Invoking the Spirit of Sleep

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Sleepless nights? Here’s a meditation for insomnia. Article by Sadhana, published in The Asian Age on November 2, 2015.

  asianage_logo   She was a smart woman in her 20s, but her well-groomed demeanor could not hide the shadow on her face. She said, “I have come to this workshop in the hope that you would show me a way of getting sound sleep. I cannot sleep till two or three in the night.” Statistically, according to Sleep Disorders Research, one-third of urban people have trouble sleeping at some point in their lives. Artificial lighting has prolonged our experience of daylight, allowing us to be productive for longer but it has cut the night time short. We all know that the way we sleep at night affects the way we live during the day. But have you also considered that the way you live during the day equally affects the way you sleep at night? Why has this most natural state become so elusive for the modern man? Sometimes you find answers in improbable sources. I came across a lovely symbolic story in Greek mythology which can shed light on this issue. Hypnos Hypnos was the spirit of sleep. He resided in Erebos, the land of eternal darkness, beyond the gates of the rising sun. From there he rose into the sky in a train of his mother, the night. Hypnos had a twin brother, Thanatos (peaceful death), and dreams were his sons. Hypnos was depicted as a young man with wings on his shoulders. His attributes included a poppy-stem, a branch dripping water from the river Lethe, forgetfulness or an inverted torch. Look closely at the sleep-inducing ingredients of Hypnos: total darkness, the arms of mother night, sleep as deep and peaceful as death, forgetfulness; meaning, forgetting all the impressions of the outside life. Unless you forget about the day’s activities, your brain cannot unwind itself and send calming signals to the body. This is somewhat like the meditation Osho has prescribed for people suffering from insomnia. Osho says, just move from the periphery to the centre, which is the realm of sleep. It does not only induce a physical sleep but also a deep restfulness in the heart. When you lie in bed, close your eyes and become aware of the area between the armpits. Then feel that it is filled with great peace. As you feel the peace between your armpits, it will pervade your heart. The moment your heart is filled with peace, the world will look illusory. This is a sign that you have entered meditation — that the world appears to be illusory. Do it for 10 minutes just before falling asleep. Make the world unreal, and you will be in deep slumber. If the world is unreal, tensions dissolve. And if you can move from the periphery, you have already moved to a deep state of sleep. And then in the morning you will feel fresh and young; your whole energy is vibrating. It is because you are coming back to the periphery from the centre. Amrit Sadhana TNAmrit Sadhana is in the management team of Osho International Meditation Resort, Pune. She facilitates meditation workshops around the country and abroad.

Illustration Osho News

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