I'd like to talk about how we make meaning, why we need to make meaning, and how the lack of any real meaning in the world is exactly why everyone is so depressed and/or pissed off all of the time.
My acquaintance with ancient spiritual texts is not new. I have been studying a very large selection of both Eastern and Western texts since the age of seventeen, and studied comparative religious philosophy at University. I am well-versed in the oral and written tradition of the Abrahamic religions, (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), as well as Buddhist, Hindu and Sufi texts.
It should not be news to the reader that much of what might appear cryptic or obtuse in these tracts contains much truth. I am not talking about fundamentalist or literalist readings; not at all. I am interested in the polar opposite. I am interested in open interpretation and retelling. My belief is that if we are willing to read the symbolism and the myth into our lives, if we are willing to encounter something—whatever that might be—in ourselves authentically as story instead of reality, we might very well turn this upside down world we live in right side up.
The following is inspired by a short excerpt from the Book of Haggai, a very small and prophetic book in the Old Testament. This is somewhat appropriate, considering that I what I endeavored to do this morning was write about Israel's merciless shelling of Gaza, but I could not do it directly. To so would be political and therefore stupid. I'd not add anything of value to that failed discourse. I only could read and meditate, and in so doing found this piece and transcribed it in a way that expresses ultimately my dismay with the ceaseless violence of that region. I hope it has some value for the reader. I have left it titled as such, Haggai, and imagined a poetic conversation in which the Prophet himself mediates the affairs between Israel and Palestine. I apologize in advance to anyone who takes offense to me taking liberties with Scripture, but let's be honest: that's not new either, is it.
Let's talk awhile while the rain comes, all of us. Sit and reflect carefully how things have gone as of late.
Even though we have done much work and sown much, the harvest is still poor. The storehouse is empty and fear is lingering around here like the ghost of dead child.
We eat but we never have enough, we drink but never have our fill, put our clothes on but do not feel warm. The wage laborer gets his wages only to put them in a purse riddled with holes...and the land owner, he stores up grain, only to find it is blighted with a pestilence!
The abundance both of you expected has proven to be illusory, and yet you look at one another as if your brother were your keeper. Was it he who planted the seed, or he who brought it to market that is blameless?
Let me ask you both then, since you are here, and we've nothing but time. When you were bringing the harvest in, what happened? The House fell into ruin!
You were busy with your own affairs, of course, each of you. One was counting useless copper pennies and the other picking worms from the chaff, poking around with a golden rod.