By Jef Bartow
As spring begins to unfold in March, our natural tendency is to be creative in the garden, outside in nature or related to our hobbies. The birthing process of spring seems to relate to all of life. Astrologically, the sun moves into the first sign of Aries and the first House of activities, both related to a new birth within the mandala of life. Fittingly, the first characteristic of SPIRIT, Integrity, relates directly to this creative birthing and first representation of Spirit. Creative manifestation begins with the one and moves forward into the multiplicity and diversity of life. As Innocence represents the totality of potentialities, Integrity represents the oneness of expression. As the first characteristic of SPIRIT, Integrity is the singularity point projection of SPIRIT into Man's universe. It truly is the characteristic of becoming the One, the single threat of Spirit. Webster's Dictionary uses the terms: complete, wholeness, entirety, perfect condition and unimpaired to define integrity. This would seem to be very similar to our description of Innocence, but the key difference is "of the One." As Innocence is to the totality, Integrity is to the One. From this description, I would be hard-pressed to understand Integrity. So let's focus on how Integrity works to help us better understand this characteristic of SPIRIT. "Integrity involves focus, tension and expression (simultaneously realized, consciously generated and dynamically used)." From a centered point of inner tension, integrity is focused dynamically outward. To live in a state of integrity means expressing consistently and continuously from one point of orientation.
Another way to relate to Integrity is through the scientific concept of symmetry. A good example comes from Lee Smolin’s The Life of the Cosmos :
"Imagine a pencil balanced on its point. It cannot stay that way for it is unstable, a little push to one side or the other and it will fall… But any small disturbance will break the symmetry, leading to a choice of a more stable, but less symmetrical configuration, in which the pencil is lying on its side." Integrity is what produces and maintains symmetry. When something is symmetrical, it demonstrates a wholeness, and entirety in itself. Symmetry is a perfect idealized condition, like the balanced pencil.
Characteristics of Spirit
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This oneness is complete and whole and becomes a perfect condition. Different than Innocence, this oneness can be of Love, Justice, Will or other characteristic or quality, but it is a oneness. For the Western Mystic, it is faithfully and without exception embracing and expressing Christ’s teachings. For the perfect thief, it is consistently and continuously focused from the one point of not being caught. Living with integrity becomes ruthlessly living in directed, purposeful alignment to our source, our Monad (God Within). The SPIRIT characteristic of Integrity becomes that which willfully aligns us with the energy of our Spirit. It is the energy which brings about the perfect condition and unimpaired expression of our God Within.
Living with integrity is the most powerful way to bring about spiritual transformation. But frankly, doing that is about as difficult as it is to fully embrace Integrity as described above. So let's use our astrological model to give us some ways to begin. As mentioned, Integrity relates directly to the first House and Aries astrologically. While the sun transits Aries in late March and early April, our self-consciousness, potential for personal radiance and creative drive to grow and dynamically express our soul (Sun characteristics) can be further developed through initiating, pioneering and being courageous (Aries characteristics) while refining our self-image, our self appearance, identity and basic approach to life (first House activities). More simply put, we have the opportunity to become more self aware through aligning our self appearance and basic approach to life with the oneness of our soul (internal character). The integrity of who we are is first represented by the intent of our soul expression in this life. Take time to reflect and define what keywords best identify your true character. In the end, choose three keywords that best describe this internal part of yourself. These three qualities need to define a complete wholeness, perfect condition and oneness of who you can be. Now, identify and implement changes in your self appearance, basic approach to life and self-image that will fully express these qualities. As we change or refine the clothes we wear, our hairstyle, our living environment and other things and ways that identify us to the world, we will begin to embrace (birth) the oneness that these qualities express of our Self. This is the oneness of our Soul. At another level, this same process will be required in order to fully become and express the Spirit that we are within. In the process, we will learn how our Soul has been a single point of focus for our Ego and Personality while in embodiment. At the same time, we will then transcend the integrity of our Soul for the Integrity of our God Within.