“May an Orthodox Christian dream?” you can often hear such question.
It all depends on the meaning we put into this concept.
In ascetic practice a “dream” has a negative meaning and means illusions, fantasies, self-delusion, substitution of real life with impossible desires and experiencing them as a reality.
Such dreams generally come from ego, which can completely destroy sincerity and cordiality, kill any good impulse in the heart. Mercy, meekness, compassion, and self-sacrifice are systematically expelled from a proud heart, while being regarded as a sign of weakness, not peculiar to successful and strong-minded people.
Driven by ego, one consciously avoids working for the benefit of one’s neighbors, protects oneself from unnecessary worries and anxieties about others. Thus, people deprive their soul of the love that can no longer warm their heart, bring joy and peace.
All dreams and desires of such person come from vain and selfish demands and inevitably bring harm to the soul.
It takes a lot of courage and firmness not to come under the influence of the “sweetness” of such dreams and wishes dictated by our passions and bad habits. It requires utmost precaution and self-sufficiency not to wander from the path, which goal is moral perfection.
A dream can also become a great incentive and motivation helping us to move forward, develop, and live.
A dream as a burning and ardent desire to do well for one’s soul or to do something for the benefit of one’s neighbor, family, to make one’s relatives happy is an essential condition for existence.
A warm heart is able to light other people’s hearts and is capable of helping people to find the truth, develop, it can warm and inspire.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer, wrote, “If you want to build a ship, do not gather people to collect wood and do not assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”.
To paraphrase his words, it may be said that a Christian needs to awaken in themselves a longing for paradise, for those times, when communion with God was the natural and integral center of human life; there were no sorrows, no grief, no death, no pain, and only God’s grace, love, and beauty reflected in every grass blade, petal, drop of water, and breath of air; a beautiful place where all rivers wait for His reflection only, and all trails wait for His steps.
Sincere aspirations for such ideals and heights are certainly useful and commendable. Let them become an inspiring and redemptive dream, which is bound to come true.
“I am looking for someone who is like a window open to the sea. Why do I need a mirror with my own reflection? It fills me with longing”, we read in Saint-Exupéry’s works.
A Christian should become such a “window”, which opens to people the unknown horizons of love and joy of life in God.
Translated by Julia Frolova