Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Along the Thread of our Inner Sincerity

--by Adyashanti (Sep 27, 2010)

Sincerity is a word that I often use in teaching to convey the importance of being rooted in the qualities of honesty, authenticity, and genuineness. There can be nothing phony or contrived in our motivations if we are to fully awaken to our natural and integral state of unified awareness. While teachings and teachers can point us inward to “the peace beyond all understanding,” it is always along the thread of our inner sincerity, or lack thereof, that we will travel. For the ego is clever and artful in the ways of deception, and only the honesty and genuineness of our ineffable being are beyond its influence. At each step and with each breath we are given the option of acting and responding, both inwardly and outwardly, from the conditioning of egoic consciousness which values control and separation above all else, or from the intuitive awareness of unity which resides in the inner silence of our being.

Without sincerity it is so very easy for even the greatest spiritual teachings to become little more than playthings of the mind. In our fast-moving world of quick fixes, big promises, and short attention spans, it is easy to remain on a very surface level of consciousness without even knowing it. While the awakened state is ever present and closer than your feet, hands, or eyes, it cannot be approached in a casual or insincere fashion. There is a reason that seekers the world over are instructed to remove their shoes and quiet their voices before entering into sacred spaces. The message being conveyed is that one’s ego must be “taken off and quieted” before access to the divine is granted. All of our ego’s attempts to control, demand, and plead with reality have no influence on it other than to make life more conflicted and difficult. But an open mind and sincere heart have the power to grant us access to realizing what has always been present all along.
[...] When you are earnest, you are both sincere and one-pointed; to be one-pointed means to keep your attention on one thing. I have found that the most challenging thing for most spiritual seekers to do is to stay focused on one thing for very long. The mind jumps around with its concerns and questions from moment to moment. Rarely does it stay with one question long enough to penetrate it deeply. 
--By Adyashanti, from his essay, "The Indispensable Qualities of Awakening"

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On Sep 27, 2010 shailesh wrote:

it's a beautiful piece of hard hitting fact.Mind is decisive but it's through our mind only, that we canfind hapiness ourself inner peace and growth. Whatever god has gifted us with has a purpose and mind offcourse is not an impedement but a compliment from divine an eternal friend to encourage and support us. But we will have to let it free.. let it wander than it will be ready to be tuned.  

On Sep 30, 2010 Somik Raha wrote:

Pavi opened the circle by sharing a story of a sit in India, where someone shared how he spent only 15 minutes of the hour actually meditating, while the rest of the time was spent imaginging the crescent moon. This brought up the question of sincerity - to external appearances, we are meditating, but are we honoring that external act with an internal commitment? Varsha built on this and pointed out that the sharing of the meditator of his failing was also an act of sincerity at one level. Pavi also shared how, with rising awareness, one could see if one's action had the purity of intention, or if multiple intentions were mixed into it. This was a remarkable comment and helped me see in a different way. Building on this, it seems to me that I must try to see what I'm mixing up with great clarity. Only after that can I start to exercise freedom to choose what paints I want to mix, should I choose to do so. The emphasis is on freedom - the paints should not mix up because I can't help it, they should only mix up because I want to paint that way.

Chris and Kanchan raised the question - what is the difference between authenticity and sincerity. To me, authenticity is about truth-telling and ensuring that my actions are consistent with that truth. However, I could arrive at a low level of truth and be authentic about it. I could be an authentic idiot, only causing harm. Sincerity is what keeps my authenticity from becoming dangerous. Sincerity is what pushes me to find a deeper truth and not be satisfied with what is apparent. In the practical setting, if I don't like someone, I can say so for that is my truth. But my sincerity should push me to check why I don't like someone - and then I find it is not the person but the space that person is creating that I am uncomfortable with. That is a deeper truth that I could then express. Or perhaps, I am the one creating the space I don't want to be in. That is an even deeper truth.

Ram uncle shared that he wondered why taking off one's shoes was correlated with the ego. To which Varsha responded that one has to bow to remove one's shoes :).

We had the tree warriors last night, who tried their best to save the trees in Berkeley. They were silent heroes, choosing to listen, and we would not have known until Nipun shared their story with us. In a chat with one of them, I found it surprising that Berkeley could not engage in creative thinking to save their trees. I find Stanford takes extra care - all old trees are marked up and either relocated or protected when construction commences. The other day, as I walked by a newly built massive engineering center at Stanford (the Huang Building), I was utterly shocked by one aspect of the construction - an old tree had been beautifully preserved in mulch, encircled by concrete steps. Imagine a mini-colisseum, where the central organizing principle and focus was a tree :). Imagine the mighty construction bowing to the simplicity of a tree and recognizing it in a grand way. 

Maybe we ought to photograph how Stanford takes care of its trees and show it to Berkeley. ;)

Ganoba as usual made a very deep comment - that sincerity is a stage reached in spirituality where we are aware of our lack of awareness, and therefore make a commitment to openness. Nipun celebrated the silent warriors who held the space. 

All in all a great circle, and we ended with a birthday song for participant from Australia!

