[in-ti-gruhl, in-teg-ruhl] adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or belonging as a part of the whole; constituent or component: integral parts.
2. necessary to the completeness of the whole: This point is integral to his plan.
3. consisting or composed of parts that together constitute a whole.
4. entire; complete; whole: the integral works of a writer.
[in-ti-greyt] verb, -grat·ed, -grat·ing. verb (used with object)
1. to bring together or incorporate (parts) into a whole.
2. to make up, combine, or complete to produce a whole or a larger unit, as parts do.
3. to unite or combine.
4. to give or cause to give equal opportunity and consideration to (a racial, religious, or ethnic group or a member of such a group): to integrate minority groups in the school system.
5. to combine (educational facilities, classes, and the like, previously segregated by race) into one unified system; desegregate.
Someone used the word integrity today and it got me thinking about what that really means. The person used it in the context of “wanting to have integrity,” and in that sense, he was saying that he wanted to be ethical and honest. He was using this as a standard to which he wanted to adhere and as a descriptor of himself, such as having brown hair or an ability to do math. In other words, he was leaving out the part of the definition that makes integrity about his relationship with others.
Moral and ethical principles are only relevant in their relationship with others. I cannot be immoral or unethical on a desert island. The “state of being whole, entire, or undiminished” is also only relevant when in the context of others. I cannot be whole if I am giving away parts of myself without return. I cannot be undiminished if I harm another person for my own sake.
Integrity, therefore, is about Connection. To have integrity is to acknowledge and honor one’s own Connection with all groups, all races, and all living things and not do harm. Each of us is an integral part of the Universe and when we consciously integrate, we Connect and fully actualize, leading to peaceful and joyful existence.