Sunday, September 30, 2007

sincerity and intensity

I'm keeping it brief today.

We often mistake intensity for sincerity. There is a general impression that if something is intense, it is somehow more intentional. And also that it will be more real, and lead us somewhere meaningful.

Hitler was intense. There's one example of the results one gets working with intensity. As Jeanne DeSalzmann warned J.G. Bennett more than once-- bad results.

Intensity does not beget sincerity. Not only that, if you want to look at the meaning of the word intense, intensity is actually the last thing we need.

To be intense means to be extreme. And extreme is what we usually are in our ordinary state: too invested in one part or another. Not balanced.

To be sincere, as my old group leader Henry Brown used to say, means to be whole. He often passed on the (apparently dubious) etymology of the word as meaning "without wax" (latin sin ceres.) This is a reference to the fact that in Roman times, marble busts that had cracks in them, i.e., not whole, were repaired using wax.

Etymologies aside, in our work, to be sincere is to be more whole.

We return once again to this concept of inner unity--which is created by a connection with a finer energy that can be discovered within the organism. It needs to be sought, located, contacted, cultivated.

We must not use intensity in this enterprise. It's like using a hammer to try and fix a watch. There is a gentleness and a more deliberate inner intimacy to the manner in which we need to attend to ourselves within life, if we want to be here, within our life, within the organic state of being.

When we learn to listen not with the ears, but the eyes, we gradually learn what it means to attend in an inner sense.

May your trees bear fruit, and your wells yield water.

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