Every human being needs to sleep, we all know that. But it’s interesting that almost every animal needs sleep too. No matter the species or age, whether it’s a lion, dolphin, insect or octopus, they all need a certain amount of sleep each day. This tells us that sleep is deeply ingrained into the DNA of all living beings that possess any kind of nervous system.
Need for Sleep—Physical Aspect
Let us first examine the physical function of sleep at the cellular level. Recent research conducted in 2013 by an American team of neuroscientists, shows that our brains shrink down during sleep, thus leaving some space inside the skull to be filled with the cerebral fluid which then takes out the toxic waste of the brain’s work. Therefore, sleep is essential for our physical and mental health, longevity and proper functioning in this world.
Our brains shrink down during sleep, thus leaving some space inside the skull to be filled with the cerebral fluid which then takes out the toxic waste of the brain’s work.
However, there may be a deeper, spiritual cause of sleep. And if there is, what that could be?
And the Holographic Principle teaches us, as inside—so outside, or as above—so below. In this case, we could suppose that the clue may be found at the lowest, physical level, because all levels are interconnected and symbolically mirror each other.
So, at the physical level, there is this process of cleaning up the brain from its toxic waste during sleep. Similarly, on the emotional and mental level, we clearly have a process of deep rejuvenation of our minds. Our toxic thoughts and emotions are being washed out and removed from our subconscious mind during sleep.
How does that happen? First of all, we need to understand the process of imprinting the painful experiences into our minds.
When we are in the state of conscious presence or Pure consciousness, unpleasant experiences are very rare, and if they do appear, by retaining or re-entering our state of Presence, the stressful event will inevitably fade away.
On the other hand, stressful experiences typically occur while we are in a semi-conscious state (i.e., state of being overwhelmed by thoughts or emotions, or being drunk, dizzy, or in other states of mind). Then these experiences stay at that level of consciousness or even get suppressed into lower states of mind, very close to unconsciousness. Normally, we can release them only when we get into exactly the state of mind where they are hidden.
Therefore, when we want to recall a suppressed event from the past, which is the source of a problem, we often need to purposefully dive into the unconscious or at least a sort of semi-conscious state. In this sense, hypnosis, autohypnosis, and similar techniques are very effective.
As we start falling asleep, we gradually delve into an unconscious state. In this way, while we are still in the semi-conscious state, many impressions, thoughts, and emotions related to everyday experiences are emerging. Usually, these are the mind contents that have some emotional charge. The subtle barrier between the conscious and subconscious mind weakens and it begins leaking various contents of the subconscious mind. The same may occur in the process of waking up, although usually much faster.
This process of releasing the painful and suppressed impressions happens in dreams as well, which are almost completely out of control of our conscious ego.
If the suppressed impression remains hidden in the layers of our subconscious mind, it must eventually be expressed somehow in our body or in the outside world. This may bring about similar or even worse troubles than those that had caused the suppressed experience. Or it may cause physical or mental illness. That’s why sleep is so important, as well as work on the reintegration of these experiences.
What happens with us when we are in a state of deep sleep? Our consciousness has been gone for a while. It reemerges several times during sleep when we are dreaming (REM phase), although that is a kind of semi-conscious state. But what happens in-between?
A similar unconscious state is found in a coma, but without the REM phase and within different biochemical body conditions.
In any case, the deep sleep state is needed typically for the vast majority of living creatures. In that period of the day, we are all absolutely dis-identified with our bodies. Our consciousness is indistinguishable from the wholeness of Existence. We are seeing the face of God. But, since that state is completely beyond mind, space, time, matter and energy, there are no memories of it when we wake up. However, in that period our mind is inactive and free of our conscious decisions and pressure for activity. It does exist as an energetic entity, and it’s free to heal and rejuvenate itself, to naturally discharge a lot of unnecessary mind contents, similarly to the above-mentioned process of taking out the toxic waste of the brain’s work.
Cycles and Recapitulation
Going daily through the cycle from deep sleep to waking state, all sentient beings relive all previous stages of their spiritual evolution, starting from the initial state of oneness with the primordial consciousness (deepest dream), through the state of low-level group consciousness (semi-conscious state before or after sleep), until transition into an individual self-aware consciousness.
This cycle of recapitulation of spiritual evolution takes place during the whole human life, in which one passes through the embryonic stage—primordial consciousness; early childhood— the semi-conscious condition of the mind; and adult individuals—the normal waking state.
Cycles are inevitable. Recapitulation also exists at the physical level, where the embryo undergoes the stage of development of its biological species—single-celled, then multicellular organism, the stage of fish, amphibians, etc.
We may assume that sleeping and dreaming are parts of recapitulation cycles that are vital to all living beings. All of us must repeatedly experience all the main stages of our previous evolution in order to continue with the next stages of development.
Sleeping and dreaming are parts of recapitulation cycles that are vital to all living beings.
Therefore, it seems that the lower states of consciousness that we are repeatedly experiencing in these cycles and oscillations (both on a daily and long-term basis), are the foundation of our conscious existence. Moreover, they are the springboard for further spiritual growth.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Advocate of Right to Happiness
You can be at peace only when your sleep cycle is working well. Sleep Cycle is explained as the circadian rhythm or biological clock of the body that, out of habit reports to the brain to respond to our external stimuli.
If you’re looking for the ideal blend of mindfulness in sleep, follow any one of the techniques below.
· If you don’t dream, you may have deep sleep disorder
When did you dream last? Are you an active dreamer? If not, what did you dream last in your life?
