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
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