Where’s the Integrity?

Wait-a-minute, if I have integrity and I give someone my word (like I will do something at some point in the future), well, that’s then and this is now. If I’ve told someone I was going to do something in the past, that was so then and it doesn’t matter now. So, if I make a promise to you, it doesn’t matter? What about someone else’s promise to me? Where’s the integrity in that?

Want the truth? Nothing really matters.

You just have to realize that life on planet earth is a lot of some-will-some-won’t-next. If you can wrap your head around this, you will be okay, but it’s hard, because we’re not programmed to allow what is to be.

I am a product of my programming and I have a huge Integrity component. I feel like, if I tell someone something, it must be true and it’s up to me to make it true no matter what the cost because I want to be remembered as an intengrous person, one who has always kept his word. For the longest time, I thought, if my tombstone had anything on it, it should read, “Here lies an honest man. If nothing else, he was good to his word.” Which sounds good on the surface, but if you look at it, there it is: Lies and Honest in the same reference, as if it was to be something good.

And what does it mean to be good to your word?

Is it really any good to suffer through pain, turmoil, tragedy, confusion and angst, just because you uttered certain words in the heat of the moment? How good is that? Wouldn’t it be more good to say, “Sorry, something came up. I just can’t make it.”?

I can hear all the Eckhart Tolle fans starting to murmur in the background about my finally starting to get a clue.

I mean, what kind of a prison have I committed myself to?

Actually, I do maintain a high level of integrity, although I must admit, I am less happy than the folks who are actively more apt to be less integrous and live in the now.

Take a look at someone you know who has no idea about what it means to keep their word – no concept of it – because they’re so blissfully living in the now. What do you see? Happiness. They truly have found a way to be content and joyful, by disregarding anything that isn’t and only seeing what is.

As I move away from selfishness and more toward allowing what is to be, I find myself less judgmental against someone whom I might have considered a liar in the past. Why? Because this is the unrealistic expectation I had of myself. This was my standard. I militantly adhered to the ridiculous concept that if I were to utter a certain sequence of words at any time, and if they were not manifest as I had uttered them, then I would be a liar and deserving of severe punishment (at least personal berating). So, it was not unreasonable for me to hold others to the same standard.

Say something. If it does not manifest as you said, you were a liar. (Oh, silly Masters.)

I have to credit business principles for introducing me to concepts, like, some-will-some-won’t-next. It is a reference commonly used to put salespeople at ease in their dealing with rejection. When you pitch your spiel, then there are only two possible outcomes, followed by your best course of action: Next; keep it moving.

That’s all well and good in business but to apply it to life was well beyond my ability to comprehend. What about integrity?

Really? What about it?

Where is the integrity in life?

“Life is the least integrous system ever conceived.”

If anything, life (as we know it) is the least integrous system ever conceived. It is full of chaos, dysfunction, unexpected twists and turns and for god’s sake, even such random acts as to be referred to as acts of god!

And through all this confusion, if you’re listening, you start to hear the gentle flow of isness in the background; that soothing vibration of allowing things to be as they are. It doesn’t mean you don’t get your feelings hurt, suffer pain or loss along the way. By all means, do. Cry, scream, rant, rave – whatever your fancy – then be done with it.

Next. Keep it moving…

In life,
some things will work out the way you wanted
Some won’t.
Next.

Thank god for the many nexts we are afforded in this life.

Amen.

Perception Interpretation

How many times have you found yourself offended by the words and deeds of another person that may have been unwarranted? Even if you knew your feelings were likely unjust, still you found yourself filled with angst and fury and lashed out or made a rash decision based on the emotional whirlpool pulling you down to your lowest desperate state.

So you strike out, do or say something in your defense because in this emotional chaos, you can think of nothing more than self preservation at all costs.

You rationalize your thoughts and actions based on the truth you are able to extract from the all the data that you have access to. Using your perception you convert the results of your research and statistics to come to a cognitive conclusion justifying the torrential chaos you felt in that moment based on your interpretation.

perception interpretation what is truth rash decision perception is reality

This happens every day, and how can you blame anyone for perceiving everyday occurrences via their individual perception? You can’t. Why? Because we can only determine that is really truth from within. Only we know what is true for us based on our own interpretation of the information available to us at the time.

In example, take a look at Jasmine and Darnell. They are in their early thirties, recently involved in a romantic courtship and things are going so very well. They are professing their love for each other and even talking about spending the rest of their lives together.

On their six month anniversary, Darnell makes reservations for a quaint bistro, picks up a card and a teddy bear with a heart on its tummy and presents them to Jasmine when he comes calling to pick her up for their scheduled date.

Jasmine greets him at the door enthusiastically. Darnell holds out the bear and card to Jasmine, as her countenance immediately shifts to contempt and anger. She throws the bear into the street, rips the card into pieces and throws the pieces at Darnell’s face and kicks him off the porch while shouting disrespectful obscenities and slams the door as Darnell falls to the ground.

After driving away and pulling over to the side of the road, Darnell texts Jasmine, which does not go through, then tries to call to discover his number’s already been blocked.

Looking for emotional support, the couple reaches out to their friends in an effort to cope with the ensuing chaos. Jasmine tells her friends that Darnell is a manipulative predator, nothing short of a rapist, while Darnell spins tales of Jasmine’s severe mental disorders. Friends rally around the couple. Damages follow, some that are irreparable.

Knowing the details of Jasmine’s struggle with her past doesn’t justify her outburst and reaction to the otherwise innocuous display of affection. Issues she’s been battling within since childhood predicted her response with high-precision accuracy. Likewise, Darnell’s accusations of Jasmine’s mental instability were based on triggers from his past.

From their perspective they are both telling stories based on the truth they believe, as real to them as gravity, yet things aren’t always what they seem and neither of them have as much information as I have (purposely filtered) additionally I am certain there is much more information yet to be uncovered.

Jasmine would fare much better in the same circumstance today, because she has worked though many of the unresolved issues of her past and while she still tends to be quite impulsive, is training herself to pause (and count to three to herself) before responding, reacting or pressing “send” when she is feeling overwhelmed. This brief hesitation gives her just enough space to consider possibilities, ramifications and helps her to manage her truth and consequences.

Don’t judge someone based on surface information because you may have no idea what lies beneath the surface. We all have lives consisting of a plethora of past experiences, beliefs and misinterpretations the sum of which has gotten us this far. After all, we’re all doing the best we can with what we have. This is why we are cautioned to never judge a book by its cover.

If we are to have any faith in our ability to successfully share this planet with other inhabitants, we must find ways to stop dividing us one against the other, discover how to get along with each other and accept that we are all parts of the same soup, even though we all are so very different.

No one is blaming you or me for our perception or interpretation, because in heat of the moment it’s all we have to determine what is truth as it influences how i feel about you, how you feel about me and how we feel about ourselves.

In fact in all things perception is reality and subject to change pending accumulation of additional data.

Pausing in an effort to avoid making a rash decision or burning a bridge beyond repair like Jasmine does now, might be sound advice for all of us.

All you can do is to try not to judge or react too promptly, accept others for who they are and where they are at in their life’s journey and discover how to make yourself happy as you live a better life. A little tolerance goes a long way.

For me, I try to imagine what it must be like to the person who is reacting, put myself in their shoes and look for the love. While I haven’t perfected this method because I too, can react in self defense in the heat of the moment… but as immediately as possible look with empathy for love in the wings.

We’re all in process, for if we weren’t, we would not be. Let’s make the best of it.