The dream is scientifical, described as the stage of sleep where our mind makes a film out of random thoughts and pops it on for our subconscious mind. If you are missing on dream since long, you are missing the fourth stage of sleep, also called the REM or Rapid Eye Movements Sleep or deep sleep. This is the same stage where restorative bodily processes also happen.
When you don’t dream, you’re missing out on the stage of deep sleep, which leads to sleep debt and sleep cycle issues in the coming days.
· Choose the Right Mattress
Yet another frequently neglected factor behind the correct way of practicing healthy sleep is choosing the right mattress that supports you than the other way around. The right mattress should not be too soft such that you sink into it, or one that is too firm such that it pushes you out. The perfect mattress is one that conforms to your bodily curves and sleeping positions without pressure.
Here’s a quick mattress guide to everything you need to know about buying and using the same for a mindful sleep.
· How Sleep Naked Helps to Wind the day Best
If you’ve been feeling disturbed when you hit the bed, perhaps your body and mind are disturbed. The best solution to go happily into sound slumber is sleeping naked, in loose clothes or in baggy innerwear. Sleeping nude helps to cool your body (boosts melatonin), stop aging, remove body toxins, healthy reproductive hygiene and attain deep sleep as it lets our skin cells breathe freely!
· Right Posture to Sleep in
There are right postures and wrong postures to sleep, because we spend one third of the day asleep or one third of our lifetime sleeping. If you’re going to torture and cramp your body for one-third of your life, you will surely have too many health issues towards the dusk of your life; or perhaps, die early!
The best way to sleep is on your sides with a pillow in between your legs. The pillow prevents your pelvic muscles from falling off in the case of lack of support. Sleeping on your stomach or back leads to joint pains, sleep debt and frustration in the morning!
· How to Pick the right Bed for you
Many beds today can automatically sense your sleeping issue and set specific angles of elevation for your feet and neck to feel supported, nowadays. Sleeping on the right bed ensures that you do not wake up in the middle of the night due to cramps or obstruction to the upper airflow. The right bed can help you dissolve many somnipathies including sleep apnea, insomnia, oversleeping and restless leg syndrome.
Sleep is a vital part of our body and mind. During sleep, our sleep hormones actively coax the body and mind to repair the damages or pain borne during the day.
If you’d like to dig deep into sleep, these amazing sleep hacks will help you. Sleep well and mindful today.
Yoga Nidra or Psychic Sleep
Our senses control our emotions and therefore our lives. We cannot escape from the perceptions created by the senses and our conscious life is ruled by them. As a result our mind is always in a flux, and happiness eludes us. To achieve lasting joy and happiness we must access our subconscious. When we are awake our mind is busy reacting to the feelings created by the senses and therefore it becomes impossible to listen to our inner voice or subconscious. Yoga Nidra or Psychic Sleep is a practice where the senses are subdued and our conscious mind can directly access the subconscious.
Yoga Nidra is derived from two words - Yoga means single pointed awareness and Nidra is sleep. During the practice of Yoga Nidra, you seem to be sleeping, but your mind functions at a deeper level of awareness. Wolfgang von Goethe used the inspirations and intuitions from this state to solve problems arising in his work. In dreams occurring in this state, discoverer of benzene ring realized the circular structure from the image of a serpent eating its own tail. Bohr saw the structure of the atom in his dreams, and Einstein propounded the theory of relativity.
Practicing Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a guided practice which generally lasts for twenty to forty minutes, depending on whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner. You have to listen to instructions and follow them mechanically without thinking about the logic and rationale behind the instructions. You must suspend critical thinking. You can listen to a recording of guided Yoga Nidra.
During the first stage of Yoga Nidra the mind is focused on external sounds. If all sensory impressions are forcibly excluded, the mind becomes restless and disturbed. Therefore, the mind is directed towards external sounds. You have to listen to the external sounds and move from one source to another. Your attitude should be that of a witness. After some time the mind slowly withdraws from the outside stimuli and automatically becomes quiet.
Resolve or sankalpa
During this stage you must think of a resolve or sankalpa. Your resolve should be precise and clear, otherwise it will not penetrate the subconscious mind. The resolve can be anything as long as it’s not frivolous. Once you have chosen a sankalpa you must not change to another. Don’t expect results overnight. Time is required depending on the nature of the resolve and the degree to which it is planted in the mind. The result depends on your sincerity and deep felt need to attain the goal of your sankalpa.
Rotation of consciousness
The next stage is rapid rotation of consciousness through the different parts of the body. The rotation of consciousness in Yoga Nidra proceeds in a definite sequence, beginning with the right thumb and ending with the little toe of the right foot; rotation from the left thumb to the little toe of the left foot. Subsequent rotations proceed from the heel to the back of the head, and from the head and individual facial features back to the legs.
Awareness of the breath
After these rotations of consciousness have been completed, physical relaxation is continued and completed by drawing attention to the breath. In this practice one simply maintains awareness of the breath; there should be no attempt to force or change it. One may watch the breath in the nostrils, in the chest, or in the passage between the navel and the throat.
Ending the practice
The practice of Yoga Nidra ends by repeating your resolve. This direct order from the conscious mind to the unconscious enables you to radically change your attitude, behavior and destiny. It is very important that the resolve be stated clearly and positively. This will give the mind strength and a positive outlook. You should have sincere faith in the resolve. This faith strengthens the effect of the resolve on the unconscious mind, so that the resolve will become a reality in your life.
The practice of Yoga Nidra is concluded by gradually bringing the mind from the condition of psychic sleep to the waking state.
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