A quote we like...
A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.
~ Aldo Leopold
A reflection on a mountain moment...
A young man visiting with us recently told Grant and I that we had the most integrity of anyone he knew. This is one of the greatest compliments I have received. "I mean it, you have balls. You too, Jess." he says, nodding at me seriously. As two Torontonian guests suggest "Ovarian fortitude" may be the term he was searching for!
Having the courage, guts, or balls, to stand up for yourself and what you believe is right, is not always easy. Sometimes you will stand alone - but integrity demands that we do it anyways. Being honest with one's self, and having the courage to express the sometimes hurtful truths that you discover within, is what our conscience demands of us. If we fail to, our light shines a bit dimmer; an important part of us retreats and withers inside.
We can bury that feeling and stay quiet to not rock the boat. Life might be easier for us when we do that, temporarily. We can make an excuse for why we cannot stand up for our beliefs and principles, but inside we cannot hide from the fact that we knew what was right, but did not speak or live that truth. We can accept and reconcile this, but this experience seems to be urging us to do it differently next time. So that we will feel more whole inside - living our life inline with our own beliefs and personal truths.
In my opinion, conscience is an individual's compass that guides us to live by principles and morals that are formed, not only by the customs and views of those around us, but also truths that have uniquely developed within, through the divine life we have been given to experience. Every time that we choose to listen to our inner voice, or intuition, to follow our conscience, to act in harmony with our own truths and beliefs, we demonstrate integrity. We learn to do so, not because it makes us look good in the eyes of others, or to appear "holier than thou", but because we know it is the right thing to do for our own spiritual development, and that is worth experiencing temporary pain and discomfort.
After this recent visit, I also appreciate that even though it may cause our external world to ripple with disapproval, and cause us to suffer ridicule or rejection, we are serving as examples to others when we act with courage and integrity. We might influence the lives of others and never know it. And if we can be an example for the next generation, by demonstrating the value of living a life with integrity and showing them how to courageously state and defend their truth, what greater purpose could there be?
Even when we fail or struggle with how to do this, we are showing those who may be silently watching us that we are invested in expressing our humanity. That we are dedicated to uncovering higher truths, which human beings, with our divine conscience, intuition and inner ways of discovering what is true, are uniquely enabled to ascertain.