The art of sleeping to be aware
Sleep is of paramount importance for our well-being, however; many will live life without the experience of proper rest.
There are the classic “tips,” like going to bed early, or disconnecting from computers, phones and TV a couple hours before sleeping, or even not to eat too late, etc. Those are “good” tips for most individuals (especially to shut down electronic devices.) Many will take a pill to snooze fast and will go along with the consequences of secondary effects. Nevertheless, there are suggestions that may be needed for other types of people.
In my years as a “seeker,” I used to wake up before 4 am to meditate for 45 minutes every morning. This practice has great benefits if and only if, we get a good sleep the night before. This reduced my sleeping time from 8 hours to 6 or less. I used to take a nap in the afternoon as well but, there were times when I was very tired from lack of sleep.
Even though our society considers that 8 hours of sleep is needed to recover properly, there are different sleeping needs as there are humans. Those needs will change in everyone, as we age in Life.
Sleeping is not a matter of quantity, but on how profound we let go of that which we call “I.” That is not “quality” but depth. “Sleeping like a baby,” happens when we become babies.
When we dissolve that consciousness of “I” with its perceived problems, and allow ourselves to disappear into the Totality, we will sleep very well, profound, even if for 3 hours.
As we become more sensible to other energies surrounding our environment, we may be susceptible to noises at the gross level or to energies around our bedroom, at the subtle level.
If there are noises caused outside and there is nothing we could do to stop it, we could integrate with that rather than reject it. If we reject, we will trigger heightened emotionality inside us. Our mind will go on with insults, complaints, ways to get even, etc. That will produce in turn, wakefulness of the “I.” An empty mind is helpful to avoid heightened emotionality.
Integration is not a “practice.” Animals will do it naturally in their environment despite their very sensitive senses. They are able to rest.
At the subtle level, there are many energies around our bedroom. Those energies sometimes interfere with proper sleep. For instance, sex is energy and there are subtle entities feeding on that as there is a continuous interchange with the environment. Also, if the bedroom is used for anything else but to sleep and to have sex with a loved one; then this “sacred” space is polluted at the subtle level and we will have difficulties to fall sleep. One way of cleaning is through the use of harmonious sounds. I use a “Tibetan singing bowl.”
This sound needs to be applied in all 4 corners of the bedroom (subtle energies prefer to dwell in the corners,) from the floor to the ceiling. Standing, hold the bowl and then bend over near the floor to play the bowl with the mallet and as the sound starts, raise the bowl as high as you can go towards the ceiling. This “practice” has worked for me very well. Here is an easy one to try: Change your position in your bed. Place your head where normally your feet are located for a couple of days. This is another practice that has worked for me.
The art of sleeping well, requires from us to let go of our personality. Many individuals fearing death may have a hard time sleeping well, for the “I” fears to lose control of its own existence.
Crowded cities present a sleeping problem. Buildings and apartment complexes are too close together and subtle energies do not know about limiting walls. Many times, it may not be “us” but others.
As we get closer to Nature and its rhythms, then balance reappears.
Loneliness to awaken the reality of the self
To remain undivided in life means to stop analyzing, dividing things, separating things with our minds.
That oneness is very simple. Nevertheless, that “oneness” as just an idea becomes an intellectual theory without insight. That “ intellectual oneness” has been marketed as another belief, another idea, another philosophy, another religion.
For any “learned individual” all is about gaining information. “Information is power,” they may say. In the spiritual realm, “information” is meaningless to experience a different realm of consciousness.
Without a “different” consciousness; our ability to see and experience becomes trapped in the setting of the “average guy.”
That is the guy surviving on TV; movies; his “own” business, the “news,” books, Cds, the internet, the latest research, the talk by Mr. politician; the class by Dr. Ph.D. ; M.D or the priest … That is the guy who only absorbs and “regurgitates” information he heard/read someplace; that person is there to “take from the outside and repeat it,” that is the person who is truly sleeping even though moving and breathing in the world; that sort of consciousness is easy to manipulate and “brain wash” with the “latest” information.
None of the above is “bad.” However, a person totally immersed in the above characteristics does not have inside him the “guts” to undergo a total change in personality.
Because that person is “sleeping.” That person does not have the capacity to look at himself and the things he does everyday automatically, without noticing. That person has no developed inner observation.
