Keep on dreaming!
Reb Shlomo Carlebach says, there are two kinds of sleep. There is the sleep of Adam, during which Eve was created, the sleep of [creating] life. And then there is the sleep of death. I could meditate for hours only on those two sentences.
I want to talk about the dreams of life. Of not just a better life. Of perfect life. Back to the Garden of Eden. Those day and/or night dreams of hope are important. Not only do they help us to await Redemption and help Redemption coming about. We need to have a live image of what that should look like.
We need to be able to imagine that one day, no one will ever again commit evil. What is evil? Deep question, simple answer. Evil is the infliction of unnecessary hurt. Maybe remember that. Sounds simple but took some work to get it down.
Why do we need to envision the disappearance of evil? Because without a notion of what that will look like, we could neither strive for its abolition nor recognize when Redemption has arrived. We would not believe it even. Impossible!
And from where should our belief in a return to Paradise come? Scripture is a nice source. Or John Lennon. But there is one more source of optimism. Providence or Evolution (or both) have built this conviction biologically into our brains. Listen.
When we were really really tiny, at a certain moment, a small cluster of our cells, neurons, already developed memory. They could register events and later return to them. Early memories. What’s so special about them? I will tell you right now.
Our first memories registered everything our present memory provides. Details of details. What we see, what we feel, what we sense, and what we think. But one thing was missing, absent, from our first memories: pain. Our earliest brain could not register pain yet. All our earliest memories are painless, pain-free, care-free.
That was many months before we were born. Most people don’t remember that. But still, those memories keep most people going, emotionally, for decades. No matter how much pain we feel and see, we will stay optimistic, even if our trust became just a secret buried deep inside in our brain. Especially young people. After a fresh hurt and deep cry, they’re good to go again. No power talks needed.
Pain is important. Feeling it (or seeing it coming) can help us prevent it, cope with it, heal it, and plot to abolish it. Don’t ignore pain. It’s (can be) our best friend!
But some older people develop a habit of complaining. “I can’t go on like this any longer.“ Paradoxically, they can talk like that for decades, because deep down, they have enough hope to go on. They know that a world without evil is possible because they remember once being there. So, they can imagine returning there.
Most people who want to end their lives—and please don’t kill yourself but remember that it will get better!—only seek to end their pain. They’re just not aware that they want to return to Paradise. Tell them that it will be here, soon.
And we can all do our individual part to bring about earthly Paradise sooner. We can learn to recognize evil, even when it’s called good or normal. We can muster the vision to stop, prevent, and end its grip on humanity. And we can gain enough friends to enable us to make our dream of dreams slowly come true (again).
Meanwhile, even when we forgot where we came from (Paradise) and where we are going to (the Garden of Eden), it will be realistic to be in good spirits. Are we angry at the home trainer for giving us so much resistance? Of course not. That’s the whole reason why we mounted it. Its very resistance will get us in shape.
Be happy with what you have, with the little you have, for being alive at all, for nothing in particular. Be happy because you see happiness as your natural state. All the time being angry, moody, scared, sad, unsatisfied is just a habit to kick.