Sincerity and selflessness are inseparable, where there is one, there is the other, and where one is not, neither is the other.
One of our students asked a very good question; ‘how can I become sincere.’ She knows that she does things to show gratitude but it is lacking sincerity and she wants to get that depth of character.
This is a good question because it is precisely this point that makes the difference between a life that lacks emotionally and a life fulfilled. Of course, there is no easy answer, and it took me a bit of time to think about it until I did find an answer.
Sincerity is opposed to selfishness. Sincerity can only exist when your thoughts are fully on the other person and not at all on your own self interests. To be sincere means your ego is not involved, it means you have no ulterior motives, it means that you are not doing or saying this for any personal gain.
And so we can say that if you want to acquire the pure quality of sincerity, you must begin with the practice of self observation to catch how much you do and say that is ultimately geared towards your own self interest.
The more you catch self-interest and self-centredness in yourself with the intention to become less selfish and more selfless, the more you will develop sincerity in your words and actions.
Sincerity cannot be developed on its own in any direct way, it comes naturally to a pure mind and heart.
To be selfless you must be wealthy, but not for the obvious reason.
Wealthy does not mean you have to be super rich and that loads of money makes you selfless, proven by the many rich people who are not selfless, and the selfless people who are not rich. You need to be rich in the sense of being satisfied with what you have. That could be a certain amount of money or it could be in the way of a profession or skill that you know you can always provide for yourself.
The idea is to be self-sufficient, which means you may live in the forest and you know how to live off the forest and you do not need a penny because you know how to get your food and make your shelter.
If you are in the material world, have a skill or profession that you know with this you can always earn enough money to support yourself comfortably, this is wealthy.
Wealthy means to be satisfied, and satisfaction comes with knowing you are independent and can take care of yourself. The ancient teaching which tells us that we must be wealthy to become enlightened is based on the fact that if you are not wealthy and have more needs than you can provide for, you will always twist things, lie or hide the truth, so that people will like you and you can get what you need from them.
Being independent means that you do not need anything from anyone so you can be sincere rather than always having that hint of wanting something for yourself, because you do not need anyone.
This is tied to emotional independence in which you cannot be manipulated or effected emotionally in any way by other people. If you are desperate for anything, be that money, companionship or sex, you are easily manipulated as every pretty girl or sex hungry guy knows. All she has to do is smile the right way and he will do anything she wants. This is definitely not independent, but for a person who does not need anything, they are independent.
Find a life for yourself, the skills, amount of money, whatever it takes to become independent and not in need of anyone ever again, combined with a sincere desire to become truly selfless, you shall find yourself becoming selfless and sincerity will closely follow.
It may sound impossible, to have that much money, but it is easier if you burn the string from both ends. This is to say, increase your income capacity, your savings and also reduce your desires. Have more and need less, and it becomes much easier for anyone to become wealthy and with that wealth in heart and mind, so shall come sincerity and selflessness.