On Oct 2, 2010 Chris wrote:

What is sincerity? seemed to be a central question to the discussion.  I loved Somik's take on it, which I heard as basically: authenticity is manifesting your truth in each moment, and sincerity is what keeps that from harming others.

Pavi shared in her always-beautiful opening the latin etymology of the word 'sincere': without (sine) wax (cera), which apparently comes from sculptures, which if done right, did not need wax to cover up any mistakes. I love this idea that presenting ourselves sincerely is a practice of total openness and acceptance and needs no cover-up. 

Pavi also shared after the circle that in fact there has been a past ijourney passage on the very topic of sincerity and authenticity! (and a deep inquisition into the matter from literary critic Lionel Trilling, but I'll let her share about that :)) An excerpt

"Another way to approach this is to look at the huge difference between sincerity and authenticity. Sincerity, while it's lovely, is necessary but insufficient, because you can be sincere with just one zone of your heart awakened. When many zones of the heart are awakened and harmonized we can speak of authenticity, which is a broader and more complex notion."

For a simple amalgamation of authenticity and sincerity, my brother used to say to me when we were little: say what you mean, and mean what you say. Adding Somik's reflection above it might become: say what you mean, and mean what you say, but don't say it

What came to my mind during the circle was some wise words I once heard (from whom I can't remember): "You can't pretend to be more mature than you actually are." I heard this as encouragement to be just what we're talking about here: sincere and authentic -- and furthermore the subtle message that sometimes this doesn't mean shouting our truth from the rooftops, but rather, like those silent warriors that Nipun acknowledged, engaging in deep listening.

On Oct 2, 2010 gayathri wrote:

two thoughts that came in relation to sincerity - one is a sanskrit verse and the other is a story of a bhakti movement saint, Kanakadas.  the famous sanskrit verse - "kaayena vaacha manasa indriyairva buddhyaatmana prakruthi svabhaavaath karomi yad yad sakalam parasmai naarayanyethi samarpayaami".....translated - with the body, speech, mind, senses, intellect, by nature or habit, all actions that i perform, i offer it to lord Narayana.  this might not be the exact exact translation but quite close to it....however this signifies to me the most challenging standard for "sincerity/authenticity". 

the story - kanakadas was once given a banana and asked to eat the banana where no one could see him eating the banana.  he came back without eating the banana where as everyone else that was given a banana to eat without anybody seeing them had finished theirs.  kanakadas said that he could find no place to eat where he could he could not be seen by the omnipresent GOD.  this "Practising the Presence of God" is another aspect of sincerity that i found to be interesting and profound...

Thank you for making this space available virtually tooo....


On Oct 2, 2010 adarsh singh wrote:

that is a nice statement given by you


On Oct 4, 2010 Pancho wrote:

 My family calls me Pancho and I'd like you to know that I love you all.

Last "Wednesdays" started on San Francisco. As usual, some of us worked at the Free Farm and brother Nathaniel (one of the fierce love warriors of the Berkeley Treesit) shared with Amy: 
"Aren't you excited to know that we are going to Wednesdays in a few hours?" 
Anyone who has attended to a Wednesday can predict the answer but what happened next say it all: brother Jason came to visit the Bay Area from the part of the Planet we call Australia. A friend told him about the Free Farm so he just showed up. He adores music to the degree that he makes his own guitars and other instruments. He wants to use music as a way to connect deeper with people. After a conversation he had with Amy, he decided to join us for Wednesdays instead of going to a bar in San Francisco. After all, he wanted to have fun on his birthday why not to do it with a bunch of kind "strangers".
The sincerity of Nathaniel and authenticity of Amy were transformed in ripples of harmony and inspiration. Not only brother Jason was deeply moved and had tens of hugs (thanks Nipun!) as he was "faraway from home", but he also was able to listen and feel the authentic music of Wednesdays' kindness. Brother Jason stayed with the posse for another 4 days as he had a gift-economy tour.
How is it possible to have such an authentic embodiment of kindness at mamá Harshida and papá Dinesh home? How is it possible that not only the third but also the fourth and fifth and sixth person spread so sincerely the love of this kind and rebel community? From my point of view, the practice of being in receptive silence is the answer. In the words of the Buddha:
"If you knew how to practice full awareness of breathing and how to meditate, you could experience the happiness of one who walks the path. It is the happiness that meditation brings. Through meditation we can use full awareness of breathing to create joy and happiness that nourishes our mind and body and helps us to make progress on the path of enlightenment. The joy and happiness of meditation permeates mind and body, heals all anxiety, sorrow and despair, and enables the practitioner to experience the wonders of life. With meditation you cut through the ropes of bondage which bind most people --the ropes of greed, hatred, desire, laziness, doubt, false view of self, extreme views, wrong views, and distorted views. Liberation is great happiness and one of the greatest fruits of spiritual practice. This fruit can be attained right here in this life. The fruits of the practitioner's spiritual practice are not for any individual's sole enjoyment and benefit. They are humanity's and the world's inheritance."
To be (authentically) in receptive silence is the DNA of the Kindness (R)evolution.
May all become compassionate, courageous and wise.


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