As distorted by man (read males) as I know the bible to be and their oppressive agendas, I do believe that it holds within it some truths that the co-opters of the original text did not understand and thus remnants of truth can be found there. We, as a race of people, as human beings, have become so removed from our true natures, from our true divine selves, so superficial that our logic has been stunted. We no longer know how to extract the truths from spiritual texts because our minds no longer function at the level at which we were created to perform; we no longer are capable of comprehending anything more than our current state of diseased thinking. Because Black people specifically learned our religion at the end of a whip, at the base of enslavement, because we had no choice but to believe what the slave master told us was true, we are crippled that much more from our true spiritual selves. Ignorance is truly bliss, because when I lived like the masses, when I thought like the unconscious, I was happy to repeat clichés and never question the things I’d been told.
I remember when I was growing up that my grandmother used to tell me that vanity was a sin. I couldn’t wrap my mind around that concept because I couldn’t figure out how being vain could possibly offend God in any way. I could understand murder, I could understand adultery, but I figured that God created you, why would he be upset if you boasted about his work. Now, I know that there is no such thing as “sin” in the sense that God will punish us for our bad behavior. I now understand that “sin” is really that which prevents us from realizing our true God nature, that which keep us from realizing enlightenment and peace. Studying the mind, dedicating myself to the study of consciousness, I now realize that vanity, narcissism, and self-absorption are states of being that keep us dismembered from the body of the Creator and distort the balance of the universe.
The U.S. is funny in that we are the most dysfunctional nation and yet we parade ourselves the best. This over-inflated ego of the entire nation is an interesting phenomenon but it’s lead, in large part, by individuals who can not acknowledge flaw, who have an over-inflated sense of self, whose worlds don’t revolve around the sun, but their egos. It’s a crippling state of mind. The sicker we become, the more arrogant, the further we get from a state of consciousness that is as we were intended to be.
We have become a nation of people who only care about the very things that are spiritually debilitating. “I know I look good. What wo/man could resist me, because I am so hot.” Any time you hear those words you can be assured that the person uttering them is prone to drama, who can’t form healthy relationships, who isn’t capable of realizing how there are consequences to their actions beyond how it directly affects him or her. The obsession with looking good, with clothing, hair and makeup, cars, whatever accouterment is outside the Self, is a sign of death of the spirit. If Jesus is truly supposed to be our model, then the pre-occupation with our appearance, our obsession with proclaiming how we are better than everyone else is, is glaring indication that we are un-Christlike in our carriage.
Just look around at the people who are supposed to be our spiritual leaders. They are the flashiest, the most outwardly oriented people in our society. Turn on the TV and look at any reality show that is created around competition for affection of someone. People who can not admit flaw, people who are determined to be the most desirable, the best looking, the best dressed are the most shallow, superficial, insincere people and the ones that blame everyone else for the issues that they create.
This younger generation seems laser-like in their agenda to be self-absorbed. Relationships can’t be formed if the only person you are intent on pleasing is the reflection in the mirror. I used to think, when I was growing up, that men were more guilty of a distorted sense of self than women. I would meet the biggest, fattest, sloppiest, man who would be unappealing in every way and he would proclaim how great he was and I would scratch my head in wonder. A part of me thought that it was a good thing that people could find something attractive in themselves when the world around them didn’t. Women, to a much, much greater extent, seemed to have more low self-esteem and more humility and I always thought that there was something tragic about a beautiful woman who couldn’t see her own beauty. I can no longer say the same thing today. Brothas now demand that the world revolve around their distorted egos and women are socialized to think that their value is to be found in how sexy they are and how many people desire them. I can only imagine how distorted things will be in 20 years from now when this generation’s children are grown having been raised by parents whose only concern are themselves.
Now, before you respond and say, “Yeah, it’s really sad how other people are so vain today, I’m glad I’m not like that,” realize that you are guilty of it yourself. There is an absence of humility that has infected you if you feel you are somehow above anyone else’s behavior. Are there some individuals who have been able to transcend this trend? Yes, of course. Are they the individuals intent on proving to others that they are more enlightened than everyone else around them is? No.
Vanity is surely a sign of dysfunction. A growing cancer is spreading rapidly, killing our spirit, and keeping us from God. Vanity is a sin that is staring us in a very dirty, clouded, cracked mirror.