Once upon a time, in a small village, there lived a man who was always happy, kind, and well disposed to everyone he met.
He always smiled, and had kind and encouraging words to say, whenever it was necessary. Everyone who met him left feeling better, happier and elated. People knew they could count on him and regarded him as a great friend.
One of the village dwellers was curious to know what his secret was, and how he could always be so kind and helpful. Upon meeting him in the street, the villager asked, "Most people are selfish and unsatisfied. They do not smile as often as you do; neither are they as helpful or kind as you are. How do you explain it?"
The man smiled at him and replied: "When you make peace with yourself, you can be in peace with the rest of the world. If you can recognize the spirit in yourself, you can recognize the spirit in everyone, and then you find it natural to be kind and well disposed to all.” (successconsciousness.com)
I remember as a youth how a growing self-awareness included an inner integrity and courage. In a situation of tension or stress I had the self-assurance that I was a person of inner strength and that nothing could touch that. It did not matter if I stood alone, as long as I had me.
In my naivety I did not realize where this strength came from. God is our strength, and God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). God will bear us up on eagles’ wings (Exodus 19:4).
“… There's something about being honest; there's something about walking with God; there's something about being in alignment with our conscience. But I think there's another piece, and that is in order to be a man or a woman of integrity also requires that we live an integrated life,” says Matthew Kelly in Thomas More: The Gentle Voice Within (from Best Lent Ever, March 10).
Thomas More had this enormous integrity, Kelly says. “He was not going to betray his God, but he also was not going to betray himself. He saw his self as something very real, very tangible and a great gift from God. And he wasn't going to betray his self.”
When we do feel distressed, unhappy or dissatisfied, it is a good indicator that, “… we've stepped away from the integrated life,” Kelly says. There are parts of our lives that are not integrated with the person that God created us to be and is calling us to be.
Living an integrated life is balancing your spiritual life with your everyday life. This may not be as simple as it sounds, but you can try it at home. As soon as you separate your spiritual life from the rest of the world you are separating yourself from life itself, says American author Gregg Braden.
Staying integrated is easier through prayer and practice. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; in Him, I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1,2).
(Inspiration from Observer columnist Linda Wegner’s Words of Worth, March 8, 2020).