It is so intense when your heart asks you something, and your mind, and actions are in perfect alignment with it. A sense of total integrity that one often yearns for, and seldom is in it. How can one harvest it?
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.
– Spencer Johnson
Do you remember when you had that feeling of internal alignment? Your mind is clear, your heart is in synch and your actions reflect what is inside of you. When that happens, all your being is in perfect tune. In general there is a rush, an uplifting energy that fills you up, coming from somewhere, like a tap on the back from Life. Joseph Campbell used to call it “Bliss”.
Virtue or integrity is about the alignment of mind, heart and action. It is the crossroad of these three aspects in perfect harmony. This, is often depicted as the central point of who we are – The Self.
Out of Love
Life rushes us, and often we become oblivious to the feeling and experience of virtue and integrity. We become uncomfortable, either with ourselves or with people that cross our path. There is a sense of uneasiness, like listening to a song out of tune. It is difficult to put into words but deep down you can feel it. The mind suspects something that the heart knows for certain. This has a name: it is called hypocrisy. In plain words, it’s the lack of coherence between ideas, feelings and actions.
A person can feel one thing, say another and do a completely different thing. We learn to do this to ourselves at a quite young age when we realize that being ourselves can displease our parents, friends, teachers… The truth is that we do this because we love them. We want their love more than anything. We want it so bad that loving them becomes more important than to love ourselves. Doing this we begin to lose touch with our inner core. We do this out of love. It is an immense sacrifice that any child is willing to make because they have an abundance of love to give and think the source of love is without end.
Selling Our Soul
Pleasing others and forgetting ourselves becomes the best hidden lie we tell as we mature through life. Some of us begin the hard work of digging for the inner gold, the inner truth. It is a hard work but, in my experience, it pays off.
Others, continue to walk oblivious, throughout life, ignoring the treasure that they carry inside as it becomes a heavy burden. Integrity becomes a word without meaning. As these children mature through life and reach old age, their hearts are full of regret and despair. They look back, and their past is filled with emptiness and missed opportunities.
This emptiness translates into despair for a life not lived, and death becomes a terrifying thought haunting their idealized dreams in night’s endless lonely hours.
If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.
– Malcolm X
Stand For Your Self
It is never to late to return to Self. The path of integrity is one of the most difficult to thread. Your loved ones will be the first to notice, that something is different in you, and probably they will not like it. Or, it might be the opposite, and changes are most welcome. In most cases you will be called selfish and egocentric. On top of that you will probably feel guilty with no apparent reason and want to go back to the old ways.
In the end it will be you who has to do the fine tuning and be certain of what you are feeling, not what you are supposed to feel, think or do (the social conditioning). Tune in to what you are feeling, thinking or doing and acknowledge it. Be mindful of who you are.
Begin to honor your experience. As you begin to honor your experience you begin to honor your Self, and the Self will respond positively to that. The more you begin to honor your Self the more your consciousness will become a perfect mirror of what you are.
￼It’s your life — but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Your Inner Sanctuary
The more the mirror becomes polished through the hard work of being your Self you will never feel alone because you are always with your Self.
This doesn’t mean you will not seek or cherish other people’s company, on the contrary, wherever you are, you are whole, your Self. Your life might not change but the way you live your life will radically change. You can see this quality in some people just by the way they walk. They walk as if the ground in front of them were sacred. There is a sense of royal simplicity.
Then despair has no place to stay, as the Self is filled with lived life, and death has no dominion.
Why is Integrity Essential for Love?
The path to integrity is the path back to love. As you embark in this journey you repossess the love you were seeking outside, and any new relationship will only reflect the love you mastered in your life.
There is no more seeking for love but there is an immense sharing of an abundant love. The whole of the two will be greater then the sum of the parts. In short, integrity is a fundamental stepping stone in the road to Self and Love.
Tips For Integrity
- Honor your Self
- Respect what you are feeling, thinking and doing
- Be truthful to your Self
- Your experience is unique
I would love to hear from you, your experience of being you. Share it if you will.