Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (XI)

And I praise the dead who have already died, more than the living who are still alive. And better than both of them is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3)

These verses contain the strongest warning against the choice of ego’s fantasies and illusions, to the point that it is better not to be born than living in a world of vanity.

In this context, vanity is the evil itself as the vexation of life. The lesson in this warning is not to reject or avoid life in the material world “under the sun”, but to be aware that the only reason to live is to do it in the reality of love, not in the illusion of vanity.

And I saw all the toil and all the excellence of work, which is a man’s envy of his friend; this too is vanity and frustration. (4:4)

There are a few lessons in this verse.

First, we have to focus on our own thoughts, emotions and doings instead of focusing on other people’s lives.

Second, goodness is the excellence of our works, for which we must toil as part of our life in order to maintain and preserve the goodness in life.

Third, if our thoughts, emotions and feelings are focused on the wrong premises for the wrong purposes, we find ourselves toiling for vanity.

Fourth, as we covet and envy other people’s possessions and works, we are condemning ourselves to frustration and anger as the produce we harvest in life.

Wrath is cruel, and anger is overwhelming; but who is able to stand before envy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a lover; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:4-6)

We are reminded that all we envy or covet turns into our frustration and anger, which end up filling the void created by our lack.

We must approach beliefs or feelings of lack as the negation of our own goodness that fills all we need or want. The goodness of love suffices all, for there is no lack in love.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (X)

And I saw that there is nothing better [lit. good] that man to rejoice in his deeds, for that is his portion, for who will bring him to see what will be after him?
(Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Goodness must characterize all the deeds of a man in his life, for goodness is his portion for him to rejoice. We know the saying “do good and don’t look back”, for goodness knows its ways and purpose and it doesn’t depend on our control. Goodness suffices itself and serves itself. We are only the means or vehicles of goodness, and this by itself is our own reward.

“Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

Our sages teach us that humility is the vessel for goodness, which means that we don’t own it because it owns us. In this sense we are not supposed to “see what will be after”. In the same way, we should not have expectations for being a vessel for goodness. As we have said, goodness is its own reward.

This verse teaches us that goodness is the object of our pleasure and delight, for we rejoice in its ways and attributes derived from God’s love. King Solomon reiterates that goodness is the only reason to live, and the opposite of the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

But I returned and saw all the oppression [of those] who are made [so] under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter, and from the hand of their oppressors there is power, but they have no comforter. (Ecclesiastes 4:1)

We must search for the causes of our oppression in this world, and also the ways and means of our liberation as the “comforter” that we yearn for.

We may have people that oppress us or force us to do things against our will, for different reasons. There are also other causes for afflictions that we inflict on ourselves, such as addictions, attachments and obsessions that have a negative impact on our thoughts, emotions or in our physical body. The separation from goodness as our bond with the Creator is our greatest affliction.

Her filthiness has been in her skirts, she didn't remember her latter end. Therefore she comes down astonishingly, she has no comforter. See, O Lord, my affliction; for the enemy has magnified himself.
(Jeremiah 13:17)

King Solomon invites us to reflect on the sources of vanity as the fantasies and illusions derived from beliefs or feelings of lack. In any case, we must compel ourselves to return to the reality of love with the goodness of its ways and attributes once we become fully aware of the illusion of vanity.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (IX)

I knew that everything that God made, that will be forever; we cannot add to it, nor can we diminish from it; and God made it so that they revere Him. That which was is already [done], and that which is [destined] to be already was, and God seeks the pursued.(Ecclesiastes 3:14-15)

We are endlessly reminded that God’s creation is complete, total and wholesome, which makes it perfect and eternal as the goodness from which He made it. There is nothing to add or to diminish in goodness. Hence we realize that there is no lack or deficiency in the sufficiency of goodness as a sample of God’s magnificent awesomeness, for which we revere Him.

Do not add to the word which I command you, nor diminish from it, [in order] to observe the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32)

This perfection also belongs to the Torah as God’s will for His material creation, for goodness is the reason and purpose of His commandments as the plenitude and length of our days.

