Mindfulness Primer: Integrity
So the question is: How do I “accept what is” AND “drive change”? Answer: Mindfulness. This series of posts is designed to introduce the key concepts to this paradoxical approach to empowerment. Today’s topic: Integrity.
To effectively drive change from a space of acceptance, we need to first clearly identify an overarching intention for our lives. However if we haven’t first resolved conflicts within our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions, we will be hard pressed to identify an apt intention. Choosing an intention without resolving inner conflicts is like shooting an arrow at a moving target: we end up either consistently missing the mark, or hitting marks devoid of enduring fulfillment.
That critical alignment of thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions is more commonly referred to as integrity, and is an essential aspect of mindfulness.
Integrity and mindfulness have a symbiotic relationship. Mindfulness helps us engage integrity, and integrity helps us root more deeply in mindfulness. Mindfulness enables us to notice any inconsistencies or half-truths between our thoughts, speech, feelings, and actions. Once those inconsistencies are identified, we are empowered to navigate situations more skillfully with an eye towards alignment.
It’s an iterative process of trial and error which requires much fine tuning. During this process, it is important that we suspend “ideals” of right and wrong, and focus instead on accepting the fullness of the situation. From that space of acceptance, we are able to choose what feels most right for us within the context of each situation. Later, we can then explore the results of the action we took, and discover whether our decision brought us closer to, or farther away from, a sense of alignment with what we think, say, and feel is most important to us.
In other words, mindfulness creates an opportunity for us to ask: Did the decision we made set us up for an experience of expansion or contraction? Then we can ask: Does that expansion or contraction feel like something we want to experience more often? Integrity then becomes the “constant” in the equation of our experience of life, giving us a solid platform from which to step regardless of what the situation contains.
Eventually we learn that what feels most right in a given moment doesn’t always serve our fullest experience of ourselves. Armed with this realization, we are then primed to navigate the conditioned behaviors that arise in our day which, if left unchecked, lead us away from an experience of our fullest possible expression of ourselves.
From the platform of integrity, we discover that the roots of fulfillment transcend momentary gratification. The thought processes that got us to our current plateau will not help us take life to the next level. By challenging our decision making process, we open ourselves to an experience of life that far exceeds anything we could have imagined from our current mindset. It’s a fulfilling experience of perpetual discovery, as opposed to the classic “striving and achieving” that exhausts our resources and amplifies an experience of restless angst.
Tomorrow in part 6 of this mindfulness primer, we will explore how to effectively identify an overarching intention for our lives.