a meditation on meaning

[this is a largely unoriginal rambling inspired by the words of the Koheleth from the ancient book of wisdom, Ecclesiastes]

all things are wearisome
so much more than one can say
the repetition is so nauseating
the daily grind leaves me hollow, and yet
round and round everything goes
always moving through the motions, yes
time never rests from its ruthless pace
leaving so much and so many forgotten

a great burden is borne by our struggling race!
so much more than anyone can fathom
oh, what do people gain from all their labours
at which they anxiously toil under the sun?

I have desperately sought solutions and answers
as I have been endlessly haunted by this question
yet in my working and resting, in all my pursuits
it has continued to linger and bother and deafen

I pursued wisdom to solve this dilemma of mine
thinking more knowledge would cure my dis-ease
I investigated and searched out the scheme of all things
even that of wickedness and the madness of folly
I consumed every word and page and material assigned
relentlessly chasing every idea under the sun
and such an enormous stream of books and lectures
has poured into my mind and my ego
yet all this wisdom has just made my heart heavy
oh, with more knowledge comes so much more grief
I did not expect an education in sadness and sorrow
but my understanding has increased my despair
and neither am I able to outwit my sure fate
no, both the wise and the foolish face the same end

oh, what vanity! what futility!
it is all just chasing after the wind!
just trying grasp and hold on to mere vapours!

yet I kept on pursuing something more
to calm the question that was burdening my mind
so I denied myself nothing my eyes desired
and refused my heart no pleasure
every lust that would arise, I indulged
with sights and sounds and images and screens
I had so many slaves toiling to make my cheap goods
and a fresh harem each day at my fingertips
oh, I consumed all the products that were marketed to me
and enjoyed every single delight, and yet

my eyes never see enough
my ears never hear enough
my body never feels enough
my hunger remains

oh the ecstasy warms, but just for a moment
yes, my wisdom would eventually confront me
seeking pleasure was just a willful distraction
but in time I crashed into reality
nothing has met my insatiable desires
not even chasing after so many vapours!

but this was not it, no this was not all
I could not give up my struggle for significance
so I chased wealth and possessions, and
achievements and status, to give my life some real meaning
I may not have reached the very top of the mountain
but to be fair, I am close to the peak
I have a job and a house and a steady income
and not to mention, so many luxuries
I’ve amassed things for my walls, for my shelves
for my body; a really impressive empire of stuff
and I eat like a king, yes I never go hungry
I even buy new wardrobes to wear while I grow
and I have stubbornly studied just to get some respect
earning my worth through our sacred institutions
since it’s degrees and it’s titles and extra letters after names
that elicit deep trust and esteem with my people

yet I scoff at my spot as I climb up this mountain
looking up and ignoring my slaves
as goods increase so do those who consume them
the supply never satisfies the demand
whoever loves money keeps chasing after more
whoever loves wealth never has enough income
and there are so many graduates, yet so little wisdom
so many specialists in really refined follies
now it’s possible to be a fool and a faculty member
since our sacred ranks don’t require common sense
whoever loves degrees binds themselves to their credits
whoever loves titles never has enough letters

I saw that all toil and all achievement
spring from one person’s envy of another
this too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind!
we are easily fooled by our own clever deceptions
but there is nothing modern, nothing novel, no
there is nothing new under the sun!
it’s all smoke!  it’s all meaningless!
empty toiling and grasping after vapours!

after all of my searching and grasping
I have learned this one thing
God created humanity upright
but we have gone in search of many schemes
yet I know there is something more than these vanities
for You have placed eternity in our hearts

but is there anything real?  anything that matters?
anything that is true and good and beautiful?

yes, Your beauty breaks beyond all our ugliness
Your goodness speaks from deep within our souls
You are pure Meaning in our constant chaos of vanity
the fullness Eternity in this ever-fleeting time
all our incoherence and confusion and countless vanities
finds coherence and clarity and meaning in You

so I unclench my fists
to let go of these burdens
for in You I find rest from my chasings
in You I find peace from my weariness
yes, your yoke is easy
your burden is light
You are Beauty
You are Truth
You are Goodness


a restless prayer

I am restless; I am frantic
O my soul is unsettled
as I lie waiting to drift into dreams
in these last moments, awake
I long for clarity and peace
so why do I suffer this dis-ease?
O my soul is unsettled from so many distractions
from feasting my mind and emotions
I have filled myself full, now there is little space left
barely enough to sense my soul’s discomfort

what will calm my frantic heart?
what will heal my sickness within?
it is only You, O wise Comforter
only You, and your peace that surpasses

direct all my chasing, all my longings towards you
so my rivers rush into your oceans
you have all my work and my givings
all my angst and diseases
O Emptied One, you have moved me to weakness

my soul collapses before you
I am so tired from my diversions
give me rest as I dismantle my defences