I meet many people from all walks of life; some who have achieved great success in business, International speakers, famous people, small farmers and labourers, all kinds of people. I am happy to engage with them all, but the person I value and appreciate the most is a sincere person. As Confucius said: “Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue.” A sincere person feels no need to hide behind any mask, to impress with flattery or a list of achievements. They are people who work by heart, they are honest in their communications and actions. A lot of my students are seeking to grow spiritually, and when they ask how they can grow, I advise them to be sincere in everything they do. Any meditation practice or prayer must be for yourself, not for anyone else. Five minutes of sincere practice reaches God faster than many hours sitting in a church or temple hoping people will notice how devout you are. Similarly, small acts of sincere kindness, fulfilling your duty with sincerity, being sincere in word and deed, all these things will grow you spiritually.
Let me share this short story with you. A poor farmer was returning home from the market late one evening. As he was going through the woods, one of the wheels came off his cart, and he realised he would not get home until morning. He was upset, not that he wouldn’t get home, but that he had forgotten his prayer book and did not know his night prayers by heart. He sat and made this prayer: “I have been very foolish, Lord. I left home this morning without my prayer book. My memory is poor, and I cannot recite one prayer without it. So, what I am going to do is, I will recite the alphabet very slowly five times, and You, who knows all the prayers, can put the letters together to form the prayers I can’t remember.” The Lord, who was listening thought to Himself: “Of all the prayers I have heard today, this one is the best, because it came from a simple and sincere heart.”
Analyse yourself, analyse your motivation for the actions you take. How you conduct yourself in life is the evidence of the level of your sincerity. Consider these words of Swami Vivekananda: “Only be sincere, and if you are sincere, says Vedantism, you are sure to be brought to the goal. None will be left. Your heart, which contains all truth, will unfold itself chapter after chapter.”