The Centrality of Integrity in Consciousness

Integrity is an extremely sensitive word; a core aspect of human consciousness. Yet it is poorly understood. Integrity is not just about being good or honest. It is far more than these. Integrity means wholeness and to be whole sometimes you may be perceived as “bad” or probably “mean”. Yet deep inside, the perceiver will sense your integrity. Integrity is constructive and is framed around a core set of values which give a sense of meaning, actualisation and fulfilment to the human. In understanding integrity, one will see that it transcends conscience even though conscience contributes to its framework. So in preserving our integrity, sometimes conscience must be moderated to allow our values and sense of wholeness to be secure. Integrity is therefore based on a deep self awareness and clarity of our values. It is also strengthened by disciplined thinking, sincerity and self honesty. Integrity is not slave morality but a conscious determination to be whole and to communicate that wholeness in our daily living. Being whole may therefore mean that some conventions or norms would be forgone. As integrity grows, at some point during one’s psychological development, it becomes easier to detect people who lack integrity. In this discovery, one sees that it is not a question of the subject’s faith belief or religious profession but more of perceiving an inner congruency and sense of integrity within the individual. Integrity at its core communicates consistency, courage, love, humility and discipline. Conversely, incongruence, passivity, impatience, inconsistency, indiscipline, sycophancy, immaturity, pride, obsequiousness , dependency etc. are covert signs of a lack of integrity as compared with lying and dishonesty which are more overt signs known to many. Developing an acute sensitivity to these signs would help one navigate the rivers of interpersonal relationships in the real world. We definitely need people as much as they need us. Yet it is a profound blessing to have someone with integrity close to us. The benefits are too many to quantify. Without giving anything to you, this solid rock of an individual will bring moments of intense joy and peaceful calm to you.

From the sense of being, integrity is an arsenal, or using another metaphor lets imagine when the tyres of a moving car are deflated and lose their buoyancy and the car is unable to move. That is what integrity is. It is the vantage point from which you unleash your contributions of effectiveness to the world. Once there is a distortion in this realm, your results would be greatly undermined. This therefore makes integrity sacred and to be guarded with one’s life. Integrity is definitely not framed in the sense of fear of accusation or punishment but from a deep self awareness and love for oneself. That is why true integrity fears no accusation or false impressions. Integrity is enduring and will prove itself in the end even if misconstrued. It is the responsibility of the individual to guard this core aspect of consciousness not necessarily because of how one will be perceived but more because of the quality of one’s contribution to the world, to humanity and the realisation of one’s self actualisation.


Love: What it Means to me and How I See it

When I was about eight years old, I had an overwhelming crush on a young lady of about eighteen or nineteen at the time. It is what many of us have experienced when we say we are sick in love. I recall once during those days refusing to eat and sitting outside under a tree for hours! I was so young and was in love. At age seventeen I experienced the same overwhelming feeling with a girl much younger than me. It was an intense feeling, yet mixed with pain, competition, desire and inner turmoil. If I was asked back then I would say I was deeply in love. At thirty, I experienced this same feeling again; a greater dimension of passion, endless desire, pain, rivalry, confusion, tears and misery. Again if I was asked back then I would say I was in love.

All these years, I have been growing. This growth has been slow and steady (growth is painfully sluggish, especially growth in consciousness). More than a decade ago, I began to know a different kind of love. I encountered this love in my mentors; very matured and elderly women who I am in awe of and respect deeply. The love I have for these women and still do is what I can best describe as sacred or possibly divine. What I mean by sacred here is to convey the description of what one thinks to be too precious, of extreme fragility in consciousness and far above the mundane that we long to preserve and treat this aspect of reality with utmost respect and even reverence. Because of these relationships, my orientation about love began to change. It began to dawn on me that love at its peak can only be experienced when two people whether man and woman or humans of the same sex access being. What Abraham Maslow termed ‘being love’ is an experience that is too divine to begin to describe here in words. Yet it is only possible when the parties involved are both evolved i.e. have found themselves and awakened to heights of awareness and emotional and psychological maturity. At this level, love then is not just a matter of passion, chemistry, physical beauty, taste or sophistication but the depth of quality of being. I believe other kinds of love are at best transactional, probably limited to passion with shades of insecurity hidden somewhere, laden with a potential drive for conquest. The power of the kind of love that I write about is a mirror in both parties of the highest aspects of ourselves; our virtues, our sincerity, our singleness, our integrity, our sacrifice, our suffering and our sense of meaning. It is this kind of love I believe is stronger than death. Love therefore to me cannot be found in externalities. As one comes to learn quickly, charm is deceitful but essence is affirming. While religion teaches us to love our neighbour as ourselves, perhaps one can say that love will find its opportunity when it gets a mirror of itself in essence; in being.

Goddesses are Ordinary Women: Our Divine Qualities Lie Deep Inside Us

For millennia humanity has projected divine attributes of being to an otherness, a separate entity in a realm perceived outside their consciousness. The question is can this archetypal qualities of being be found in ourselves? Goddesses in ancient mythology were revered and tapestries of divine qualities were woven round them in adoration. But who is a goddess and how can women reach the ideal states of the divine in their nature? If we look at the woman, we see, from the perspective of the male and child a creature that brings succour to humankind, with bowels of compassion, grace, gentleness, courage, mercy and beauty. So a woman’s ideal journey is to realise selfhood and become a “goddess” on the earth sharing these gifts. It is no easy path. The “goddess” in the woman is first impeded, shrouded, and restricted by cultural forces. Yet a breaking out to authenticity would give rise to a “goddess”. Only then, when a woman has outgrown her inertia and realised selfhood can she give the attributes of the divine to humanity who desperately need her to bless them.

This essay will identify the archetypal qualities of a “goddess” and why she will inevitably attract divine love. These qualities have been inspired by women I have met in my own journey, not fantasy or rhetoric. Now, let’s look at each quality in turn.

  1. A “goddess” is not afraid. How can we imagine a goddess to be afraid? Afraid of what? Because this woman has met nothingness, she is profoundly responsible and in control of her personal outcomes, the outcomes of her organisation, society and world. She is a force of nature, making things happen and unleashing her creative energies in the world. Her courage shines through without affectation, clearly seen in her words and actions.
  2. A “goddess” is ordinary, just anybody, any face on the exterior. In fact a characteristic of a goddess is gentleness and meekness, the most tender of hearts with sublime levels of sensitivity. Yet at the same time in the goddess we meet a fortress, a colossal mountain and infinite space able to accommodate just about any circumstance without losing her poise and balance.
  3. A “goddess” is an embodiment of love and positive energies. Love emanates from her being like an ambience and the power of her love heals. She respects potential and sees it in anyone and through her benevolence nurtures the weak to become strong, the inexperienced to become an expert and the immature to become grown and wise.
  4. A “goddess” is a deliberate creator. She is so much in control that she creates future outcomes in the present with a clear confidence that is powerful. She assumes responsibility to know why and how her creativity is needed in the world. In her organisation, society, and world she assumes ownership. If a goddess is not responsible, who will?
  5. A “goddess” alleviates suffering and does not add to it. Everywhere she goes with her energy, she is uplifting hearts, raising spirits and giving hope. This is her life, it is truly what she wants to do, her value and means of self-expression. She does these things out of the integrity of her being not because society demands it, or her religion or culture. A “goddess” has realised selfhood and does not necessarily need cultural forces to shape her actions. In essence that is why is she is a “goddess”.
  6. A true “goddess” is indifferent to perturbations of circumstance, accepting the ups and downs of life in stillness, peace and constructive acceptance. Her faith in possibilities is immeasurable and her hope boundless. It is unheard of for a goddess to complain! Goddesses flow with reality and when they can, shape it according to the laws of the universe.
  7. Finally a “goddess” is human. She has frailties, fears, hopes and dreams. A “goddess” cries and can be hurt. What makes her a “goddess” is her ability to heal quickly, to bounce back, to be resilient. Goddesses are not perfect, they make mistakes. But even in their mistakes, their authenticity shines through.

To be continued.

The Role of Sincerity in the Search for Meaning

The search for meaning usually struggles through the breaking out from conditioning, the constructive element of all societies. Conditioning starts from the primary social unit; the family extending into institutions and mainstream society. However a point comes in the life of the individual when the conflict between the real self and the conditioned self becomes irrepressible. The authentic self begs for expression; to be set free to experience its own independent growth and realisation. The reason many never overcome this conflict in expressing the authentic self in their search for meaning can be attributed to a number of factors. Pivotal among them is fear. It is fear that feeds self delusion or evasion. The risk of complete sincerity and self honesty is at the time too staggering to the conditioned mind. And therefore he or she is unable to truly see or admit their inner conflict in order to accept it and thereby transcend it. But life is not usually that straight forward or easy. It takes a significant crisis that shifts the earth under us such that we are hanging in the air 10,000 metres over imaginary pricks then falling into despair that finally stirs the courage to face reality and transcend our conditioning. So the conditioned mind is never liberated on a bed of roses. In the search for meaning, the conditioned mind must meet a catastrophe of great proportions relative to the level of conditioning in order to be free. But how does this crisis start? What instigates a massive shaking? It is simply self honesty or sincerity. This quality of sincerity and the courage to face the truth causes the individual to begin to question their conditioning. This is extremely frightening and majority never make it past this stage. Either they rationalize, or look for more reinforcement of their now weakened conditioning or they simply evade their authentic self. However, those who will face these questions in all sincerity will inevitably encounter a crisis and eventually deep despair. Despair because the security of their long held beliefs has been shattered by reality. Sincerity is therefore, arguably the most important quality for self evolution next to courage. Sincerity is so vital, so powerful, so personal, yet it is a mystery why many of us prefer the “safe” harbour of self delusion. But for how long? Perhaps we should ask ourselves if the rewards of an authentic self which has discovered meaning can be measured. Can the personal power of one who has conquered the fear that grips the conditioned mind be estimated? It would help if we look at the qualities of an authentic self which as a result of its authenticity has realised meaning in life.

First, an authentic self is open to vulnerability, never shies from it, demonstrating sublime levels of courage. Vulnerability means the authentic self virtually has no defences and is not afraid of injury. Neither does it employ sophistication to disguise its defences against vulnerability.

Second, an authentic self has no exaggerated or distorted sense of self and is therefore of deep humility, openness and self acceptance.

Third, an authentic self is secure in itself and therefore uplifts and appreciates the true worth of others never practising what psychologists call minimisation which is in fact a defence.

Fourth, an authentic self loves itself profoundly. It hardly needs other validation. It is a truism that in finding your true self you will fall in love with it, be in awe of it and care for it deeply. As a result, you can share disciplined and authentic love with others. We see it too often that people who do not love themselves or feel inadequate find it hard to love others.

Fifth, is that the authentic self is creative. How can a liberated self not be? Will it not be expansive?

Sixth, the authentic self is never partisan but sees a reflection of itself in all humans irrespective of nationality, culture, race or religion.

Seventh, the authentic self has high unconditional self regard, self pride (not of the vain type), self respect yet deep humility. And so does the authentic self have high regard and respect for others treating relationships as sacred.

Eighth, an authentic self is of extreme beauty, this beauty is so divine, so idiosyncratic, that it is evident to all who encounter it. The beauty of the authentic self resonates, it inspires, elicits awe yet never intimidates.

Overall, one can therefore infer that the end result of the antithesis of the authentic self is loss of meaning, a lack of wholeness and ultimately depression. Authenticity the outgrowth of sincerity is a wellspring of joy and peak experiences. The first responsibility in our own conscious evolution is to break out of our conditioning to experience true freedom by seeking to bravely find the answers to those questions that arise in our hearts. Would we be willing to be sincere? To demonstrate courage? It is up to us.

This writing is dedicated to Radhika Kothari.

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