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Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Sincerity?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Sincerity

Creation of the Beautiful, Graceful, True and Mature Human Life

If we look at understanding from a perspective that will tend naturally and spontaneously to go towards balance and harmony, we find that understanding needs to be motivated by love of the truth for its own sake. The experience, or the beingness, is the experience of the truth. That’s what a person needs to learn over and over again. When you are in a state of being, what you are experiencing is the truth: the truth of who you are. Your experience is not a candy, or a goody, it’s not a reward for being good or for having done your work. No; you are experiencing the fundamental truth, and that needs to be seen, understood, imbibed and absorbed; then action will come from the place of this truth. No one has said this is an easy thing to do. As you see, It is quite an endeavor. The creation of the beautiful, graceful, true, and mature human life requires work at many levels. It requires dedication, sincerity, and a commitment to that endeavor. This kind of life is possible, but only for the person who really wants it. It will not happen if the person wants something else. It’s as simple as that. It is not that you are going to be punished if you don’t pursue this life. If you don’t work for it, you don’t get it.

Experiencing the Aspect of Sincerity

For instance, the aspect of Sincerity is first experienced as a kind of sweet presence, with an austere quality. When it is experienced on the first objective dimension it is still experienced as a sweet presence with an austere quality, but now it has an objective (unemotional) feeling to it, that gives it a clarity and sharpness. This first dimension is Understanding, so that Sincerity is now perceived as a kind of understanding. The second objective dimension is that of Pleasure, where all aspects are experienced as different forms of pleasure. Here Sincerity is still experienced as a sweet presence with an austere quality, but the experience is dominated by the sense of pleasure that it involves. This is still an objective dimension, because the qualities of clarity, precision and sharpness remain as part of the experience. There are at least seven objective dimensions of Essence, each of which brings about an added dimension to the experience and understanding of the aspects. The aspects are experienced in the seven dimensions, respectively, as or related to: 1. Objective understanding; 2. Pleasure, or delight; 3. Conscience, related to action; 4. Knowledge, by identity; 5. Love; 6. Will, or support of Being; 7. Nothing, the level of understanding concepts.

It is Not Easy to Look Clearly and Sincerely at Ourselves

The self-deception that we manage even in asking this question is amazing. Even your search for the answer can be used to give you a sense of meaning. A person can be engaged in his life seeking for meaning, with his search functioning as just another identity that is no more real or intrinsic than any other role. The world is full of seekers whose identity is wrapped up in seeking wisdom, truth, or enlightenment. This is basically the same as seeking riches, beauty, fame, love, or recognition. The purpose of all of these identifications is to fill emptiness. But if you could look at the situation with complete sincerity, if you could just see what’s really there without the props, you would give yourself a little chance of finding true intrinsic meaning. It is not easy to look clearly and sincerely at ourselves. Most of us don’t even know what is difficult about it. We just find our minds dodging in all directions to avoid it. I break up with my boyfriend, and suddenly I’m eating. If I’m not eating, I’m doing my paintings that I haven’t touched in ten years. Or I am just divorced or retired, so I’m going to travel for a year or so to see what’s there in life. Now this may be a great idea, but what is motivating you? Our minds are clever at avoiding the feeling that arises at the end of anything, because there is a terror of having no supporting mirrors to give us meaning. Just to exist as we are brings up a big fear of the emptiness. There is usually a fear that we don’t really have any Essence, and that we don’t have an identity. We may believe that the emptiness is all there is. This might be reinforced by early childhood experiences involving a panic about being different from others, about being different from our parents, for example, which creates a kind of self-consciousness.

Loving Truth for Its Own Sake Creates Some Kind of Sincerity

To know the truth, you have to be both a scientist and an artist. To really go about doing the work from the perspective of truth, you have to unify the two sides of the brain. You have to be rational and intuitive at the same time. Loving truth for its own sake creates some kind of sincerity, some kind of humility and honesty about who and what we are. Am I angry but pretending to love? Do I want something from you while pretending to give you something? You have to be ruthlessly honest here, out of loving the truth and loving who you are and who the other is. Your will engages with exact and utmost precision. You want to see exactly why you are doing this and what it’s about. So as you see, knowing the truth is a precise, scientific way of looking at what’s here now. You don’t just open yourself to grace and sit there waiting for something to happen. Although that’s part of what is necessary, our interest and participation have to be more wholehearted. You want to put something into it. You want to put into it care, commitment, effort—whatever it takes. You want to really grapple with it, whatever it is, whether it feels painful or good.

Sincerely Loving the Truth is Ultimately Useless if We Don’t Sincerely Live the Truth

We’re talking about very practical matters here. We’re talking about applying what we know and what we learn, making the effort, expending the energy to live with sincerity. We do the work, we practice the teaching, every minute of our lives, not only when we meditate or go to a session or a meeting. For example, if we know that we are more in touch with ourselves when we are relaxed, do we try to pay attention so that we’re as relaxed as possible all the time? Do we organize our time and our life so that we minimize confusion and unnecessary activity? So we see that there are practical sides to loving the truth for its own sake. To love the truth for its own sake, which has to do with the heart, we have to involve the belly. Our belly center—known by names such as kath in Arabic or hara in Japanese—supports the heart’s love of the truth. The heart cannot survive on its own, cannot survive without the support of our actions, which are centered in the belly. Sincerely loving the truth is ultimately useless if we don’t sincerely live the truth. When we gather together to do our work, we create a teaching situation that provides the conditions in which we can perceive the truth of reality. But, in order to actually learn the truth we perceive, we need to learn how to behave in the world, what kind of life to live, how much activity to have, what interests to pursue, what relationships to maintain.

