum, try to carve yourself a safe space or cocoon. When it comes to achieving aligned environment at work, in your wider family, in politics, in economics, and so on, there’s a lot of to do. That’s ok. Don’t be overwhelmed. If all you can do in this moment is create a nonviolent and self-nurturing cocoon, do that. Work your way out both as you gain strength, and as the world around you continues to transform.
The second alignment rule that you have to follow if you can’t achieve a nascent connection, and if you can’t respond to steering emotions, is the rule to engage only in aligned/right action. This rule is an extension of the first rule to establish right environment. Right actions are non-violent, non-threatening, nurturing actions that do not harm other living beings.
And note, non-violent and nurturing right action is about more than just physical nonviolence. As already noted, nonviolence extends to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual realms as well. In addition, and if followed to perfection, non-violent right actions extend to all living beings. And yes, in the current day and age, this includes animals. Killing animals for food was, at one time, a requirement of human survival. Now, it is not. On a planet with the capacity and capability to feed everyone on a non-violent vegetarian diet, vegetarianism and ethical treatment of animals becomes an important alignment rule.
Of course, the admonishment to right action does not mean you have to love and help everyone. You do not have to be a social butterfly “getting up in everybody’s business,” even when they ask. If you don’t like someone, that’s fine. If you don’t feel like helping some, that’s fine too. As the Buddhist say, just do no harm. Don’t harm/avoid the people you don’t like; help and nurture the people you do, or are responsible for, like your children, or your aging parents. If you do that, you will be well on your way to establishing right action, and a long way towards making stronger connections.
The admonishment to work towards right environment and right action are important first steps. The more you achieve a safe and aligned enviornment, the more you avoid violence towards others, and the more you help those help and nuture those you care about and are responsible for, the more aligned you will be with HS, and easier connection will be. The truth is, you’re only going to be able to go so far towards strong and pure connection via the establishment or right environment and right action alone. If you want to “go all the way,” so to speak, you are going to have to work hard on establishing right thought. This is very important. You are not going to be able to achieve a strong, safe, pure, and consistent connection if you do not establish right thought.
For your information, there are three levels to the establisment of right/aligned thought.
Level One Right Thought that is thought that is non-violent and non-threatening to others and self. Level one right thought includes the elimination of all negative thought patterns, including and especially “judge and punish” thought patterns that encourage and provide excuses for harming others. Understand, we all make mistakes, especially while blindfolded. The goal is to help others learn from and heal from their mistakes, not to perpetuate violence with excuses and self-delusion.
Moving beyond basic level one right thought, level Two Right Thought is thought that accurately reflect reality and truth (even Truth with a capital “T”). If you think with lies you won’t be aligned and you won’t be able to connect with HS, basically because HS always insists on the truth. This might sound weird to some, but your own HS will not “talk to you,” i.e. will not connect, if you do not accept basic truths. The thought that there is “no such thing as racism/sexism” is an unaligned thought because racism/sexism most certainly exist. The thought that “God” is a punishing patriarch is not only a violent thought, but an inaccurate and unaligned thought as well, because God is not a violent patriarch.
Finally, the most advanced level of right thought is Level Three Right Thought. Level three right thought, in addition to being free of violence and exclusively truth based is also a) free of Old Energy Archetypes and b) filled with uplifting, empowering, and connecting New Energy Archetypes. As explained in more detail in Lightning Path Workbook Four and on the Triumph of Spirit Archetype System (TOSAS) website, archetypes are ideas that answer big questions. Old energy archetypes are archetypes that answer big questions in a negative and diminishing fashion, and which disconnect you from HS, while new energy archetypes answer big questions in a positive and uplifting fashion, and help connect you with HS.
We have to say, achieving aligned thought is the single biggest challenge of any spiritual aspirant. This is because we are literally poisoned and putrefied by a chronic tsunami of unaligned/wrong thought coming at us from every direction, every moment of your waking existence. It takes a lot of effort just to become aware of the poison; it takes even more effort to cleanse that poison away, it takes herculean determination to “reprogram” with new energy archetypes. Achieving right thought is a big challenge, but the LP can help with that. The Lightning Path offers the Triumph of Spirit Archetype System (TOSAS) which you can use to cleanse, reprogram, and achieve aligned/right thought. When you’re ready to begin working on right thought, pick up a copy of the Triumph of Spirit Archetype Cards, visit the Triumph of Spirit Website, and begin your archetypal study.
 Unknown, The Cloud of Unknowing (the Classics of Western Spirituality) ( Paulist Press, 1981).
 Of course, zero toxicity is an ideal we do not always achieve. Sometimes, for various reasons, negativity, toxicity, and conflict occur. When it does occur, we deal with it by time outs, negotiation, and so on. We never dwell and we try never to return violence with violence. Put another way, when we fuck up, we address it, fix it, let go, and move on.
 As an alignment rule, we stipulate a vegetarian diet. However, if you are not ready for that, as a consumer of animal flesh, it is time to take responsibility and force accountability, to demand a better safer, more humane, and less violent meet production.
 If you do feel you need to do this (i.e., help everyone), and if you do this at the expense of your primary relationships (e.g., your spouse, children, etc.), you need to either a) examine your ideas and thinking, b) examine your motivations, or c) examine both. Anybody that sacrifices their responsibilities to their spouse, children, and so on just so they can get help others doesn’t understand the true nature of right action.
 Read Allegory of the Blindfold, https://www.michaelsharp.org/allegory-of-the-blindfold/