This month we focus on the theme of integrity. The word integrity evolved from the Latin adjective integer, meaning whole and complete. In this context, integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities of honesty and consistency of character. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Integrity and morality are not necessarily the same thing. Morality is more about the external rules that come from our culture and beliefs. It’s a set of principles that we possess.
If we use the definition of wholeness, what does that mean to us as it relates to integrity? Howard Thurman refers to integrity in his book The Inward Journey. It refers to living as whole and complete. Spiritually speaking it means becoming aware of our oneness with God into the varying parts of our lives.
We can look at the lack of integrity being played out in the evening news. The news may be frustrating to watch, but we can use this as an opportunity to look our own integrity and how it plays out in our daily lives. When am I out of integrity with the truth that I hold for myself?
I recently told the story about being in a store purchasing a sweater. As I approached the counter to pay for the sweater my cell phone rang. I answered the phone and held a brief conversation with a family member while I was making the purchase. Realizing how rude I was for not being present with the sales person, I hung up the phone and apologized to her for my rudeness, knowing how important it is to me to be present with each person I connect with, whether I know them personally or not. It was an example of me being out of integrity.
There may be times when our words and actions are not consistent with our values and beliefs. It is up to us to hold ourselves to standards of wholeness and truth and to live this life being honest with ourselves. This can be difficult to achieve in our fast-paced lives but we have the ability to slow down, go within, quiet the noise and listen to our inner voice through meditation and affirmative prayer. On the days when we feel lack, fearful or limited in some way, we can return to the source and once again align with our sacred self.