I posted yesterday that we would continue the discussion I began this week about jarring the ego and what the Sufis call the spirit of vanity. Your Sufi mystic Hazrat Kahn says without the spirit of vanity working in every being, there would be no good or bad. That all virtues and every evil are the off spring of the spirit of vanity.
This dichotomy puzzles me. The solution seems difficult to fathom as well. I recognize a person expects others to see him/her as he thinks he is. We wish to be admired and often we accumulate material things and positions in society merely to be admired. The desire for things that gratify our vanity is endless, and the more we accumulate the more we desire. As this desire increases we can become blind and lose sight of right and justice. I also understand that this same vanity can make us look at others as inferior to oneself and culminate in prejudice and hatred. Sometimes a person even is generous not for the sake of kindness but to satisfy vanity.
If it’s true that a person’s satisfaction comes from the opinion others have of him, not from his own opinion of himself. Where does the virtue come from vanity? How do we train ourselves to temper this spirit that seems to grow like kudzu in our souls? We need a little help here.
As I think about it, the answer may lie at one of the most basic premises of our spirit. Who is at the center of our heart and in our lives? If the center is our self, we are in danger of vanity growing like possession vine and taking over and dominating our being. If on the other hand, God is at our core there is no room for vanity or self, so there’s nowhere for the kudzu and possession vine to take root. These are simple analogies my friend. What do y’all think? Webb