The second verse invites us to reflect on what we believe, imagine, invent or create, for these too come from our Creator. Thus we become aware that everything we are and do reflects what God has done for us to measure either the goodness He wants us to enjoy as our essence and true identity, or the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions.

In the latter God seeks those who are pursued by their obsessions, attachments and addictions, to bring them back to the truth of what is really meaningful and transcendental in life.

And moreover, I saw under the sun, [in] the place of justice there is wickedness and [in] the place of righteousness, there is wickedness. I said to myself, ‘God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every deed there’. (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17)

In the material world “under the sun” the egocentric approach to life turns the truth in justice into the lie of wickedness, for evil corrupts righteousness by diverting its purpose. We have said that “cause and effect” is one of God’s rules in His creation as an ethical principle from which nothing escapes.

Oh, You let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the just; for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins. (Psalms 7:9)

Thus we understand His judgment of the righteous and the wicked. Goodness is the reward for those who do goodness, and the psalmist reminds us the predicament of the wicked that die by their evil.

I said to myself [that this is] because of the children of men, so that God should clarify for them, so that they may see that they are [like] beasts to themselves. For there is a happening for the children of men and there is a happening for the beasts. And they have one happening, like the death of this one is the death of that one. And all have one spirit, and the superiority of man over beast is nothing, for all is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 3:18-19)

King Solomon compares human negative emotions, destructive feelings and instincts to those of wild animals, for both share the same predicament and fate. In this sense man is not better than the beasts because their purpose in life is futile, meaningless and useless, making their survival vanity.

All go to one place; all came from the dust, and all return to the dust. Who knows that the spirit of the children of men is that which ascends on high and the spirit of the beast is that which descends below to the earth? (3:20-21)

Our sages relate dust to nothingness, non existence and death, and also as a place from where we are born and where we die. In regards to consciousness it represents stagnation and powerlessness to transcend the material world, which makes us equal to animal or vegetable life.

The verses invite us to ponder about the traits and qualities that help us transcend the limitations of matter represented by ego’s fantasies and illusions and their negative expressions. Also to reflect on the driving forces and trends that constrain animal life to a limited existence.

The message for us is to find the ways and means to elevate every aspect and level of consciousness up to the total freedom encompassed by the goodness emanated from love’s ways and attributes.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (VIII)

What profit does man have from all his labor? I have seen the burden (lit. interest) that the Lord has given to people (lit. sons of man) to be afflicted by it.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-10)

King Solomon again reiterates the foolishness of toiling for ego’s fantasies and illusions as the burden that divert the true purpose of life. This recurrent warning calls our attention to focus on where we must invest vitality during our brief passage in the material world.

It also invites us to evaluate the source and causes of our afflictions by being mindful enough to differentiate between the transcendence of goodness and the futility of a useless and unproductive approach to life. Thus we recognize that goodness is God’s purpose in His creation, and that evil is the fate of the wicked.

“The Lord has made everything for His own purpose, also the wicked for the day of evil.” (Proverbs 16:4)

“Evil puts to death the wicked, and those hating the righteous are condemned.”
(Psalms 34:21)

In this context we assimilate that knowledge enables our free will to make the right choices, for without wisdom we are condemned to suffer by our ignorance. Thus we equate ignorance to affliction, and by knowing the ways of goodness within their ethical frame we live in the freedom inherent in it. We also realize that our addictions are our prisons, and their evil our suffering, for evil is their reason and also their end.

“The world He has made beautiful in its season. Also that knowledge He has put in their heart so man doesn’t fathom (lit. find out) the work that the Lord has done from the beginning to the end. Also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, [for] is the gift of the Lord.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12)

Once more we are warned that God’s creation is beyond our grasp in order for us to fulfill His will, which is to live by, in and for goodness, because it is God’s gift for us. Theses verses certainly tell us that goodness is good enough, and there is no need to transgress against this divine gift by following anything opposite to its ways and attributes.

