Personal Integrity… update

Last week I posted a blog where I questioned what the difference was between personal integrity and trying to get along with my family when I knew things they wouldn’t or couldn’t acknowledge. I continued to question that for several days after posting that blog.

Last Friday evening I had a light-bulb moment, which was quickly confirmed by an email I found that Anita had sent shortly after my blog posted.

Basically, there isn’t just one truth. There are different truths for every person walking the planet. Personal integrity is all about YOU remaining true to your own view of the truth. But, it does not mean that everyone else isn’t also doing their own best to do the same thing – remaining true to THEIR own view of the truth. Every person on the planet wants nothing more than to be right – which is why peer pressure is such an effective means of social control. How many times in your life have you done something you thought was crazy or silly just because “everyone else is doing it”?

Where we venture into the realm of social peace and global stability is when we acknowledge these truths and grant others their own point of view without trying to force ours on them. We can all be right, even when we disagree.

The Price of Personal Integrity . . .

After my post yesterday, Anita sent me an email with a graphic she valued as almost a personal mantra. What she shared was that a two word phrase was the key to defusing conflicts. That phrase was “You’re Right”. Supposedly, my saying that to my family would be the end to our troubles, but only if I not only said it to them, but actually mean it when I say it.

The problem is, I have done the research, and in the cases of trouble within our family I have lived through the incidents. I know that historical evidence proves they are NOT right. To say “you’re right” to any member of my family, and actually mean it, is to deny FACTS. I fully understand why it is important to acknowledge another person’s point of view, but to deny documented facts goes against everything I’ve ever been taught to believe – even what my parents taught me.

So, the question becomes, “at what point is family harmony worth more than the truth?”

As it is right now, I can’t sacrifice my own integrity to restore harmony in my biological family. It would kill me as a spiritual being who is striving to reach the next level of enlightenment. I feel that I must honor what my own experience says is true, even if it leaves them behind.

Family . . .

Based on what I’ve been learning from the book “From Here to Here” – the book that my dear friend and spiritual sister Anita recommended for me – I’ve reached out to both my father and my mother in the hope that our differences might be reconciled.

The effort has been initially worth the effort. Based on my reach, both mom and dad have acknowledged that mistakes were made on both sides, and the door is open for future dialogue. I can’t say that every concern I had has been completely dealt with, but the animosity does seem to be less.

My wife did caution me not to let my mom run over me, but I told her that I never had any intention of allowing that to happen. Right now, I am just grateful that we can talk civilly to each other.

Towards Your Enlightenment . . .

A short while back I wrote a blog about a book my dear friend Anita had recommended to me, and in the comments she stated that she was sending me another book. This post is about that book.

The name of the book is “From Here to Here” by Gary Crowley.

The first thing I need to say about it is that it is another “Layers of an onion” discovery. You absolutely can NOT absorb everything it offers in one reading. In fact, there are exercises in this book that are specifically designed to be done many times. Do them – the more times you do them, the more they will help you.

I’ve blogged many times about my belief that all REAL truth is universal. There was nothing in this book that contradicted that belief. No matter what spiritual discipline you’ve followed in your life, you will find this book to be familiar.

But, something else was amazing to me. Many years ago I blogged about the challenge of getting our female cat, who is very nervous and excitable, to accept me. It took me 3 years to get her to even sit on my lap (which she now does daily). When I wrote that earlier blog, Anita commented that “cats just seem to know” – or something to that effect. At the time, I took it as a compliment that I’d accomplished something worthwhile by breaking through her apprehension. I have a whole new level of respect for Anita’s comment, and for our cats, after reading this book. Many times in the past I’ve heard domesticated cats referenced as “the most enlightened members of the animal kingdom of earth.” They never hold a grudge, they are forever “in the moment” and they never withhold praise when it is deserved. If they like you, it is unconditional – and if they don’t you’ll never get near them without a fight.

These are exactly the qualities that define someone who is on the path to true enlightenment – but for us it is so much more simple that most spiritual seekers refuse to see it. One of the exercises in the book was to answer a question: If you believed you are in a hole that didn’t really exist, how would you get out? Mr. Crowley suggested that many spiritual seekers might try to imagine a ladder, or a rope, or some other device to get out of the hole. The most basic solution, however, is just to accept that the hole never existed in the first place.

I read the first 80 pages of the book in one sitting – but I’ve always been a fast student. Many parts of the book I found very familiar – and one exercise in particular was something I’ve been using to help others since 1993. I’d just not found a way to use it on myself until I read this book. Using it on yourself is, however, EXACTLY what anyone who wants control over their own spiritual growth needs to to be able to do. This book gives you that tool.

After reading those first 80 pages the first time, I looked at my wife and told her that I felt I needed to take a break. I had reached a slightly euphoric, light headed sense of detachment from reality that I wanted to spend time appreciating and exploring. I haven’t felt this way since I attested to being a past-life Clear. Since then, I’ve had another cognition, but for now I’ll keep it to myself.

“From Here to Here” is by far the best book I’ve read in the last 5 years. If you want to grow as a person of faith – any faith – you MUST read this. And – don’t skimp on doing the exercises.

Saturday Posts . . .

