Vessels of Kavanah
Kavanah is to aim your thoughts, give them a direction, a target.
“It can happen. The very act of pouring a pure cold glass of water from the antique pitcher into a fine crystal glass and then drinking it down, cold and flowing as deep as if drinking from the eternal wellspring of life. It can happen. The very act of stooping at the familiar and safe creek, where the water rushes fast and is as cold as arctic, yes, ancient arctic, all the while, stooping, then kneeling like a child on its way, learning to crawl and then with fine wonder of the water itself and something else, the hands serve as well as the antique pitcher and crystal glass-- they cup themselves round in grateful attribution, they immerse as handmade vessels that transport the clear hydrogen-oxygen in through the lips, down into the soul of the living vessel. It can happen that an everyday act of cranking at the tap, thrusting it as it were, in a morning rush, into the too familiar bathroom cup that needs cleaning, anyhow; but still, it can happen that this, too, can be raised to a sacred act, if only, to give pause, a moment. And Kavanah.”
Kavanah is to aim the thought, give it direction, target. It is doing something with clear and straight purpose for noble attributes such a truth, beauty, love, that is to say, it exists above action, in the world of intentions. We want to exist in the world of good intentions.
Currently, many live in a world, not only of bad intentions, but worse, no intentions at all. Click-bait abounds. Along with auto-fill-in mode, energy drinks and instant noodles. (I admit to liking instant noodles, but won’t digress too far on that point.)
In the book, ‘Shamati’, #25, a section entitled, Things that Come from the Heart, dated, July 25th 1944, the question arises: This matter of the heart. What’s this thing, known as heart?
It reads: “Regarding things that come from the heart, enter the heart. Hence, why do we see that even if things have already entered the heart, one still falls from his degree?”
“The thing is when one hears words of Torah from his teacher, he immediately agrees with his teacher with his heart and soul. But afterwards, when he comes out to the world, he sees, covets, and is infected by the multitude of desires roaming the world and his mind, his heart, and his will are annulled before the majority.”
A little further down the page, it goes on to say, “He mingles with their desires and is led like a sheep to slaughter. He has no choice; he is compelled to think, want, crave, and demand everything that the majority demands.”
It is for anyone to consider, the effects of “worldly influences” and their impact on all. (I was going to share here a “woke-up” story from someone who got rid of Netflix because of the filth they realized they were watching, but I didn’t even want to write that so I’ll just leave this in parenthesis along with the word: Garbage.) Certainly, we may be physically present in the world, but we don’t need to be part of ITS values.
Our innate abilities ‘eyes to see and ears to hear exists’; however, it seems the ‘current master of this world, is Deception’; its cunning is everywhere-- so much so, out in the open, one cannot see for looking. The secular world encroaches upon our sense and sensibilities.
And what does that mean? Our very hearts and desires are and have been corrupted.
To Illustrate: I had several years ago picked up an old “People” magazine at a thrift. Not to read! I can’t stand those rags. This one, dated June 26, 2017, might have made its way in my door, but I didn’t allow it in my heart. Its intended use was to have the pictures as prompts for subject matter to write on what is “the human experience”(undoubtedly, and unfortunately to include such as this sad commentary on part of human culture today).
My ‘project’ had been shelved, nevertheless, the magazine remained, stuffed under a pile of papers. Today, remembering it, IT is worse than I even remember. This ‘gossip thing’ had, among its ‘headlines’, “Girl on Trial for Boyfriend’s Suicide-Deadly Texts?, Katy Perry Ranks Her Lovers! Why She’s Telling All, Bachelor in Paradise - Inside the Shocking Scandal.” Included within this snappy glossy are an ‘Amazon music unlimited’ ad. It doesn’t have to plead with us. It knows what most want. They want more! So I can’t say, ‘IT SAYS’, I have to say it ‘PULLS OUR STRINGS’ with this:
We can “Listen to tens of millions of songs.” (That’s the fine print) The rest? It’s on a full page ad that shouts in big black letters, "I JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH ".
I have to ask, “Why?” Why does everything have to be like the Rolling Stones, “I can’t get no satisfaction”?
It is known that people have a tendency towards dissatisfaction and somewhere deep inside everyone there’s a point that recognizes that “it” cannot be filled by anything this world has to offer. No fashion trend or energy drink, no Netflix or flashy car will fill it. What will, then?
Kavanah. And Let it be “Kavanah”. Which is translated to mean “Good Intention”.
Search for it, and don’t let it fall by the wayside. See (Luke 8:5) on wayside.
Perhaps this world, in all its vanity, is not “the real world”. This is the place of work, but in vain pursuits, that is the nature of “hevel”, which means, vapour in Hebrew. If it were not vapour, it would not be work, but “work of the heart”. THERE. IS. THE. DIFFERENCE. What might be, at this time, summed up best in Shamati #26 a portion of which here I quote:
“Thus if one knows one’s lowness, that one is not more privileged than one’s contemporaries, meaning that one sees that there are many people in the world who were not given the strength to work the holy work even in the simplest of ways, even in Lo Lishma of Lo Lishma, and even in preparation for the preparation of the clothing of Kedusha (Sanctity), while he was imparted the desire and the thought to nevertheless occasionally do holy work, even in the simplest possible way, if one can appreciate the importance of it, according to the importance that one ascribes to the holy work, to that extent one should give praise and be grateful for it.”
The understanding of Lo Lishma is too broad, too high in the scope for this little article, but in the above, I sense the strumming sounds in the chord of Kavanah: Purpose, Direction, Heart, Good Intention.