The Virtue is Inspiration and the Saboteur is Vanity
We are inspired by beauty and soured by vanity.
There are moments in our lives when we feel exhilarated by someone’s words or by looking at Earth’s magnificence, we feel a tug on our heart to do better than we are doing currently. Inspiration is the the birthplace of all great acts of courage, art and leadership.
Sometimes when we feel inspired, we even act on that which inspires us, by practicing kindness or pushing our boundaries. There is only one caveat though, and that is discernment. We must always be in synch with our ability to discern between what is healthy and what is merely tasty.
Inspiration can begin with a feeling of wanting to do something that will change the world for the better, without discernment, those thoughts can deteriorate into feelings that the world would be a better place if it were being led by me. Inspiration without discernment can take a person from being famous for his character to being infamous. The feeling of inspiration can sour us like milk that has gone beyond its expiration date, or it can
inspire us to feel the courage to begin upgrading the quality of our lives.
Sathya Sai Baba, a well known Teacher in India, has given us a way to help see where the pitfalls of vanity are, and then we might be able to avoid them on our journey of inspiration. He has laid out four categories of vanity: wealth, education, youth and clan.
When pursuing the path of wealth it is very important to keep our priorities in check. The Yogi’s tell us to go to the river of life and take as much as we would like to have. This seems surprising, but the Yogi’s don’t want us to live in poverty because there is not anything romantic or spiritual about poverty. Perhaps someday we might feel inspired to treat poverty more like an illness that we need to eradicate.
The Yogi’s tell us to take as much as we like from this river, but the trick is not to get attached to what we take. If we get too attached to money, then all of our thoughts will be about accumulating more money and fearing that someone will take it from us. So the proper use of wealth is to have enough to keep you and your loved ones properly cared for and through discernment, help those, who as yet, cannot help themselves.
The same for education. Get educated! That is obviously a good thing. Merely flaunting your degrees does not show respect for what they represent, use them to help your self uplift others. Get creative and live an inspired life, one that inspires others to make the world a better place.
Youth is good, but we all age. We all want a youthful appearance, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Young people are afraid they will become old and older people are also afraid of this. But age we will, and if we age fearlessly, we will age with more beauty and dignity than with vanity and fear. Respecting the aging process makes us aware of what is meaningful.
Clan? It means belonging to certain groups. We can become inspired and join groups with great intentions and then, without discernment, we can lower our standards, just so we feel like we belong. Joining a political movement can be inspirational, but we need to be careful about wanting power, more than we want to empower others.
Peace be with you ,