The Nature of Integrity
One of the definitions of integrity is being whole and undivided. Although this sounds like it should be the natural state for all people, it is surprising to discover how, in energetic terms, we repeatedly fracture our being through divisive thinking and behaviour.
As we think and act, we frequently split ourselves and the world that we perceive into two or more fragments. Thoughts and actions are divided up between work and private life. We have a public personality and a private character, a visible surface and a hidden shadow. There can be a world of difference between what we allow to be witnessed by others and our denied thoughts and actions that we keep fearfully to ourselves.
Now, if we trace this back in time, we might see that this division started with a break in belonging at the soul level that was experienced in early childhood. In fact, we have all gone through the essential developmental markers of realizing that we are different, that there is something wrong with us and that we are alone. The consequent sense of loss, separation and injustice that this creates subconsciously in our being is then expressed through thoughts and actions which can become manifest in the world as dysfunctions of personality, family, societies and ecosystems, that is, unless we bring our conscious attention to those initial breaks and heal them at the root.
In our current societies we do not have to look far for evidence of these fractures. As a population we are becoming more depressed, more obese and more dependent on medication. All social organisations from government to commerce, to law, medicine and journalism have had their share of scandal, corruption and dishonesty. An objective observer reporting on our world might conclude that our predominant impact on our environment is destructive, selfish and self-defeating.
All of these broken things that we see in the world are in fact manifestations of our lack of craft to heal our internal divisions and evolve a more robust integrity.
If we are to change our impact on our fellow beings and environment we must first heal our individual internal fractures. Guided by a desire for self knowledge this is the remit of real personal development. But where to start?
Whilst we can choose what we say out loud, we have more trouble quietening our internal thoughts. Our thinking highlights the uncomfortable divisions that we sense in our being as they express our subconscious shadow states. These thoughts can be alarming, violent and not feel like ‘me’.
It is worthwhile therefore to be led by this simple spiritual principle:
You are not your thoughts. You are the awareness in which your thoughts arise.
Once you have experienced the truth of that statement and accepted it in every cell of your being, you are ready to begin the process of self discovery which leads to the healing of that first break with belonging.
A required component of any commitment to authentic personal development is a practice of stillness. Without spending time in quiet meditation, we are unable to experience the truth of spiritual concepts for ourselves. As long as the concepts remain theoretical they will have little to no impact. It is only when we dive head-first into the experience of them that they gift us their wisdom and allow us entry into the next lesson.
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