“The reason why the world is far from Hashem…is ONLY because they don’t have yishuv hadaas, [the ability to unite with their “present moment awareness”]. They’re not able to settle down. The main thing is to to try and really calm ourselves down.” (Tinyana 10)
You’re gonna think this is weird but the above teaching brings to mind something Rebbe Nachman said about Uman Rosh Hashana. The Rebbe said, “My Rosh Hashana is greater than anything else” and “anyone who merits to be with me for Rosh Hashana should be exceedingly happy” רָאוּי לוֹ לִשְׂמחַ מְאד מְאד. (Chayei Moharan 403)
This means that anyone who went to the Rebbe in Uman for Rosh Hashana should always be happy. Just for that one thing alone, we should bliss-out all year long. Really! So why isn’t that the case? Because we don’t have yishuv hadaas. We’re not living in the moment. We’re upset about our past and we’re afraid about our future but we’re not living in the moment.” The main thing is to really calm our minds”. It’s proving quite hard now with all that’s going on and our obsession with this virus. But we need to quiet our minds and live in the moment. It’s the only way to have dveikus. There’s almost nothing else to do anyways. (And, of course, even if you’ve never been to Uman for Rosh Hashana, I’m sure you have many many mitzvos that can bring you true joy. Why not meditate on that?) We need to build our muscle of yishuv hadaas.
You might ask, why should the present moment bring us joy? Because that’s our natural state. Sadly, we’ve corrupted our minds, so we don’t feel happy unless we peel away the layers, but happiness truly is our default position. For instance, our deepest, most real sound is heard from the shofar. The Rebbe teaches (Chayei Moharan 96) that the first letters of the verse “אָז יִמָּלֵא] שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה]” (“[Then our mouths were] filled with joy and our tongues with song”) is שׁוֹפָר (Shofar). And probably our deepest most real expression is crying (בכיה). The first letters of the verse בְּשִׁמְךָ יְגִילוּן כָּל הַיּוֹם (We will rejoice in Your name all day long) is בכיה. This tells me that our most authentic expressions are ones of joy. That’s who we are right now, in this moment. We are happy people. If we can’t access it, it’s only because we don’t have yishuv hadaas, present moment awareness.