Sleep is fantastic! Wonderful! Welcomed any time of day! Yet it is not just quantity that is important: It’s also the quality. Is it possible that yoga and meditation can help when it comes to determining the condition and amount of sleep we need? I think it can!
Isn’t it amazing, that when we sleep, it is like being dead to this world? We have travelled to another realm. We are oblivious to the things happening around us. For every hour we sleep, we are switched off and tuned out!
We all need sleep and it sure is the body’s mechanism of ensuring it is rejuvenated and running well. When I get my quota of sleep, I am a super happy bunny! Yet sleep can also be a metaphor for many things. For example, we could be in a deep sleep of ignorance. Meaning, that we choose not to look at the truth, or we turn a ‘blind eye’ to things that we know are not right. By contrast, it is interesting to note that the term ‘awakening’ is used when we become spiritually aware. When we are ‘awake’ in this sense we are ‘enlightened’; no longer ’in the dark’, our eyes are open to a deeper sensing and knowing.
And what is it about sleep that makes us feel that everything will be alright once I we go to bed. Does sleep magically fix all of our problems? Are we deluding ourselves, or using sleep as an escape to avoiding dealing with our issues?
If we are always feeling sleepy, or in need of many hours of sleep, or can’t get out of bed, then we need to check whether it is physical tiredness, or mental tiredness. Our forefathers would till the soil and graze the cattle. The woman would bend over and pick the vegetables and hand wash the clothes, and many other chores. It is understandable if they got tired and needed more sleep. But our physical work is minimal. We have all kinds of gadgets to make our life easy and speedy. Yet why is it that we feel over tired and often overwhelmed? Perhaps we need to wake up to what is not working in our lives. Perhaps we need to fix an issue or address the stress before it gets the better of us and we fall asleep forever!
At the same time, we would be wise to look at the areas of our lives where we are asleep to the truth of who we are. Here is a checklist of some of the signs that we are still spiritually asleep:
- I am ignoring the changes that need to take place in my soul.
- I ‘blame’ others for everything.
- I expect others to fix the world and its problems.
- I can’t see the positive and goodness in people and situations around me.
- I can’t stay silent for long periods of time – always needing to talk.
- I need to communicate and express my feelings but I don’t.
- I am afraid to take the first step of courage towards change.
- I am motivated by ego, anger and greed to create a false sense of my own success.
- I see myself repeating the same negative patterns again and again but am unable to change them.
- I feel heaviness in my body and mind.
- I am constantly rushing, getting out of balance, and then crashing.
- I am impatient, short tempered, snappy, argumentative, needy etc…
- I can’t make clear decisions.
- I eat for emotional comfort.
- My heart is closed and I can’t share the love with others.
- I am just living day to day – there is no joy or enthusiasm in my life.
- I feel an emptiness inside.
- I am not listening to my intuition and moving forward on it.
- I am not giving enough attention and nurturing to my body.
- I allow people to drain my energy or my relationships are strained.
- I want, wish, expect or hope that other people will change (so I don’t have to!)
- I sink into victim consciousness.
- I feel I don’t know my true purpose in life.
- I am not connecting with God.
- I am not feeling worthy.
- I feel powerless to solve past unhealed problems that makes me feel sad and alone, so I want to sleep away the depression.
All the vices of anger, greed, ego, jealousy, attachment, lust, and so on, put the soul to sleep. They can give the illusion of power and victory, which is why we are attracted to them, but the feelings are short lived, hollow and very shallow. This is another kind of sleep, where we have a band over our eyes, as we refuse to see Maya, the illusion.
Once awake, we need to stay awake. Being awake means to be happy, joyful, excited and enthused about life. If you remember the story of Samson and Delilah, it was when Delilah lured the mighty Samson into a slumber that she was able to ‘cut’ away all his powers! Thus, we need to stay attentive and alert at all times. The bandits can come at any time to rob us of our powers. If the guard falls asleep, robbery is inevitable!
“Never go to sleep without a request
to your subconscious.”
As we meditate more, we are able to manage our thoughts better. So that means we have fewer waste thoughts, more powerful thoughts, and thus we lose less energy. Consequently, we are less tired, and need less hours of sleep. Thus, if we can make ourselves strong emotionally through meditation, we definitely need less sleep.
It would be good to go to bed having had a little meditation so as to clear away the stress and clutter of the day and get a restful sleep. Write about your day, talk to God, try to make peace with it. Fall asleep with thoughts of gratitude and comfort, and positive expectations of how you would like the following day to unfold. The subconscious mind will process that during the night and you will wake up refreshed and happy. As soon as you awaken, reaffirm your thoughts of the night before, and start your day wide awake to wonderful possibilities.
It’s time… to wake up from the deep sleep of ignorance. Focus on the truth, the light and the positive. And once awake, guard yourself from the bandits of sleep, before you fall into a deep sleep of slumber.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK