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Feb 16, 2014

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”

 

Spencer Johnson

 

Many years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litmus test to determine where various chemicals fell on the continuum from acidic to alkaline or other base composition. I now view that litmus test as a metaphor for learning to discern how to live in harmonious alignment with my individual and relational core integrity from moment to moment. I have found that relying exclusively on analytical reasoning and apparent factual information of the mind, along with sensory data, cannot always provide me with the best possible insight into the experiential truth and energy flow of the moment, and how to appropriately function or flow in flexible, dynamic, rightful attunement with it. Instead, I have found that sometimes I feel intuitively guided to go beyond basing decisions entirely on available factual information by discerning what  options of perception and action seem relatively consistent or inconsistent with an invisible subtle energy pulse of rightful integrity, involving nonselective integrated openness to my whole experiential truth and my naturally self-consistent indivisible whole real being, recognized as a distinctive energy tone of inner peace, warmhearted caring, empathic compassion, regenerative life energy, and lightness of spirit, in contrast to an antithetical energy tone of queasiness, biased presumptions, selective viewing, lack of self-consistency with the intrinsic wholeness and rightful goodness of my being and everyone’s being, inner agitation, coldhearted callousness, degenerative discord, as well as heaviness and darkness of spirit. When my perception and action is rightfully aligned with my heartfelt intuitive core integrity, then I feel that I am truly honoring the intrinsic goodness and preciousness of life or reality in myself, other individuals who I encounter, and the all-inclusive whole of being, rather than distorting, degrading, or cheapening  my own truth and the truth of others by divorcing or distancing my perception and action from the real energy and experience flowing within and around me. Our core integrity is naturally inclined to be empathically understanding of and compassionately responsive to the legitimate needs and concerns of others because it is a relational self, a relational center, in contrast to the ego as an illusory, dualistically separated, divisive, narcissistically self-preoccupied sense of self or inner voice.

Attunement with my intuitively discerned core integrity heightens my receptive openness to limitless expansive possibilities and flexible creative insights, whereas my energies, options, and resources feel more blocked, fixated, contracted, constricted, and restricted when I permit myself to be distracted by narcissistic ego mind chatter, biased preconceived presumptions, demanding expectations, as well as rigid, fear-oriented modes of perception and action.  Core integrity makes me feel more alert and grounded in real life energy experience, like following an inner GPS, compass, or beacon, whereas preconceived presumptions make me feel cut off from the actual flow of energy experience. We intuitively know that we are living in core integrity when we are willing to relate to, and cherish, what is actually experientially real in self and others rather than pursuing some kind of presumptive “ought to be” or desired “should be,” distorting our view of self and others by projecting various kinds of extraneous definitions, interpretations, idealized or disparaging images, and judgmental demanding expectations, and exploiting others to aggrandize our own narcissistic egos, as in Martin Buber’s distinction between I-Thou and I-It relationships.

When I am expansively connected to the relational flow of energy experience within and around myself, then I experience greater caring warmth of heart and vitality, whereas when I step out of that connective relational flow into narcissistic mind chatter, then I experience more inner coldness, inner numbing or deadening, and more blockage, constriction, or contraction of my own energies. This reminds me of melting/defrosting ice in my refrigerator, many years ago, (when the refrigerator needed to be cleaned out in preparation for the next tenant of a rented apartment that I was vacating), by repeatedly pouring hot water on the ice until large chunks of it suddenly came loose, all at once. Metaphorically speaking, I find that the warmth of expansive, empathically caring connection to other individuals and undistracted attentiveness to situations happening around me melts away much of the fearful , contracted, coldness and heavy denseness of my energies.

When I am abiding in the flow of my own core integrity, then I sometimes become more attuned to the joyful  “song” and “dance” or vibratory rhythmic pulse of my own essential being, my own heart and soul, my true "perfect pitch.” However, resistively trying to escape from the natural imperfections or “rough edges” of life experience only produces an unhealthy process of inner and outer conflict, whereas I find that inner and outer healing naturally takes place when I show flexible loving compassion for the stuck and sticky places within and between us. I find that the best way to bring healing to my own inner pain and negativity is embrace it with love so that it can be consciously restored to the natural wholeness of my being and thereby healed, whereas when I negatively judge, blame, reject, and oppose my own fear, pain, and negativity, it fights me back, exacerbating disruptive inner and outer discord.

I believe that the best way to compassionately transform for the better our individual lives, personal relationships, local communities, particular social networks, and the whole world, is to select options that reflect alignment with our own distinctive, dynamically flexible, energy pulse of core integrity and ethical responsibility. For example, this involves selecting or developing lifestyles, careers, shared relational activities, consumer spending patterns, and voting behaviors that promote compassion, equity, sustainability, and expanded opportunities for everyone, rather than depleting individual and shared resources, opportunities, and freedoms in an unsustainable, contracting, manner.  Like exercising a muscle to strengthen it, the only way to develop our intuitive core integrity, so that it will be available for us when we really need it, is to gradually practice tuning into the distinctive energy feeling tone of the “heart” core, center, depth, or essential level of our own being when the analytical calculations and apparent factual information of the mind and the sensory data of the body do not seem able to provide us with sufficiently clear, penetrating, and reliable insight into a particular situation, encounter, or decision that we are considering.

 

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Posted: Feb 16, 2014 6:03pm
Jul 21, 2012

Our intensely passionate emotions and desires can be like riding a wild horse, or being inundated by a turbulent river, overflowing its banks, producing havoc for us, and for others around us. We become driven by demanding, insatiable, energies, that have a counterproductive, disruptive, impact on our lives. As suggested by Rakesh Sethi1,

“The mind is like a river flowing, full of emotions, good and bad, thrusting every which way wildly, like raging water. The riverbanks are like your intellect; they must be strong to hold and channel the water (emotions) properly. Otherwise, the water will overflow the banks, causing a disastrous flood, like a mind out-of-control that creates havoc in your life and in others’ lives. What was supposed to be your blessing then has become your curse.”1

1[Rakesh Sethi, Cruising Through Turbulence: An Inspirational Guide for Your Wealth and Well being in Difficult Economic Times and Beyond (San Ramon, California: True Wellness Group, 2012), page 28]

(Rakesh Sethi's website: http://www.PromoteHealthWellness.com/cruising-through-turbulence and Amazon purchasing page: http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Through-Turbulence-Inspirational-Difficult/dp/1477636684).

 

However, when we unselfishly share with others the energy of love, or caring experiential connection, it functions like a relaxing, easeful, cohesive, unifying, force that calms our passionate energies and focuses them in constructive, productive, harmonious, directions. Our passionate energies are meant to be united with the calming, compassionate, energies of love, as part of the indivisible wholeness of our being, rather than functioning apart from our inner center of love, relaxed peace, harmonious equilibrium, and holistic cohesive integrity, in resistive opposition to it. The only way for the passionate energy of desire and sensuality to not become overly turbulent, frantically desperate, and chaotic is for it to be grounded in and balanced by the energy of relaxed peace, harmony, and cohesive integrity. The greatest, or perhaps the only true, source of that cohesive, harmonizing, force, is love, or warmly caring energy flowing from oneself to others, whereas lack of loving connection to others keeps one’s energy bottled up within oneself, producing tension that makes one’s passions chaotic rather than calm, dissipated and disintegrating rather than cohesively integrated, degenerative rather than regenerative. The absence of the shared relational energy of life, as love, inevitably produces the experience of inner emptiness, deficiency, dissatisfaction, and self-rejection rather than contentment, self-acceptance, and the experience of inner wholeness and proficiency of being.

That sense of inner emptiness and deficiency arising from the absence of the essential energy of life as love produces an insatiable hunger to fill oneself with intense, dramatic, sensations, feelings, desires, and fantasies, in order to experience a substitute, quasi, sense of passionate inner aliveness. We feel frantically driven to constantly fill ourselves with some kind of false substitute for the natural passionate intensity and vibrant life energy that love truly, intrinsically, is. The frenetic pursuit of a substitute sense of inner fullness and passionate euphoria produces chronic tension arising from the attempt to grasp and hold onto a continuously fading, vacuous, shallow, sense of energy arousal, in contrast to the calm, enduring, deeply satisfying, energy passion of love. That, often subliminal, tension, anxiety, and desperately “hungry” continuous craving, prevents us from feeling comfortable with ourselves, and prevents others from feeling comfortable with us, or around us. Many people naturally seek to feel intensely alive by generating passionate desires, arousing sensations, dramatic emotions, vivid fantasies, and frenetic or kinetic activities, but that intense energy needs to be grounded in the presence of unselfish love and relaxed peace so that it becomes more productive rather than counterproductive; more harmonious and cooperative, and less demanding, disruptive, and debilitating. The expression of unselfish caring or true love to others produces a deeper and more enduring sense of inner satisfaction than what seeking other forms of intense excitement can provide, because the warmth of unselfish caring arises from, and arouses the experience of, our ever-present permanent being, in contrast to the conditionally acquired, continuously fading, often addictive, quality of other states of excitation that are pursued as substitutes for the more genuine and deeper experience of satisfaction, inner aliveness, and wholeness that only true love can provide.

We intuitively recognize that we are not meant to reject any aspect of our indivisible whole energy flow, including being open to experiencing, and, thereby, embracing, but not inappropriately expressing, our temporarily arising feelings, sensations, desires, thoughts, and fantasies, which are all part of our energetic natural unitary wholeness of being. However, we may need to find a way to calm down some of our turbulent wild passions so that they become more constructive, responsible, creative, and empowering, rather than chaotic, addictive, disabling, and self-defeating, in their mode of expression. If we reject our natural passions, arising as expressions of the indivisible wholeness of our individual and relational energy flow, we may experience an unnatural, uncomfortable, sense of self-division or lack of wholeness of our energy-being, but we also do not wish to let our passions drive us, run away with us, or lead us in wrong directions, which, if not tamed by the soothing force of gentle love, contentment, and relaxed peace, could eventually produce a disaster, like riding an unruly wild horse without first having a firm hold on the reins and saddle. We need to tame the “wild horse” of our intensely passionate energies through the power of love, rather than through aggressively repressive oppositional force, so that all of our energies are harnessed in the service of love, life, and goodness, rather than working against what is truly good for us, and for others around us. The cohesive integrated wholeness of our being as love naturally seeks to incorporate even our unruly, wayward, passions so that they become transmuted or transformed in a manner that is truly consistent with, rather than violates, our intrinsic unitary wholeness and indivisible integrity of being, as well as our natural sense of ethical responsibility toward others, as a reflection of the natural compassionate goodness and empathic relatedness of our being as love.


The spiritual process of loving service, ethical virtue, and living in integrity, does not necessarily involve sharing only total "positivity", and never sharing anything else. Sometimes, when appropriate, as an expression of the heartfelt experiential truth and the adaptive requirements of the moment, being truthful with oneself and others can also involve constructively, compassionately, sincerely, sharing experiences, struggles, difficulties, and challenges, coming from the "darker", "wilder"/more turbulent, uncomfortable, undesired, "negative", polar side of one's being, energy, and experience. It seems to me that a more restrictive, narrow, idealized, rigidly predetermined definition of loving service, spiritual living, and ethical virtue, especially defined as the exclusive sharing of idealized "positivity", and never sharing anything else, especially, never constructively sharing the more turbulent, uncomfortable, aspects of our experiential truth,  would really violate and distort the variegated, "many-splendored", indivisible wholeness and glory of what our own individual energy field and the whole relational energy field intrinsically is, and what it naturally needs to evolve, mature, or develop into, by wrestling with, constructively embracing, transforming, and integrating, its own darker side or seemingly antithetical shadow. I believe that the intrinsic wholeness of our being, energy, and functioning, needs to be freed from all unnecessarily and overly restrictive, exclusively partial, rigid, static, predetermined, self-definitions, so that we can be fully at peace, or flowing in harmonious attunement, with the indivisible wholeness of our own individual being and of our relational connection to other experiential energy fields, as the basis of relaxed self-acceptance, unified cohesiveness, coherence, and true integrity, rather than perpetrating self-division, self-conflict, and self-constriction, by defining ourselves, others, and spiritual reality in exclusively, unrealistically, "positive" terms, and rejecting, devaluing, evading, and exiling, the more difficult, challenging, unpleasant, or seemingly "unworthy", aspects of our own experience, other individuals, and of the universal/collective field of energy as a whole.  Until and unless we are truly compassionate with ourselves, by first constructively, appropriately, embracing the indivisible wholeness of our own individual and relational experiential energy field, it will be difficult for us to compassionately embrace the indivisible wholeness of other individuals as well, as the basis of being truly kind and helpful to oneself and others, and constructively resolving various kinds of inner and outer conflicts caused by rejecting and thereby entering into conflict with part of the wholeness of the energy experience of oneself and others. The spontaneous flow of our undivided whole energy-experience is much grander and more productively functional than is any kind of  idealized, exclusive, restrictive, predetermined, self-definition, which divides us from any experiential truths in ourselves and in others that are beyond the parameters of those idealized self-definitions. When we reactively value judge or selectively evaluate some aspects of our own energy experience as being only conditionally "good" and "acceptable" to spontaneously arise to our conscious awareness , and others as being conditionally "bad" and "unacceptable" to be embraced or lovingly unified with by our conscious awareness, as knower, then that process of selective self-approval and self-disapproval unnaturally divides and distorts the intrinsic natural wholeness of our energy experience, whereas when we take an attitude of nonjudgmental unconditional self-acceptance, then we are able to embrace, or consciously unify with, the whole field of our energy experience, without acting upon, or inappropriately expressing, nonconstructive urges, which would violate the greater integrity of our  whole being.

Jul 6, 2007
 

I find that the best kind of creative inspiration, in any field of endeavor, comes from communing deeply with other life presences, in heartfelt, open-minded, empathic attunement with them. The more deeply we invest our heart, mind, and senses, in communion with other life presences, experiences, and activities, in the world, the more does the co-creative heart core of our own being become stirred, and reveal greater gifts of creative inspiration and meaningful insight, as the source of great artistic expression, heart-full living, and enhanced performance in any area of endeavor. When individual hearts resonate in deeply invested attunement with each other, they energize each other, like magnets, releasing the co-creative process of synergy, like electricity flowing only when an electrical plug and socket, or positive and negative electrical poles, are connected to one another.

However, as long as the heart remains egocentrically, narcissistically, selfishly, self-absorbed, or self-possessed, we will be able to make only rather shallow contact with others, with only the superficial levels of our awareness. Without heartfelt communion, the mind and senses, by themselves alone, can contact, understand, and appreciate, only rather superficial aspects of reality, and provide only a relatively shallow, mechanical, level of creative artistic functioning. That is why I agree with what St. Exupery wrote, in his book, "The Little Prince", "It is only with the eyes of the heart that one can see what is most essential in life....Only the heart sees clearly, because what is essential is not visible to the eyes". I might add, what is essential in life is also not available to the analytical intellect, functioning independently of the deeper, relational, insight of the heart, because the analytical mind tends to be self-absorbed in its own thought, rather than making direct contact with other life presences, experiences, and activities, in the world.


To make direct, deep, empathic, contact with anyone or anything, and to tap into the relational source of co-creative insight and inspiration, one must let go of precommitted mental presumptions, preconceptions, and abstractions, which function like an opaque filter, barrier, or distorting mechanism, keeping the mind self absorbed in its own thought, and blocking direct contact and heartfelt empathic communion with actual life experience in the world, which the philosopher Martin Buber describes as the I-Thou relationship, in contrast to the I-It relationship. In Biblical terms, this is the difference between experiencing reality as though through a "poor reflection", or "a glass darkly" rather than "face to face" (I Corinthians 13:12). Communing with the enduring living presence, or living spirit, that the author of any creative work has invested in that creative production can empathically reveal the meaningful intention and originating inspirational experience of that author or producer. The reason why the highest source level of creative insight, inspiration, and production, comes from relational communion is because it is a relational reality nature, rather than a solo, divisive, dualistic, or separate individualistic nature. Therefore, introspective processes that produce greater self-involvement, and break off heartfelt communion with others, cannot reveal and release the highest level of creative functioning.

Caring human relationships can also facilitate creative transformations of individual people and global society by enabling the power of love to gradually transform individual hearts, and the collective spiritual heart of humanity, from selfishness, fear, and brutality to unselfish caring about others.

 

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Posted: Jul 6, 2007 7:17pm

 

 
 
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Barry H.
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