A Spiritual Art Form
Integrity is a word often thrown around flippantly without much acknowledgement of what it means. According to the Oxford American College Dictionary it means: "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles" (2002). Morals are a subjective concept that can vary wildly from person to person. What we are going to focus on is the beginning of this definition, "the quality of being honest."
When we are One, which we already are, honesty is essential. So what happens when we are One and we lie. First of all, lying means we are pretending not to be One. We are pretending to be something we are not. We are pretending to be something we made up.
Dishonesty is experienced as painful for both the liar and those that are lied to or about. Dishonesty will not feel good to either the liar or the lied. If we are sensitive, we can feel someone lying to us and be conscious of it. If we are lying, we can feel something sweep over us that is unpleasant as we think about lying and when we lie.
Whether we think about lying or we actually lie, everyone feels it.
Dishonesty requires that we believe we are separate. We pretend we can take advantage of someone. This is a violation of who we are. It feels bad because it is supposed to.
We try and see what we can get away with for our personal gain. If someone is kind, honest, and trustworthy, some see this as an opportunity to take advantage of them. This is an egregious violation of our Oneness. While the liar may temporarily gain, both parties ultimately lose. One party is acting from a place of misinformation and the other is acting from a place of false identity. This will undoubtedly create chaos and hurt.
So why does someone lie?
Lying is largely reactionary and intended to maintain our sense of false identity. It helps to maintain our belief in our separateness. We want to continue life, making sure that I is taken care of; even if it means taking advantage of someone else.
Someone who knows their Oneness will feel a lie and know what it is instantly. They feel the lie because they know they are One with the liar. They will recognize the lie as something very uncomfortable that they feel. Oneness is boundless and infinite. There are no boundaries between us and them. We can feel what is happening between us because it is us.
*Fredrick worked for a large appliance store chain in Nova Scotia, Canada. Fredrick was in his twenties but worked hard with aspirations of advancement and financial raises. Management found him to be a reliable, efficient, and a quality employee.
Fredrick was a consistent worker for several years. He was never really promoted but given sideways movement as far as position stature. He was given financial raises but these were minuscule and never had any substantial impact on his paycheck. He regularly scoured the job opening list for his company, to see if something better was available. Unfortunately, the store Fredrick worked at had established long-term employees in upper positions. There hadn't been any openings in well over a year.
One time Fredrick examined the store's opening list and found an upper management position that he was qualified for. However, the job opening was at another branch a little further from his home. Without hesitation, he applied for the job.
It was store policy that the job interviewer check references with the store management Fredrick was currently working at. They talked with the assistant store manager, whom provided a glowing review. They then talked to the store manager, Bruce, whom didn't know Fredrick all that well. Because the Bruce rarely worked when Fredrick worked, he couldn't feasibly provide an informed reference. Bruce, had only heard the glowing reviews and comments from his assistant manager and seen the consistently positive customer reviews.
Bruce was extremely competitive and was competing against other stores in his appliance chain. Managers were given bonus raises if their store's sales performance and customer reviews were maintained at a high level.
Fredrick didn't work in sales but he kept customer reviews at an extraordinarily high level. Most customers provide reviews when there is a complaint. However, Fredrick garnered reviews from customers that were extraordinarily pleased with his customer service. Fredrick had the habit of going above and beyond expectation, and he did this with absolute joy. This nudged Bruce and his store over the other stores and he was compensated for it.
When Bruce was providing a reference for Fredrick, it was the last step in the interview process. The interviewer told Bruce that Fredrick was all but hired barring any concerning issues he might bring up. Bruce wanted those financial raises and Fredrick was a direct link to them.
Bruce provided many of the same glowing reviews as his assistant manager to establish a some continuity. However, he didn't want to lose his ticket to increased wages. If Fredrick went to another store, than that store would be getting all the positive customer reviews. So Bruce lied and said there was one incident where Fredrick yelled at a customer and told them to, "F--- off!" He said nobody was there to see it other than the customer. He told them that the circumstances were unknown as the customer was too irate to provide them. Bruce mentioned that this happened just a week ago and he hadn't gotten around to talking about it with his assistant manager. As a result, Bruce said he had put Fredrick on probation until they determined a proper response. Of course, none of this was true.
