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The Way of Integrity

The Way of Integrity Summary

In The Way of Integrity, Beck presents a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering. Much of what plagues us—people-pleasing, staying in stale relationships, negative habits—all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole.

Inspired by The Divine Comedy, Beck uses Dante’s classic hero’s journey as a framework to break down the process of attaining personal integrity into small, manageable steps. She shows how to read the internal signals that lead us towards our true path, and to recognize what we actually yearn for versus what our culture sells us.

With techniques tested on hundreds of her clients, Beck brings her expertise as a social scientist, life coach, and human being to help readers to uncover what integrity looks like in their own lives. She takes us on a spiritual adventure that not only will change the direction of our lives, but also bring us to a place of genuine happiness.

About the Author

Martha Beck is a bestselling author, life coach, and speaker who specializes in helping individuals and groups achieve greater levels of personal and professional success. She is the author of nine nonfiction books and one novel and has been a longtime contributor to O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in sociology from Harvard.

The Way of Integrity Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Even if you’re not a frequent flier, this has probably happened to you. The plane is fully boarded. Everyone’s laptops are stowed. The flight attendants have done their mandatory dance about the seat belts and the floor lights and the oxygen masks that will not inflate. Then, just as you expect to roll away from the gate, everything stops. The captain’s sheepish voice crackles through the cabin. “Sorry, folks, we have a slight malfunction—probably just a glitch, but we need to call some mechanics to check. We’re looking at a bit of a wait.”

A ripple of woe runs through the passengers. Your heart sinks. How long will you be trapped in this uncomfortable seat, between a man who reeks of cheap cologne and a fretfully teething baby, before the plane finally flies? But after this initial burst of dismay, everyone heaves a sigh and settles in. You all approve of the crew’s caution. You’re about to travel five miles above Earth’s surface in this mighty machine. No one, not even the baby, wants the plane taking off if it’s not in perfect structural integrity.

This book, as you may have gleaned from the title, is all about integrity. But I don’t mean this in a moralizing sense. The word integrity has taken on a slightly prim, judgmental nuance in modern English, but the word comes from the Latin integer, which simply means “intact.” To be in integrity is to be one thing, whole and undivided. When a plane is in integrity, all its millions of parts work together smoothly and cooperatively. If it loses integrity, it may stall, falter, or crash. There’s no judgment here. Just physics.

As above in aerodynamics, so below in our everyday lives. When you experience unity of intention, fascination, and purpose, you live like a bloodhound on a scent, joyfully doing what feels truest in each moment. Your daily work, whether it’s writing computer code, gardening, or building houses, is so absorbing that at the end of the day you don’t really want to stop.

But when you do, you enjoy hanging out with loved ones so much, and sleep is so delicious you can’t imagine anything sweeter. And when you wake up the next morning, the day ahead seems so enticing you are practically bound out of bed.

If you’re like many people I’ve coached, you may be rolling your eyes right now. It may sound like I’m wearing rose-colored glasses and munching antidepressants like jelly beans. You may never have felt the kind of sustained joie de vivre I’m describing. You might not believe that such a fulfilling life is possible.

It is.

Tragically, many people go their whole lives without ever learning this, never experiencing the joyful ease that comes with full integrity. Some of these folks are massively misaligned, their lives an endless string of failures and crushed dreams. You may know a few: the friend from high school who keeps landing himself in prison, the cousin who marries one unfaithful scumbag after another, the colleague who seems to sabotage every project she undertakes. These folks are like airplanes whose major components, like wings and engines, are out of whack.

Your own life is probably somewhere between utterly blissful and completely wrecked. You have a vague sense of purpose, which you hope to follow someday. Though your job isn’t perfect, it’s good enough. And your relationships are fine. Mostly. Yes, there are times when someone—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your boss—makes you want to fake your own death and move to a hotel in the Cayman Islands.

But honestly, it’s fine. You don’t feel bad, just vaguely anxious, uncomfortable, and disappointed. And it’s perfectly normal that your mind tends to linger on regrets about plans that didn’t work out and doubts that your dreams will ever come true.

When I meet clients who fit this description and suggest that their lives could be better, they often protest that they’re doing fine, just fine. Look, they say: Life is a bitch and then we die. Failure is much more common than success. We can’t just flap our arms and fly. They think they’re simply accepting the bitter truth. But what I hear is the clank of stray bolts and loose parts, the sound of a human who has never experienced complete alignment of body, mind, heart, and soul.

Again, this isn’t a moral judgment. If you don’t always feel wonderful, it doesn’t mean you’re faulty or bad—in fact, I’d bet that you’ve spent your entire life trying to be good. And there’s nothing defective about you. You’re a highly functional, sophisticated creature. At the deepest level, you know what makes you happy and how to create your best possible life. That knowledge is coded into your very nature.

But your nature is forever colliding with a force that can tear it apart: culture.

By “culture” I don’t mean opera or surrealist painting. I’m talking about any set of social standards that shapes the way people think and act. Every group of humans, from couples to families to cell blocks to sewing circles to armies, has cultural rules and expectations that help them cooperate. Some of these are explicit, like traffic laws or workplace dress codes. Others are implicit, like the assumption that when you go to a nice restaurant for dinner, you’ll use silverware instead of plunging your face directly into your food like a truffle pig.

Humans create elaborate cultures because we are intensely social beings, dependent on the goodwill of others from the moment we’re born. We also have an enormous capacity to absorb and replicate the behavior of people around us. From childhood, often without even noticing it, we learn exactly how to win approval and belonging in our particular cultural context. We act bubbly, quiet, or brave to please our families.

We immediately begin to like whatever our friends say they like. We throw ourselves into schoolwork, babysitting, family feuds—whatever we believe will assure our place in the human world.

In this rush to conform, we often end up ignoring or overruling our genuine feelings—even intense ones, like longing or anguish—to please our cultures. At that point, we’re divided against ourselves. We aren’t in integrity (one thing) but in duplicity (two things). Or we may try to fit in with a number of different groups, living in multiplicity (many things).

We abandon our true nature and become pawns of our culture: smiling politely, sitting attentively, wearing the “perfect” uncomfortable clothes. This is why a soldier will march into gunfire without complaint. It’s why whole communities once thought it made sense to burn a few witches here and there. The extent to which people will defy nature to serve culture can be truly horrifying. But the whole thing works very well from the perspective of creating and sustaining human groups.

There’s just one catch: nature does not give up without a fight.

If you’ve ever found yourself snapping at someone you dearly love or sitting down to complete a work project only to spend five hours shopping for home tattoo kits online, it’s probably because you’re internally divided. You’re trying to act in ways that don’t feel right to you at the deepest level. Whenever we do this, our lives begin to go pear-shaped. Emotionally, we feel grumpy, sad, or numb. Physically, our immune systems and muscles weaken; we might get sick, and even if we don’t, our energy flattens. Mentally, we lose focus and clarity. That’s how it feels to be out of integrity.

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The Way of Integrity

The Way of Integrity PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1984881485, 978-1984881489
Posted onApril 13, 2021
Page Count351 pages
AuthorMartha Beck

The Way of Integrity PDF Free Download - Epicpdf

In The Way of Integrity, Beck presents a four-stage process that anyone can use to find integrity, and with it, a sense of purpose, emotional healing, and a life free of mental suffering. Much of what plagues us—people-pleasing, staying in stale relationships, negative habits—all point to what happens when we are out of touch with what truly makes us feel whole.


Author: Martha Beck

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