“And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all that you put your hand to, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.” (Deuteronomy 12:7)

We must understand that goodness encompasses the purpose of God’s commandments, and our enjoyment is the purpose of goodness. Thus we constantly realize that God’s blessings are the ways, attributes, means and end of goodness.

“I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it or anything taken from it; and God has done it, that they revere Him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

The transcendence of goodness makes it eternal and thus we understand its perfection, for there is no lack or deficiency in goodness. In this awareness we also realize the magnificence of God’s creation, for which we always revere Him.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (VII)

“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to cast away stones and a time to heap up stones. A time to embrace and a time to be far from embracing. A time to seek and a time to destroy. A time to keep and a time to cast away.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4-6)

Weeping and mourning can be preconditions to laughing and dancing as the culmination of the lessons learned with our suffering. This does not mean that we have to cry and lament in order to find joy and delight, but to understand negative situations and experiences as processes that direct us to appreciate their opposite qualities.

“To appoint to mourners in Zion, to give to them beauty instead of ashes; the oil of joy instead of mourning, a mantle of praise for a spirit of weakness; and He is calling to them, ‘Trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord to be beautified’.” (Isaiah 61:3)

We repeat often that life in the material world is a learning process designed to assimilate the transcendence of goodness as the reason and purpose our existence. Thus we understand that there are stones that obstruct our progression, and also there are stones on which we build the leading traits and qualities of our essence and true identity.

As we see obstacles before us we also strive for gathering the lessons we learn as the building stones that help us pursue what truly matters in life.

In this journey of progression we embrace what nurtures us and encourages us to live in goodness for the sake of goodness, and we reject the negative traits and trends that obstruct our purpose in this world.

In this journey of our soul we all are compelled to seek as part of the empirical process of learning from positive and negative experiences. As we seek and experience, we also compel consciousness to discard or destroy what we recognize as the opposites of the goodness we enjoy in love’s ways and attributes.

This is the culmination of keeping what nurtures, dignifies, honors and elevates life while casting away the destructive, despising, dishonoring and degrading traits and trends in human consciousness.

“A time to rend and a time to sew. A time to be silent and a time to speak.”
(Ecclesiastes 3:7)

We can understand the first phase of this verse as necessary actions we must take before situations that we can’t afford to allow in our midst.

We must urge ourselves to respond in outrage against negative ideologies and beliefs that seek to destroy the dignity of life, and pursue their destruction by all means necessary. We memorialize the genocides and atrocities perpetrated throughout history not just to remember the horrors committed against humanity but to bring awareness in regards to the ideologies and beliefs that led to such depravity.

As our sages remind us, we must fight to eliminate sin and not the transgressors. Thus we sew the garments we rend once we end the time to be silent in order to speak out and act accordingly. As we strive to live in goodness’ loving kindness, it will always show us God’s ways and paths.

“Cause me to hear Your loving kindness in the morning for I trust in You. Cause me to know the way in which I should walk for I lift up my soul to You.”, “All the paths of the Lord are loving kindness and truth for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”
(Psalms 143:8, 25:10)

Silence is the space we need to meditate and reflect on the things that matter, and make the right decisions when we choose between the vanity, futility and vexation of ego’s fantasies and illusions and the honor, truth and transcendence of love’s ways and attributes.

“A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:8)

This verse seals the messages king Solomon gives us in the previous ones, for indeed there is a time that comes either sooner or later to appreciate, respect, honor and love what celebrates our essence and true identity; and an time to hate, reject, repudiate and condemn all that threatens and harms who we really are.

In this awareness we wage war against that by all means, for this war is the necessary means to pursue and achieve peace as the wholeness, completion and totality of the full knowledge that God dwells in our midst.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (VI)

There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy goodness in his labor. This also I saw, that it [goodness as our labor] is from the hand of God. For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? (2:24-25)

We have said often that the man who understood the Torah the best is King David, and the proof of that is his book of Psalms from which his heir also learned part of his great wisdom. The psalmist recalls frequently that God’s creation came from His eternal loving kindness, and from this we realize that the latter is the cause and purpose of all that exists. Hence goodness is for which we labor in this world to also be our food and drink that make us enjoy life, for goodness comes from the Creator.

