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Kingsley Dennis, Ph.D.

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Holding It All Together: Integrity and Our Sense of Self

Posted: 08/29/2012 11:51 am

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...
... Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it
(Rudyard Kipling -- "If")

The above lines -- taken from Rudyard Kipling's poem "If" -- serve to remind us that we have gained the Earth, our sense of self, if we are able to "keep it together." This loose phrase of "keeping our head" can be interpreted in various ways. To me it suggests that in these times we need to be more mindful of our actions to stay grounded and balanced -- by reliving and connecting with our integrity.

As things around us continue to go awry, plans derailed, and uncertainties magnified; we will be open to increased potentials of frustration. Our comfort zones are also likely to be tested, and we may feel the rise of emotions within us that are waiting to lash out. After all, change is coming at us paradoxically both too fast and too slow. The world around us appears to be shifting fast, yet the real change we wish to see in our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, is for many of us coming too slow. We perhaps have the sensation of being stuck in some dimensional riptide. It can be like the sensation of running in a dream -- our mind is running, or telling us to run, whilst our legs are moving in slow motion. The sensation of change, and of passing time, is rapid, yet the physical activity of change is reduced to cloud-walking. One of the immediate responses to this is frustration -- a sense of being disempowered in a world where everything is seemingly breaking down.

Another feature of our full, information-rich lives is the possibility for "burnout" -- that is, receiving too much information too quickly, trying to process it at an unnatural pace. It is important that we each find a rhythm that is right for us. Recently I heard of a restaurant in the Netherlands that was offering "Dining in the Dark" -- that is, eating your food in pitch black darkness. A person had tried this experience and had written their response -- they said it was a revelatory experience. All the senses were alive -- the food tasted better than they could imagine. There was no distraction from the actual experience of eating. And this is the important point -- no distraction from the self.

We live in a world immersed in sensory and information pollution, and our mainstream media distracts us by design. Entertainment is entrainment, i.e., something that pulls you into its resonance. So amidst busy and rushed lives it is important that we hold everything together. We need to stay focused and ground our energies. Staying grounded is also, for me, about valuing and respecting the self. It is crucial that we do not allow ourselves to become disheartened. Listening or watching the latest mainstream news does not appear to provide us with much hope for the world. More importantly, however, it does not stimulate us into aiming for self-betterment and well-being.

So we need to take a step back and to observe our lives, and to be at ease with who we are and what we are doing right now. A little gentle reflection should not be about beating ourselves up about perceived faults or lapses. It is about acknowledging where we could make some improvements that might add to where we wish to be with ourselves. And it is about taking back our empowerment from external forces that depress and devitalize us. Many external impacts in the world serve to drain us, distract us, depress and disempower us. We have to break away from this and focus on that which uplifts us.

We can, and should, be representative of our ideals. Further, we should aim at normalizing our new ways of thinking and being. This means not being afraid of what "consensus society" may say about our perceptions and perspectives. We are living through an era where we are called upon to be responsible for bringing these new models of thought, behavior, and perception to the world. Let us begin by acknowledging our integrity and stay true to our honor and focused balance. It is important to speak our own understanding -- not only to share where we are each at, but also to validate and give strength to our sense of self. The world we exist in often seems like a topsy-turvy, upside-down reality. When we can observe this more objectively we will see that our established systems of ideas are no longer sustainable or for the betterment of humanity. We thus need to acknowledge this, yet without fear or anger. Then when we have processed these truths we can be in a position to talk about them more freely. We can live our new perceptions and perspectives with inner freedom and integrity. We can hold it all together in ourselves -- after all, we have within us all the tools we need...

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