A new article by Ohad Pele, January 2020

In one of my last ISTA level 1 events I needed to stop the process in the middle because the group had lost its integrity. In the opening session of level 1 we take a lot of time to create an agreements field that will serve the group the best. One of those agreements is the agreement to not use alcohol or mind altering drugs during the whole week (unless prescribed medically). When we realised 3 days into the process that this agreement was not held seriously and some people had a joint here and there, I felt, as the lead facilitator, that the whole ship has to stop. I have no problem with substances when they are taken with respect, but when we make an agreement not to use them and some people do, the problem lies in the field of integrity. We stopped everything. “ISTA is NOT about sex” I found myself saying to the group “but ISTA IS very much about INTEGRITY. When we do not have integrity, sex sucks, relationships suck and community sucks. There can be no real shamanic work without integrity”.

Lack of integrity is rooted in fear and scarcity.  As we realise while working on the “Wheel of Consent”,those who are taking without consent do so because underneath they are just afraid. They are afraid that if they ask for what they want, they will not be given. They live in scarcity consciousness. After they break the consent and take what was not supposed to be taken, they find it hard to confess, because they fear carrying the consequences, paying the social price of their deeds. 

Fear and scarcity lead to lies and lack of integrity. Love, on the other hand, has integrity, because love is not controlled by fear. Love is brave and totally connected with truth. 

In the Kabbalah tree of life we see Fear is the fallen aspect of Awe.

Love, which is the power of the right line, is supported by Awe, which is the power of the left line and both of them together feed into Integrity which is the middle line. (To understand it all much deeper, watch the first module of my online course The Kabbalah of Love). 

Awe is humble, but fear is ego-centred. Fear cannot support love in its true meaning, but people do not realise this and lie a lot in relationships in order to “keep the love”, not realising that this is not love and it all will blow up when the lie will be revealed, sooner or later. 

While fear is ready to find all kinds of excuses why we cannot be honest or authentic, love, which is the total opposite of fear, is humble enough to stay with integrity and stand for the truth of the heart. 

Love is ultimately brave. People who chose love as a path of life are brave, have to be brave, because Love demands integrity.

When we lose integrity we add stress into our lives. One “little lie” needs often to be covered by other “little” lies to support the first lie. They all pile up and become a mountain of lies that we carry on our shoulders with fear of being revealed. A person who is not holding integrity as a key is very stressful and their nervous system cannot relax. On the other hand, when we are walking life as love we are simple, honest and relaxed. The result of integrity is deep ease and relaxation of the nervous system.

This is why the Hasidic masters who admired simplicity used to say: “It’s not that simple to be simple!” — it takes courage and deep decision of the heart to not create the complexity of lies upon lies.

As a result, simplicity is the gift of the brave ones, those who walk the world AS LOVE and do not surrender to fear.

For me Sacred Sexuality, Sacred anything, cannot be achieved without first keeping ourselves, our relationships and our community with deep integrity. This is why for me ISTA is about integrity more than about anything else. 

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