Sincerity is generally understood to be truth in word and act. One who means what he says is a sincere person. One who does not mean what he says is not a sincere man, and is perhaps even a hypocrite. Because of its purity the term ‘sincerity’ has endeared itself to us. We love sincere people. We also love to be known as sincere people.
As man is constituted, each part of his being – mind, emotions, etc. – is independent and is not necessarily influenced by the growth of any other part. If we could integrate the different parts of our personality, every part would then be raised to the level of the central growth. A person is integrated if his emotions are rational, social and gentlemanly to the same extent as his mind. His sincerity is partial if it is limited to the mind and external manners.
By ‘sincere’ we understand that the man acts according to his conscience. If he acts according to the dictates of his conscience, we accept his sincerity. In that case, he is sincere to himself. In society this is acceptable as sincerity, but this may be wrong. Suppose an administrator feels that according to his sincere conscience the clerk has to be treated as a second-class citizen, he may be sincere but the world outside may not accept it. He may be sincere but his own conscience may be undeveloped. It is not enough to act according to the conscience; the conscience must also be cultured and noble. Being cultured is a social concept. Being noble is a moral concept. Both are good in themselves, as sufficient guides to men in society. But there is a deeper reference, and that is the inner being, the soul. Sincerity means to act according to the dictates of the inner divine, to obey the Divine Will. Any other reference like morality, society, conscience etc. is not sufficiently high.
There are also different levels of sincerity according to the different parts of the being. There is mental sincerity, vital sincerity and the sincerity of the body. Mental sincerity means to understand and accept in the mind the highest ideals of the inner Divine. The mind has a personality of its own, its own beliefs, preferences, traditions, habits, etc. A person may want to dedicate himself to a very high ideal but the mind may not be able to accept. The nerves, otherwise known as ‘vital’, also have their own personality. The body has an equally powerful one, perhaps more powerful. Each of them have developed on their own and retain their individuality.
Of all the levels of sincerity, mental sincerity is the easiest. Let us examine it here. If we leave aside blatantly insincere people such as liars, clever crooks, etc. and consider only those who consider themselves to be sincere, and really examine their beliefs, several facets of sincerity will emerge. One can sincerely believe in a false idea. Many sincere people have a strong belief even though the belief is not true. This belief stands in the way of their progress.
Some of these may be:
1) my country’s culture is the best in the world;
2) because a person is my friend, he must be trusted by everyone, etc.
Sincerity should also be rational and intelligent and not foolish. It is not enough to be sincere, you must also be right.
A certain wrong belief about ourselves can have tragic consequences for our growth. An insincere employee is perhaps able, by his cleverness, to convince his boss that he is easily the best in the world and indispensable to the institution. Sometimes he comes to believe himself in his ‘ability’. If he is a sensitive man, capable of further progress in life, this belief acts like a black cover over his soul and prevents him from any progress. Sometimes people wrongly believe, in all sincerity, that their spouse is the cause of all their problems. But the problems they encounter in life, the blocks to their success, are really centered in themselves. These people lose a golden opportunity for progress. Their false view of themselves allows them to even commit outrages on the society. It does not matter they fool others, but it is a pity they fool themselves. We can call them sincerely insincere people. Most of us have such a streak in one thing or another. Unless and until we come forward to shed this aspect of sincere insincerity, the inner light will not shine forth.
It is open to everyone to make his sincerity greater and greater every day. One can start by being guided by his conscience and becoming conscientious. One bases his sincerity of right information and socially acceptable intelligence, not sincere foolishness. Horizontally one can extend the domain of his sincerity to other similar areas of life and existence. Vertically he can raise the quality of sincerity by extending it to events of greater significance. Sincerity made perfect at the level of conscience, extended horizontally to cover all our life activities and vertically to act in important events of our life will be a sincerity of power and value.
If what is of value to you inwardly is also recognized by the society as valuable in their eyes, your sincerity reaches a second peak in the mountain chain of human progress.
Morality is a great thing for society. If one raises his own sincerity to fulfill the moral requirements of honesty, veracity, purity, etc., etc. it will result in another crown for the inner jewel of sincerity.
Morality is great, conscience is great, and society is great. All are good in themselves. In a spiritual endeavour, they are stepping stones, not the final crown. For the final crown, the inner Divine is the sole reference. One must be sincere to the inner Divine and try to express it in speech, emotions and acts.
There is a test for sincerity and its level of attainments. One who has achieved mental sincerity will not complain about anything. One whose vital sincerity is complete will not know any sadness of any kind. The man who has achieved sincerity at the physical level will not meet with failures of any kind in his work.
Thus One who achieves sincerity at the level of the Spirit will be able to evoke it successfully in others at all three levels, according to the intensity of his own attainment and the purity of the other receiving human being.