The last part of the second verse should not be understood as an arrogant statement by King Solomon. We must understand every statement in the Hebrew Bible in the context where is mentioned. He is telling us that because of his full awareness of the goodness coming out of God, he is the one who enjoys it the most as his food and drink. The more we are aware of God’s love in all His creations, the more we delight in His love.

For to a man who is good before Him, He has given wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; and to a sinner He has given travail, to gather and to heap up, to give to the one who is good before God. Even this is vanity and vexation of spirit. (2:26)

Again we are reminded that wisdom, knowledge and joy are inherent in goodness, and also are its rewards. From this we learn that goodness doesn’t exist without wisdom and knowledge as its ethical frames in which we find joy.

For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth knowledge and understanding.
(Proverbs (2:6)

The “sinner” is one who pursues ego’s fantasies and illusions for which he toils and wastes his life gathering and piling up material possessions that eventually will end up in the hands of those who God sees proper give. Solomon repeatedly insists that the travails of fantasies and illusions are vanity and a vexation to the spirit that sustains life. We can also understand the “sinners” as the negative traits and trends that will end up serving the purpose of goodness as God promised for the Messianic age.    

To everything [there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

We know that life is a learning process since we are born, and we are destined to go through stages that enable us to ascend in understanding, awareness, knowledge and wisdom which lead us by and for goodness in life as our “every purpose under the heavens” in the material world.

In regards to the last part of this verse, it refers to planting goodness in order to harvest goodness, for we already know that whatever we reap what we sow.

A time to slay and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up.” (3:2-3)

We must not take “to slay” literally, for the context of the phrase is to counter balance or correct a negative action. Hence “slaying” refers to the damage we may cause physically, mentally or emotionally on us or onto others, and the next phrase has the same meaning and message.

As we mentioned before, life is a learning process that God wants us to experience as much as we can in order to assimilate goodness in contrast to wickedness. This may be a painful process because the endure suffering as a result of living with a negative and destructive approach to life out of ego’s materialistic fantasies and illusions.

The Creator also wants us learn not only from goodness but also from the negative choices He presents before us in order to choose always goodness in all its forms, ways and expressions.

“Come, let us return to the Lord, for He has torn us but He has healed us. He has wounded us but He has bandaged us.” (Hosea 6:1)

“Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness. Behold, we come to You, for You are the Lord our God.” (Jeremiah 3:22)

We can understand this also as a refining and strengthening journey toward appreciating the expanding qualities of goodness in human consciousness that God will reveal for us in the Messianic times.

“He will revive us after two days, [and] He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.” (Hosea 6:2)

The prophet Hosea reminds us that after the destruction of the second Temple of Jerusalem (“one day” for each Temple), God will appear to us in the Third and eternal Temple for us to live (dwell) before Him forever. In those Messianic times we will live only to know abundantly our Creator “as the waters cover the bed of the oceans”.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (V)

That there is no remembrance to the wise -- with the fool -- through the ages, for that which is already in the days that are coming is all forgotten. And how the wise dies? With the fool! And I have hated life, for sad to me is the work that has been done under the sun, for the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit.
(Ecclesiastes 2:16-17)

Our wisdom doesn’t help us as long as we make foolish choices that will never make us remembered by the next generations. Again king Solomon reproaches himself for engaging in materialistic fantasies and desires as vanities that undermine the true purpose of life and the spirit that keeps it alive.

I hated all my labor in which I labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. And who knows whether he is wise or foolish? Yet he rules over all my work that I have labored at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! Also this is vanity. And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the work that I labored at under the sun. (2:18-20)

The wise Jewish king calls our awareness in regards to the attention we give to riches and possessions, for which we labor in the material world. We are not able to take them with us after we die, and unequivocally will end up in the hands of others that may or may not be as wise as we thought that we were. Hence we have to focus in what really matters in life for its immediate fulfillment, and not to future circumstances in which we are not sure that we will be.

