What is integrity?  Integrity is what the fourth Reiki Principle is all about: Just for today, I will do my work honestly. “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” comes to mind.  Webster’s definition is threefold: 1) an unimpaired condition; 2) firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values (incorruptibility); and 3) the quality or state of being complete or undivided.

We look around today at our society and wonder what has happened to the integrity so valued a century ago. Is it completely gone?  Probably not, but it is more difficult to maintain with so many negative influences bombarding us.  The expectation is to strive for more and more, and to achieve it any way we can, often at another’s expense.  Pressure is everywhere, from achieving wealth, to getting the highest grades, to having the biggest house, car, or TV!  Many of us succumb to that pressure due to a deep need to fit in with our peer group.  Or we want to elevate ourselves from that group.  Once we buy into that pressure, it’s easy for our integrity to be compromised.

Is compromise necessary?  Of course not.  But it is important to be conscious of who we are and what we stand for.  To value competition at any price,  integrity will suffer.  To be unconscious of our values, and participate in whatever comes down the road,  weakens our integrity.  A large part of societal expectation is to follow what is new, exciting, or “in”.  Many follow like sheep because it feels uncomfortable to do otherwise.  It’s easier to think like the crowd than think for oneself.

Each of us has our own life to live, however.  We must decide how we will live it.  Having integrity does not mean our lives need be dull.  Quite the contrary.  We can enjoy what’s new, exciting and “in” by aligning each of them with what we hold important.  Use the good, discard what’s not.  Competition is great, as long as it’s fair.  Making lots of money is fine, as long as it is done honestly and no one is hurt.  Buying your dream house is terrific, as long as you can actually afford it and it fits in with your concept of who you are.  But you need to know who you are and what your values are. It’s hard to be honest when honesty is not important.

Why should honesty be important to us?  Basically, we all have a personal responsibility to contribute positively to society. As each of us honors our integrity, our society becomes stronger.  We must recognize that trust and confidence are rooted in honesty.  Honesty keeps our values high.  We are better able to make good decisions for ourselves and our families when we are on a firm foundation.  Will we always live up to our ideals?  No.  But if each of us strives, one day at a time, to consciously live in integrity, we will raise the vibration of  our nation and this planet to a totally new dimension. In this regard, Reiki is a wonderful means of achieving this goal.  Are you willing to reach for the gold standard?