Inner Work Friday: Week Five of Eight Week Series by Jonathan Steele

What does it mean to have integrity? And I don’t mean just in the sense of keeping your word (though I don’t not mean that). But more in aligning with truth in such a way that the beacon of the heart begins to coincide with a larger movement. Both in and around you and among a tangible though more subtle interwoven collective. A more subtle body. One that suffuses, and by way of kenosis, begins to recognize need and direct your movement in the world. We are working to build the foundations to attune to and align with this movement. And our willing participation somewhere along the way, and even sometimes in spite of our best efforts to resist, begins to metabolize its way into the development of being. This can feel as though we become done unto. Immediacy, as it were, begins to have us more than we have it. We discover what it is that’s saying yes to what we already are. That is-living words of the Divine. Much more verb than noun. Way more wave than particle. And it’s in this sense that I ask, what does it mean to have integrity? What is the deeper yes being spoken through you even as you go around saying yes and no to all kinds of things at the level of taste and preference?

This week, continue practicing coming back to presence through sensation in the lower limbs and through actively becoming aware of the breath. As you do this stay present to the utterance of your life in the moment-again, not so much to what you are but to that you are. What is being called forth as you in the cosmic call and response of this particularity. As you stay present this way to the mystery of your particularity, how does what you say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to change through the course of the day, if at all? Make your own observations. What do you notice? From this place of presencing yourself as mystery, carry the question with you this week…what does it mean to have integrity?

As usual, I offer poetry to grease the skids and companion you for this week’s inner task.

All True Vows

All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants you to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

David Whyte,
in The House of Belonging

Inner Task Series by Jonathan Steele

Jonathan Steele posted this Inner Task Series to the Wisdom School Community on Facebook from July 2 – August 21, 2021