Sincerity in Staying with Exactly with what One Actually Experiences

The simultaneous universality and uniqueness in human experience is something to remember and respect, especially in the process of inner realization. It is this manifestation of the universal and unique in the Personal Essence that requires that one approach the work of realization with openness and respect toward oneself and the process, integrity in how one approaches one’s experience, and sincerity in staying with exactly what one actually experiences. One need believe nothing about reality or oneself. One only needs enough integrity and sincerity in approaching the truth, which is always the truth of one’s personal experience, and the Truth will invariably reveal itself. It will reveal itself within the specific individual as a unique actualization of the human potential. And the beauty of it is that this uniqueness will reflect the true unity of both humanity and all of existence.

Sincerity Means Actually Living the Principles that are True

So what we’re exploring here is sincerity as it functions in our lives. Sincerity means actually being who we are, doing whatever we can to be genuine in our feelings and actions. Sincerity means actually living the principles that are true. We can know many wonderful principles, teachings, and philosophies, but if our lives are still an indulgence, what’s the point? We don’t want to be armchair philosophers or zafu buddhas, real only when we are sitting or doing spiritual exercises, but little kids when it comes to living. We don’t want to be sincere when we’re meditating or meeting in this group, but hypocrites the moment we step out into the world. Sincerity is an attitude or a capacity of the heart that orients us toward recognizing the truth and loving the truth for its own sake. But loving the truth for its own sake does not simply mean feeling love for the truth. Although that is part of it, feeling love for the truth will not actualize a real life. To love the truth for its own sake means also to live according to the truth. If we really love the truth, we gladly live according to the truth regardless of how difficult the situation might get. We actively choose truth as our priority, not in terms of what we experience but in terms of what we do. Our love of the truth determines how we interact with people, how we run our life, how we conduct ourselves, how we maintain our living environment.

Sorrow and Sincerity Turn Out to be Phenomenologically Very Similar

The sorrow is also about the conflict, and most fundamentally for the insincerity that I have been experiencing when I pretend I am the personality. It is also more universal: it is sorrow about the insincerity towards which ignorance so mercilessly drives most people. As I am fully present in the contemplation of this universal sorrow, I notice that something changes in the state. The conscious presence now attains a different quality, still golden brown, but more golden and more transparent. It feels more like an austere love, sweet but not soft. As I become aware of the subtle taste of this transparent bronze manifestation of Being, which flows like a nonsticky honey, I become filled by a sober sense of sincerity. The sorrow and the sincerity turn out to be phenomenologically very similar. The sincerity has a lightness, sweetness and luminosity that distinguishes it from the sorrow. The sincerity intensifies the sorrow, and the sorrow becomes a denser fluid and more dark brown in color as the feeling deepens. As the feeling intensifies it almost becomes black. The state of sorrow seems sometimes to intensify so much that it devastates the mind, disintegrating it. It becomes difficult to focus attention on the feeling in the presence.

The Motivation We Need is the Sincerity of Wanting the Truth for Its Own Sake

Our inner guidance will naturally begin to function when we learn the precise attitude needed for discovering the truth. This is the most important part of the teaching on how to open oneself up to the optimizing force of Being. Because without the correct motivation, inquiry just won’t work. Even if you become relaxed about not-knowing and are willing to ask questions, this in itself is not sufficient to open up your inquiry. The motivation we need is the sincerity of wanting the truth for its own sake, loving the truth for its own sake. This happens when truth becomes what we want, what we value, what we appreciate, what makes our heart happy. This is not a matter of ethical sincerity—of telling the truth—which is how sincerity is usually understood. The attitude here is more of a state of the heart, a devotional attitude.

To Be Sincere is to Be Earnest About Exposing Your Self-Deceptions

Another of the four virtues is sincerity: being sincere in your life, not lying to yourself. To be sincere is to be earnest about exposing your self-deceptions about who you really are, what you want and do not want, what you feel and do not feel, what scares you and what doesn’t, about what is actually happening in you and in your situation. You need the utmost genuineness and dedication to the truth, and you need to live a life based on this sincerity and earnestness. Then you are living a life of truth, and loving truth. When I say you need to be earnest about being truthful, I do not mean simply that you need to tell the truth; I mean you need to see the truth, and live according to it, not to lie to yourself or to deceive yourself about what is actually happening. This development requires sincerity in all of your life. If you want something, let yourself know that, “Yes, I want something.” If you are mad about something, let yourself know, “Yes, I’m mad about something.” Let yourself recognize the truth, because oneness is a manifestation of ultimate truth. When you are completely sincere, you realize that oneness is the real state of the world. It is what exists; you are a universal person. That is a deep truth. When you are really sincere with yourself, and not trying to be anything else, then you realize your truth. When you are insincere, you are not letting yourself be who you really are. It is very important to work on developing sincerity.

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