Many spiritualists, in their youthful zeal, take lifelong vows, not realizing the hardships involved over time. With advancing age, when the severity of their undertaking hits them, a sense of failure envelops their consciousness. It begins with a little personal compromise, and soon their effectiveness is negatively affected.
That’s why it’s important to periodically take honest stock of your capabilities and move forward humbly. It’s better to make small promises and grow with time than painfully cheat or bring down your standards.
That’s the best way you could preserve your integrity.
Action 2: The accountability principle
Akash is a gracious young man from a cultured family. Some years ago he confessed to me he was addicted to watching pornography. I suggested he install parental apps, but he dismissed it saying his mind and intelligence was far too smart; he easily circumvented the regulations and seemed helplessly hooked to surfing erotic stuff on the net.
Recently he surprised me with a revelation: since the last four years, he hasn’t watched any of that muck. What transpired during this period? He discovered his soul mate – he fell in love and got married to a woman with whom he shares a deep emotional bonding. “There’s nothing I can hide from her” Akash confessed, “And the love I experience in my relationship has helped transcend my attachment to the filth on the internet.”
Emotionally fulfilling relationships and the responsibility born of it helps one live free of deceit.
Is there someone in your life who knows everything about you or do you hide many secrets about yourself? When a few of us in our monastery decided we’d be transparent with our counselor and accountable to each other, not only our friendship became more meaningful, but we also found it easier to practice truthfulness.
To practice integrity, we first need to follow honesty. The difference? Integrity is the truth that we tell ourselves and honesty is when we say the fact to others. Therefore if we have meaningful relationships, we can move from hypocrisy to honesty and then to integrity. And the American humorist Mark Twain wittily said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”
Action 3: Connection before contribution
Those who serve selflessly are also likely to slip to unholy dalliances. Sounds strange? It’s not the external acts of service but the internal mood that helps one live by integrity. Without a deep connection to self, our services are unsustainable. Only if your vessel is full can you fill others’ cups is an adage. The airplane safety announcements implore one to put on an oxygen mask on self before helping others. Only if you become a proficient swimmer yourself can you save others from drowning.
To be continued…