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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Integrity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Integrity

Integrity and Being Real

To live according to the truth we need to be able to allow the truth. We need to have the integrity and the self-respect to confront ourselves. We must be willing to see things about ourselves that are problematic, selfish, or reactive. We need to acknowledge and confront difficulties and delusions, and learn to deal with them instead of doing everything to run away from them. We need to learn to confront not only the beautiful truth of essential states, but also our fears and vulnerabilities and inadequacies. That's how we become real. We don't become real by running away from difficulties; we become real by understanding them. Fulfillment, love, and satisfaction happen as a side-effect, a by-product of being real. To be real, we have to bring forth what is real in us. We have to start doing it, being it, acting according to it, expressing it, saying it, and living it.

Integrity and Living the Truth

To live the life of truth means first to value the truth, and to value knowing the truth. It also means to value the truth such that you make it the center of your life, which means learning to be genuine, authentic, and sincere. At its heart, living the truth is a matter of integrity and respect—for oneself, for others, and for truth itself. The more our life respects and reflects the truth that we know, the more it will take us to ever deeper dimensions of truth, of true nature. There is an interaction, an interrelationship, and an inseparability between understanding the truth and living life. We cannot really separate the two. We cannot be ivory-tower philosophers and expect to discover truth. It doesn't work that way because inquiry is a journey of truth-finding that constantly reveals the oneness of Being and life. Our spiritual philosophy must become an action philosophy. We have to let our souls become a manifestation of each truth we discover.

Integrity and Self-Respect

Life is to be lived with the integrity, dignity, and self-respect of a person who knows that the point is not whether something feels good or bad. The point is not to lose your self-respect, not to abandon your true reality, the highest and purest elements within you. Regardless of how wonderful things are and regardless of how painful things are, your self-respect is strong enough to maintain your sense of integrity. That integrity does not mean having your way, or winning or succeeding or anything like that. It means being sincere about who you are and acting in ways that reflect your essential human values. Having self-respect, self-consideration, and self-love means doing and learning whatever is needed to maintain that integrity and self-respect. It means that if something needs to be learned, you go ahead and learn it; if something needs to be done, you go ahead and do it; and if something needs to be said, you go ahead and say it. To have self-respect and integrity means not complaining about how things are. It means acting towards others with respect and consideration regardless of what you feel. Having self-respect means that even if you are dying, you are still considerate and respectful towards yourself and other people, because who you are is much more important than whether you are going to die. It is much more important than whether you’ are losing your business or losing your boyfriend or girlfriend. Human dignity is much more precious than any of these things.

Integrity and Sincerity

Being honest and sincere means confronting our inner experience and our outer life in a truthful way. Being sincere means not lying to ourselves, not rationalizing, not comforting, not postponing, not bandaging difficulties. Being sincere means grappling with our life and coming to terms with it with a sense of integrity and self-respect. Over time we gain self-respect by grappling with our deficiencies, by learning that we can do it. If we run away from the difficult parts, we'll feel like a coward. If we feel like a coward, we won’t respect ourselves. And we can't lie to ourselves about what we’re actually doing; on a deep level, we know the truth. So we have to grapple with the difficulties in a courageous way. That's how we gain respect and value. If we run away from things, there's no way we can value ourselves. To have a sense of integrity, we have to prove to ourselves that we're worthy of it. I don't mean we have to prove something to our superego. I mean we have to bring forth what we are, bring forth all our resources to confront the difficulties that we have in our life. As far as I know, we can’t become real, can’t become truthful embodiments of reality unless we take the risks to live that way. We must make the necessary sacrifices to be and to live that reality. It’s not likely to happen that you sit there meditating, have wonderful experiences, and then suddenly you’re a real human being. Living according to the truth requires sacrifices and risks. The Work is a self-confrontation, an attempt to be more and more truthful and sincere with yourself. We gain integrity and value by living according to the truth. The Work is not separate from being real, from living our lives. The Work simply guides us about how to go about living life in a real way. For me, it's sometimes much more satisfying to say one real word to somebody than to go on a vacation and have fun. Pleasure and relaxation are necessary and important, but it's much more valuable to me if I can confront a situation squarely, and be what I can be in that moment.



Integrity and the Refined Human Life

If you want to live a more fulfilling life, you have to develop a taste for certain values, a taste for truth and understanding, depth and profundity, precision and exquisiteness, dignity and integrity. These refined values are subtle rather than gross. They will lead to a refined human life, infused with natural beauty, colorful and rich. All of these things are present all the time—you don’t have to achieve them, you just need to appreciate them. You need to begin to love them and orient yourself towards them so that you allow yourself the time and opportunity for them to emerge.

Integrity and Trust

Then there’s another level when you trust, not because you know the person isn’t going to hurt you, not because you know that the person wants what’s good for you, but because of what you know about the person. The person may not be concerned about hurting you or not, or about doing what’s good for you. At this level, you trust because of what the person is. You have the knowledge or the feeling that the person has a kind of integrity, which has nothing to do with you, but you know it is something that is to be trusted. That’s yet a deeper kind of trust. It is not a very common one, but it can exist. It can go very deep, that kind of trust. The knowledge, the integrity, the reality, the truth of a person can be so clear that you continue to trust him even if you feel hurt by him, even if you don’t understand why you’re being hurt. What allows this kind of trust? It involves a perception or a sense of something bigger. You might not see a specific truth about why such a person’s behavior is good for you, but you might see or feel a bigger truth. Either the quality of the person or the nature of the interaction can lead to this kind of trust.

When the Integrity of the Sense of Self is Threatened

The process of working through narcissism reveals the vulnerability of the student’s identity. As she consciously or unconsciously realizes her vulnerability, she tries to resort to the mirror transference in the attempt to preserve the cohesion and integrity of her familiar sense of self. In this phase, any disturbance of the mirror transference, or any indication of the loss of narcissistic supplies in any part of her life, will disturb the narcissistic equilibrium. The shell will be exposed and its very integrity will be threatened. The awareness that the integrity of her sense of self is threatened may appear first as a vague feeling of dread. She may feel a general inexplicable anxiety. She may find herself preoccupied with catastrophic fantasies of being injured or harmed, even of fatal accidents. There is usually no rationale in her daily life for such feelings and thoughts, so she tends to dismiss them. She may become concerned about falling ill, and her fantasy might carry her to imagine extremes of illness and destruction with no apparent physical cause. She may start having nightmares about injury, illness, and death. Only an in-depth inquiry into these manifestations can reveal the underlying reasons for this existential dread. Then she can connect it to her work on narcissism; the loss of narcissistic supplies is threatening her in a much deeper and more fundamental way than she believed possible.

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