This does not mean that we should not prepare for the next days, weeks and years in terms of our needs and endeavors. The idea here is to avoid ego’s fantasies and illusions that lead us to situations that we will regret later because of our vanity. King David also reminds us this.

Surely every man walks wandering as a ghost, surely they make an uproar for nothing. He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. (…) For he sees that even wise men die. The stupid and the senseless alike perish and leave their wealth to others.
(Psalms 39:6, 49:10)

We must be aware that we are the measure of our portion and circumstances. Our portion is who we are, what we have, and our relationship with God, and the latter determine the former. Our individual and collective duty is to know that goodness is our essence and true identity, and also our bond with God. When goodness is the cause, the reference and the purpose of human life, goodness also will be who we are and what we have, for it is God’s will for us.

For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom and in knowledge and in equity, and to a man who has not labored therein he gives it -- his portion! Even this is vanity and a great evil. For what has been to a man by all his labor, and by the thought of his heart that he labored at under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his travail sadness; even at night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 2:21-23)

We are reminded constantly that goodness doesn’t dwell with anything different from its ways and attributes. The first of these two verses remark that giving the works of wisdom and knowledge to the undeserving is like feeding wickedness with goodness. This is not only vain and futile but also a great evil. Hence we have to seriously consider for what and for whom we labor every day, so later we won’t regret with sorrows and sadness all that we wasted on our temporary fantasies and illusions.

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. (Psalms 127:1-2)

We have to build our consciousness (“the house”) with the goodness God wants us to be, to have and manifest in life. If we build it on materialistic desires, we will labor in vain and all we do to fulfill ego’s fantasies and illusions will be the bread of all our efforts. Once we enthrone goodness in all levels and dimensions of consciousness, goodness will be with us even in our sleep.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (IV)

And all that my eyes asked I kept not back from them. I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced from all of my doings, and this has been my portion from all my doings. And I looked on all my works that my hands did, and on the doings that I exerted myself to do. It was all vanity and a vexation of the spirit, and there is no profit under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)

King Solomon’s wisdom invites us to experience life and the material world as we are supposed to, and to approach it as pleasant as it can potentially be “with a joyful heart”. He also tells us that the “eyes” (by which we desire and lust) and the “heart” (as the mind that feed our desires and lust) are the vehicles that push ego’s fantasies and illusions, as God warns us in the Torah.

“(…) and do not search after your heart and after your eyes, after which you go astray (lit. prostitute yourself), (…)” (Numbers 15:39)

As long as we experience life with good “eyes” as a positive approach and a good heart as a joyful positive attitude, goodness and joy will be “our portion in all our doings”. However, if our eyes and hearts follow the predicament of ego’s fantasies and illusions, we will experience them as the vanity that is a vexation to the spirit of life. Hence we come to the realization that we do not gain or benefit from a materialistic approach that has been and will be the same in this world “under the sun”.

And I turned to see wisdom, and madness, and folly; but what is the man who comes after the king? That which is already -- they have done it! And I saw that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, like the advantage of the light above the darkness. (Ecclesiastes 2:12-13)

The only good news about ego’s fantasies and illusions is that they make us experience their vanity and futility. By their repetitive patterns sooner or later they also make us wiser enough to turn them into references to always choose the transcending goodness of love’s ways and attributes, where true wisdom leads without madness or folly.

We also must know that both the fool and the wise “come after the king”, as if what he does is different or new; and later both realize that even what the king does also “they have done it”. Thus we assimilate that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, as the advantage of light above darkness.

The wise! His eyes are in his head and the fool in darkness is walking. And I also knew that one event happened with them all; and I said in my heart, ‘As it happened with the fool, it happened also with me. And why then I am more wise?’ And [what] I spoke in my heart, that is also vanity. (2:14-15)

Sometimes we think that being wiser than the fools makes us better than them, but it is not so if we fall as they do into the follies of ego’s fantasies and illusions. In that lower level of consciousness we are fools no matter how smart we may be. As we live in the vanity of an egotistic and self-centered approach to life, our small or big wisdom is also vanity.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (III)

I said to myself, ‘Behold, I have obtained for myself great wisdom above all who were before me in Jerusalem. And my heart saw so much, and I applied my heart to know wisdom, [and to know] madness and folly, and I knew this too is a vexation of the spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:16-17)

King Solomon reminds us again that in the wisdom acquired in his life by the grace of God, he warns us about the futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions. If we live by, with and for unproductive, useless and distracting beliefs and feelings of lack, we undermine and despise goodness as our essence and true identity.

