“Do an Honest Day’s Work”
The word integrity may be defined as the quality of rigorous adherence to the highest professional standards or moral, ethical, or spiritual values. Yet there is another definition that bears consideration here. In its earliest meaning--and one it still retains--the word integrity means “wholeness.” The fourth Reiki principle may be understood as inviting us to do our best, whatever our occupation. However, alternate translations hint that to do our best, we must know ourselves and work hard to become whole, healthy in body and mind, heart and soul.
At a Reiki Principles Workshop: Exploring Integrity
“I’m going to ask you a few questions,” I told the class, “which I want you to pose to yourself. You can easily answer all the questions in more than one way. Write down your first thoughts, the first half dozen words that pop into your mind in reply. Then I will ask the next question. Are you ready?”
Everyone nodded, pens poised above blank pages.
“This is the first question for you to ask yourself: Who am I?” I waited as the practitioners wrote.
One by one, I raised more questions, pausing after each one to allow the students to respond: What is my soul’s purpose? What is my passion? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What is my heart’s desire?
Some of the questions required clarification. One student asked, “Is pursuing your passion the same as satisfying your heart’s desire?”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “Let me pose the question another way: What would it take for you to feel completely happy and whole, completely in love with your life right now?”
The students lowered their heads, eyes focused on the moving pen on the page, the next word they were revealing to themselves.
After they responded to all six questions, I asked them to share the answer that seemed most true for them to each of the questions in turn. The final question, “What is your heart’s desire?” generated a lot of discussion. A widow in her forties was convinced that she could only feel happy and complete if she found a man who would love and marry her.
“I hope you do find your soul mate and achieve wedded bliss,” I told her. “But what if you don’t? Are you willing to delay happiness just because he’s not around?”
“I just know that I will feel happier when he is in my life . . .” she said, fidgeting in her chair.
“You very well may,” I agreed, “but please don’t postpone happiness. Open up to the possibility that you can feel happy today. Claim it.”
She pursed her lips, as if considering.
“Look,” I told her. “When I did this exercise with you, I wrote down something similar for my heart’s desire, but my guess is that the gentleman I’m hoping to meet is probably herding sheep on a mountain in Scotland.”
Ellen, my co-teacher, interrupted. “Wearing a kilt?”
“Probably,” I agreed, “and playing the bagpipes.” We all laughed. I returned to my point: “So as long as he’s there, and I’m here, I’m going to claim as much happiness as I can without him. I’m not waiting! I want to live a good life and feel as much contentment, as much peace, as much joy as I can right now. That’s part of the reason for this workshop: the practice of Reiki and the Reiki principles offer us a secret method of inviting happiness. It is possible for us now. Do you really want to postpone it?”
She relented with a smile. “Okay,” she said, “I get it.”
There was one more question I wanted my students to ask themselves: “If you never achieve your heart’s desire, can you still commit to doing your best today and every day that follows? Put another way, if your dream for your life doesn’t ever manifest, can you live with integrity anyway?”
They listened, sitting back in their chairs, thinking about the implications. There were only two possible answers. A clear “yes” reflected self-knowledge and commitment to the soul’s purpose; a “no” signaled a need for further self exploration and healing. The commitment to live with integrity requires wholeness; it can only be made with surety by someone who is self-respecting and who wishes that self-respect to remain unassailable. The commitment cannot be allowed to waiver despite a lack of success in achieving other goals. Whatever our circumstances, whatever crises we face, we need to live by our own highest values in order to stay on course for health, well-being, and happiness. Integrity is the light within us, allowed to shine; it illuminates the path we travel like a miner’s headlamp, even when we travel through darkness. It shows us the way ahead, sometimes one step at a time. It keeps us on safe ground.
Now You: Find Your Way to Wholeness
You may easily adapt this workshop exercise for your own use. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you will not be interrupted for about forty-five minutes. In a notebook, answer the following questions, taking five minutes or so to respond to each one. Jot down your first thoughts quickly, allowing yourself to generate at least a half dozen answers to each question. The more responses you have, the more likely you are to go beyond the surface, revealing something of your true nature. Be fully present in the moment as you reply to each one. In this way, the exercise becomes a kind of meditation. The pattern of your answers may help you to see your priorities, not as you think they are, but as you actually live them throughout the day.
Who am I?
What is my purpose?
What is my passion?
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
What is my heart’s desire?
If I never achieve my heart’s desire, will I do my best anyway?