By Jac O’Keeffe, author of How to Be a Spiritual Rebel
Spiritual integrity is the combination of a state and a quality. Spiritual integrity is the state of being undivided together with the quality of brutal self-honesty. It demands a considerable depth of self-awareness and an uncompromising willingness to be authentic.
The first step to cultivating spiritual integrity is to recognize that we are not always honest. We aren’t honest when we control our actions in order to micromanage another’s reaction. We aren’t honest when we have a personal agenda that modifies how we show up. We have an inner split. What we would or could do is derailed by a need to control either a situation, others, or ourselves. Fragmentation, dividedness happens within us. We are out of integrity. We compromise inner wisdom and what would otherwise organically flow from within us. We choose to present a reactive, self-serving, often manipulative alternative. When we recognize this can only happen in the absence of self-honesty, we can begin to do something about it.
Being in spiritual integrity requires us to be acutely aware of and responsible for our needs. If we are not aware of our own needs, we can’t meet them, and our neediness will bleed into our actions. We are fragmented and not in alignment with what is our authentic voice and presence.
Spiritual integrity requires us to unconditionally love and respect ourselves. In this way, we become more autonomous, self-sufficient, and confident. We gain maturity. When we stop playing games with our internal self, we cease fragmenting. We are open, honest, vulnerable, available, humble, and reliable. When we are in spiritual integrity, we are naturally willing to support our personal and human evolution. We are motivated to become better versions of ourselves. We are drawn to learning and growth. We are curious about others’ points of view. We are open to diversity. A commitment to ongoing self-awareness with brutal self-honesty ensures that we take responsibility for our psychological blind spots. Here lies our primary potential for growth.
When we are in spiritual integrity, we can apologize with ease and commit to doing and being better. We are naturally kind and confident. We do the right thing—not for approval, because it is expected, or a learned habit—but because our direction comes from an inner state of authenticity. We are internally undivided.
Self-honesty helps us to relax in mind and body because there is no game playing and personal agendas. There is no fear of being caught out, no sense of being a fraud or fake. We don’t doubt ourselves, yet we are not arrogant because we are open to constant revision and improvement. We are responsible and don’t make excuses for ourselves. We are fluid within because we know that we honor our authentic self with confidence, while we are willing to revise and learn more.
When we are in spiritual integrity, we are embracing our humanity. We are at our best; we are whole and in alignment with an inner wisdom that we all have access to, if we choose to listen to it. Being in spiritual integrity requires us to learn the skill of discernment so that our minds grow quiet enough for us to hear its direction. Next, we need to cultivate courage to follow through on what naturally flows from within us. Our minds can masquerade as our protector—it will always have a controlling agenda. As we mature, we can set it aside and align with what originates from deeper within us. With spiritual integrity we show up and participate with humility and discretion. There is ease, and we are in sync with being human. It can be said that then we operate from the heart. With a cultivation of spiritual integrity, the world will be a better place because spiritual integrity insists that we unleash our innate capacity to be truly kind people.
Jac O’Keeffe experienced a spontaneous awakening in 1997. This gave her access to powerful, intuitive, and healing capacities; and influenced her change in career, from pioneering community arts policy at the national level in Ireland to opening a healing practice. She worked closely with a team of medical doctors researching the spiritual causes underpinning clinical depression. The findings culminated in a residential program that O’Keeffe developed, which successfully treated depression.