Here’s the fast track, courtesy of the teachings of the Chassidic masters on how we can turn negativity into positivity. This applies on an individual level in the challenges we each personally face, as well as on a more macro level in transforming our world.

  1. Acknowledge that we live in a crazy, mixed-up world.
  2. This crazy, mixed-up world, which we call galut (“exile”), is compared to a dream. In a dream, opposites can coexist, often in confusing chaotic patterns. Our eyes are closed to true reality; we cannot access our full intellect and potential. Similarly, we live in a world that is full of contradictions, and we aren’t always in tune with our real selves at a soul level.
  3. The turnaround? Waking up! Geula is “redemption.” It means the complete transformation of darkness to light for our world and everything in it.
  4. How do we get there? The interpretation of a dream draws its outcome. We have an incredible capacity to have an impact on this crazy, mixed-up world—this dream-like state—by the way we make sense of it. Positive interpretation equals positive outcome.
  5. What is a positive interpretation of the messy dream of galut? Understand that being here in this complex world—forging on even in the face of great difficulty with acts of goodness and kindness—is the engine to transform the darkness to light and is actually bringing the redemption. This is true even if we cannot directly see the full result of our actions.
  6. What’s the fast track to get us there sooner? Allow narratives of evolving positivity, encouragement, compassion, authenticity and unity to permeate your thoughts, speech and actions.
  7. And here’s an extra power boost: Your positivity and joy will break through all barriers, and blast away any last vestiges of darkness.

Sources: Talmud, Brachot 55b; Chassidic explanations of Psalm 126, Psalm said at the beginning of Grace After Meals on Shabbat and holidays; Maamar Pada B’Shalom, 5735; Likkutei Amarim Tanya, Ch. 37; Maamar Samach Tismach, 13th Elul, 5741.