Sleep, A State of Being
"I can't sleep."
It seems an innocent enough thought. You know you need sleep, but you can't seem to sleep.
Maybe you have a few more sleepless nights. Every night now, you toss, you turn, you check the clock. You go to the bathroom; you get back in bed. You stare at the ceiling; you pick up your phone and check the time. You know that's a no-no. You do it anyway.
You click on the news; it's terrifying—the "what-if's" start repeating in your mind. You put down your phone. You decide to read a book; you check the time. You feel anxious; you check the time. You flip your pillow; you try the cold side and adjust your blanket, again. You start to feel angry.
Shame seeps into your sleepless picture. It hovers like a thick dark shadow above your bed. Thoughts of "I can't believe I..." and "If only I hadn't..." loop through your mind. You cringe. Then, the "I should have's" take over and run wild in your brain.
You start to replay things you did at work. Then you think, what did you say or do? It can't be good. You check the time; shit. It's four AM, time is running out. You stress about money and imagine worst-case scenarios. What if you lose your job or become sick? You feel out of control. You imagine how bad your day will be without sleep. You look at the clock. Morning feels like an intruder that is out to get you—your eyes sting.
You make a last-ditch attempt to meditate, but your unkind thoughts come like pounding waves one after another. They won't stop. You try to focus on your breathing; it is useless. You relentlessly ruminate. Thoughts swirl and orbit your brain with a planetary magnetic pull.
Those small, seemingly innocent words you uttered to yourself only a few nights ago in the quiet night, "I can't sleep," have come back to haunt you. The thought tucked itself deep into your mind, nuzzled in, and said, "Night night." In the morning, it will wake up refreshed as a new belief.
That one thought became a story, that story became a belief, and now, that belief has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Your mind produces thoughts. Thoughts are forms. Forms are composed of pictures and memories from the past and are projections of an unknown future. Thoughts of past and future remove you from being in the present moment. The present moment is your only entry point to being asleep. There is no opportunity to enter the realm of sleep when you are lying in your bed, "Trying" to sleep. Sleep only exists in the now, not before and not later. The quality of your consciousness in the present moment defines the quality of your sleep.
Your nightly battles consist of your thoughts and ruminations of the past and future. Every night you are choosing to pick a fight with a version of yourself that does not even exist.
"Love is a State of Being" Your Love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form". - Eckhart Tolle
Sleep, like Love, is a State of Being. Sleep is not outside yourself and is also deep within you. You will never embody the State of Being Sleep unless you take the bold step to be Love.
It is time to say goodnight to the false-beliefs in your mind that are taking up precious space in your heart. The next time you wake at four o'clock in the morning, instead of being mean to yourself, take a moment to greet yourself with Love and Kindness.
Accept the present moment. You are awake. Nothing is wrong. It only feels bad if you tell yourself it is bad. Judging the present moment as good or bad keeps you stuck and keeps you sleepless. Judgment is the glue that holds you stuck. Letting go of judgment allows you to open to the Multiple States of Being.
When you wake at night, resist nothing. Immediately say "Hello" to yourself before your mind takes over. Your mind is a bully and will grab your attention faster than you can imagine. Say hello to yourself, out loud. It may feel stupid; it is not. Just say, hello. You are beautiful and deserve to be seen for the brilliant being that you are, day or night. Say it as if you mean it. You woke yourself for a good reason because you are awake. There is nothing to do, nothing to get, nothing to grasp. We are human beings and not human doings. Be.
In this still moment, be aware of everything that is you. Feel your entire being. Sit up and bring your awareness to your breath. Take deep breaths in and out. With each breath, feel deeply grateful for your lungs, for being breath. Be grateful for this moment. Be mindful of your body and the space around you. Feel the space around every part of your being. Visualize a brilliant light moving its way through your body. Allow the light to move through you and radiate out of the top of your head. Allow the light to keep moving, then lay down. Be.
Let go of any thought that comes to you. Do not try to get rid of it or hold on - see it, observe it, and let it pass through you. You will never enter into a state of being sleep by clinging and resisting. You can allow sleep when you accept what is, accept who you are, and Love Yourself to Sleep.
There is a quiet and still moment in the night when you awaken. It may feel like the quickest moment, but this moment is beautiful, timeless, and infinite space. It is a moment to enter sleep. It is a seamless shift from being asleep when awake to being awakened while asleep.