If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.
In the book where I keep notes, quotes, ideas, recipes, prayers, etc (if I were more conventional, I might call it a BoS or maybe even a grimoire), there is an inscription on the inside of the cover which reads “Let every action of the body be a prayer from the soul.” Integrity, I think, is exactly this– the continual process of striving to make one’s actions reflect their professed beliefs in all aspects of their life (and not just the ones that are convenient).
In terms of our spirituality, having integrity means applying our regard for the Divine (in whatever way we think it is manifested) to our everyday actions and behaviors. If one believes that “My law is love is unto all beings“, then perhaps they should be attentive to how they engage with others (regardless of their appearance, status, importance, age, race, religion, sexuality, gender, politics, or even to their species). If one believes in the idea of Earth as an embodiment of Divinity, then perhaps they should be attentive to where their water comes from and what goes it it or where their waste goes and how to minimize it.
Integrity is not about killing ourselves to achieve perfection though, so much as acknowledging and admitting our all-too human failings, overcoming them when possible and amending our expectations or making amends for our shortcomings when not.
Everyday Integrity (and how we express it):
- Treat others with consideration and respect, whether you think they deserve it or not. You should never lower your standards of behavior for someone else’s misdeeds.
- Take a bag for trash when you go to the park or the beach to show gratitude to the places that enrich your life by leaving them cleaner than you found them.
- When you screw up, admit it. There is no pride to be found in refusing to take responsibility for your choices when they have been in error.
- Make healthy choices. Our bodies are gods-given gifts with which to meet life, don’t trash that gift.
- Family is a relationship of reciprocal duty, someone does not have to be blood to be family, but once you have accepted someone as such, you have made a commitment to them.
- Don’t hurt someone to make friends. If someone is your friend just because you don’t like someone or something else, they they aren’t really your friend.
- Honor your commitments to the best of your ability.
- Work for what you want, because you aren’t entitled to anything (material or not) without earning it.
- Appreciate what you have, its more than many in this world. Say thank you to those that help you get what you need.