Integrity is for its Own Sake,
& Our Growth
by Jef Bartow
The key to understanding this spiritual principle is learning what integrity is and what it is not. So let's begin by getting our arms around the Spirit characteristic of Integrity. Webster's Dictionary will help us start to understand both what integrity is and is not. Webster's includes three definitions of integrity. First, integrity is "the quality or state of being complete, wholeness, entirety." Second, it is "the quality or state of being unimpaired; perfect condition; soundness." Finally it is thought of as "the quality or state of being of sound moral principles; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity."
The misnomers here are that integrity relates to human honesty, ethics, truth and expression of self. The problem is that acting with integrity can include dishonesty, acting contrary to human ethics and actually going against what humans consider truth. Also, acting with sincerity involves as much love as integrity.
What we can take from Webster's is that Integrity involves perfect condition; except we can act with a perfect condition of Love or Harmony or Justice. I conclude that Integrity is the characteristic that produces a perfect condition. This perfect condition can relate to every characteristic of SPIRIT and even human nature. It takes as much integrity to be a successful thief or assassin as it does to be a mystic or Saint. As Psalms points out, "So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands."
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The only references I found to integrity within metaphysics come from The Tibetan. A key one is: "integrity involves focus, tension and expression (simultaneously realized, consciously generated and dynamically used)." To express one's integrity requires being consciously centered to a point of inner tension. From this point, integrity is focused dynamically outward. Science provides significant help in understanding integrity. It involves the concept of symmetry. In The Life of the Cosmos, Lee Smolin describes symmetry as follows:
"Imagine a pencil balanced on its point. It cannot stay that way long 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. Living in integrity is expressing the symmetry (perfected wholeness) of our God Within. But this does not actually define what Integrity is. To me, Integrity is a ruthless aligning into symmetry; and the key here is ruthless. Webster's defines ruthless as "without ruth; pitiless." Ruth is "pity; compassion; sorrow; grief; remorse." Except for compassion, each of these words involves attachment and a form of bondage. Therefore, ruthlessness is a lack of attachment and/or bondage to form and Matter. So, Integrity further becomes the characteristic of lining up, affiliating and cohering independently and without attachment to outside influence in a perfect condition of symmetry. Integrity relates directly to the birthing and first representation of Spirit, rather than the full expression of Spirit through Innocence. Integrity represents the oneness of expression. It is the singularity point projection which begins manifestation. To live in a state of integrity means expressing consistently and continuously from one point of orientation. That point can be from Love, Justice, Harmony or any other virtue. From each of our above descriptions, living with integrity becomes ruthlessly living in directed, purposeful alignment to our one source, our God Within. Integrity willfully aligns us to the energy of Spirit. It is the energy which brings about the perfect condition and unimpaired expression of our Spirit within. Integrity is the characteristic which helps us become the One, the single thread of Spirit. I think it's fairly easy to see how integrity will accelerate and facilitate our spiritual growth. But this does not describe the entirety of this principle. It is about living with integrity for its own sake. So what does this mean? Many of the keywords for integrity bring this principle into the light of day. Without consideration for the circumstances, people involved, particular daily activity and even our spiritual practices, living in integrity is about maintaining a continuous focus, tension and expression with the entirety of ourself aligned ruthlessly to purpose. This perfect condition and unimpaired expression is with a lack of attachment and/or bondage to outside influences in the ordinary world. Through integrity, we can then faithfully and lovingly express whatever energy is needed at the time. By lining up and affiliating independently to the energy of Spirit, we will become One in Spirit while spiritual purpose pervades our life. This is why integrity is for its own sake. Let's take a look at some ways in which living in integrity works out within our daily life. First, humans are conditioned to understanding integrity based on many of the terms described by Webster's. They idealize honesty, sound moral principles and uprightness, but unfortunately only live them when it's convenient. Living any virtue ruthlessly will naturally cause disturbances in the status quo. So be prepared. Second, living with integrity is internal, even though it is outwardly expressed. It is sometimes easy to assume an attitude that if I live with integrity, so should everyone else. The fact is, most humans do not live with integrity. They live more based on compromise, sympathy/pity, remorse and attachment. Therefore, they expect it from everyone else. Living with integrity will result in bringing many of the buried issues within family, friends and workers to the surface for resolution. That is a good thing, but few are willing to do it with integrity. Third, integrity is defensible and non-defensible. If we decide to be dishonest, devious or willfully uncompromising, we must be ready for the consequences if it comes to the surface. There is no justification, only being willing to communicate or not communicate the spiritual source of our actions. Finally, there is the issue of karma. A key to resolving karma is to know when to express love, sacrifice or wisdom. The difficult part, which only integrity can resolve, is which is it to be and at what time.