There is a revolution underway that is changing every aspect of the way we understand reality and the way our minds create it.
It is an ancient revolution because in the oldest cultural, religious, philosophical and academic texts from all over the world we find verses and lines describing how our separation from what we perceive is an illusion and that underneath the vagaries of our mind is an essence that is unchanging and true.
It is also modern because it is fast gathering pace in the most advanced approaches in every walk of life that deals with human performance and well-being: sports, business, therapy, medicine, education, coaching and neuroscience.
And it changes everything – everything we believe about ourselves, what we want, who we are, the world we live in.
And one of the things that turns upside down is how we understand integrity.
The traditional understanding of the word is along the lines of:
Standing by what we think and believe.
Having strong values and moral code that guide our behaviour.
Acting on what is right.
Doesn’t sound like nonsense does it?
But it is.
It is nonsense because everything we think, our moral code, our values, what we believe is right or wrong has no more correctness or substance than a cloud in the sky.
Violence. Harassment. Secretism. Racism. Greed. Agism. Infidelity. Slander. Sexism. Nepotism. Jealousy. Lying. Killing. Stealing. Defrauding.
The boundaries, meanings and implications slip and slide over each other. How we class and define where any of this begins and ends, exists or not. How we judge. Where we draw lines. What we accept and reject. What we forgive and what causes life-long hostility. What is grounds for mass protest or what is accepted without challenge. What is rewarded by society, what is condemned. What is accepted in law, what is punishable by death. All of it is arbitrary, transient. Decided by the ebb and flow of thought alone.
When we stand up for what we think and believe we are standing up for an illusion that makes sense in one moment and which won’t in the next. We are standing up for a stream of thoughts that varies according to whatever state of mind we are in, as an individual, group, nation or planet, at any one time.
If we look again at the word and its Latin root integritas, we see that originally it meant soundness, wholeness or completeness.
What is soundness, wholeness or completeness for a human being? It is the knowledge that we are everything, that we are everything we perceive and everything we perceive is who we are. The idea of self, other people, circumstances, events, nature emerges through us moment by moment.
It is a nonsense then to react against this transient reality, to believe we have moral superiority over it, to make a stand against it. We try to make ourselves right and our projection wrong.
It is inherently futile, exhausting and circular. It is self fighting projected self. One thought trying to trump another in the same head.
But of course that is what most of us (me included) spend most of our time doing. Because we have this idea of integrity which honours certain thoughts and beliefs.
As we look in the direction of what is real, of what is actually happening in our minds we own this projection of ours.
We can’t be responsible for it because we don’t control which thoughts come to mind but we can own it. We honour the truth that somehow this reality is created within our own awareness. We realise we are the custodian of this projection. There is no them, there is no right or wrong, there is only creation in thought and awareness of that creation.
Now what? What difference does that make?
It creates an enormous shift that transforms the rest of our lives. That’s what.
It means that instead of exhausting ourselves fighting illusory enemies, we get clear as to their nature and we watch them disappear.
We start to realise that the bad stuff will only leave the world when we stop perpetuating it. There is nothing to stand against, there is only our own thoughts and our own behaviour. We get real with ourselves.
I want the end of harassment? Well then who am I harassing?
I want the end of sexism and racism? Where do I believe that someone is better than another?
I want the end of violence? How am I violent in thought, feeling or action as I go about my life?
I want to stand for love? Do I love every hater? No? Then let’s start there.
Until I can show how it is done, how what I want is even possible, I can’t expect it from anyone else. Only when I am living what I want for the world will change happen.
It begins and ends with me. I am all of it. Integral. Whole. Complete. Entire.