Please see that this is not a religious belief.
That person could be a great critic or commentator of “outside” reality. That person could write or talk with great ease, by using logic and reasoning…. But that person does not have the capacity to look inside; where there is no fluency in language or “powerful” writing that could help.
If someone asks me what is the single most important experience to start transforming the self; my answer without a doubt is the feeling of being alone.
This is the time when we could face ourselves as we truly are without any of the distractions that we are accustomed to.
Alone. By yourself. No family, No friends. No religious group to support you. Nothing.
That could be a good setting to start, if we can handle it.
If we survive the experience, then we will recognize what ego is all about at different levels. That “self” looking for different ways to survive or to live through others; looking to please others just to be accepted. That ego/sense of self begging for some sort of company to be busy with; something or someone to posses, something to call “ours,” something to fill the void, the empty sensation of existing with nothing permanent, but worries about ceasing to exist.
Here is when the “I” will look for certainty, for security in the afterlife, with God; “His protection” with a religious group; with someone as long as that pain of inner emptiness is mitigated.
A hopeless day yells
for a bright sunny sky,
this loneliness is dry
turning my heaven into hell
After that hell; the light… then the discovery that no one is ever alone appears in the experience of your own company. Then, a bright sunny sky comes in your life despite the ups and downs of the weather of life.
Everything was just a bunch of thoughts, and those moments of feeling loneliness only brought the key to experience the inner self.
Many throw that key away as soon as possible. Few, will use that key to open the door into themselves.
That is where everything starts. 🙂
Practical Spirituality in our daily life
Once our minds are free from concepts, we have the “reality” of dealing with life as it is, that is waking up, eating, sleeping and relating with others in a day-to-day basis.
Spirituality then, arises from the time we wake up. That is, how enthusiastic we feel, if we have that zest for life and if we enjoy our little morning rituals to get ready for the day.
Eating is another dimension in itself. Our own well-being will create the proper atmosphere to ingest physical nourishment. That is complete purity. Food by itself does not determine purity but our state of being does that.
That means that our emotions and thoughts should be ready to feed ourselves.
In this way, we can see that nutrition does not deal only with the type of food items that we eat, but it is a wholesome way where mind, body and emotions are aligned.
One day a disciple asked his Taoist master, about his spiritual meditative practices. The sage responded:
” My practice is very simple. When I eat, I eat. When I sleep, I sleep, when I cook, I cook.”
Behind those simple words, we could experience plenty of spiritual teachings.
Mindfulness, the moment, the now. Pay full attention to it, for every performed action will bring a similar action to be performed later and then, little by little; that becomes our own life of many years, which will become difficult to undo.
The moment that we choose to sleep is a sacred moment. We are giving away our conscious life back to life so we can recover and be completely aware the next day. This is not a small thing; considering that lots of individuals cannot sleep or do not sleep properly. Our minds, body and emotions need to be aligned in “sleep mode,” to sleep properly.
Of course, “in between;” there is life.
If we are not feeding ourselves correctly, if we are not sleeping well, we cannot hope for a full day of inner sunshine.
No matter how much we try to smile throughout the day, our vitality and strength will be gone.
To preserve our precious energy is truly important. In this respect we need to learn and choose the activities that we will perform throughout the day.
As we can see, life is an interrelationship of diverse activities. All of them are related with each other in a “domino effect” and the quality of our life, depends on our inner well-being.
This is more than physically exercising every day to “look good,” it is a balancing act, where our physical experience is meshed together in balance with our emotional life which is aligned with a clear mind.
This is known as being in harmony.
Our activities and the way we perform them, will demonstrate our level of spiritual growth. This is not a religious belief but true spirituality.
The path is clear for those who are traveling it. To go from the physical into the subtle.
Many are experienced with the subtle world as far as having “experiences” in it; but the path of knowing is to be it, to become. We may have a glimpse of something but to be is the goal.
In spirituality to know means to be.
In the “normal” world of big egos who are trained to “fight” to survive and to control others as a master does to a servant; any sort of subtleness is equated with weakness.
In the Spiritual world, your level of gentleness will show your degree of spiritual advancement.
To be gentle as water; means to be able to adapt to different settings, different containers, different personalities. Not having a shape of itself, but always transforming. The character of gentleness is an open door to life and the experiences that it may bring.
