What is Integrity?

Much of my day is spent with the question, “What is integrity.” I write, I reflect, I teach, I read, I feel. All in the quest for simple clarity. It’s emerging, and it’s surprising. When I first considered integrity, I was sure it was about being more honest. That’s true, and there is more. In fact, so much more that I then felt overwhelmed.

What I’m discovering about integrity is that it’s about the absolute alignment of my body, thoughts, feelings and actions. It calls me to total awareness.  This understanding sometimes brings forth despair. “How can anyone be in integrity?” the voice inside says. Yet, I know there are moments when I am in integrity. “If that’s so”, I wonder, “what’s happening in those moments?” “I’m present”, is my first response. “So is being present required for integrity?” I ask myself. Yep.

Is the quest for integrity so simple that it only requires being fully present? I’m not sure, but it feels like this could be true. When I’m present, I’m aware of everything I’m experiencing in this moment. I act from this awareness with a deliberateness that is only possible from this complete awareness. I can feel my body without the distortion of thoughts. My experiences are pure as they are not motivated by needs or desires.

This simple understanding doesn’t mean that being in integrity is easy. It requires diligence and practice. It demands self-honesty and reflection.

The question is, “Are you ready for complete integrity?” This question brings to mind our conversation a few days ago about accountability. With integrity, it’s also an all or nothing experience. No need for despair though, we have the opportunity to experience integrity more and more. This is possible if we stop judging ourselves when we are not in integrity. Judgment brings with it so much self-deception. We believe that if we are out of integrity we are “bad”. Nope, we are just out of integrity, like most everyone else. When we discover this is happening, we can stop, reorient to being present, and continue. It’s that simple.

Over the next few months, I will be writing more about integrity, offering ways I’ve found to be present with my body, emotions, thoughts, feelings and actions. I welcome your feedback. No more important time than now to increase the number who are living in integrity.

One thought on “What is Integrity?

  1. Let Rumi so consciously said……I fall down and pick myself up, again and again…or words to that effect. If I can NOTICE when I fall out of integrity (rather denying it or rationalizing it), I can pick myself up, move into present awareness and go on. My sense is that, the more I do this, it is like exercising a muscle…..I get stronger in recognizing my out-of-integrity action or thought and in correcting it with no judgment.

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