Goodness is the spirit that elevates us to the knowledge of God, for goodness is our bond with Him. Solomon truly immersed himself in the wisdom God gave him to become the wisest of all men, in order to share his findings and conclusions with us. Thus we learn from his messages in this book, as well as in the Song of Songs and the book of Proverbs.

For, in abundance of wisdom [there is] abundance of grief [lit. anger], and he who adds knowledge adds pain.” (1:18)

Here we see that the more we become wise, the more we realize the nature of evil, wickedness and a negative approach to life based on ego’s fantasies and illusions. Once we fully know the multiple ways and expressions of evil, our anger to reject them is as strong as the awareness that makes us value goodness as what truly matters in life. The more we understand the damage evil causes, the more we are urged to fight it and wipe it out from our consciousness and from the face of earth as God commands us to.

“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you in joy and see what is good’; and behold, this is also vanity. (2:1)

Solomon tests his emotions and feelings in order to know their value in regards to goodness. As far as he does not find goodness in them, these are also vanity. One lesson that we can learn from this verse is Solomon’s willingness to test the nature of what may be considered either joyful or pleasurable for his emotions in direct proportion to the goodness they may have or lead him to. By their nature, mirages, fantasies and illusions don’t contain anything either real or good about them, for the fact that they are not based on something truthful as goodness is.

“About laughing I said [it is] folly; and about joy, what does it do? I probed my heart to stimulate in wine my life (lit. flesh) and [still] my heart conducts itself in wisdom, and to assimilate folly up until to see the account [lit. numbers] of their lives [people’s].”

Numbering is counting, and we are supposed to count what matters in life. As we have said, any kind of joy or happiness based on ego’s fantasies and illusions is folly and does not add anything significant to life. Our sages relate wine to rejoicing, and Solomon approached life as the happiness wine can produce without losing wisdom, for the latter encompasses joy as the fulfillment knowledge provides. In this particular joy we are also able to distinguish between a truly happy life and the temporary nature of the follies that don’t add anything to what really matters.

“Great things I did. I built for myself houses, planted for myself vineyards. Gardens and orchards, every fruit tree. Pools of waters. And I bought slaves, and maid servants, and housekeepers, also many flocks and herds I had more than all [of my predecessors] in Jerusalem. I amassed also silver and gold for myself, and [had] the treasure of kings, and the provinces. Musical instruments and the pleasures of men, also chests of chests. Thus I grew and surpassed all that was before me in Jerusalem, still my wisdom stayed with me.” (2:4-9)

The purpose of wisdom it to build something good with it, and these verses invite us to put our goodness out in the real world for the sake of goodness. We do this not just for others but also for ourselves. “Houses” and “vineyards” have multiple material and spiritual meanings. A house integrates life, consciousness and its dimensions.

“Happy are those who dwell in Your house, they praise You forever.” (Psalms 84:4)

We can’t fathom God’s “house” or “praising” eternally, but we know for sure that happiness is part of doing it “there”, and it is forever because God is eternal. Here we realize that any idea we may have about happiness is pale to living in a “place” of God.

“Vineyards, gardens, orchards and fruit trees” (see our commentary on the Song of Songs in this blog) represent the fruits of our good deeds, for these are seeds we plant in the field of life. As we focus in being and doing goodness we harvest its benefits for us and for those involved.

“Pools of water” evoke the blessings of goodness with which we consecrate life, and “slaves”, “maid servants”, “housekeepers” and “sons” symbolize helping and supporting traits and qualities as well as the works we do that last for generations. “Flocks” and “herds” as followers and students that learn from wisdom.

