In the relative world, vanity reigns. And yet, everyone knows that vanity is not gold. It is only vanity. Yet much of the world is run on vanity. It is vanity that carries you on its shoulders so that the world can cheer you, and so that you can cheer yourself for a moment. But all is not vanity. All is love.
Vanity wishes to paint a pretty picture of yourself as if you were not already beautiful. Must beauty be dependent upon your looks meeting the standards of the day? Alas, vanity serves delusion in the world. It is like the Emperor's New Clothes. Everyone goes along with it, and so vanity is nudged and wants more of itself. Vanity is like a detour from love. It is not a substitute, and no one really thinks it is. Vanity is of the material world whereas love transcends all worlds.
Vanity, of course, is another word for ego, that niggling itch that makes so much of itself and tries to get your attention. It wants to be appeased. It wants you to have the latest, the best, the envied and so on. Vanity beckons you with its finger, and you go to it. Vanity is a hypnotist. Did you think it is not?
You want to be the belle of the ball. You want to be the he-man on the block. You want this and that only to find out that it doesn't really mean much, and so you discard it or it discards you, and you look for something else, and so you appease that itch of ego and its partner vanity for a little while until they betray you once again.
Half of the things you buy you buy in an attempt to soothe the rash vanity gives you.
Surely there is value in making yourself pretty and developing muscles and accruing wealth and so on, and yet, beloveds, and yet, their accumulation or their lack becomes a pebble in your shoe. In some ways, sometimes, you are like the queen who looked in the mirror and wanted to be sure she was still the fairest of all. How you scorn this queen, when all along it is your face in the mirror you are looking at.
There never was a fairest of all. The queen never had a claim to superlativeness. All was vanity. She really thought she needed to be the fairest, that the value of her life depended on it. That is the way of vanity. It makes you very aware that you can lose something even when it was never yours and even when everything in the world is temporary anyway.
A beautiful fluted vase is only a vase. It may be beautiful and magnificent and expensive when a mayonnaise jar would hold flowers just as well.
Notice where your attention goes, beloveds.
By all means, have a beautiful vase. Use it, adore it. Just know that your value is not more because of an exquisite vase any more than your value is less because of a plain glass jar or paper cup.
Beloveds, the material world will let you down every time. It never really magnified you. It never really made you important. Fame, wealth and other accoutrements of the world are just a quick look in the mirror, no more than that.
What you really have is love. Love is the only thing you can take with you, and love is the only real thing you can leave behind. All the other is dross, beloveds. Love is the gold, and love is what you really want, not the semblance of love, but love itself, love lasting longer than your sojourn in the world, outdistancing it by more than a mile.
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