Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ecclesiastes Revisited -- A Modern Take on an Old Search for Meaning -- Chap 8 Conclusions

The fact that Sophia was actually the Holy Spirit was certainly credible. It seemed to fit. She was there the whole time trying to point me away from mental dangers. So, I decided for once in my life to sit at her feet . . . rather than brushing her off my shoulder.

“So Sophia, how does one find meaning in this world?”

“Hmm. You see meaning is not for the finding . . . it is for the taking.  Meaning is not in your doings but in your making.”

That sounds interesting but . . . I didn’t understand the full meaning at that juncture.  So I had to ask, “So, what does that mean in practical terms?”

“You, son of Adam, grandson of the earth, you were in breathed with the very essence of God . . . which is alone sufficient for giving you infinite meaning, even in your rest.”

“But God didn’t put us here on this earth just to take up space. We were intended for a purpose.”

“You were?”

“I wasn’t?”

“That’s were the problem is . . . the celestial misunderstanding. That is what the scriptures are about, from the beginning until the very end. That is the Gospel, the complete rest in Christ. Solomon, with my help, figured it out.”

“So it sounds like I suppose to just sit around in my boxers and watch sit-coms.”

“If you like. You still have infinite meaning if you do.”

“But, I thought it was a Christian virtue to avoid becoming a sluggard and to be industrial in all we do.”

“But not to find meaning. Meaning is in a different dimension than doing. There are two different things at stake in being the sluggard.

The first is injustice to other meaningful people. If one doesn’t provide their own subsistence, and they are capable of doing so, then it diminishes the meaning of the others who work to provide that subsistence for them. So doing to find subsistence is different than doing to find meaning.

In the second area, doing is for the doer, to enjoy all that which was made by God for their pleasure. An artist paints for their own fulfillment, not for to find the purpose of their existence, and if they do paint just to fulfill a purpose, they will be miserable.  This great universe was created for you and you were created from it. You have an infinite connection to it and to the earth from whose dirt you were conceived.  The beauty, the tastes, the smells, the experiences are all given to you by a loving God for you good pleasure.”

I sat in a contemplative trance for . . . a summer. On the other side, I became a new man. I learned to rest in my intrinsic meaning. I learned to savor the taste of a coffee bean, sloshing across my tongue, back and forth until it is spent. I relished the complex tapestry of words so woven by the great novelist. I learned to sit contently at a table for hours, listening to an individual, whom previously I would have considered as insignificant to my life, but now the most important person . . . even be they a complete stranger.  I learned to gaze at a work of art for an hour while I breathed in and out softly, being totally enthralled in the emotions—so projected by the artist through the end of a brush.  I learned to walk a trail through the mountains, not to buffet my body, to make me a better person, but to inhale the scents of the fir, the loam and to hear the sounds of the wood pecker and the marmot. 

I learned to lay on my back on back on the soft grass and watch the clouds move in the troposphere like colliding icebergs of foam and to do this for hours.

I became a student of wines, a disciple of herbs and an apprentice of textures and fibers. I completely immersed myself in the senses, not to over-indulge, but to savor. I finally found my meaning which is to be in that form in which God has created me. 

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