To sleep or not to sleep, is that the question?

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The concept of a life of service has fascinated me for a long time. Each and every time I think I am starting to understand it, something or someone sheds light on yet another aspect of it and I am left musing for many more hours.

And I love it.

You know how we’re always complaining about how being tired is a bad thing? Well recently, I decided to try to be positive about every single little thing. Funnily enough, my attempts to be positive about being tired have been accompanied by more and more people complaining about being tired. In any case, I came to realize, after many (tired) consultations with friends that, to a certain extent, being tired is a really good thing.

One anecdote shared with me had two people who usually don’t get along laughing their heads off together because they were so tired, their usual defenses were all gone. And apparently, in the following days, a fragile friendship emerged. So by being totally tired, two people might be able to develop a strong bond of friendship.

Another anecdote was about a worrywart who just didn’t have any energy to worry; he apparently mellowed so much so that he never once panicked during a particularly stressful time at his office, and because he was so calm, he managed to guide a consultation that led to solving a particularly bad crisis.

Which makes me think that perhaps focusing on ourselves, be it seemingly on such an altruistic level (sleeping for the sake of service) might defeat the purpose it is meant to achieve, i.e. that focusing on wanting to sleep, even if it is to serve better, makes us more self centered, and can then become a veil of sorts.

Of course don’t get me wrong, we should get the rest that our bodies need – I am not encouraging a life of sleeplessness! But these stories encourage me to think that, next time I’m tired, I’m going to take it as a special opportunity for growth rather than an obstacle to service.

And I will also use it as an opportunity to have coffee. Just saying. 

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2 thoughts on “To sleep or not to sleep, is that the question?

  1. yay! thanks sahar! notice the absolutely satisfying feeling of being productive is always accompanied by a feeling of sweet exhaustion? I think the key is getting exhausted at doing something we love… so with service, we would need to always have our hearts turned to the object of our adoration 🙂

  2. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá talks about the qualifications of the enlightened soul:
    EVANESCENCE or Humility. That is to say, man must become evanescent in God. Must forget his own selfish conditions that he may thus arise to the station of sacrifice. It should be to such a degree that if he sleep, it should not be for pleasure, but to rest the body in order to do better, to speak better, to explain more beautifully, to serve the servants of God and to prove the truths. When he remains awake, he should seek to be attentive, serve the Cause of God and sacrifice his own stations for those of God. When he attains to this station, the confirmations of the Holy Spirit will surely reach him, and man with this power can withstand all who inhabit the earth.
    (Baha’i World Faith, p. 384)

    as you say, I don’t think the key point is to strive towards tiredness. the side effect of being tired might be to be more relaxed and not have our defenses up, etc. but shouldn’t we be like that regardless? I think the main point is to forget ourselves and to focus on service to others. sleep might be a help to reach to that, but I’m not sure it’s the best way to get there…

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