Art for a peaceful and flourishing world

Living With Conscience and Integrity

Autumn Reflection Oil 20x16 2014

Autumn Reflection Oil 20×16 2014

Here is how I encountered what these words even mean! I was at a restaurant when I just started dating with my, now, husband; when it was time to pay, the waiter gave me back too much change. Before I was about to gladly put the extra money in my pocket, Dolphin called the man to let him know he had made a mistake. This natural gesture of integrity was totally new to me. At that moment I realised that there was a way of living that I had never even considered.

It’s not that I was all together a terrible unconscionable person but it came to my attention that we can easily be self deceiving in subtle ways. Keeping extra change, telling half truths, minor manipulation of situations are little ways that we can slip into our lives without feeling too guilty about it. When we start to pay attention to these moments, there is rarely blurry lines when it comes to what is right. If we take the time to look at what we do and how we feel in these moments we will find out that it feels uncomfortable and that our minds get busy justifying our actions.

People put the words of conscience and integrity under the big banners of values or moral. My experience is that these concepts are quite abstract and are often attached to religion and society’s accepted behaviours, which can differ quite drastically from one person to another.

When we learn to be sensitive, to feel within our bodies, we can detect what ‘feels’ right or wrong. Conscience to me has nothing to do with rhetorical philosophy but it is an actuality that is felt and thus known deeply.

There are plenty of teachings and tools out there for ‘finding peace’ but I rarely see anything about conscience and integrity when discussing these topics. I feel that one of the first steps on the way to finding peace is to make a commitment to live with integrity. Sometimes it will be dangerous; it can mean quitting our job, losing friends or being rejected by family. Somehow we have this idea that being ‘nice and happy’ all the time is the ‘spiritual’ way to be. Living with integrity is not about that kind of spirituality. It is a path that will shift our lives and sometimes disturb everything around it.

Under The Willow 12x24 2014

Under The Willow 12×24 2014

For me everything changed when I made this commitment to live with feeling, which is to live naturally ‘righteously’. The first thing I felt is my heart lightening. As I now set my intentions to be clear, genuine and honest, when things don’t go well, at least I am at peace from knowing that regardless of the outcomes and events manifesting, my intentions were pure.

Difficult situations arise in life and we may feel  a lot of confusion and being clear in these times is challenging. These trying moments are not punishments or things to feel bad about. They are a mirror and opportunities that bring to light what was hidden within us, they lead to understanding when we see them as outlets for learning and growing. And this, at times, means noticing and admitting when we have slipped from at place of good intention.

Living from a place of conscience and having integrity will become more and more an automatic and natural way to be. We don`t have to do it because of the reward of some heaven or from the fear of karmic rules, we do it because it is simply the most sensible sensical way to live to be happy and a peace.

In my art practice living with integrity means that I do my best to walk the talk. This is not a small task as I find my paintings to be way ahead of me in the teachings that they offer. In a practical manner I try to lead all my professional communication with honesty and openness. This fosters long lasting and fulfilling relationships. In setting this tone and intent I tend to attract similar people : Surrounding myself by this large family of kindred spirits is one of the most wonderful gifts of my life as an artist!

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