This last month has been an interesting one for us. It started with our dishwasher. It broke down, and the only appliance repairman left in town couldn’t determine what was wrong when he first examined it.

While he was trying to figure out the problem, my wife and I both had to leave town (for different reasons) for one day. I got home first, and found our basement starting to flood due to rain. I called Thrasher (the company that installed the drain system in our basement, and a supposedly upgraded sump pump) and the earliest appointment they could give us was 3 weeks away. So, when the appliance repairman came back to look at our dishwasher, I asked him if he knew anything about sump pumps. He did.

He got our dishwasher and sump pump fixed in the same visit. We were very happy to see our basement return to a dry condition. When the representative from Thrasher finally arrived, he did a full assessment of the situation, and said that because of the extra shallow water table in this area, we needed some modifications to the drain they built – part of it covered by warranty and part of it new work. The total on our new work will be just over $800 USD.

While all of that was going on, I got the book Anita ( my dear friend and spiritual sister) sent to me, as she mentioned in a comment to an earlier blog. Because of weather and other physical factors, I have to admit that I have not yet started to read it – but I want to with all of my heart. My delay is because of what I said in earlier posts about observing proper study conditions.

Anyway, here’s today’s inspiring thought:

Layers of an onion . . .

There is a truth that I have known most of my adult life. I first encountered it in the late 1970’s as a teaching by The Way International – yes, I am a graduate of their Foundational course. However, as I’ve said many times in this blog – real truth is universal, and anyone who claims to have a monopoly on the truth is a fraud.

The particular truth that I’m talking about now is about how to study. The Way International stressed a distraction-free environment, and the use of dictionaries to ensure you understood the material properly. When I was active in the Church of Scientology, I again encountered these ideas, but they were enhanced by the use of drills to make the concepts more real. In reading the book, “The Voice of Knowledge” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I’ve found that even the ancient Toltec people understood these truths. Ruiz himself actually discusses using multiple readings of the same material to uncover deeper layers of truth – something that Scientology study technology called, “Number of times over equals certainty and results.”

I’ve VERY recently had a reinforcement of that concept. In my 3rd reading of the Ruiz book, I found a passage that revealed a major life-long lie of mine. I probably inherited it from one of my parents, though I can not remember either of them explicitly saying it. It’s also something that is probably true as a lie most humans believe.

“I don’t deserve it.” Either love, success, health, or whatever would make your life more whole – if you can’t ever seem to achieve it, it is probably because somewhere deep inside you don’t believe you deserve it. However, I will state my firm belief that, if you acquire a copy of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book and read it – many times – you will peel away the layers of untruth that prevent you from being the best version of yourself. Don’t expect the process to be easy, but do expect it to be worth the effort!

Saturday Posts . . .

Just a few hours ago, I was binge watching the tubi show I’ve posted about before, when I heard a loud sound that made me think of a car accident. I grabbed my cane and phone, and headed for the porch in time to see a vehicle’s tail lights heading south from an impact with the “stoplight signal ahead” sign just south of our house. I called the police to report it, and for the next 20 minutes there was a lot of activity outside. I gave a statement to the police, along with several other people who are neighbors and gave similar reports, but I also helped the 1st officer on the scene locate evidence that might possibly lead to identifying the vehicle. It was a very rewarding experience, to me.

Honestly, I may have missed my calling. I have the awareness and attention to detail to be a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI).

Opens the door . . .

I recently posted about a book that my dear friend and spiritual sister Anita suggested I read. Last night my wife asked me to help write the review the seller asked us to write from the website where we bought the book. The last line of the book review was, “Opens the door to the greatest challenge of your life.”

Well, that may not be true for everyone, but it is certainly true for me. I completely believe that the Toltec wisdom was on to something profound, but for me it presents a major challenge.

Until I was about 11 years old, I do not remember having any internal voice in my head. The book I’m reading (now for the 2nd time) calls that voice by a few different names, including “The Voice of Knowledge” and “The Prince of Lies”. Both are accurate – but as I was saying, I never heard that voice until I was about 11 years old. That was about the time I learned that I could use memory to replay music in my head without hearing it on a stereo or radio.

That was, for me, 48 years ago. Since then, that voice has progressed from being a jukebox to being an ever present companion. It is so constant that I never feel I’ve slept anymore. That voice presents dreams, illusions, fantasies, and evaluations of current events in my head during the hours I am trying to sleep. It never stops, and I never arise from trying to sleep feeling well rested. Plus, now that I’ve read this book, I have to ask myself one question – “How do I know the difference between truth and lies?”

Some things, with the help of the book, are almost easy. If a decision is based on fear or hate, it is based in a lie. However, there are other things that I consider that are harder to quantify. For example, I’ve seen X-ray and other evidence to support that my body’s bone tumor caused permanent damage. Is that true only because I believed the “medical professionals” who said it did that? What about the arthritis? The migraine headaches? Lies in our “Voice of Knowledge” can be inherited from others – so where do I draw the line? How do I go about proving what is real from what isn’t?

I’m starting to regret telling my wife to end the book review with the line, “Opens the door to the greatest challenge of your life.” It’s beginning to feel like a vast understatement.