Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Approaching Integrity

Sonoma Valley, California, USA

June 23, 2020

"My notion about service is that service is actually that kind of relationship in which you have a commitment to the person. Now I don't mean to the person's body or to the person's personality or to the person's stomach or to the person's almost anything. What I mean in fact is that for me what service is about is being committed to the other being, to the other person spiritually, to who the person is. Now the problem with that is that to the degree that you are in fact committed to the other person, you are only as valuable as how you can deal with the other person's stuff, their evidence, their manifestation, and that's what service is all about. Service is about knowing who the other person is, and being able to tolerate giving space to their garbage. What most people do is to give space to people's quality and deal with their garbage. Actually, you should do it the other way around. Deal with who they are and give space to their garbage. Keep interacting with them as if they were God. And every time you get garbage from them, give space to the garbage and go back and interact with them as if they were God."
"If what you've given your word to has you suffering, there's inauthenticity."
... Udi Ipalawatti, Landmark Forum Leader
This essay, Approaching Integrity, is the fifteenth in the open second group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the complete first group of thirty five Experiences Of A Friend):
  1. Friend, Partner, And Ally
  2. Go To The Beach
  3. Proof Of Life
  4. Going Out Like A Supernova
  5. Relationships: They Start, They End
  6. Evidence Of Source
  7. On Knowing When To Be Ordinary
  8. Letting Be
  9. Transforming The Untransformable
  10. There's Always The Next Piece
  11. Plastic Chandelier II
  12. Yes You Really Are That Big
  13. A Way With Words
  14. The Quietest Mind
  15. Approaching Integrity
  16. Dancing With Life II
  17. Staying In Integrity
  18. Ordinary People Star, Extraordinary People Recreate Themselves
  19. Committed Existence
in that order.

It is also the twentieth in a group of twenty two on Integrity:

How do you approach integrity?

I don't mean "How do you take on  integrity?", neither do I mean "What do you consider integrity to be?" (ie what your ideas about integrity are), nor do I mean "How do you study / research integrity?" (as if you're preparing to present a paper on it), and nor am I referring to what you'd have to do to clean up the integrity in your life - none of the above.

What I mean is something very literal, something quite pedestrian  actually. What I mean by "How do you approach integrity?" is "Who / how are you being when you walk up to people you know have high integrity?" (and "walk up to" is about as literal / as pedestrian as you can get). When I ask "How do you approach integrity?", I'm actually asking "What happens for you, what do you take with you, what do you take into account, as you get near / as you approach people of high integrity?".

What I've taken stock of ie what I've noticed, is I had a tendency to pre-judge  that people I'd run into randomly, would have low integrity or no integrity. In other words, I'd pre-judge people's integrity even before I'd met them. Oh, God! That was awful ... so righteous! I can barely confront I actually did that - not to mention how small it made me (which is ironic since until then, I had it that having the smarts to be able to recognize low integrity / no integrity, made me a bigger person).

On the other hand, when I approach people I know have high integrity, I be a certain way. I come prepared. I generate a future in their presence, and it's joyful. Yet I've caught myself about to approach people I don't  know have integrity (which is different than people I know don't  have integrity) and just assumed they have low integrity or no integrity. That was my default sensor reading. I'd cast myself as an island of high integrity in a sea of low integrity or no integrity. That's a small game.

What I realize with hindsight (and hindsight is always  20/20 vision) is when I approach people whom I've cast as low integrity or no integrity, it is I (not they) who has them be that way. It's embarrassingly obvious to me now. The inevitable self-correction came from scrutinizing who I be, and what I do when I approach people whom I know have high integrity, then pledging / promising / committing to take all of that with me when I approach all people, without pre-judging their integrity.

What are the yardsticks, indeed what are the sources of what I take with me when I approach people of high integrity? They're legion. For starters, my Experiences Of A Friend, and my Encounters With A Friend are my chief sources. From them, I've distinguished and assessed and harvested the ways I be when I approach people of high integrity, and I've woven those ways into components of my interactions with all people, even those I meet randomly. This way, I grant integrity like a possibility  to all people I approach.

For me, granting integrity like a possibility  to all people, is to see them as whole and complete. It's to approach them as if simply being around them will impact my life profoundly. It's to come prepared to engage in worthwhile conversation. It's to bring forth a platform for love and trust, even if none has been established in the past. It's being willing to share coming from who I really am, with who they really are, without compromise. That's how I approach integrity, and I see it in everyone.

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