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The Spirituality of Integrity

I wanted to write a blog post about integrity.  But integrity on its own is not a very sexy topic. So I wrote about prostitution instead because I believe that they are interchangeable. When I wrote a blog post about this, a few months ago, I caused a bit of a stir. The blog article was about how I stopped being a prostitute and you can find it here.

Despite my sensational headline, I really wasn’t writing about prostitution in its purest form. Prostitution by definition is, “the practice of engaging in sexual activity for payment.” But there is another definition of prostitution, right underneath the other one. It reads, “prostitution can be defined as unworthy use of talent or ability.” It is a lessor known definition that is not as sexy. But for many of us who have lived a people-pleasing, approval seeking life, we know this definition well. Although we usually wouldn’t define ourselves this way.

The Archetypal Prostitute
The Prostitute archetype is one that many of us have, even if we are not aware of it, or may not call it that.  However, it comes out when we feel pain about a situation and don’t know what direction to take. So we sell out. Many times, we don’t even realize that we have sold out our souls to another for some form of payment. Sometimes it’s a financial form of payment (a job), or a relational payment (If I do ‘x’, you’ll love me/approve of me/support me, etc.) When we realize we have engaged in this kind of transactional behavior, become aware of the pain it causes us, we can make a different, more informed decision about how to move forward.

What is the price we pay for playing the role of the prostitute?

  • We don’t get to live the life we choose.
  • We look to others’ to affirm how we should be instead of being who we know to be.
  • Prostitution keeps us stuck in old patterns and behaviors and diminishes our self-worth.

Perhaps we play the role to keep the peace and avoid conflict. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s noble to keep the equilibrium. But that only works short term. The long-term problem is that there was a price to be paid later on. And that price was paid at the soul’s expense.

But we don’t have to live that way.

I used to see life as transactional. That I had to give something to get something. I used to manipulate to get something instead of being a straight shooter and just asking for what I wanted or needed. Mostly, this only wasted energy and time thinking about how to manipulate or out-maneuver. Only when I thought I had the best shot of coming out ahead is when I made my move. It’s a hard way to live. But it wasn’t really living – it was lying. I was lying to myself telling myself that I wasn’t good enough to just ask for what I want.

The antidote for prostitution is Integrity
Integrity is when I am fully integrated into my soul. And when my beliefs and actions are aligned. When I am acting with integrity, I don’t have to be afraid of not getting what I think I want. I get what I am supposed to have not any more or less and it’s always enough. Integrity is trusting that the universe will provide.

My mom told me a story about my father that I never knew. My parents were dirt poor when they first got married. My father really coudn’t afford to buy my mother a proper wedding ring. But, after my father became more successful, he bought a more expensive replacement. To be safe, they insured the ring for around $5700. One weekend, my parents were cleaning out the garage and the next thing they knew, the ring was gone. They scoured the garage, but couldn’t find it anywhere. My mom second guessed herself and assumed she’d lost it and didn’t notice. So, they put in a claim with the insurance company and received a check for $5700.

A few years later, they hired a handyman to do some work in the garage and when the handyman moved a 2×4, alas, they found the wedding ring. My father went inside the house and cut a check to the insurance company for the amount that he had received for the claim. The insurance company called him and said they’d never had someone give back the claim money.

I too was amazed, not only because that wasn’t necessarily something I thought my father would ever do. But also because he really didn’t have to. I mean, wouldn’t you agree there’s a statue of limitations on these things? How easy it would be to rationalize that once you cash the check, it’s now your money.

But is it really?

Real Freedom
In the universal economy of karma it’s not your money. Every day we see evidence of people not having integrity and not trusting that if they do the right thing, the universe will reward them. In fact, I just read an article yesterday about a mistake that Citicorp mistakenly wired $900 million to a hedge fund company. The company took the money and refused to return it. Of course, they are being sued, of course. But if you are a company that received a $900 million dollar error and won’t return it. How do you live with yourself? I guess you could feel justified like the statute of limitations that I just referenced above. But when we live with real integrity, we have real freedom.

Integrity gives us the freedom to live life without worry. A few years ago, I received notice that the IRS wanted to audit me. I was afraid at first but then realized that I had not cheated on my taxes, I had every receipt I needed. The audit came off without a hitch and I learned an important lesson. Integrity pays off.

Today, I don’t have to lie, manipulate, nor prostitute my soul. No amount of approval or acceptance is worth the price of my soul. You too can act with integrity – and when you do – the prostitution archetype doesn’t work anymore. And you too can be free.

That is my wish for you – that you can stop selling out your soul and live with true integrity. Until we meet again, may you be blessed on your spiritual journey!

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