We were all raised with the lies of our culture. Most of us were raised with additional lies of our families. None of us were shown what is real and true, and what integrity is all about.
I don’t mean integrity in a moral sense of right and wrong. I mean it as knowing what is a right way for yourself to live, personally, and as a support to the way people can live together. For example, I don’t lie. Lying is awkward, pushes me away from others, and makes me feel isolated. So I don’t want to – except in unusual situations where safety requires it. I also know that being around others where no one is deceiving makes things work much better.
Integrity is far more than not lying, cheating, and stealing. It is the search for an internal sense of the square pegs fitting in the square holes. Where things make sense. You know what to do next. You make decisions based on what is right for you, which includes what is genuinely right for others. This means not following rules, but instead, examining those rules and deciding which ones are appropriate.
Discovering your integrity is not an easy task. I find it a life-long process. I am pulled toward fitting in and belonging, which may require doing things out of my integrity. Then when I choose integrity over fitting in, I must face the sense of separation from those who live the traditional life.
Belonging to a group of people who are all committed to finding their integrity, finding their correct way to live, and who are willing to not fit in is a wonderful support to stepping out of the culture.
Among my friends, several are atheists. One woman has a strong belief in god. Another has a spiritual focus, but not the Christian concept of god. Everyone accepts the views of the others. Our integrity doesn’t have to look like that of the person next to us. How we choose to live and work is different from those who are finding their own best ways to live and work.
Healing shame is a vital component of becoming able to find integrity. We cannot obey the rules of the culture or religion in order to feel good about ourselves. This is merely a shame reducer. We need to check in, find ourselves, and follow that awareness into who we are and how best to live. Healing Humanity: Life Without Shame provides a lot of information about all of this.
The GATHERINGS include this search. They include supporting each other in this search.