THE PATH OF THE YOGI: INTEGRITY
Being a yogi doesn’t mean being able to put your foot behind your head or getting your body into a pretzel position. It can include these physical feats of mind over matter. But what’s important is making the commitment to becoming better each and every day. The physical practice is a small part of the journey.
The much harder and more important practices are internal, ones you can’t see from the outside. Like living a truth-based life of full of integrity. It is fundamental for those wanting spiritual awakening.
What does living in integrity look like? When I am in integrity, my beliefs, values, thoughts, words and actions are aligned. When my words or actions contradict my beliefs, I’m out of alignment and out of integrity. Okay, so what’s the big deal? Lots of people do things that go against their values. Plenty of folks talk badly about themselves and others, say things they don’t mean, lie or do other things they’d be ashamed about, if others knew. But for those seeking samadhi ( bliss or oneness), small hits to the armor of integrity weaken the person’s connection with Source and lower their vibration. Slowly, we lose our ability to trust ourselves. We say things that we know we don’t mean. Then we lose the ability to know truth from the stories we repeat over and over. We become puppets, performing for others, because we want others to see us a certain way. Basically, our live becomes a series of inauthentic moments strewn together by connections of habit, familiarity, comfort or fear of the unknown.
Many people will live their entire lives at this lower vibration. It’s identifiable by lots of fear and conflict, mental agitations such as anxiety, depression, boredom, needing to be constantly distracted, old resentments, feeling badly or being in a bad mood often, circling negative thoughts over and over in your mind. If you experience these, some of us many of these experiences – you might be due for an integrity check-in.
It’s pretty painless as long as you are willing to set your egos to step aside for a bit. Let them know it is for the wellbeing of your highest self, all the people you love and your relationships with them and beyond.
The integrity check-in takes a few small, but important steps. Grab a sheet of paper or journal and a pen. I recommend meditating to quiet your mind for a few minutes before-hand. I often call in my angels and guides to help me gain clarity and gently help me to see myself more clearly. Use any method you choose to quiet your mind.
Write down your answers and thoughts on the questions below.
- Get clarity on your values. What do you value? Family, time, money, relationships, energy, connection, how others see you, control, power, being dependable, honest, fun, funny, health, the earth, material things, joyful experiences? Put them in order of priority.
- Get clarity on your beliefs. What do you believe about gender, religion, politics, family, work and money, your body, your mind, who you are as a person, humanity (oneness or separateness), culture, education, the purpose of life, what happens when we die.
- What language do you use? Identify common words and phrases. (This one is hard to determine alone because we don’t hear or see our own blind spots. It’s good to ask someone close to you what phrases you use often, such as “I’m tired” or “We can’t afford it.” These will give you insights into the language you use. Those with young children will be able to identify phrases used because kids are like parrots. They repeat what they hear. If you hear your 4-year old saying, “I’m so bored,” they are repeating what they’ve heard. Do you tend to use the word “and” or “but”. There is a distinct but subtle difference in two. For example, “I can work on the 13th and I’m leaving for Vegas the next day.” verses, “I can work on the 13th, but I’m leaving for Vegas the next day.” What subtle difference do you hear? The first sentence uses “and.” This person can work and wants to work, and is joining the two actives without any judgement. The second way, is joined with “but”, showing resistance. The person who uses “but” more often, sees many obstacles and can feel like a victim unnecessarily. This is learned and becomes habit.
- What thoughts are out of alignment? What are the things you tell yourself when no one is around, when you feel scared, stressed or angry? Are they words of encouragement or compassion? Forgiveness and curiosity? Or do you judge, criticize and put yourself down? Look at your list of language you use. What is the thought behind the language? What tone do you use? We can identify thoughts by tone as well. What thoughts do not support your highest and best self? What are some alternative thoughts you could adopt to replace the out of alignment thoughts?
- What behaviors are out of alignment? These can be easy to identify for new behaviors. The longer we have been doing the behavior, the harder it is to detect being out of alignment. Because I have been consciously working on living a life of integrity for several years, and more profoundly since Nate’s death, I now know the moment I am out of alignment. My stomach tightens, I feel a jolt of warmth and a pit in my belly. I will also think about the situation over and over and replay the scene, looking for reasons to blame the other person for my misbehavior. I now have a rule = I don’t go to bed out of alignment. If there’s a situation that’s unsettling to me, I will make it right before going to bed. Sometimes this is apologizing to one (or all) of my children for being impatient or unkind. Sometimes this is sending an email to someone I interacted with that day. Sometimes, this is saying a prayer asking my angels to talk to their angels and letting them know I am sorry, please forgive me. The Hawaiian Ho’oponopono Prayer is wonderful for getting back into alignment when we are not able to speak with a person or make something right directly. It’s pronounced (HO-oh-po-no-po-no) and it means, to bring back into balance. You can chant it over and over for several minutes like a mantra. Or say “Ho’oponopono. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you and I love you.”
- Do a nightly review of your actions, words and thoughts. Identify any misalignments. I do this in bed and if anything from the day is bothering me, I ask how to make it right and do it.
- Consciously commit to do it better every day. Check in daily to make sure you’re still in integrity. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re not. That’s not helpful. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and have an honest look at your strengths and areas that need work.
- Be in integrity for big and small things alike. When life gets busy, it’s easy to miss putting our foot on the base as we run by. But just like on a baseball diamond, if you don’t touch the base, it doesn’t count. When we go through motions of life, but our actions and words don’t match our beliefs, thoughts and behaviors, it’s like running around the baseball diamond without touching the bases. When you get to home plate – it looks like you’ve hit a home run, but in reality, you didn’t really touch the bases. You cut corners. No home run. That leaves us feeling badly about ourselves, not trusting ourselves, our teammates don’t trust us and we end up feeling worse than if we’d struck out before getting to first base.
What we do when no one is looking is key to living a life in integrity. What we do about the little things in life, has big impacts on our ability to trust ourselves. If we miss one base because we think it’s too small to matter, or we are in too much of a hurry, it becomes easier to miss the mark on the big things. I find myself out of integrity at some point most days. This isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being aware and doing something to get back in harmony, so that we live this life on our highest path.