Reflections before going to sleep

sleep justiceA sleep researcher gave this advice at a recent lecture: Think positive thoughts as you drift off for the night. Put aside the stress of the day. Try relaxation and meditation techniques.

How about watching reruns of “Law and Order”? I’ve found that cop show soothing before bedtime. The plot twists are creative, and the bad folks get put away. The rightful order of society is restored. The scales of justice are balanced. All is right with the world.

Images of good triumphing over evil often flow through my mind in the late-night hours. These aren’t abstractions. They come from the grudge vault in my head. Decades ago, when I was in my upwardly-mobile phase in the newspaper world, an ambitious co-worker blundered, then ran to the boss and blamed his mistake on me. This fellow had ingratiated himself with the boss, and his duplicity was soon rewarded with a promotion. As far as I know, this scoundrel never got his comeuppance — except in the fantasies of cruel and unusual punishment that help put me to sleep.

I was talking to a woman at my athletic club a few weeks ago and told her about the low-life who banged into my black 2014 Mustang in a parking lot and took off. She nodded her head and assured me that what goes around comes around.

“It’s pretty to think that,” I said.

She gave me a quizzical look as though I didn’t understand the basics of karma. What I understand is that I got stuck paying the $500 deductible on my auto insurance.

If I still subscribed to the Catholicism of my youth, I could simply conjure up the Day of Judgment and enjoy the stunned grimaces coming from all those people who thought they would get away with their sins and wickedness. My fifth-grade nun at Our Lady of Lourdes grammar school painted especially vivid pictures of the torments of hell. My pals and I went to confession weekly.

After falling away from the faith, I was left to ponder the classic issues of good and evil and the basis for righteous living. Why do bad thing things happen to good people? Do villains live happily ever after in their penthouses?

The sleep expert’s emphasis on positive thinking has made me wonder whether dark thoughts take some toll in my waking life. I’ve decided to try accentuating the positive at bedtime. I will reflect on good things that happened during the day.  I hope my dreams will be pleasant.

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One Response to Reflections before going to sleep

  1. Tom Quinn says:

    I and my brothers witnessed your upwardly mobile phase at Braddock Park, not to mention your lateral movement.

    “Do villains live happily ever after in their penthouses?” As a fifth-grader I was in a late round of a citywide spelling bee when asked to spell “villain.” I quickly rattled off “V I L L I A N,” then quickly took my seat, then took in the groans from the audience. You just renewed that memory, thus making it a chore tonight to sleep, perchance to nightmare. Thanks, Paul. (And I’m aware that nightmare isn’t a verb. It’s a president.)

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