I am glad the title generated enough curiosity for you to consider reading this blog. Thank you for your efforts, but before you progress any further I would like to ask you a question.
Who is reading this blog?
I request you not to rush through the blog but pause for a moment to genuinely consider the question with a certain sense of seriousness. For a comparison and better clarity consider the following questions.
When you discuss some important ideas with your manager, who is talking to you?
When your HR joins you for a coffee, who actually is joining the coffee break?
When a politician is being interviewed, who actually is answering the questions?
When a kid is caught sneaking chocolates out of the fridge, who is defending himself?
When the car behind you is honking aggresively, who is honking at you?
When the CEO is giving his speech, who is talking to the employees?
When we do what we do, some of the times we act out of the desire to control the outcome.
Hence, when we interact with an HR, a Manager or a Politician or an aggressive driver on the road, are we really interacting with Ramesh, Suresh, Neeta or Suneeta or are we talking to people with labels who act according to situations to suit the needs.
We have levels of existence and each level of existence has its own reason to exist by itself. We as humans we keep shuffling between these levels of Existence to suit our needs.
The three levels of existence which I see different people operating out of are:
Human Performing or Required Self.
Human Doing or Acquired Self.
Human Being or Self.
Human Performing / Required Self:
As the name probably suggests you are Required to be who you are. Your actions are defined by the Role or Label you are currently playing. Eg: HR, CEO, Author, Politician, Citizen of a country etc. The behavior of the individual is limited by the Integrity of the role as defined by the Organization or Country or Society.
You play the role as long as you are part of the Country/Organization/Role/Society. Once you part ways with the Country/Organization/Role/Society you are no longer obligated to perform the rituals which you earlier performed as part of the Organization/Country/Role/Society.
When you are performing your duties as a “Father”, “Policeman”, “Prime Minister”, “CEO” you are defined by the integrity of the role and sometimes we forget to be 'Human' and this eventually leads to a conflict between the head and the heart.
You find many individuals torn between the responsibilites of the role and personal values and beliefs. The Labels force us to go against our personal values and create tension and rift in our inner lives.
It is also important to note that when we play any of these roles for long enough, we forget to remind ourselves that we are larger than the role, that this role does not define us. Our behavior in personal lives tend to reflect the attitudes of our professional life if we are not careful. We need to understand that what is defined as acceptable behavior as part of the protocol defined by the role is not to be generalized as an universally acceptable behavior.
Human Doing / Acquired Self:
As the name Acquired self signifies, it is who you have turned out to be as a result of your upbrining, your struggles and your priorities. This is the level of existence you experience when you are out of an “External Label” like Parent, HR, Doctor, Engineer and adopt an “Internal label” of “who you think you are”.
So, When you like a particular post on FB or share a whatsapp text, it is this internal label that agrees or disagrees to the post. Your response to my write up so far is based on your inner guidelines that define your likes and dislikes.
Based on your past experiences, the Acquired self is constantly analysing the present circumstance to protect you from any undesirable situation. When you start responding to reality in a way where you either try to “Preserve what you like” or “Destroy what you do not like” there is always tension in the present moment. The Tension of “losing what you like or not acquiring what you desire”.
Hence Human Doing represents a reality, where you are “Doing” everything possible to maintain a “Desirable Reality”.
If you analyse the recent ball tampering scandal involving legends of Australian cricket team, you will understand the concept of Human Doing a little more deeply.
Steve Smith and David Warner could not accept the reality that they were about to lose the test match. They wanted to change the reality to suit their likes. Hence they tried to tamper the ball in effort to change the undesirable result/reality.
In the simplest sense, the factors influencing the integrity are as follows:
Greater the resistance to the present moment, more is the tendency to control the present and hence lower the integrity.
Lesser the resistance to the present moment, lower is the tendency to control the present and hence higher the integrity.
By being as non judgemental as possible to the present moment we allow ourselves to wholeheartedly accept the reality and drive transformation towards a more positive reality. The fact that any transformation takes time is a known fact, but is not an acceptable or desired fact. The burden of time on the process of transformation is a deeply unsettling fact for a person with low integrity.
The lack of immediate desirable result is a huge motivation for unethical acts.
Acts of person operating out of “Human Doing” is motivated or driven by unethical motives and not driven by integrity or values of the individual.
I will do _________ [any act] so that my ___________ [partner, friend, boss] thinks I am ____________[supportive, helpful, kind].
In the above scenario, you are busy controlling the Outcome of relationships by your actions.
Manipulation of the above form may result in favourable results in the short run, but are deeply unethical and can break relations in a moment if the reality comes out.
The final level of existence then is Human Being/ Self.
The dictionary meaning of Being is “the nature or essence of a person”. The true essence is a level of existence which is free from Labels and external factors. The level of existence which is deeply internal and driven only by internal motivations of the “need” not the “greed”.
Labels of Gender, Nationality, Age, Religion mean nothing to the essence of what we truly call Human.
The ability to detach from a label and then think and act according to deepest sensitivities of human need is the essence of being human. The Human Being practises empathy and is deeply moved by suffering of other humans. His actions are motivated not to benefit short term personal goals but to benefit long term impersonal goals.
Here I would like to introduce you to the pillars of integrity.
There are three pillars of Integrity:
Essentially a man of high integrity does not resist the present moment. He not only accepts the moment for its share of challenges, rather he is grateful for the challenges presented in front of him.
Living in denial and avoiding the present is the nature of an Human Doing, however the Human being is aware of his tendencies both good and bad and he knows he cannot run away from them. He rather chooses to work with them to change the situation.
The way the words honesty and sincerity are used in today's day and age is mostly directed towards how honest and sincere you are towards your work, family, society. However one of the most important needs is to be honest and sincere to and with your own self. How many of us can claim to have been honest and sincere to and with ourselves? How often do we pretend and deceive ourselves out of uncomfortable situations.
Integrity is the ability to invite uncomfortable situationsin our life with openness and transparency. The transparency drives self awareness which in turn makes us aware of the uncomfortable truths regarding our habits, talents, behavior and skills in the first place. It is then up to us to decide whether we are going to be honest to ourselves or live the rest of our lives in denial and live a weak life hoping and praying for the tide to turn in our favor. This is a life full of suffering and weakness. However by being honest to ourselves and by accepting the challenge and by being sincere towards our own personal transformation we find that life is fulfilling and rewarding. It may not be easy but surely rich in meaning and purpose.
Our insecurities and frustrations are result of our inability to practise integrity. A man of high integrity understands the basic laws of life. He is constantly aware that the constantly changing world will keep throwing uncomfortable realities faster than we can catch and by wasting efforts in trying to dodge the tough realities will only tire us before some reality hits us hard and we fall flat on our face. He rather believes in spending time building strength to the best of his ability and in the process getting hit sometimes, but not losing hope or stopping persistant effort. His best hope is constant effort and rising up every time he falls and in this process he evolves into a strong character who is no longer scared of blows but is open to facing more uncomfortable realities. As he grows in strength and character the blows no longer affect him but it is the blows that help build his strength further.
If you stuck with me all through, I would like to thank you because this was neither an easy nor a fun blog.
I hope by now you are in a better position to answer the question I posted at the start of the blog -
Who is reading this blog?
I hope you ask this question often. I hope you understand the motivations behind your actions and of other's more often. I hope you act less from the selfish motivations of the labels and learn to act more from the more accepting and non judgmental position of a Human being and that is what I believe Integrity is all about !