Naturally, this was very concerning for the other store managers and Fredrick was never hired. Fredrick assumed he was not the most qualified candidate for the job and tried not to think much of it.
However, Fredrick noticed something about Bruce. Fredrick didn't like a feeling he got whenever he was around Bruce. Fredrick didn't see or work around Bruce often but he noticed a trend that took him a bit to figure out. What Bruce didn't know, Fredrick was a deeply spiritual young man. Fredrick became concerned about this uncomfortable feeling. He brought this feeling to his spirituality and discovered the truth about Bruce.
Bruce lied to protect himself. This had nothing to do with Fredrick other than he was the one that was lied about. Sure, Fredrick could've confronted his manager. It would've been a difficult undertaking to maintain a sense of diplomacy. Fredrick was considered a bottom-rung employee and Bruce took advantage of this situation. Bruce knew that his word against a bottom-rung employee like Fredrick would stand. And so did Fredrick.
Fredrick saw his circumstances clearly and knew that he would feel this uncomfortable feeling from Bruce as long as he worked there. He also knew that he didn't want to apply for upper-level positions and potentially work more often with Bruce. This was someone he knew that couldn't be trusted. He also knew that applying for positions at a different branch would also fail, as it already did.
Bruce had created a storm of chaos and nonsense between him and Fredrick. Fredrick wanted no part of it. He quit and quickly found employment with a competing appliance store six miles down the street.
Bruce had know idea what Fredrick knew about him. Fredrick knew the sort of person Bruce was pretending to be. Bruce's lie was saying that he was more important than Fredrick. Fredrick had been learning his Oneness for some time and easily felt the lie. He didn't know why he felt awful but he knew it wasn't because of himself. He slowly put it together that it had to do with Bruce.
Fredrick lost an opportunity at a job because of Bruce's lie. Bruce lost a valuable employee because of his selfishness and fear. Bruce's store lost the continuous stream of positive reviews Fredrick garnered. The stature of his store once again fell back into mediocrity and his bonuses ceased.
What would've happened if Bruce was honest? Well, one thing we know is, Fredrick wouldn't have quit. Perhaps, Fredrick would've been hired at the other branch and this new store manager would've enjoyed the positive customer reviews and raises. This was clearly Bruce's fear. Who knows what would've happened. Regardless, Bruce's fear still came true.
When we act from fear, our fears become reality.
Integrity is the way of Oneness. Lying is the way of fear. Our world has become exceptionally permissive with this lack of integrity. We see what we can get away with. Ultimately, we get away with nothing and all violations of our Oneness will backfire. We may not realize this but our violations create chaos between us and others and thus, always backfire. They support and empower our fears. Bruce's fear became reality, just not the way he thought it might.
Those in Oneness can respond appropriately and quickly to a lack of integrity from others. Those lacking in Oneness will struggle to understand why they feel so uncomfortable.
The discomfort they feel will be chaotic and ultimately create sickness in their life. They will be carrying around a pain they begin to avoid because they feel overwhelmed and helpless to it. They will assume it is just a part of their identity. In reality, it is Bruce's fear that has been imposed upon Fredrick. Fredrick was wise enough to recognize what was his responsibility and what was Bruce's.
We cannot heal what is not our responsibility.
However, most of us are walking blindly around in life taking responsibility for things that are none of our business. We feel a continuous discomfort because we have numbed ourselves or distracted ourselves. In reality, this moderate discomfort is massive, especially if we are up there in age. One lie like Fredrick experienced would typically be held onto for the rest of his life. While Fredrick knew how to heal and learn from the experience, most will unwittingly hang on to it. If we hang on to it long enough, we begin to identify with it. Fredrick could assume that he is imperfect and not worthy of upper-tier positions. Doubt would've likely become his issue.
Now, one experience of someone lying about us is likely not going to be all that devastating. Thankfully, we have been created in such a way to endure far more than just one lie. But if we want to consider the full number of lies, exaggerations and manipulations a person is likely to encounter in just five years, that discomfort will be extremely painful and massive. We soften the pain with food, drugs, sex, alcohol, social media, entertainment, work, and so on. Some of us have gotten so good that we hardly feel the pain at all. But we have grown sick.
All we have to do is heal and learn. Then we can respond to the moment appropriately and let go of that specific pain.
*Names, places, and gender have been altered to respect, protect identity, and confidentiality.