Monday, July 14, 2014

Confidence on the Outside is the Result of Integrity on the Inside

What does it mean to ‘live with integrity on the inside'? The closest I can get to explaining is to recount a story about Gandhi. One day a mother brings her son to Gandhi and asks for help. Her son is extremely overweight and she doesn’t know what to do. Gandhi looks at the boy and says to his mother – 'bring the boy back next week.' The boy comes back the next week, Gandhi looks him intently in the eye and says ‘stop eating sugar.’

You must be the change you wish...
Why didn’t Gandhi say this to the boy the first time his mother brought him? He didn’t say it because he was eating sugar himself at that time and for Gandhi there was no integrity in telling the boy to do something which he was not doing himself. The next time there was no discrepancy between what he said and what he was doing.

Very often integrity gets confused with morality. Integrity has nothing to do with morality, right or wrong Integrity is about workability. Integrity for us as human beings means being true to who we are at the level of SELF. Not selling out on ourselves. When there is integrity within, there is no separation between who we are, what we say, and what we do — so the result is increased confidence on the outside.

Many years ago, when I was doing transformative, self-development work, I was asked to consider a law which operates like the law of gravity — and that is the law of integrity. Like gravity, it’s a law that operates regardless of the type of person you are. If I go up to the top of a building and jump, I’m going to go splat on the ground no matter if I am good or bad. The law of integrity operates irrespective of me; it's that kind of law.

The minute a person agrees to do something for somebody else or for himself, or makes an agreement of any kind, then, when it comes time to keep that agreement, and the individual doesn’t keep the agreement, for whatever reason, there is a karmic kickback from the law of integrity being violated, which has nothing to do with being right or wrong.

However, this kickback is not immediate which is why the connection between being lack of integrity and the quality of life is not made. In my own experience, when I can't keep my promises, I let the person I promised know as soon as possible if I’m not able to do what I said I would. This way life has a flow and a harmony that it doesn’t when I don’t keep my promises or act with integrity.  

However, this is just an idea and for many it will be rejected outright mostly because respecting that law requires a level of responsibility and accountability which we, as human beings, resist, almost as if by design. This is why it is a notion to be considered, not a truth to be fought to the death for, although I would fight to the death for it because intuitively I recognize its power. It is the very foundation of life for me. Without integrity, nothing works has been my mantra for many years and it has kept me safe when being true to my word was the last thing my mind wanted to do. In the weeks and months that followed Kundalini rising my mind was destabilized by all kinds of compelling and absorbing thoughts — to the extent that making a phone call I had promised to make or going to a training I had promised to attend was the last thing I wanted to do.

There were times when I was physically present, but was so tired from the inner battle that I could barely hear what was going on. Nevertheless, I was there. I had defied the mind —  it was a victory over the mind. This process is not easy, but it is necessary if one doesn't want to get stuck at various points on the spiritual path.

From time to time, people call me about their Kundalini experience. They tell me they want to give up work and just ‘process what is happening.’ When I hear this, alarm bells go off in my mind and I stress the importance of doing just the opposite, of continuing with daily life to find something to make a commitment to — whether it be charity work where you promise to do a certain number of hours, or something else.

In moving through the early stages of Kundalini rising, this is important, at least it was in my own case, and that is all I can speak or write about. By choosing to have what I said I would do be more important than what my mind, thoughts, feelings told me to do, I gradually experienced a level of freedom and integration of energy. While it often wasn’t easy, it taught me how to ignore the constant chatter of the mind. At the end of the day, when I've done everything I said I would, I feel happy and confident and life flows. Confidence is nothing more than being true to yourself in every way.

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