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Integrity = Being Your Word + Inner Guidance

Coming from a crazy family where people's minds changed like the weather, I adopted the policy of being true to my word no matter what. Even if the time came and I didn't feel like doing whatever I had agreed to, I kept my word and showed. I always wanted people to feel like they could count on me. I did not know I had huge underlying safety issues so I sought to enable people to feel safe with me. I figured, if they could count on me (my word), I could count on them. That should have equaled safe. Right? Wrong!

Then I sought out learning experiences inside of paradigms where keeping your word equals integrity. For me, I felt I could finally feel secure knowing that I could trust what people said. After all, if I gave my word, I'd keep it. So, they must be the same. What was I thinking? People gave their word and made promises all the time. And they broke their word. Things happened. What, I don't know. I never asked. I was not concerned with their excuses for not keeping their word. I was concerned with the fact that their word had been broken. I found myself making them wrong. I was even sneakier than that. I devalued them and still loved them, but less. I justified this righteous behavior of mine and had no room for their growth and development gap.

So were they safe with me? In fact, no. Did I feel safe with them? No.

Then I began studying Tantra. This Eastern philosophy encourages you to embrace it all, the right and the wrong, the light and the dark. I learned to embrace other's darkness (breaking of word) and my darkness (making them wrong). When this embrace empowered me to come out of the darkness, all of a sudden, I developed a lot of room for it all. I stopped taking it personally when a word was broken. I stopped being attached to outcomes. I became more appreciative of the process of transformation and just what it takes for people to keep their word, other people.

Inside of Tantra, I also became familiar with a powerful process called Latihan.

Latihan is a deep meditation where you go inside and then move following inner guidance. Some people call this authentic movement. During one Latihan session, I met my life's purpose staring me right in the eye. I began to listen to my inner voice rather than being distracted by what was 'right' or 'wrong' with the outer world.

I have been using this practice for 8 years. It has altered my life and altered my relationship to integrity and word. Now I follow inner guidance inside of my life's purpose when I commit to do something. Usually by the time the event comes about, I still want to do it. I am not merely toughing it out by keeping my word to anything and everything. I am keeping my word to something I have clearly chosen out of my deep commitment to what I am committed to in life. I have given up needing to have people count on me above all else and trying to make them feel safe. I have stopped making them wrong and myself right if things change. I focus on myself, my intentions and the messages I get from within. It is easy to keep my word and be with people exactly where they are. There is no more resentment.

At the end of the day, my word is in alignment with my life's purpose. And when I give it, it is a measure of the commitments that guide my life. Now it really does add up to my integrity, my truth. The bonus is that I'm experiencing many more people these days keeping their word. Something major has shifted in my life.

How to do Latihan:
You stand in a room with eyes closed. Playing on the stereo is ethereal music no lyrics.

The practice starts out by you picturing yourself standing at the edge of a cliff. You are strapped into a harness that is attached to a zip line. The zip line is stretched across a void. In other words, in your mind's eye, if you look down, you see only darkness, nothing 'the void. In the meditation, you let go of your foothold and swing out over the void. You hang there attached to the zip line.

Then you reach up and push a red button that unfastens the clasp holding you connected to the zip line. Essentially, you let go and fall into the unknown.

Once you feel yourself falling, you begin to move only when movement moves you. This is not about prescribed movements, postures, dance steps or even asanas. It is simply to notice the impulse to move and then feel your way into the next movement.

Practice this for 10 '15 minutes at first. Then move to a half hour. Gradually build up to an hour at least once a week.

Butterfly Workshops, Inc. 2005

About the Author

Laurie Handlers, MA is the President of Butterfly Workshops, Inc., a Washington, DC based company currently offering 3 levels of Tantra, Tantra instructor training, and Leadership courses for corporations and individuals.

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