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5. Integrity

Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Principle: Integrity

Definition: Integrity is the quality of having a sense of honesty and truthfulness regarding one's motivations and actions.


This Step relates to Right Speech which is based on saying only what is true and what is useful. Words are inherently powerful; they have the potential to create and to heal; as well as to harm and destroy.
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Confession is a critical step in our healing process. It represents the releasing or turning over of that which we no longer want to be; or to carry in our hearts and souls. It is the open, verbal expression of the insights gained from our self-examination to the God of our understanding and one other person. The most difficult aspect of this step is the requirement to share with another human being. Our pride often tells us this is unnecessary, but in fact it is critical. It humbles us and from this experience we grow stronger in our own integrity. Once we have released our fears, harms and resentments we experience a sense of lightness and acceptance. The forgiveness we experience is the gift of grace
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Step Five is a "confessional" step designed for us to empty ourselves - to empty our psychic trash. In Zen, this process is called sunyata. In spiritual concepts, it is creating a void through emptying. We know from physics that a void is never static, always available to be filled. Once we remove the psychic toxins we have been holding, we are ready for the Originating Mystery to recreate us.
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Dharma is fulfilling one's life's purpose. It means doing what you are called to do;doing it ethically, purposefully and to the best of your ability. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna urged Arjuna to pick up his bow and go to war. He was born into a family of kings and warriors and his brother's kingdom was taken over by a tyrant. This was his dharma.
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Ablution or cleansing is a ritual (rak'at) preceding prayer which Muslims perform in order to purify and ready themselves for prayer. These preparations known as wudu' are obligatory if water is available. The first step is an acknowledgement of one's obedience to the practice and to Allah. In addition to the washing ritual, one's clothes must be clean, and one must be modestly attired. Allah only hears prayers if one is physically clean.
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The Baal Shem Tov, has taught us that, through the power of prayer, even the least among us can communicate with God. Every outpouring of the heart, when spoken in earnest and with devotion is a true prayer. According to the rabbis, one of the effects of transgressions is a hardening of the heart. The heart becomes like a rock, solid and impermeable, feeling nothing. When you begin to admit your wrongs to God, openings develop, like small cracks in a rock. Once our heart begins to open, these cracks begin to widen. Finally, our hearts break open, and the head begins to know what before only the heart felt.
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Native American Spirituality

This step is about disclosing our secrets. When we reveal our secrets to another human being and to the Creator, the heaviness is lifted and we begin to see with our hearts, just as the eagle sees love in everything. This step deepens our relationship with the Great Spirit.
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The Tao asks us to live beyond our judgment of others. We are given a formula for learning to live harmoniously with each other. It requires us to replace criticism, judgment and prejudice with acceptance, kindness, and appreciation. This conversion does not happen instantly; it requires practice and discipline. We can begin by replacing our critical and judgmental thoughts with just noticing others without evaluating or assessing them. The next step is to identify something in the other that is similar to yourself. Look for the common ground - focus on the similarities not the differences. The way of the Tao is to see ourselves in others and to experience the oneness of all creation.
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