The most powerful spiritual principle regarding work, money, and any other human issue can be summed up in one word, “integrity.”
If integrity were considered exciting or sexy in our culture, it would get at least as much attention as a minor celebrity’s latest wardrobe malfunction or love life.
We’d dream about a culture where honesty and fair dealings are the norm. We’d share tips and resources for living and working with integrity at least as freely as we now share recipes or movie recommendations. But since integrity is not now considered sexy enough to be discussed often, you may not know the richness of its full definition: Wholeness. True to self and on the level with others. Resonance between your deepest values and actions. Connection with and compassion for others, including the natural world. Not knowing the full meaning of integrity, you may not know how much easier and beneficial it is to live and work with integrity than without it.
Integrity: the spiritual gift that makes work and money dealings richer and simpler
When you practice integrity, you activate powerful gifts that are coded in your DNA, like compassion, creativity, discernment, the urge to serve yourself and others, and your drive to meaning and purpose. Here are some examples of what can happen when you slow down and get quiet enough to hear and heed your own voice of integrity:
When you’re stressed about money or work, integrity helps you see more clearly your real challenges versus projections from your ego or fears. You reinforce your faith that, “whatever happens, I will get through this.” Your creativity blossoms. You find allies and resources to help you meet your problems more gracefully.
Rather than basing spending or investment decisions on ego wants or merely the recommendation of others, integrity calls you to do due diligence by obeying the first rule of law (never assume; instead, check your “facts”) with a Zen perspective (empty your mind and be open to wisdom from all sources).
When you see embezzlement, cheating or other wrongdoing, integrity reminds you how we all depend on the integrity of others for our comfort, health and safety. You see clearly your equivalent of white lines on mountain-top roads that guide travelers safely through fogs without crashing into each other or falling off the mountain. Your spiritual “white lines” help guide yourself and others through ethical fogs.
Integrity encourages you to confront people you perceive as wrongdoers with compassion and respect. It helps you gain the courage to speak the good news of hope and new opportunities, which is often more scary. Rather than brand and dismiss others as snitches or wishful thinkers, you support their right to be heard, without retaliation. Then you thoughtfully discern the truth as you best see it and act accordingly.
With each act of integrity, you grow stronger, and you help build a culture of integrity. That helps all of us to spend our energy and money for what matters, not waste it on what fails to satisfy or even harms.
What’s your vision of a work and money culture based in integrity? My dad, who helped send an embezzling college president to jail, often said it would have been a blessing if someone had simply said when the wrongdoing was very small, “No, Dr. Meadows, you can’t do that.” There could have then been no emotional or financial harm to students, faculty, whistleblowers, and taxpayers who had to pay for several trials and incarceration. The president could have made amends for only a small transgression, then kept exercising his true leadership gifts, and retire to enjoy his grandchildren and other pleasures.
Imagine the benefits to all of us if people close to Bernie Madoff had said long ago, “Bernie, you can’t do this!” Or if more people, like Harry Markopolos, had done the simple due diligence that in 1999 revealed that Madoff’s promised investment returns were fraudulent? If the SEC and others had listened to people like Markopolos rather than dismiss him?
My vision of a culture of integrity includes this: when I buy anything, what’s advertised is what’s actually offered. I can trust that my food is safe, that the list of drug benefits and side effects are as honest and complete as the company and FDA can make them, and that the politicians for whom I vote are on true and on the level.
Do you have an integrity vision you’d like to share? Maybe with some tips for how to create a culture of integrity? If so, click on “comments” at the bottom right of this post.
As always, many blessings for your work and all your life. Pat McHenry Sullivan