The woman spoke forcefully of honor, virtue, and faith. She pointed to her vows and conflicts with primal desires. She expressed herself with practiced eloquence very convincingly. The speaker had a charismatic, personal presence that appealed to a certain form of rigidity within the minds of individual audience members. She understood the skill of proper eye contact with each section of the assembled masses. Her posture displayed assertiveness and power.
Her message centered around the absolute necessity to defeat evil–a conflict that is eternal. She congratulated herself about how alert, dominant, and watchful she behaved. Her behavior was said to be constrained by absolute willpower. The speech was skillfully choreographed with effective hand gestures, and facial expressions. The woman paused her rhetorical talking from time to time with brief silences and knowing smiles. The smiles were defined by will and restraint yet betrayed her inner sense of impatience and violence. She emitted her aura of the fear of sensuality. This fear provided the fuel for her persuasiveness and the appearance of sincerity.
Sincerity is rarely simple because it is one of the products of self-knowledge. Sincerity evolves through the ongoing process of awareness, by observing one’s responses to the minutia of life. Will is a learned response that shuts down this sensitivity. Meantime, it is the passive quality of alert silence that nurtures the search for inner truth. Much of life consists of the conflict between assertiveness and passivity. One force gains temporary dominance, which causes resistance from the other. This conflict distorts the concept of sincerity.
It is very common for people to struggle to identify with a cause, an ideology, or a social institution. As identification with such a cause or concept increases, the more that the inner struggle is concealed. The desire to become unified with a chosen concept hinders sincerity of mind. For instance, a person can display her/himself in humble clothing, or become a famous orator. Sincerity is not to be found in and of such displays, alone.
The spontaneous discovery of detachment, honesty, and sincerity, as applied to analysis and thinking often comes as an epiphany. However, the knowledge and application usually happen by chance or by trial and error. Mindful sincerity allows us to understand how we misuse and abuse the thinking process.
When we understand that inner space expands beyond time, space, and concepts, we become more free, honest and open to deeper experiencing of life. We can more clearly see how our minds have been conditioned to restrain freedom. Eventually, we may begin to free ourselves from “isms”. We understand how “isms” are deadly to the spirit because they cause us to absorb illusions and misconceptions like a sponge.
We may come to feel and see life as it truly is. We become more free to allow ourselves to be consistent without pretense. We find it easier to act and speak from the heart, totally pure and true to ourselves. This is the authentic manifestation of sincerity.
It is important to remember to be cautious about hastily abandoning our philosophies and paradigms. They get us through our mundane tasks and survival in the social world we live in. Beliefs and “isms” are paving stones on the path to inner evolution. Eventually, there may come a certain time when a person seriously and frankly investigates her or his favorite ideology on the path to freedom.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders this saying from Confucius. “To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.”