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Insight and Integration

“...how can you tell your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself don't see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the log from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother's eye.”—Luke 6:42 There is always a gap. A gap worth turning our attention to in every moment if we are to live with integrity, as examples, and to be most effective in contributing to others. It is a gap worth shrinking. It is the gap between our insights and our integration. It is the gap between our vision and our ability to demonstrate our ownership of our understandings. It is the gap between our intellect and our application of the principles we know to be universal truths. We have all read a book, been to a workshop, listened to a spiritual teacher, or received advice from a friend that we considered to be sound advice. If the goal is to be in this process of the upwardly spiraling and ever-expanding and ever-greater embracing path, then the primary focus needs to be bringing our lofty insights, our visionary experiences down into our bodies—to em-body them. The focus of constant and intentional behavioral integration of our insights will serve us in all aspects of our lives. Rebecca had a friend who was “going through a rough spot” in her marriage. Her friend needed support; needed a shoulder to cry on and needed advice from someone who had her best interests at heart. Without thinking it through, her friend came to Rebecca with tears in her eyes, uncertainty in her voice, and pain in her heart. Rebecca was compassionate, loving, and did indeed have her friend’s best interests at heart. Rebecca offered her wonderful advice. Sound advice. However, as a result of her lack of integration, the unfortunate truth was, Rebecca’s relationships did not demonstrate the soundness of this advice. Because of this, her friend went away uncertain and untrusting. Her friend’s best interests were not served as a result of what some would call Rebecca’s hypocrisy. Jeff had just finished a great book on relationships. He had begun to incorporate some of the distinctions and models for communicating included in the book into his daily life and had experienced a renaissance in his relationship with his girlfriend. They continued to deepen their intimacy and understanding of one another. It still required a great deal of awareness, conscious partnership, and grace from them both, but their integration of the insights offered in the book was obviously increasing. Having noticed this, Jeff’s friend Rick came to him much like Rebecca’s friend did, frustrated and hopeless about his own romantic relationship. Aware of his need to even further increase his integration, Jeff offered advice to Rick while acknowledging he was in no way a master of these insights, but told Rick that when he did apply them, it had a dramatically positive impact on the outcome of his conversations in his intimate relationship. This created an opening for Rick that had him not only buy the book, but created incredible breakthroughs for him in his own life in other contexts. Jenny sat before her spiritual teacher. What had drawn her towards him was not that he taught love and compassion, and contemplative techniques for transcending unnecessary misery to achieve happiness. What drew her towards him was that, without fail, he demonstrated love and compassion for all beings and seemed to be always happy and had perspectives that effortlessly maintained all of this. The gap between his insight and his integration was so slight that only he could perceive it within the subtleties of his own experience; his own self-reflexive and self-reflective thoughts. As a result, he was able to not only live an emotionally liberated life, but was able to positively impact all of those who chose to be around him. Integrating new distinctions is often like building a muscle. When we first make the movement with the weight, it is perhaps awkward. Sometimes we get sore as a result of our efforts. However, sooner or later it becomes second nature, we increase our weight load and begin to take on ever more complex moves. If you decided to go to the gym tomorrow for the first time in your life [or for the first time in a long time] you would not expect to be able to lift as much weight as if you’d been there for a year diligently working away. You would also not walk away from it tomorrow in despair if you were unable to do so. It is the same with insight and integration. Integration is not an event. Integration is a process. A process worth every sore muscle encountered along the way, as the pay-off is not only fuller liberation, but the ability to contribute to others as an example of a life worth modeling. There is always a gap. It is the gap between our insights and our integration. It is the gap between our vision and our ability to demonstrate our ownership of our understandings. It is the gap between our intellect and our application of the principles we know to be universal truths. A gap worth turning our attention to in every moment if we are to live with integrity, as examples, and to be most effective in contributing to others. It is a gap well worth shrinking. Join me in the effort...
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