That openness comes through a reformation of the self.
For example, diet is a very important factor in that reformation process. In fact, our diet will change continuously; it will be more refined to reflect the changes in the self.
From eating meat, to being a vegetarian; there is a difference. Also from eating pungent and spicy food items into natural, raw items; is a change.
From drinking sodas to water is another change.
Our diets will reflect that inner transformation. The manifestation is equal to the source.
Similarly, our sleeping patterns. Early mornings will be cherished. It is the natural way.
One of the most important items to be in tune with subtle energies, is to be in harmony with Nature.
Through Nature, we can remember our true Nature.
The sounds of Nature and to feel its diverse lights and energies are healing and nourishing to enhance our sensibility to natural beauty.
“Technological progress,” has closed our hearts.
Nature will bring feelings to a closed heart. It will make it alive again.
It is in the perception of that beauty from Nature, how we will be in tune with the inside; and find out that our inner side reflects what we see outside.
Inside and outside become in tune, in balance as our sensibility changes.
As we experience the path of spirituality with greater depth, there will come a time where any sort of separation will be unthinkable. There cannot be a “you vs. me;” nor a “my religion is better than…” for as we see things in a broader perspective, with greater openness; the world will be that family and spirituality will be the only religion.
That is how communion could be possible, for going back to unity means to find those things which we have in common, rather than trying to find differences when there is none. We are human beings.
The spiritual path is a way to offer our hands in cooperation to the world; not as a teacher or a student, not as a helper or savior; but just as someone who truly cares.
Question: Om shanti. How to conquer sleep? i have taken this knowledge 4 months ago. i get very good sleep during nights. But i keep falling asleep during amritvela time. For two days amritvela would be good and on the third day i tend to fall asleep. Everyday i have to fight with sleep during morning time (amritvela time?). i sleep by 10.30pm but still it will not have any good effect on my morning meditation. i have two main weaknesses – sleep and laziness. i pay attention to my daily routine too. When i have good amritvela, i feel happy. Otherwise, my entire day would be spoilt. i even miss amritvelas. Please tell me what to do.
Thank you for your question!
First, I would urge you to find someone who could translate your questions in English, if you would like to ask more questions. This time I had to search for a caritative soul to translate the question that you wrote in Hindi using English characters (which Google couldn’t translate.) Please, your help and understanding on this will be appreciated 🙂
On your question.
Amrit Vela is training in the beginning, then it becomes “Natural.”
You conquer sleep by sleeping good. (quality) 🙂
Waking up before 4 AM is something which is going to take you a little while before a “sanskara” is created.
In my case, when I started I was doing that just for a few minutes at the time every other day, then I increased the time to 45 minutes every other day and then, I started adding more days in the lapse of 6 months or so. Until I got used to it every day…
I also take a nap in the afternoon which refreshes me and adds to my “healthy sleeping.” To take a nap is healthy but that will depend on your circumstances, personality, etc. It is not necessary for some.
It is very important to realize that a good “amrit vela” is in direct relationship with what we we do throughout the day; that means a good sattvic diet, celibacy as well is very important and to “slow down” at night. This means to have a peaceful night without “running around,” but just get ready naturally to have a sound sleep. Take it easy at night.
Try going to sleep no later than 10 PM to start. I know of some Brahmin souls who will go to bed earlier than that, which is healthy as well. Also, your bedroom needs to be free from electronic devices such as cell phones as explained in one article. Meditate a bit before going to bed and go back into your day through your mind to find things that you could improve the next day.
When you wake up, you can try having a few deep breaths or taking a shower before Amrit Vela.
During Amrit Vela, many souls have an experience according to their awareness.
In my Brahmin life, I started with feelings of love to Baba, then churning Gyan, then a combination, then “getting Drishti from Baba,” then walking “amrit vela,” then “visualizing,” being in the 3 worlds etc, etc.
Now, it is just clearing thoughts from my mind by “centering” and experiencing the “true” self. That experience is blissful in itself and fulfilling. That is “my” way of remembrance now, which works for me.
It seems that you have your own way, congratulations!
You may have to get used to this practice little by little. Do not be hard on yourself. Be disciplined, yes… but remember that there is more in Amrit vela than just waking up before 4 AM, there is your previous day behavior, thoughts and feelings.
Experience, Experiment and Enjoy!