Post number 26 of 33 in The Ganymede Progression.

Sincerity is the extent to which we mean what we say, or to which we are authentic in our actions. Sincerity speaks to our ability to meaningfully commit ourselves to things, to how “truthfully” we can fulfil our obligations, and how honestly we can face the things before us. Without sincerity, we are insincere – that is, we cannot meaningfully, honestly or truthfully conduct ourselves. To do things in an insincere way speaks to a lack of faith in ourselves or others, or in our actions. To do things without sincerity is an abstraction from the true act; it is illusory, and we are creating the illusion.

Sincerity is a quality of our intentions. If we have sincere intent, then what we do will come from a place of honesty and authenticity. It’s a factor in our motivation; to be moved by “the pure motive”, as our doctrine describes, we must do so inherently, instinctively perhaps. Maybe we find some task unpleasant: then we learn it is beneficial. To act with sincerity, we then undertake the unpleasant task, knowing that the motive for doing so is to accomplish the benefit, to do the good by enduring the bad. Sincerity doesn’t always require us to do “bad things”, of course; but to do “bad things” for the benefit of others always takes sincerity.

Sincerity is a very important quality for Jedi. We are engaged with the Force at the most fundamental, “knowing” level of being. To exemplify this connection it is very important that we commit to that which we do. It is similarly important for us to work to understand our hesitations and the difficulties we face in making commitment to things. We need to understand what it is about ourselves which is saying “No”, “Not really”, “I’m not sure”.

Likewise we have an obligation to serve others. We must do so willingly to truly live as Jedi; to do something “to save face” or for the sake of appearances is a weak, actually rather deceptive way to approach the path. If we want to live the values of our path, we must conquer the internal hurdles we can, of course; but we must also face our own limitations, the areas we need growth in beyond our current capacity to reach, to leap to. We must accept that we are never “there”, and as such we must always have more room for growth.

To elaborate on the illusory nature of insincerity: when we do anything, to an extent we give the appearance of doing something with sincerity. If we act at all, surely we must mean it at some level. But the truth is often people do things half-heartedly, without authentic effort, without sincerity. That expresses a lack of commitment, a lack of faith and the outcome is rarely good. Better to honestly say no, than to dishonestly assent to something we will only half-do.

I’ve spoken before about the importance of authenticity in what we do, and I feel I must refer to that again. If we are authentically drawn to the path of the Jedi, it is no hardship to allow that to flow into our intentions. We may not want to, as I’ve recently tasked my Apprentices to, go out into the street in winter and pick up trash. But if we remember why we are doing it, if we accept that it is the role of Jedi to do that which others don’t do, but which is for the benefit of all, then it becomes easier to see the value in doing it. We can thus “engineer” some sincerity into our intentions, by understanding their relationship to our overarching goals and aims.

I think about applications of this logic at our Temple, and it makes me both smile, and a little sad. We meet many people at our gates, many of whom speak to being great and noble Jedi, others who acknowledge the mountains they must climb, others who speak to reforming our practice with their wonderful ideas. These people regularly come with sincere intentions, but without the sincerity of commitment to achieve them.

How frustrating, that things are not as easy as they seem. How wonderful that people are motivated to try – and again, how sad that people give up the ghost, before making it to the summit. It is sincere to recognise these emotions, these conflicts and shades of grey. To see that what is, what is meant, can change over time. That what can be the most sincere goal one day, can become embarrassing old news as soon as the next day. And that, knowing all this, we must work with it, rather than against it. That is my sincere response, today – to see the insanity of it all, and carry on anyway. Because in my heart, I believe in climbing these mountains.