The Science & Spirituality of Sleep. Sleep as Nonduality.
“Sleep is not the opposite of awakening. Delusion is the opposite of awakening. Sleep has no opposite.”
Sleep. In the world of inner growth, it is the elephant in the room. The great, enlightened wake-up call is suggesting that humanity is asleep – as if sleep were darkly unenlightened, redundant, purposeless and uninspired.
The awakened voice are often presently disowning sleep. Sneaking it in the same way that anger, sexuality, the sporadic love of a Big Mac.
If you fall asleep in a meditation you FAIL. If you nap in the day, you’re not OK.
“Hey! It’s just a physical thing – the need of my physical body, although I am not my body, so it doesn’t really matter.”
Awaken to Sleep
It is clear that sleep matters – biologically, psychologically and spiritually.
The mysteries of sleep can be explored experientially. What do WE experience as sleep and in sleep? Where are we when we snooze?
What is consciousness? What is the unconscious? What is awareness? What is the imperceivable? What are dreams? What is beyond experience, dreaming, thinking, feeling? What is surrender? What is emptiness? What is happening in the field of perception when we fall asleep? Where do we go, and why is it rejuvenating and essential to life itself?
Sleep isconnected with mortality, dimensions of form and death. Following the I AM HERE teachings, we will take an experiential inquiry to open a way for others to witness, observe and maximize this wonderful, regular unity with the imperceivable found in dimensions of sleep. “For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.” (Hamlet)
A Sleep Odyssey
The first experience of sleep is one of falling. We “fall” asleep. What is the experience of falling? How does that feel? What sense perceptions give that experience? If we are falling through the infinite space within ourselves, and there are no impressions to the sides of us, below us and above us, what happens to the sense of falling? When the strings of identification and the impressions of attachment are left behind, in the movement beyond time and space, do we not become totally still?
In the dual processes of falling asleep, and waking up, we have a regular opportunity to realize the interplay of duality and nonduality.
Sleep is a process of form – of releasing form and taking form – which gives an excellent means to witness and observe the deeper, nondual forms of perception, as they relate to the imperceivable. In this, surrender and allowance move into the foreground as key movements in the art of living and sleeping.
So let’s explore.
The body is tired. Perhaps there is even an emotional tiredness. The mind is tired of thinking about stuff. Melatonin is being released in the brain. The dimension of sleep is calling. We lie down in a safe space and close our eyes. The visual input is gone.
Consciousness: Sleep and the Dissolution of Time
In the first stages of falling asleep, the mind continues to chatter, in a manner which is increasingly less rational, less based on personal agenda and less individual. It a way, thought patterns begin to break up into a blabber of inner voices. We can witness our passage through this mental sewage works as we experience an expanding dissociation from thought, a druggy distance from the thinking mind.
As this Bedlam fades, and in our falling through the floor of it, we begin to release concepts of linear time.
Falling deeper into the source of our selves, often images start to emerge. The imagination is now being released. Also here, these images intend to resolve stress and bring to the peace through unhooking consciousness from form, and from the entanglements that could prevent us falling asleep.
A picture is worth a thousand thoughts, and imagination comes with images that can either release or provoke a last bit of bedtime action. In all this, we are moving from time to the timeless, a doorway to eternity.
We are stepping back from doing time in our minds into a space behind regular time – a space-well known to us since before we were born. No time passed. No time passes. And as we release time, the sense of inner spaciousness increases
We are sinking now, in the next dimension of sleep. Perception through consciousness – or witnessing – is diminishing to a pin-point – a watchman on physical danger, a silent witness of the most prominent dreams. It’s linked to a soft sand of living memory, available to store the imprint of inner impressions. Consciousness is disengaging, and we are sinking down to the dimension of feeling awareness.
Sounds nearby, in the mid distance or far away vibrate through us – equalizing as space loses habitual form. Feelings resonate through us. A soft love experiences the surrender of the body inside-out to the manifold vibrations of being here, now. Moving out of the dimension of conscious time, we fall into the dimension of space, gradually releasing into boundlessness – a doorway to infinity and to zero-distance.
In the expansion and intimacy in the dimension of awareness, unresolved feelings, atmospheres and intuitions from the felt sense begin to appear. Our expansion through the subtle love of pure awareness meets areas where this love has been frozen in sentient form. We fall through the landscape of energetic blocks in our felt experience of being here.
These patches emerge in the area of dreaming – dreaming our way into unity through imaginative and atmospheric processing of energy unconsciously excluded as “other”. Some of these energetic transformations sound the alarm bells and consciousness momentarily awakens, witnesses, and affirms the dream content for later processing. Much of it happens of itself, resolving without need for conscious memory.
In this dimension, the psychic aspect of dreaming comes forward. As time and space collapse, the individual dissolves and we can dream both our dream and the dreams of others. We can dream of the conflicts of now, but also of yesterday and tomorrow. There is no time.
Emptiness: Sleep and The Dissolution of Form
As we release time through the diminishing of consciousenss, and bounded space through the diminishing of awareness, we start to sink deeply into the dimension of emptiness – deeply releasing into the fearless, unboundedly familiar dimension of deep sleep. Here, we do not dream, we do not perceive, we do not do anything at all.
In pure non-doing, non-holding non-entanglement and non-attachment, we are released from conscious and unconscious agendas based on beliefs in time and space as absolute.
The physical body moves to the depths of relaxation and rest. Distant from all we know or feel, in this area of deep sleep we are more present than ever. We are present as a unity deeper than all forms of division.
The body rests as the planet and as all physical and chemical elements do their work in naturalness, without intervention. Processes of breathing, circulation and digestion carry on as back burners to physical survival. And we are gone, arriving home to that space which is never “other” than who we are: she who is not ultimately contained in time. He who is not endlessly limited in space. That which is unlimited by form.
The effect of this deep sleep is rejuvenation, on every level. As we surface out of sleep, like out of the depth of the ocean of who we are, we don’t ‘feel’ where we have been, but we feel it is true. We can feel the imprint. We don’t ‘know’ where we have been but we know that we know it.
We know its imprint. As we re-emerge into form, for a while we can observe the awakening of awareness without conscious intervention.
We are nameless, timeless, spaceless and senseless. And gradually we can witness our process of conscious identification with form. We find our name. We find our time. We find our age and our location. We recall the arguments we are in, and the tasks of the day ahead.
We put it all on as clothes we must wear, yet we also have a choice -a choice made possible by the non attachment of sleep.
How many wondrous dimensions do we visit in this distant land of sleep?
“It is not all of life to live, nor yet all of death to die. For life and death are one, and only those who will consider the experience as one may come to understand or comprehend what peace indeed means.”
Many, like Edgar Cayce (The Sleeping Prophet) directly harnessed sleep to bring forward jewels from its all pervasive freedom and omniscience. Others, find practical answers, solutions and direction after a good sleep. Not for nothing, we often feel the need to “sleep on it.”
All of us are universally dependent on the formlessness of sleep in order to take form. In an inquiry into perception, sleep is an advanced frontier of inquiry, not to be discarded. In the world of healing, the health impact of sleep disorder cannot be overlooked – mentally, emotionally or physically.
In the world of the enlightened – the endarkenment of sleep is an open experiential question bringing an opportunity to move us beyond ideas of individual enlightenment and into a far deeper realization of unity.
In sleep, we move beyond duality. In sleep, we are one.