Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deepening Integrity on the Spiritual Path

It's a given that you won't be perfect on the spiritual path. I don't know what perfect means, but I think a lot of us have some kind of definition running around in our heads that we're consistently resisting and/or trying to achieve. It makes life painful. We're never what we think we should be, but as we wake up, we begin to drop into a deeper integrity with ourselves. What does that mean? Integrity is simply how we honor and our love ourselves as we are. It's also a place of truth and honesty, so we seek to be as honest with ourselves as with others. We don't want to hurt anyone, and we want to love everyone to the best of our abilities. As we wake up, we begin to understand how deep of an integrity we need to hold to truly be in alignment with our souls and our purposes.

Honesty: Still as Spiritual as Everything Else
If you can't be honest with yourself, you'll never really be honest with anyone else. Everything becomes a house of cards if you can't look at yourself and be truthful. It's an equally hard and soft thing, the truth is. On the one hand, you'll be able to accept yourself exactly as you are. If you're a really heavyset person, you'll be able to fully accept that this is your body. But if you do need to lose weight to be in integrity with how your body really wants to be, you'll have to be equally honest with yourself. This isn't the self-blame path. You're not saying, "Oh I'm such a horrible fatty." It's more like you're saying, "I've got some weight to lose." It's much more of a statement of fact, and if anything, it's said with genuine love. Because you don't want to hurt your body. You want to be in optimum healthy--whatever that looks and feels like for you.

This is being honest with your body, but that honesty and integrity bleeds into everything else. You'll know when you're speaking honestly, and you'll know when you're acting honesty. It's all important. You'll also begin to develop an awareness about where your ego has stepped in and is trying to get something out of a situation. You'll start to feel how un-honest and untruthful that is. You'll have to stop.


Spiritual Awakening and Your Enhanced Sense of Integrity
One of the shocking things for many people as they wake up is how out of integrity they've been for most of their lives. I'm convinced it's why quite a few people can have this amazing experience and immediately want to run back to bed and pull the covers over their heads. Seeing just how unkind and dishonest you've been to yourself and others can be shocking. Your deeper sense of integrity comes forward, and it points out so many things that you've done and are doing. You may feel overwhelmed. You may feel like you're the only one who now has to live up to really high standards. You may feel the pain you've inflicted on others and yourself really acutely. There's a lot that can come up. It's all normal, but it can no longer be avoided.

The point is not to go into self-blame (another ego game). It's not to think of these as some kind of set of impossible rules that only applies to you. It's about coming into integrity in each moment and doing the best you can. As I started out in this blog, you won't be "perfect." You'll make mistakes, but they'll be a Hell of a lot better mistakes than when you were letting everything slide before. Before, you'd lie and say you like doing something to make someone feel better. Slowly, this poisoned relationship after relationship because you weren't expressing your heart. Or you'd manipulate lovers to do only what you wanted to do. Now you feel the shame and guilt of all the ways you didn't honor them. And it gets worse from here.

Forgiveness: One of the Deepest Kinds of Integrity
Whether you feel you've awakened or not, you're going to get a lot of practice at forgiveness. As many people point out, forgiveness is not forgetfulness. You're not giving yourself or others a free pass per se for doing dishonest or hurtful things. You are simply acknowledging what happened, having compassion for it in whatever way you can, and letting it go. You may even need to make amends as part of the process of earning your own or another person's forgiveness. It's important that whatever needs to happen happens. You'll know in your heart what you need to do, and that may scare you. But that fear serves to lock you up in the pain that has already gone before. You don't need to suffer anymore, and forgiveness is one of the deepest and kindest soothing balms of the spiritual path through which we heal old wounds and scars. Nothing lasts for ever--no pain or shame or burden is meant to last for ever. Only the ego is trying to drag them on into eternity, and you can let that go.


The Ease of Honesty and Integrity on the Spiritual Path
I think my dad had an old saying that he always tries to tell the truth because it's too hard to remember all the lies. What I take from that bit of wisdom is that it's just so much easier to say how you feel than to be making something up to protect something or try to please someone else. There's a deeper relaxation that comes with this integrity that makes it quite easy to be with. It doesn't mean every situation that will come to you in your life will be easy. Instead, it means that you can be much more relaxed, at peace, and in your true personal power because all your energy is in the truth. It's not being divided with these other ego agendas. It allows the moments to unfold more naturally, and in general, it makes you someone others will typically want to be around or connect with. If someone doesn't like your honesty, then you may do well to let them go because most likely they're caught up in their own lies. You can't fix that. You can only do your part. You can only ever do your part.


Issues Arise and Pass Away
Being in your truth is a powerful thing. Holding this integrity will shift a lot of things in yourself and others. Issues will come up, and you'll be able to address them directly. If you haven't liked something, you'll find the strength to say so. You'll find the strength to make changes, and you'll find the strength to love more deeply and compassionately than you've ever done. It's an amazing thing to drop into that deeper integrity that you hold. And we all hold it. It's not something new. It's something buried. The spiritual path leads us to uncover it and recover it from the lies and debris of life. As you do, your life will change, and you may soon see what it means to truly live your life in integrity.
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