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Sincerity is not to be confused with seriousness or even honesty. In tai chi, sincerity is the uniting of mind, body and spirit.
When your word and your deed are the same, you are sincere. The world is filled with people who mean well but seldom keep their word.
Certain behaviours are culturally appropriate and lack any genuine feeling or intent. Promises are meaningless if they are not kept, and apologies pointless since they are rarely meant in earnest.
When a person apologises, it is usually just a habit. People are often too self-absorbed to actually care about other people.
A law unto yourself
Taoism teaches that phoney social niceties are a sign that our culture has become lost in selfishness. If you are a genuine person, you do not need to promise.
You act because it seems like the right thing to do, or refrain for the same reason. An internal sense of morality - guided by feeling and sensitivity - determines your behaviour.
This is called 'wu tze' and means to be 'without law and yet orderly'.
Like water flowing onwards wherever possible, sincerity enables us to understand
the deepest part of a situation, and take effective action.
Resolutions, plans and intentions are commonplace in everyday life. Every New Year people consider their lives and decide that they want to change.
They make promises to themselves... but seldom change.
If you think in terms of the immediate, then you act without delay. Krishnamurti called this 'dying to the past'. Rather than put things off, you live right here and right now.
There may not be a tomorrow. Memories and future plans are distractions; impediments to the immediate. If you had only today to live, how would you behave?
There is no tomorrow
Some people choose to adopt a half-hearted approach to all aspects of life. This is incongruent with Taoism. Only by immersing yourself completely in whatever you are doing, can you truly be living.
A sincere student is one who supports the class and the art. This is actually quite easy to do.
Supporting the class
Supporting the class entails attendance. Regular students make steady progress and ensure that classes remain open. They gain layer upon layer of detail through uninterrupted tuition.
Whilst not everyone can attend each lesson, you should attend as often as you can.
Supporting the art
To support the art, simply practice a little tai chi every day. This way, you are taking responsibility for your own development.
Your own example and the bounty of the tai chi will be advertisement enough.
of moral integrities?
Sincerity. Square and true.
A sincere, tranquil heart is like a bright shining mirror,
uncontaminated by a single speck of dust.
18 March 1997
Last updated 29 September 2019