Living with Congruence

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” – Gordon A Eadie

We experience personal integrity when what we say, do and believe are in congruence. This doesn’t automatically fall into place, but requires ongoing effort and learning as we enter into new arrangements. Integrity also requires the courage to be true to ourselves, temperance to keep our desires/emotions in line, and justice to maintain healthy boundaries in our relations with others.

Many of us have come to understand our sense of right and wrong, as in our personal ethical framework, through a religious and/or spiritual paradigm. We can’t simply override that part of our selves and expect to be objective and clear in our estimation of things. Neither can we impose our belief system upon another and expect that relationship to be hunky-dory.

However, without good moral principles to guide our interactions with others we come to a standstill. Walls go up and defence mechanisms are employed. Eventually war becomes inevitable on all fronts, from the macro-level to the micro-level, not a stone is left unturned when contentions escalate.

It seems the more we ponder the overwhelming difficulties that are surfacing throughout the world, the more stretched and powerless we become, so we shift our focus upon matters that are within our control. We wipe the sleep from our own eyes before attempting providence; i.e. we purify our hearts & minds before we act.

While walking through the wintery forest my soul fills up with gratitude and awe for the beauty that surrounds. The chirping of birds become music and their flight a twirling dance from tree to tree. This softens my heart, which in turn opens my imagination to new possibilities. What often comes to mind these days is the need for human dignity.

Even though this may be a projection of my own psychological hunger, I am inclined to believe that dignity is what most of us want and need so as to keep an ethical middle ground in place for everyone to traverse freely and without fear. Such a path of openness requires virtuous action, contemplative space, and the wisdom of the ages.

Do our actions and words hold up to this ideal; or rather, is our behaviour aligned with principles that allow for this kind of synergistic cooperation? This question brings us full circle. Personal integrity remains in place as long as we willingly return to this inner dialogue with ourselves and others. With all our preferences put aside, and every instrumental tool working toward a common end, could we arrive at a greater good if we wholeheartedly believed and held human dignity at the centre of all our relationships?

There’s a strong part of me that resists this sort of simplicity. It possesses a cynical tone that can easily bring about a paralysis of analysis, but is that the voice we ought to bend our knee to; might there be unseen forces (unconscious drives) that work to undermine our sanity or capacity to harmonize with others in view to the common good.

This cross feels heavy upon my shoulders, but neither ridicule or sophistry, nor praise or self aggrandizement, can worm its way into my conscience without my approval or assent, therefore I am what I am, and that’s what allows me to make a stand.

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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11 Responses to Living with Congruence

  1. Nice, naked and honest 🙂

  2. Mary Jo Malo says:

    This is wonderfully written with an authentic and poetic voice. I remember reading Sartre and Beauvoir and their insistence on authenticity, but then I read Camus. While they were supporting violent regimes which assaulted the dignity and respect of the individual, he eschewed ideologies, instead writing about morality and ethics such as you’ve addressed here. Yours is an essay which should reach wide circulation; it is so desperately need now. Congruence is the essence of my faith and love is the energy. Thank you.

  3. Anna says:

    Great post. Love your perspective. I heard this quote my entire childhood. If I don’t stand for something, then….

    I guess we all stand for something and our actions are a testament of that.

    But, I’ve never been one to “stand” for something with absolute certitude. I’ve never understood people who see things so clearly and have a strong sense of “righteous” judgment. Sometimes I feel comfort around those who are sure of what “dignity” means and sometimes I think they are insane.

    Also, I’ve experienced a few life circumstances that really made me re-think dignity, what it means to me vs. what it means to others, therefore I understand what you say, “as we enter into new arrangements.” If we are entirely or overwhelmingly around others or with someone special who doesn’t measure with the same measuring stick, we may spend much of our life miserable–unless we come to peace despite the incongruence.

    • Glad you enjoyed my post and thank you for sharing your insights. Dignity, like love, has such a freeing openness and graceful energy, that it feels somewhat unnatural to box it into a definition, yet we all seem to intuitively know when we have been treated in an undignified way.

      • Anna says:

        great point….”intuitively knowing when we have been treated in an undignified way.” do you ever second guess yourself though? like maybe it’s just my ego miss-interpreting intent, maybe I’m completely miss-reading the situation? for example: at work, I feel certain, at times, that someone or people are treating me with a lack of dignity, but I often wonder if they feel the same of me.

      • Of course, for instance, sometimes we might be feeling overly sensitive, and may misread a situation.

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