Speaking of Integrity, one day as I was observing my young daughter’s elaborate, creative, all-the-time-in-the-world, complex make-believe, the word “integrity” popped into my mind. I thought about it. I observed some more. I thought about it some more.
What I was seeing, I believed, was Integrity. Realizing this, I also realized that natural child play was very moving, refreshing, vulnerable, concentrated, serious, purposeful and meaningful (other adjectives besides!) In a word, Integral.
Unlike adults in our society, she wasn’t spending three-fourths of a day in intense preparation–utilizing whatever she found around the house for materials and props and proceeding to carry out a complete partly-planned, partly-inspired, always purely creative project–for any reason whatsoever other than the project’s own longing for realization and fruition.
I wondered then, are children integral to begin with? Is integrity inherent in humans? Is it possible?! that through socialization, education and child-rearing, integrity begins little by little to erode and dis-integrate, until eventually the adult, by now thoroughly trained and encouraged to behave unethically and to take every advantage of others in the name of self-interest, comes to believe that the pursuit of money, things and social status is the end-all? That he/she and they can’t even remember, don’t even know what integrity is?
Integrity, Integrate, Integral… Dis-Integrate, Dis-Integration….
After I began to think about Integrity, I began to wonder who an Integrated, Integral Adult whose Integrity was fully uncorrupted and intact would be — and here’s what I imagined:
Integral meaning ‘whole’– I imagine an integral adult has the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical, both inside and outside, more or less in balance. I imagine an integral adult would generally, if not always, behave with consideration and kindness to others, because he/she would recognize the critical importance and responsibility of trying not to damage the well-being of self or others. I imagine the integral adult would know how to listen to him/herself and to others in an attentive, non-judgmental and open-minded way–not feeling threatened– because the sense of self is peaceful to begin with. I also imagined the integral adult would know how to listen to and trust his/her own heart, knowing when yes is right, knowing when no is right. I imagine an integral adult would enjoy this day with a glad heart, being aware of the temporal nature of everything in this universe, being aware of the simple, gentle beauty in all creation, knowing well enough that whatever happens, in the cosmic scope, It’s okay.
I don’t know anyone…well the Dalai Lama does come to mind….