Being honest and sincere means confronting our inner experience and our outer life in a truthful way. Being sincere means not lying to ourselves, not rationalizing, not comforting, not postponing, not bandaging difficulties. Being sincere means grappling with our life and coming to terms with it with a sense of integrity and self-respect.

Over time we gain self-respect by grappling with our deficiencies, by learning that we can do it. If we run away from the difficult parts, we’ll feel like a coward. If we feel like a coward, we won’t respect ourselves. And we can’t lie to ourselves about what we’re actually doing; on a deep level, we know the truth. So we have to grapple with the difficulties in a courageous way. That’s how we gain respect and value. If we run away from things, there’s no way we can value ourselves.

To have a sense of integrity, we have to prove to ourselves that we’re worthy of it. I don’t mean we have to prove something to our superego. I mean we have to bring forth what we are, bring forth all our resources to confront the difficulties that we have in our life. As far as I know, we can’t become real, can’t become truthful embodiments of reality unless we take the risks to live that way. We must make the necessary sacrifices to be and to live that reality.

It’s not likely to happen that you sit there meditating, have wonderful experiences, and then suddenly you’re a real human being. Living according to the truth requires sacrifices and risks. The Work is a self-confrontation, an attempt to be more and more truthful and sincere with yourself. We gain integrity and value by living according to the truth. The Work is not separate from being real, from living our lives. The Work simply guides us about how to go about living life in a real way.

For me, it’s sometimes much more satisfying to say one real word to somebody than to go on a vacation and have fun. Pleasure and relaxation are necessary and important, but it’s much more valuable to me if I can confront a situation squarely, and be what I can be in that moment.

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