Every so often you come across some words that really pull you up short and make you think. The following, often attributed to the Lakota people made me do just that:
Let everything you do be your religion and everything you say be your prayer.
I don’t know if the saying actually originated with the Lakota (please let me know if you do) but I can think of no greater challenge for anyone trying to lead a good life and no stronger admonishment for those whose actions belie their beliefs. How often has subjugation and cruelty been perpetrated by those professing religion?
The saying gets its strength from both its terrifying simplicity and the uncompromisingly high standard it sets. How hard it is to ensure that our actions always reflect our beliefs, or even for that matter to keep our values in mind as we live our daily lives. This wonderful saying is a call to integrity, and therein lies its greatest appeal.
I am still far away from living with the consistency and wholeness that the statement above implies. Like many others I have my good days and bad and over time have built up habits and even addictions that I need to overcome if I am to live with greater authenticity and integrity. Wish me well.