The unfolding of the human personality – when it happens – can be seen as the cream of creation, for it is there that the physical world begins to reach beyond limitation and consciously reflect divine awareness, in that way continuing the art of manifestation on a higher level. And according to Hazrat Inayat Khan, there are two precious principles that help us in that direction: the sense of beauty, and sincerity.
To cultivate beauty in our thought, speech and action is a challenge, largely because we often act, think and speak unconsciously, wandering, so to speak, in a half-dream. Nevertheless, we can understand why this would be necessary to develop the personality. At first glance, though, sincerity might be a surprising choice for the other pillar of this temple.
Sincerity means the absence of pretense, deceit, and hypocrisy. In our daily life, we have mixed feelings about this quality. We can certainly appreciate someone who is not deceitful. The world is so riddled with lies and deception that the presence of a person whose yes is yes and whose no is no is a relief to the heart and soul. But on the other hand, we also have known people whose sincerity is expressed very bluntly: ‘I say what I think, and I don’t care who it offends.’ Such directness, though, ignores the first principle mentioned above, the need for the sense of beauty. A word that is thrown like a rock at someone’s head is lacking in beauty and therefore not yet worthy of being called truth.
Learning how to express our sincere feelings, sometimes by a word and sometimes by keeping a respectful silence, is an important step, but it must be followed by a still higher accomplishment: the discovery of inner sincerity. When we say a prayer, for example, if our attention toward the sense of the prayer wavers, even for a moment, we have not yet perfected sincerity. The prayer has not penetrated us, nor have we penetrated the prayer. For example, Saum begins “Praise be to Thee, Most Supreme God…” but when we say these words, do we feel praise in our heart? If not, we still have work to do.
Of course, to reach such a stage requires a focused spirit, but that focus isn’t brought about by imposing rules on ourselves. It is something living that arises naturally from a heart which is thirsty for perfection. In Gayan Boulas we find this reflection : Sincerity is like a bud in the heart of man, that blossoms with the maturity of the soul.
When the bud ripens, it is the longing of life that makes the flower blossom. Guarding that longing until it at last erupts in the mystery of a flower is also part of the work of sincerity.