One of the wisest and most reassuring notions I’ve heard on spiritual growth is that sincerity is all you need to develop pure love, uncover realizations, and make progress towards enlightenment. A sincere desire to do so is enough. Knowledge of spiritual philosophy and lifestyle certainly helps you on the path because you’ll be able to make informed choices that keep you in a favorable spot for growth but none of that is required. It will all come automatically, grow from the seed of sincere meditation. And BLOSSOM BABY!! With emphasis on… bloss…OM!!! (see what I did there?? see that?? blossomyourself??)
So what’s sincerity, smarty pants?
It’s the opposite of duplicity. The official dictionary definition of sincerity is the quality or state of being sincere, honesty of mind, freedom from hypocrisy. Mencius, a Chinese philosopher who lived around 300 BC cuts to the chase:
Sincerity is the way to heaven. Mencius
Tara Brach recommends that instead of adding another “should” to your list, you, ummm… should… practice because you care about connecting with your innate capacity for love, clarity and inner peace. So sincerity is this desire to connect to and live from love that you have inside you. “Let this sincerity be the atmosphere that nurtures whatever form your [meditation] practice takes.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami lists inquisitiveness as a sign of sincerity. You introspect, are humble enough to admit what you don’t know, and then bring the questions to a spiritual mentor you trust.
How to increase your sincerity?
Doesn’t this question sound somehow intrinsically off? Yet although sincerity is such a deep soul-thing, I believe you can make a conscious effort to keep your motivations in check. And, just the fact that you want to be sincere is everything. It takes humility to arrive to this desire. That’s sincerity.
I like to have strong opinions with nothing to back them up with besides my primal sincerity. I like sincerity. I lack sincerity.Kurt Cobain
Here are three pointers on upping your sincerity game: (can we ignore how insincere that just sounded??)
1. Surround yourself with people you recognize as sincere. There’s a Finnish saying: Seura tekee kaltaisekseen – the company makes one alike. Business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
2. Investigate Things. Confucius says it like it is, “…Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.”
3. Amethyst, pearl, and sapphire have properties that bring sincerity, purity, spiritual guidance, loyalty, and intuitive knowledge. If you’re into gem stones or open to the idea, keep one or more of these near you or hold them while meditating.
What does success in meditation mean anyway?
You can ask ten meditation practitioners and you’ll get seventy different answers (what can I say, we get excited about it). Some emphasize the physical and psychological health benefits like reduced stress, boosting immune system (by slowing the production of stress hormone cortisol), overcoming anger/trauma/addiction. Another will jump up and down in joy about the clarity of thought, increased creativity, intuition, expanded consciousness… Another defines ultimate success in meditation as re-connecting with your soul and finding your purpose. Another as developing prema, or pure divine love. There are all kinds of end games like samadhi, nirvana, quitting samsara, seeing God, being God, lovingly serving God, merging into God, ascension to Neptune where everyone’s blue and lush and a mermaid with wings (it’s a thing, right? no? just my fantasy?).
Honestly, sincerely, to me the ultimate success in meditation is getting in touch with your soul and letting your soul guide you. Connecting the part I am to the Whole that is. Not just while you meditate, but making meditation your life. And, not just in a mindfulness, doing-everything-with-intention, eating-slowly-and-appreciating-every-bite type of way. But freaking seeing EVERYTHING as the Universe/God/Goddess directly interacting with YOU at every nanosecond to provide YOU with opportunities to align your desire with the Divine desire of having us grow towards self-realization and pure love until we’re all out of this rat race of material existence.
I’m on this path of meditation and spirituality as an individual, but it doesn’t feel right not to share it because it’s a love thing, a collective thing. And by being sincere about it is the only way I can inspire others just like I’m being inspired by them and their beautiful souls. Because we can call bullshit when we see it. And on the other hand, our personal meditation practice can create real change in people and the planet around us when we’re powered by Sincerity, motivated by nothing self-serving.
When pure sincerity forms within, it is outwardly realized in other people’s hearts.Lao Tzu