The key to successfully realizing and embodying the Truth of one’s Being is Sincerity. Only with sincerity are we able to cut through the seemingly endless layers of self and mind until we have at last come to know ourselves as that which cannot be experienced, but is the ground of all things. This has been a critical insight and has provided me with exponentially more powerful practice and living. This essay is an attempt to convey the ‘sincerity insight,’ and empower you to realize and cultivate for yourself.
So, what is sincerity? Here are a few dictionary definitions to get us started…
1. Not feigned or affected; genuine:
2. Being without hypocrisy or pretense; true:
3. Archaic Pure; unadulterated.
4. free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest:
These definitions point us in the right direction. Use them to inspire the creation of this ‘sincere’ disposition and state of being in your own case. Our intent here is to get you thinking and relating to the pursuit of Absolute Truth and enlightenment in a more powerful and effective way.
To be sincere on the path is to be actually and wholly dedicated to the Truth for its own sake.
This statement contains three key distinctions that will allow us to embody and use sincerity to free ourselves from the cynical, halfhearted, nihilistic, and apathetic tendencies of the typical post-modern self-structure.
Actually– To be ‘actually’ sincere means to want Truth in your heart and mind. It is to contemplate Truth, and then consciously attempt to attain, realize, and be it. This is as opposed to a feigned or half-hearted commitment. Ask yourself whether you really want the Truth. Look for the subtle resistances you have to ‘actually’ committing to the Truth. When you find them, let them go. These resistance tendencies disband your attention and lead you down tangential avenues of involvement with the self/world illusion. When you are contemplating existence, actually do it. Throw yourself into it with abandon.
On the path, you may find yourself cut off from such a genuine desire for that which is real. When this desire is extinguished you will settle for familiar conceptual layers and so familiar forms of suffering. By constantly returning to clarity with regards to your desire for Truth (or anything else for that matter), you are reconnected to the pursuit of the real. When this desire for Truth lacks consciousness and energy it turns into a mechanical, passive mental process that yields little insight or growth. Instead, renew your intent to experience the Truth of your existence with each breath.
Be sure that you ‘mean it’ when you ask “what am I?”. Invoke genuine curiosity and a willingness to not know. Be willing to do the work.
Wholly– To be ‘wholly’ sincere is to align each aspect of your self-structure to the pursuit of the Truth. When we are wholly sincere, our every thought and feeling is an attempt to self-liberate. The rest of your desires are secondary, or subsets of your ultimate goal of Truth realization. When it becomes clear that nothing else matters, and that nothing else will allow you to rest, you become wholly sincere. When this is your state and way of being, insight becomes commonplace, and your path towards unconditional happiness is well on its way.
Dedicate your whole self and being to the question “What am I?” Let all other concerns fall away when you are contemplating, they will be there for you when you’re done (or not!).
For its own sake– To be dedicated to the Truth ‘for its own sake’ means that you are not trying to get anything out of it other than the Truth. You are not seeking Truth in order to fix your problems. You are not seeking Truth so that you can be a better person. You are seeking Truth. Period. Seeking Truth for the sake of some other goal is not actually seeking Truth. In such a case you are seeking an improved condition, and have identified ‘Truth’ as a means of attaining it. You are not seeking Truth, but a solution. When you collapse your focus range to only that which may solve your problems, you are cutting yourself off from the infinity and reality of living Truth. The Truth which you are reveals its nature most readily when it is sought directly. By releasing all lower drives you are allowing the True pursuit to flourish and become more dynamic. Your intelligence will be directed more effectively toward your goal and all will become clear in short order. The more time you spend on tangential pursuits, the more time you waste in confusion and dissatisfaction.
Let go of all tangential pursuits when contemplating. Seek only the Truth of ‘what is’ and give up the need to resolve the endless stream of self’s melodramatic theatrical display. Truth is more than enough to quell every other desire.
This sincerity is obviously conducive to your development and increasing consciousness, but it is not naturally present in many of us. This being the case, it is our job to develop it intentionally. This is done in several key ways….
Becoming conscious of your suffering– The more aware you are of the depth and scope of your own fear, sadness, and confusion, the more likely you are to sincerely attempt to see through it. When one lives in an abstracted state, they are able to deny the pervasive suffering. By contacting your authentic suffering, you are at last forced to acknowledge the work that would have to be done in order to resolve it. From here you are motivated and willing to do what it takes to get free. This suffering is also what pushes you to be insincere in the first place….
Letting go of insincerity– The postmodern self is insincere, cynical, and sarcastic. This insincerity is a defense mechanism used to abstract oneself from a condition that is too painful to be taken seriously. We are hyper-aware of ourselves in a sick world and have lost touch with the only profound truths that redeem it. We are in a chaotic and neurotic condition with no lifeboat. This is why we are insincere. The burden of confronting our situation with an open heart proves to be too much, and we choose instead to make light of it using insincerity. Let go of this defense mechanism and make nice with the mass of heartbreak between you and an experience of causeless joy. You deserve to be taken seriously. You deserve to be free. You deserve to give yourself the gift of practice….
Practice– Simply engaging in any practice on a regular basis will naturally cultivate your sincerity. Through time, as you attempt and fail to become directly conscious of your true nature, you will develop a real desire to attain that which you seek. This occurs simply as a result of the application of intelligence to the endeavor. The more intelligence is applied, the more likely you are to create the state which allows the insights to dawn. One feature of this state is sincerity. Another is a high degree of self-reflective awareness and questioning….
Questioning– Here I invite you to question your questioning. Simply examine your contemplative process with sincerity in mind. Are you sincere? Do you really want to know what This is? Or are you mechanically meditating because it might save you from some bad feelings? As you question you will begin to notice many layers of your self and mind that do not care about Truth. You will realize that your actual goals are not at all related to the Truth, but simply more survival and pleasure-seeking. Questioning your sincerity will direct your attention to the heart. The heart is where sincerity first arises, and it is where insincerity is born….
Opening the Heart– By working directly with the chest area we are able to get in touch with the source of our emotional dispositions. It is here that sincerity is cultivated and a love of Truth it found. When we direct our attention to the heart we will find a reservoir of untapped love and enthusiasm. These are what make the pursuit of consciousness real within you. Before it becomes real in you, however, it can be useful to learn from those in whom it has already manifested. This is the role of research….
Research– By reading and listening to past teachers, sages, and realizers you are given a glimpse your own potential for sincerity. The individuals who sought and realized the Absolute Truth in the past and examples of the degree of sincerity necessary (or at least conducive) for enlightenment. Use these models to inspire deeper sincerity and dedication so that you can become actually and wholly sincere about realizing Truth for its own sake.
In the end, nothing is required to realize the Truth. Whatever we are seeking is what you already are. It is what everything already is. Sincerity is simply another bullshit method to attain something that cannot be attained.
This being said, it is apparent that those who become most deeply conscious are those who actually and wholly wanted to know the Truth. It is also my experience that a sincere dedication changes the nature of practice and life dramatically. When you become sincere you are willing to be intimate with Being. You are willing to step outside the confines of self-identification for the sake of Truth.