The Lord knows the days of the upright; and their inheritance shall be forever.
To live with integrity is to be one within oneself and one with God. This simultaneous horizontal and vertical alignment creates the purity of integrity, the purity of being one within One.
Horizontal integrity, the integrity of the embodied self, requires that all parts of the self operate in harmony, and that whatever barriers of communication between conscious, subconscious, and unconscious layers exist are removed or made transparent. When this is accomplished and to the extent it is accomplished, all parts of the self commune with each other and a harmonization of interests takes place. Then, peace within our inner household can come into being since conflicting interests and internal warfare no longer create confusion about the nature of inner truth.
It is similiar with vertical integrity - our positive alignment with God. This, too, requires a free flow of communication between the self and God. Such communication involves an open path of asking and receiving, of prayer and revelation, so that God's purposes for us can become revealed in an active, ongoing way, and the lower self can participate in the higher.
Without vertical integration in God, we may know our human selves well but cannot know our purpose for being here nor be strongly rooted in our sense of values. As a result, we will be less able to manifest these in our lives and our lives will have diminished meaning. For without a sense of higher purpose and strongly rooted values, we live a more superficial life.
On the other hand, without horizontal integration - the unity of all of our parts - we can know our purpose for being here and feel inspired by guidance and revelation to fulfill that purpose, but we will not have the means to become it. We will not have command of the physical, emotional, and mental layers of our being which are needed to bring forth the goal.
Both vertical and horizontal integration are necessary, then, in order to live a life of integrity. All of us are somewhere on a continuum of learning how to do this.
Integrity is achieved through the accomplishment of three things:
Implicit in this and at its core must be the desire to know oneself in a deep way and the desire to know God. If our lives are based on the need to just physically survive and maintain ourselves, we will not have time to be concerned about integrity. Our life as a matter of necessity will relate itself to the outer circumstances we are trying to deal with. Similarly, if our lives or inner motivations cause us to look outward toward the externals of life rather than to pay attention to the growth of self-awareness, we will also not develop integrity. Integrity is based on a willingness to turn our gaze inward and to become maximally responsible for the choices that our inner self makes.
FULLNESS OF BEING
As with many other dimensions of growth, integrity involves a continuum of learning that relates not just to honesty but to fullness of being.
On one end of the continuum is the willingness and capacity to be truthful with others, to not deceive them nor take advantage of them. Despite its great importance, this is the most modest meaning of the word. 'Integrity' as fullness of being goes well beyond this. It involves being complete within oneself and not lacking any of one's essential parts. In this sense, integrity includes the capacity to recognize and to put into action the four qualities of being that are pillars for the self: spontaneity, fluidity, warmth, and firmness.
Humans created "in the image and likeness of God" are meant to manifest these four qualities, for they are reflections of the four elements in nature and the four letters of God's sacred name. Without these four pillars being brought into our human experience, we can have integration of our personalities in certain areas of our life, but not in others. We can be at ease with parts of ourselves, but not with other parts. Conversely, freedom to be ourselves within each of these dimensions allows the full measure of integrity to develop within us.
The flow of impulses from below the threshold of our consciousness into conscious awareness allows for free, unfettered, spontaneous action. This action is based simultaneously on the absence of a barrier between our unconscious and conscious self, and on trust that without this barrier, the unity of both parts will be joined in whatever is expressed.
This joining presumes that the unconscious self will not take over, once it is set free. If that were not the case, irrational behavior could ensue, not spontaneity. Spontaneity is based on the harmonization of rhythms between the unconscious and conscious self so that they work together and can speak with one voice. When this occurs, the inner membrane between our conscious awareness and our deeper impulses becomes transparent, and communication from the deeper parts of ourselves takes place with greater ease. For our conscious self to permit this upwelling of deeper impulses, however, we must believe that these impulses are fundamentally good. We must trust ourselves. To be spontaneous is therefore to be free to speak with one voice - a voice that joins our conscious awareness and our deeper self. It is to allow the impulse of God's life to move fully through us and to be in the flow of that life.
All that exists within God's sacred reality is in a continuous flow of growth, learning, and expansion. We are in that flow, and our lives are a continuous process of learning and healing. When we are open to the flow of life and its healing properties, we allow ourselves to continually change as our awareness changes and as our lives change. We need to do this in order to breathe with God's breath and to allow spiritual air to pass through our minds and lungs.
All that inhibits change and growth, whether from the outside or the inside, inhibits our fluidity. All that rigidifies us and keeps us repeating old behaviors, prevents us from accepting the teachings that life offers. To be fluid is to be willing to be perpetually new. It is to believe in the growth of ourselves along a continually expanding spiral. Fluidity is what allows us to participate in the creative process of life at the deepest possible level.
Warmth is the energetic aspect of our ability to love. It can have the feeling of the heart's being set on fire, or it can have the feeling of being a constant low and gentle flame. When our hearts are warm, we feel an outflow of tender feelings toward others - a desire to embrace them, to nurture them, to be kind to them, to support them. A warm heart seeks to give to life and feels given to by life. It feels a kinship with others that creates generosity.
Conversely, a heart that is cool feels alienated from life. It feels self-protective, cut-off, and distant from those with whom it is possible to feel empathy. Warmth and coolness define our motivation to move toward or away from others, based on our love and sense of identification with them or on our fear of becoming close. This fear can effectively seal off our hearts so that we feel frozen in life and in relationships. When this occurs, our hearts need to be kindled again by the strength of love, so that what is cold and hard within us can melt and come to life.
Inner authority - the capacity to believe in ourselves and our experience - gives to us the firmness which allows us to take a stand for things. 'Taking a stand' is a way of saying that we are able to stay vertical within ourselves, upright and erect in our mental or emotional posture so that we do not fall down, cave in, or collapse.
Inner authority is the source of both strength and firmness. In addition to taking a stand, it allows us to define boundaries, to set limits, to say "no" when we must, and to clearly define our own views, even if these put us in a solitary position which others disagree with. Firmness is based on our capacity to remain upright in the truth of ourselves, no matter what forces may be contradicting that truth. Firmness is the basis for 'verticality'. It is what it means to have 'backbone'. Therefore, it may also be said that firmness is necessary to the development of righteousness.
These four qualities or pillars of being are the emotional analogs of the four elements - air, water, fire, and earth. To manifest our being is to be able to encompass these four elements within ourselves - to become them, and to let them become us. When we can do this, we have achieved part of the purpose for which we have taken embodiment: to become fully human in the way God intends us to be. When we have integrated this human part with a oneness with God, we achieve the other part - to join our humanity with our divinity in the full expression of one within One. Thus is integrity made.
Article Section - Sacred Relationships
Artwork - See Mandalas of Life