Sincerity is the fourth virtue of The Eighteen Ities as laid out by Sri Swami Sivananda. And as it happens, one of the thirteen virtues in which Benjamin Franklin committed to when he set his sights on becoming a more moral and virtuous man.
Sincerity in thought, word, and deed is the epitome of “walking the walk and talking the talk”. It is the absence of hypocrisy and deceit in ones actions and words, but also in ones thoughts and intentions. Our purpose in yoga is to bring our bodies, minds, and spirits into alignment with one another. When we embrace sincerity as a practice, we embrace our truth. We are working towards our external lives being a reflection of our internal truths.
Interestingly, the concepts of ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truth) play a pivotal role in our efforts to live with sincerity. For example, I cannot be sincere and compassionate with others if I do not cultivate non-violence towards myself. I cannot hope to reflect my inner world through my actions if my inner world is in chaos. I cannot begin to tell the truth to others if I myself do not look at my life truthfully.
- Do you hold a PhD in sarcasm? You may be hiding behind it because you are not brave enough to say what you truly believe.
- Perhaps you have your Masters Degree in passive aggressiveness? See #1.
- Do you gossip? To what end?
- Can you keep confidences? Are you trustworthy?
- Do you lie? No? But how often do you leave part of the truth out? What purpose does that serve? Is it self-serving?
When we get caught up in ego and vanity, it can smother our true nature. We can work towards humility when we run our thoughts, word, and deeds through the filter of sincerity. Take a moment to pause and ask yourself:
- Is it the truth?
- Is this kind?
- Is this necessary? (Particularly if the “truth” can cause pain.)
- What is my intention?