Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Go to Sleep

Lying in bed after a hard day at work, tossing and turning and worrying about this and that is a nightmare in itself. The more you worry about not sleeping the less likely you will go to sleep. Maybe you get two or three hours of sleep, maybe not and the next night it's the same old thing.

Prescription drugs will help in the short run but in the long run they become habit forming and before long it takes more to get the same results. Alcohol numbs the brain and after awhile it too becomes habit forming. The effect that not sleeping, as well as drugs and alcohol have on the mind/body system is devastating. They bring about premature aging and all kinds of mental and physical problems.

Few doctors and even psychologists and psychiatrists really know what to do about insomnia. They have been trained to prescribe drugs and that's about it. On the other hand the solution has been known for thousands of years by Buddhist monks and yogis. It is called concentrative meditation or just plain concentration.

In order to get a good night's sleep it's imperative to have a calm mind. Too much thinking about anything is not conducive to a calm mind. You must know how to turn off your thoughts and turn on calmness.

The first thing you should do when you are getting ready to go to sleep is relax. Two posts ago I talked about the vagus response and how it induces relaxation. In short, what you do is take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds and breathe out slowly while either humming or saying om. This practice will turn on the parasympathetic nervous system and automatically begein the process of allowing the body and the mind to relax. After that you can begin the practice of concentration to turn of thoughts.

To turn off your thinking process all you have to do is concentrate on your breath and count. Breathe slowly and softly while counting each breath. When a thought appears simply recognize it for what it is - just a thought and nothing more and start over with the counting. If you have a stubborn mind you will undoubtedly have thoughts that seem very important. Your mind will make you believe that you can't ignore the thoughts. It will make you believe that you must solve whatever the problem is right now, this very moment, while lying in bed.

The mind will say something like, "This is a very important idea and I must attend to it right now or I'll forget it." You must have the ability and the tenacity to ignore the thought and go back to counting your breaths. If you are ever going to go to sleep the most important thing is to turn off the thinking mind. Be calm, relax, breathe, and count. Breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

No comments: