Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Power of Integrity



Integrity is not something we have to earn. It is essential to who we are. There is no one here who does not have integrity, just as there is no one here who does not deserve love.

Of course, there are plenty of people who don't think they have integrity. And they have the unfortunate habit of trying to find their wholeness by demanding the time, attention, or possessions of others. These people are not evil. They are just confused. They don't know that their life is a work of art. They don't know that they are master sculptors. They think they got a lousy hand.

One day they will realize that they got the perfect hand. And they will start to work with it consciously and energetically. Until then, they are playing at being victims. They are playing at being broken, unhealed, unwhole.

A ... person confined to a wheel chair may not feel whole, but he has no less integrity than anyone else. He has not been given inferior clay. There are no accidents in this life. Nobody got anyone else's clay.

You see the problem is not existential. Integrity is there in each one of us. The problem is that we believe we are not whole. We believe that we need to be fixed or that we can fix someone else. We feel a false sense of responsibility for others and we do not take enough  responsibility for ourselves. We are driven by desire, greed, guilt and fear. We attack, defend, and then try to repair the damage. Of course, it doesn't work. The one who perceives the damage cannot fix it.

In truth, nothing is broken and nothing needs to be fixed. If we could dwell in this awareness, all our wounds would heal by themselves. Miracles would happen, because the ego structure blocking the miracle would dissolve.

This human drama seems to be about abuse, but is really about learning to take responsibility. All suffering is a temporary construction created for your learning. And all the tools that you need to end your suffering have been given into your hands.

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So if we want to discover our integrity we need to stop pretending to be victims. We need to stop pretending that we weren't given the right tools. We need to take the clay and work with it.

Anyone who does this stops complaining and gets on with his life. He learns to take care of himself and he gives others the space to take care of themselves. Indeed, he releases all sense of obligation to and from others so that he is free to follow the promptings of his mind and heart.

For the person who knows that wholeness has not been denied him, there are no excuses. There can be no procrastination. There is nothing that stands between him and his joy.

His life is his work of art and he is busy about it even as a bee is busy pollinating flowers. If you speak to him of sacrifice, he will laugh and say: "work that is not joyful accomplishes nothing of value in the world." And, of course, he will be right.

One artist does not work for another unless he is learning something of value to his craft. When he stops learning, he moves to another teacher, or begins working on his own. Nobody can keep him from his craft. No one can take him out of his life. For his life and his craft are one.

In a world where everyone is a genius, there are no bosses and no employees. There are only teachers and students in voluntary association.

If you do not like where you are, you must leave that place or you do not honor yourself. Do not force yourself to stay in any environment in which you cease to remember that you are a creator of your life.

As I said, "leave your nets." Do not struggle to be worthy when you already are. Leave that job or relationship in which you are unable to remember who you are. Let go of your neurotic bargain for love and acceptance. and walk through your fears. You will never find your wings until you learn to use your arms and legs. Don't ask God to do for you what you must learn to do for yourself.

~ Paul Ferrin, author of The Silence of the Heart