How to beat insomnia and relax like a cat
The phenomenon of sleeping is fascinating. We spend approximately one third of our lives sleeping in an unconscious state. What happens during sleep? Where do we go? Why do we need to sleep every day?
There is still no anonymous consensus within the scientific community about all this and perhaps there will never be: sleeping will remain an existential mystery. What we do all know very well (without the need of scientific evidence to prove it) is that sleeping is fundamental to our overall well-being. A single poor night sleep and we plunge into irritation, tiredness, less productivity and poor performance.
According to statistics we live in an era of “insomnia epidemic”. If you, like millions of other people, are affected, you have probably already heard all about the health issues related to insomnia and why it is important to sleep well, so I am not going to bore with this technical stuff here. Also you may know all the expert advices on how to improve your sleep (avoid coffee and alcohol, sleep in a dark room, do not watch TV before going to sleep, exercise, etc...).
If that is not enough, you may want to consider technology. Today “smart sleep devices” are available in the market. I personally use OURA ring, which tells me how many hours I sleep, how much time time I spend in deep sleep, light sleep, REM, my resting heart rate, body temperature, and finally gives me a total score on my overall sleep quality. But can technology help you sleep better? The straight answer is a resounding NO. To me the sleep app is a toy, which satisfies my curiosity, nothing more. Perhaps for some people it could be a good starting point to become more aware of their sleeping habits. However, no tech-toy will make you feel better!
What intrigues me the most about sleeping, is that in order to fall asleep we do not need to do anything. It is one of those things which require no direct action on our parts; quite the opposite: the more we do, the less it comes. On this point, sleeping is like meditation: meditation cannot be enforced, it comes on its own. With meditation we can only practise a specific technique, however the technique is a tool to invite the state of mind called meditation – which in fact is a state of no-mind. The same goes with sleeping: all we can do is to prepare ourselves during the day to invite sleep. Once we lie down in bed, we wait and without effort on our parts, we feel a sweet sense of light torpor pervading us. The body becomes loose and soft, the mind goes through an in-between phase before departing for unknown dimensions.
I personally believe that the reason so many people struggle with sleeping nowadays is linked to this non-doing element. We are trained since childhood to do something. We live in a doer culture which supports, rewards and praises action. Do not get me wrong: I love action and there is nothing wrong in it. However, the modern lifestyle imposes on us that all the activity happens in the mind, and this is a problem. The mind is so overstimulated, to the point where thoughts are incontrollable; Tibetan monks say: “the mind is like the relentless fury of the pounding waves in the infinite ocean of samsara”. Leaving the samsara aside for a moment, I can certainly relate to the relentless fury of the thoughts, as if they have a life of their own and keep coming randomly. We are left powerless, at the mercy of this tornado of thoughts.
Meditation is all about watching this mind-game and detaching from it. And the more we watch, the more the thinking process slows down. This is the key to relaxation and only in a state of relaxation, it is possible to fall asleep. Interestingly, we call it “fall asleep”; notice: it is not “raise asleep”, we do not have to climb a mountain or reach somewhere to sleep; we just need to let go and let the mystery overtake us.
I think that this fear of letting go and entering into a mysterious dimension where the mind is not in control, is the root cause of the insomnia epidemic we see in our modern society. During sleep, the grip of the mind loosens up and the subconscious emerges. The subconscious mind is the storage of all unexpressed desires, emotions, prohibited thoughts. If these are not allowed to be expressed during waking hours, they emerge in the night. And this can be disturbing, hence better not to sleep altogether.
So what to do? Osho Active Meditations, and particularly Dynamic Meditation. These meditations will make you relaxed like a cat. They help to move the energy from the mind back to the body, you can become aware of your subconscious mind and you can also express it consciously, so it will not haunt you during the night.
In addition to the standard “sleep-better-advices”, my personal recommendations for a good night sleep are:
Practise Osho Meditations on a daily basis (especially Dynamic if you can).
Make your bedroom a sacred space only dedicated to sleep and intimacy. The bed is for sleeping and fun (you know what I mean).
Listen to an Osho discourse in your bed – Osho’s soothing voice is the most powerful relaxation tool I have ever come across.
If you are particularly agitated, do this meditation before sleep time: 10/15 minutes of Gibberish followed by 10/15 of humming.
Try this and let me know how you get on. And if you would like to try Osho Meditations in a group setting, do join us HERE.