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 past and future exist as mere dreams. What is truly alive is only ever this flash instant, this tiny, yet infinite sliver of “now,” a now that need not be practiced or cultivated for it is always and forever the only thing that could ever exist.
Take a moment to think back to when you were a young child. Remember how everything was open, interesting, mysterious, vibrant, new, and fresh? Remember how curious and joyful you felt? Remember how the world was full of endless possibility? In short, remember your innocence?
The quest for meaning includes finding your home in the world. This home may not be geographical. A friend of mine devotes her life to Doctors Without Borders. Though she’s fond of her suburban house in New Jersey, her deepest sense of home comes from being where the greatest need exists.
I was leading a writing retreat in Italy recently when one of the students—a professional psychologist, longtime practitioner of Buddhism, and would-be memoirist—posed a question that’s frequently asked: Why is writing a spiritual practice?
We’ve all done it. We behave in a way that feels painful, or is destructive, or think we shouldn’t, and we resolve to behave differently in the future. We believe that the way to change behavior A is to take up behavior B. What we discover is that, however fervently we wish to change our behavior, it’s not that easy. We can’t just drop behavior A just because we’ve decided to for whatever reason.
The call to “know thyself” seems to reside deep in the human psyche—this maxim was inscribed in the ancient Temple of Apollo in Delphi, and we have been experimenting with ways to gain self-knowledge for thousands of years. Many of us engage in practices—mindfulness, meditation, yoga, contemplation, and an array of therapies—that have grown out of this collective search for self.
Goode is known for his unique combination of penetrating insight, comfort with both Eastern and Western sources, and a down-to-earth sense of humor. A member of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association, he serves as the technical consultant for their peer-reviewed journal Philosophical Practice.