Living Our Truth
Integrity means living and
in alignment with spiritual law
and with our highest vision,
despite impulses to the
From the heart of integrity,
we recognize, accept, and
our authentic interior reality,
inspiring others not with
but by our example.
I am not bound to win
but I am bound to be true.
I am not bound to succeed
but I am [bound to live up to
what light I have.
After watching the hawk spiral upward on rising currents of air, we headed into a deep valley where the trees wore a lace of emerald moss. As we descended, I thought about the laws I had learned so far, but could recall few details.
Addressing my concern, the sage said, "You don't have to remember all the words, Traveler. Words are only sounds. Yet, some voices carry the power to penetrate the heart and touch the soul. You acquire this spiritual authority only by living the laws of Spirit."
Stopping, she gazed into the distance and pointed to a peak behind us. "Can you see the summit of that hill?"
"You don't want me to hit it with a rock, do you?"
She smiled. "No, nothing like that. I just want you to climb to the top and return here within thirty minutes."
I gazed up at the hilltop. "Thirty minutes? But even if I ran all the way there and back, I still doubt-I mean, I suppose I could work with my beliefs-"
"You have twenty-nine minutes left," she said.
I shut up and took off.
The run was difficult and painful. Halfway up, my lungs burned so badly that I considered turning back before I reached the top. I felt I couldn't go on, but I had to, so I did; I hit my wall and went through it.
When I returned, I nearly fell at her feet. I was ten minutes late. I was breathing hard and wondering what this failure meant, when the sage asked, "Why didn't you turn around before you reached the top? That way you could have gotten back on time. Who would have known the difference?"
"I would," I said, catching my breath. "I would have known."
She smiled broadly. "There you have it: The Law of Integrity is about living in line with your highest vision despite impulses to the contrary-about how you behave when no one is watching."
The sage led me, still soaking with perspiration, over a rise where we came to a seasonal pond, still full from winter rains. Without a trace of self-consciousness, she removed her outer clothing and entered the pond. I did the same. It was not my everyday experience to be alone in the mountains, nearly skinny-dipping with a woman other than my wife. The sage was attractive enough; I found myself wondering if she had a love life. I felt a twinge of guilt. Not that I had any sexual intentions - I did have my rules - but I can't say the thought didn't cross my mind.
Just then she turned toward me and spoke to my thoughts: "Breaking society's codes is like swimming upstream, against the current of contemporary values. It can be done if your heart's deepest desire will not be denied, but it makes life more difficult-even exhausting-and it has consequences."
"Such as ruffling the beliefs and emotions of others who take those beliefs very seriously," she said.
"So integrity means following social conventions?"
"Following the conventions of your society and avoiding what is considered unethical, illegal, or immoral is not about integrity; it's about intelligence."