At a recent Permaculture gathering, we were investigating how our values could drive the development of a sustainable bio-region. My own core values are love, integrity and honesty.
From the discussions I took part in it became evident that these very personally held values emerge for people when, to coin a colloquialism,’ their buttons are pushed. So for example, if someone close to me is hurting, I reach out for them with love; if someone tries to cheat me, I get angry at both their dishonesty and their lack of integrity in being dishonest with me; if a situation I find myself in seems unfair or unjust, I may get angry with the person who is driving the situation for their lack of integrity.
In all of these situations, it is my anger that reveals my deepest held values to the world. It was my own increasing spiritual awareness that revealed them to me. As a result, as I at first struggled to become a ‘better’ person, I was forced to examine my own actions and reactions to situation and in doing so began to make conscious decisions about my behaviour and the person I wanted to be. That person was very different, I had a lot of difficult realisations about myself and my life to date to deal with.
I don’t always get it right, but at the very least I am trying and at best, I am generally aware when I have failed, so can reflect and do differently in the future. Am I a better person as a result? I would not say better, I would say changed. Change that has cost me lost friends and support mechanisms but that has brought me a love of myself that allows me to have compassion and generosity of spirit towards others.