“Silver and gold” represent material and spiritual resources we need to build on goodness as our primordial purpose in life, while the “treasure of kings” is the ruling principle that elevates our consciousness by leading us in God’s ways and attributes. The “provinces” are the material and spiritual domains in which we expand our consciousness through the goodness we pursue and manifest in all aspects and dimensions of life.

“Musical instruments” serve both to cheer and rejoice our thoughts and emotions, and to praise and celebrate the multidimensional qualities of goodness God bestows in us with His blessings every moment. In this subject king David is the best lyricist, composer and musician of all.

Praise the Lord! Praise you God in His holy place. Praise Him in the expanse of His strength. Praise Him in His mighty acts. Praise Him in the abundance of His greatness. Praise Him with blowing of trumpet. Praise Him with psaltery and harp. Praise Him with tambourines and dance. Praise Him with stringed instruments and organ. Praise Him with cymbals of sounding. Praise Him with cymbals of shouting. All that breathes do praise God! (Psalms 150)

King Solomon tells us that once we fully realize that our vanities don’t take us anywhere meaningful and fruitful as goodness, in this awareness the wisdom of goodness makes us transcend materialistic fantasies and illusions, for this kind of wisdom stays always with us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Ecclesiastes: The illusion of vanity and the reality of love (II)

What is that which has been? It is that which is, and what is that which has been done? It is that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun. There is a thing of which one says, ‘See this, it is new’! Already it has been in the ages that were before us! There is no memory of the former neither shall there be any memory of the latter that are to come, among those that shall come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11)

These verses warn us about our unchanged behavior and repetitive approach to life, as if human consciousness is doomed to remain the same no matter how much progress we may have claimed throughout the ages. Solomon’s words could refer to a general trait or trend that makes us discern, understand, assimilate and feel in the same way regardless the circumstances or times where we have lived in history.

Solomon’s reiterative remarks in this book point out to the inherent repetitive patterns in the negative traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions. This reveals the obsessive and addictive tendency to the temporary nature of fantasies and illusions entrenched in a self-centered approach to life. All that our hearts and eyes desire remains unchanged since Adam and Eve transgressed God’s commandment not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that was “desirable to the eyes”.

This unchanged pattern can be replaced through a “paradigm shift” based on embracing principles and values that focus more in pursuing individual and collective goodness for the sake of goodness, than fulfilling ego’s desires under the rules of a consumer society.

I, Kohelet, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I have given my heart to seek and probe in wisdom concerning all that has been done under the heavens. It is a bad matter God has given to the sons of man to respond about. (1:11-13)

These verses reaffirm the context we comment on, for it is a negative pattern approaching God’s creation in general and the material world in particular, based on the vanity and futility of ego’s fantasies and illusions. Wisdom is useless as long as applied to the latter.

We said in our commentary on The Song of Songs in this blog that “there is not true wisdom without love, and there is not true love without wisdom”. These verses also confirm this, and the heaviest burden we carry is to waste the potential of human intellect and wisdom by living a meaningless or useless life.

We learn here that we put on ourselves the consequences of the choices we make, not God. He commanded us to choose the blessings of life and reject the curses that lead to death. In this context, ego’s fantasies and illusions along with their negative traits and trends are the burdens for which God makes us accountable. Hence we must understand Solomon’s message not as an unchangeable and meaningless human condition unworthy to be lived, but as a fact for us to realize that the opposites of the temporary nature of the vanities and futility of an egotistic approach to life are the transcending qualities of love’s ways and attributes.

“I have seen all the deeds under the sun, and behold all is vanity and a vexation of the spirit [soul]. A crooked thing cannot be straight [lit. fixed], and what is absent [lit. lacking] cannot be counted.” (1:14-15)

Here we understand that what is broken can’t return to its original state, simply because its fragmented state. This also refers to ego’s materialistic desires derived from beliefs and feelings of lack, for lack is the opposite of wholeness.

In love’s ways and attributes there is never lack, for love encompasses and integrates everything that is valuable, and therefore named and counted by God as part of the goodness He wants to make prevail in His creation.

From the Book's Foreword

Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.