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.

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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.