Monday, August 28, 2017

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

Two are better than one, since they have good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his friend, but woe to the one who falls and has no second one to lift him up. Moreover, if two lie down, they will have warmth, but how will one have warmth?
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-11)

Generosity and compassion give sense and meaning to life in a world where we all depend on each other for our individual and collective goodness. In this understanding and approach we are constantly rewarded, for goodness is its own reward. Thus we also assimilate that pursuing goodness is the main purpose of life as a learning process.

We come to know goodness in contrast to anything different or opposed to it, for it is the only way to live it, value, protect and defend it. Thus we see goodness as a source we must turn into a reservoir for the times when our own goodness is challenged and threatened by the negative traits and trends triggered by a selfish approach to life. The latter is the “one way street” mentality that depends on goodness but does not provide it, for such mentality leads only to death and destruction.

And if a man prevails against the one, the two will stand against him, and a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken. (4:12)

In our unity lies our strength. The more we are bond to each other, the better we can face and overcome our challenges as well as confronting and defeating our enemies. This principle must be applied to our own levels and dimensions of consciousness.

Discernment must lead our thoughts to focus on goodness in order to strengthen our emotions and feelings, and be able to direct our speech and actions toward good deeds. Goodness must be the unifying tread of all aspects and expressions of life, as the eternal bond with our Creator.

Better a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who no longer knows to receive admonition. For out of the prison he has come to reign, for even in his kingdom he becomes humble. (4:13-14)

Humility is an expression of wisdom, for only true wisdom can make us humble. The first verse refers to the “poor” as one who needs less, and his fulfillment does not depend on material possessions that he has to care for and protect, as a king who rules over a nation.

Foolishness is related to lack of wisdom or plain ignorance, which makes us unable or incapable to discern between the ways and attributes of goodness, and the traits and trends of ego’s fantasies and illusions that never accept or respond to admonitions.

In this sense the foolishness derived from ignorance is the prison from which the fool carries his life. Once we learn from the failures and falls due to ignorance and from the foolishness of materialistic fantasies and illusions, we become humble enough with sufficient wisdom to rule life as our own individual kingdom.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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

The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. Better is a handful of relief than two handfuls of toil and frustration. And I returned and saw vanity under the sun.(Ecclesiastes 4:5-7)

Selfishness leads us to live within the limits of our own haughtiness, anger, lust, indifference and indolence, with their negative trends and expressions. These restrict our actions and deeds to our materialistic fantasies and illusions, at the expense and detriment of the goodness inherent in life, by “folding our hands” towards ourselves.

They slice off what is on the right hand but still are hungry, and they eat what is on the left hand but they are not sated. Each of them eats the flesh of his own arm. (Isaiah 9:20)

In this predicament we end up eating our own existence (“flesh”), instead of focusing permanently on goodness as our true relief. Certainly, ego’s fantasies and illusions are our “toil and frustration” as the vanity and vexation under the sun.

There is one, and there is no second; yea, he has neither son nor brother, and there is no end to all his toil; neither is his eye sated from wealth. Now for whom do I toil and deprive my soul of pleasure? This too is vanity and an unhappy affair.
(Ecclesiastes 4:8)

A self-centered man has no other in mind except himself, who believes he is second to none. This total lack of generosity or compassion for others makes him work only for his own desires that will never be sated due to their temporary nature.

Hence we must question the real purpose of life, and ask for whom and for what we toil and deprive our true essence and identity of the total pleasure and fulfillment in goodness.

At some point in life we ultimately will realize that goodness is the reason and purpose of our complete well being, and that ego’s fantasies and illusions are vanity and an unhappy affair.

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.

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.