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A Man of Integrity

Michelle and I have many heroes. Perhaps the most notable of those heroes we share is the man Mahatma Gandhi. Hopefully my readers already know his story. Gandhi led a spirited, non-violent, nationwide resistance to the tyranny of Great Britain in India, fighting for the rights of his people. Gandhi stood for the truth, freedom, faith, and self-government. He held many high ideals that many of his contemporaries, and certainly British officials could not understand. They attacked him, imprisoned him, beat him, and then eventually, let him become the change he envisioned for India.

There is one quote that sticks out in our minds when we think of Gandhi:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Being two people of principle, we are idealists who strive to make our world a better place. We are sick of the lies and deception all around us in our world, those lies that hold us captive to a broken system, that steal our lives and give nothing back. As activists, it is important for us to embody Gandhi’s message of being the change we want to see.

One of my old bosses, Mr. Medearis, once gave me a little advice. This man spoke very little, but his advice is something I will never forget. He told me to set high expectations of others and of myself and to never give in to the resistance of others or of my own self to settle for lowered expectations instead. To this day, I attempt to live by this advice, in my personal relationships, in my business dealings, in my activist work and in my spiritual endeavors. Not settling for lowered expectations is a difficult task full of lots of internal and external resistance. It is certainly an easier path to settle for less.

My dad always told me to never do anything “half-assed”. He told me that life is difficult and especially more so if you’re doing things the right way. There is no quick rise to real success. That path is littered with the debris of others’ resistance, obstacles, and small trivialities that offer to appease the mind and keep it from reaching greatness. I refuse to settle for anything less than greatness. To some, that seems ridiculous, to some it seems obsessive and to others it seems downright insane. To the few, it seems the only worthwhile thing to stand for.

If people stood up for what was right, if they stood up for honesty, integrity, transparency and truth in all of their endeavors, can you imagine what the world would look like? Can you imagine all of the people, living life in peace?

Resistance comes from those who would sacrifice ideals for pettiness, honesty for deceit, integrity for manipulation, not from those who stand up against those resisting forces. And the resistance is far greater than the support, in almost all walks of life.

The final quote we’d like to leave you with is this:

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” ~ Gandhi

Ignore us, laugh at us, fight with us all you want, but the principle of truth remains undeterred in our hearts. In this, we will prevail no matter the outcome, because we stand for what is right. Are we elevating our cause to that of Gandhi’s? No. Do we think our cause is of any less importance n our personal life? No. Because it’s the little things that make a man/woman, those small choices we make that bring to our lives success or failures. What does a man profit if he gains the world and loses his soul? We choose not to be liars, deceivers, manipulators. We choose to tell the truth no matter if people hate us, spit at us, ridicule us, trample us, or expect us to fall in line with the rest of the scoundrels. In the end, you’ll see, we’re the best thing that ever happened your way.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2010 in Philosophical Ponderings, Spiritual, thoughts

 

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An Obsession For Truth

When I was younger, I got into trouble telling lies to my parents.  It happened on more than one occasion.  I thought that I could escape the reality of my choices and actions by trying to convince them that the action didn’t really happen, or that I was not the cause of the action.  There were also times when I just plain kept things from the light of day, hoping that others would not find out.  More often than not, others did.  When that happened, it was back to trying to convince them that it didn’t happen like they thought, or at least, I was not at fault.  That rarely worked very well.

I learned through a number of not-so-serious experiences that lying brings more trouble than just facing the original problem for what it is.  Yes, we all make mistakes.  Yes, it’s difficult owning up to those mistakes.  It was always better, however, to own up for messing up than to have to continually lie to cover up the first lie, and certainly easier than having to face others as an exposed liar.  Instead of lying, I’ve learned it is always more beneficial to come face-t0-face with humility and accept the consequences for my actions instead of trying to hide.

Now that I’m older, I have developed less tolerance to lies, but more so to unrepentant lies, those lies that keep being told to save face, to cover up for mistakes, to fool others into thinking something different than the truth.  In fact, it could be said that I am, at times, obsessed with uncovering the truth.

This obsession has been good for the most part.  In my personal quest for spiritual truth, the obsession keeps me searching.  This constant search has expanded my mind and my awareness, and has made my life more complete.  Yet, in other areas of my life, that obsession has not always been easy on me.

For example, I consider my quest for political truth to be a very frustrating and confounding search.  As an activist who is always trying to understand the motivations of politicians, officials, corporations, etc., I am constantly bewildered.  Often the truth is so ugly that it is difficult to look at.  The more I scratch the surface, the more I discover how many lies and how much deception is laid over the truth.  And I always discover an increasing desire by those who aren’t being truthful to keep their lies hidden.

That is extremely disappointing, especially when one starts tumbling down the rabbit hole to find it seems to never end.  We hear all sorts of stories on the news about the deception perpetrated by some on others.  While it is difficult to read and comprehend, it never hits home as hard as lies in one’s personal life do.   When I am deceived by someone I know, I move through a variety of emotions.  I am angry.  I am hurt.  I am disappointed.  I am disgusted.  I am deflated.  And when the one telling me the lies continues not to fess up, I have this almost vindictive side of me take over in an attempt to expose the lies for what they are.

Even though, in my work as an activist, I attempt to expose the lies of corporations and politicians, exposing lies of those I encounter seems to become an obsession and I’ll stop at nothing until the lies are exposed to the light of day.  It bewilders my mind when the lies are exposed and the one telling the lies continues to be unrepentant and continues to project his/her facade of deception.  I don’t usually handle that well.

Many people do not understand this about me.  In my experience, the bigger the lie, the more difficult it is for people to see it for what it is.  People make a variety of excuses, pretend that the exposed truths are the lie, and then attack me for what I’ve done because I’m what they consider to be obsessed and vindictive.  Furthermore, it has become my experience that most people do not want to know the truth, they won’t seek it out, they won’t accept it when it is delivered to them, and will attack the messenger.

That is fine, I guess, but as I said above, this doesn’t make seeking the truth and exposing it any easier.  In my opinion, it seems that most people are fine living with a certain degree of deception, hiding their heads in the sands of denial, and pretending not to see.  In my personal experience with others, we all deceive ourselves to a certain degree and present a facade to others in the meantime.  They are okay with that.  They don’t want anyone coming along to rock their boat, shake up their world, challenge the “truths” they hold, or grab their head and make them see.

People actively resist the truth and do not understand those who seek it out.  This is, I believe, because seeking out the truth is almost always an uncomfortable situation to put one’s self in.  Having one’s paradigms shaken to the foundation is often a scary situation.  Furthermore, the retaliation of others who put up defenses against the truth and the threats and attacks leveled at the truth-seeker are enough to make one abandon such a quest.

As an idealist, I refuse to abandon this quest.  I cannot help but fall down the rabbit hole until I hit bottom.  As uncomfortable as that may be, it is who I am, through and through.  If for no other reason, my own personal integrity makes it difficult for me to be content with anything but the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Perhaps one day this will lead me to the gates of Heaven or Nirvana – whatever you want to call it.

The path is important to me.  This is why I choose to continue to walk it.  This is why I still search, long for, and settle for nothing else than the truth.  In my personal life, if someone creates an obstacle on this path by dropping the heavy burden of his/her lies, you can bet I will point it out.  That is my life’s path and I’ve been shown no other way, but to continue walking the path of truth.  If you’ve got something to hide, then stay out of my way, because you won’t like me or what I have to say.  And you certainly won’t like me lifting your veil.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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