(Posted on September 22, 2013 by David McMillin)
[NOTE: While serving as mentor for an online version of “A Search For God” study group and working on the Glory lesson, class members shared their observations about the “Vain Glory” exercise. Here are a couple of my replies. – David McMillin]
Another term for vain glory is "self-glorification." That is the aspect of unhealthy ego that gets caught up in the illusion of self-importance. This is the pattern that you have recognized within yourself. We all have it in some measure. It is central to the human condition. The readings describe this as the original error or mistake whereby a soul desires to be the Whole, rather than a part of the Whole. No wonder the first lesson in A Search For God is Cooperation!
Just being aware of this dynamic and acknowledging it within self is a huge step forward on the spiritual path. Being able to take that step with humility is even more of a challenge, and clearly you are getting there, one step at a time. Just keep letting the light of God shine through you in selfless service and glorious praise to the Creator.
Letting go of the vain glory of self-importance can feel like being relieved of a great burden – a release – lightness. In the next lesson on Knowledge, we will consider the readings' suggestion that we "empty self" – a form of "unknowing" or letting go of self-importance in how we how think and what we think we know. It does all lead to the humility of Wisdom (the lesson after Knowledge). No wonder Jesus observed that the servant is the greatest of all. Humility and Glory do seem to go together. Interesting paradox indeed. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Dave
Your observations about the prevalence of vain glory in our society and the connection with low self-esteem are fascinating. Vain glory does seem to be associated with an unhealthy sense of self. While working in the mental health field, I noticed some of the same patterns that you have described.
Having a "healthy sense of self" (a healthy ego, if you wish to call it that), is not only important but essential for healthy relationships – with God and others. And as you have noticed, this sometimes gets interpreted by others as boastfulness and vanity. This relates to the "mirror of life" process that we covered in a previous lesson (Know Thyself). And as you have also noted, we must be true to ourselves – to the truth as we know it in the present moment. All very fascinating, for sure. Thanks for sharing your stimulating observations. Blessings, Dave
In previous sessions I have mentioned a talk I gave that covers some of this. Since some of you are new to the group, you may want to check it out if you are interested in such things. The presentation is titled "The Healthy Self" and is available on the Free page of my website.