Sleep is a mystery in many ways. Where do we go when we are asleep? We are present physically but where does the rest of me go? How are dreams connected to the physical reality we live in? And why do I sometimes have dreams without me in it? Perhaps it is difficult to answer these questions. There may be many more mysteries about sleep that we may never satisfying solve. But we do know one thing about sleep for certain.
Sleep is a powerful restorative space with capacity to render such deep healing that, if allowed to do its job fully, we may never need the help of a therapist or counselors in our life.
Of course the problem is that we don’t let ourselves sleep well. We always go into conditional sleeping rather than restorative, natural sleep. A conditional sleep is a sleep with restrictions placed upon what it can do and what it cannot to us when we are asleep. Though, fortunately, we cannot entirely control what happens in our sleep we all still exercise certain influence over our restful states.
While some conditions are good, some are restrictive and stops the state from doing its job to the fullest. For instance in early childhood, we all unconsciously train ourselves to gain control over our bladders and bowels in sleep. This is good. On the other hand, after a series of nights haunted by nightmares, we unconsciously stress upon the need to filter out our dreams. For some it is unsuccessful and they have no control over their dreams and nightmares, while for others it works and they mostly have nightmare-free nights except during moments of crises in their waking lives. They may at best experience occasional dreams that are dreadful without reason or simply vaguely fearful and bothersome. In case of few others it may work too well that they never really remember a single dream as soon as they wake, some do not even know if they did dream at all. So with the help of our fears and our need to feel good mostly, we restrict or unconsciously monitor various functions of our sleep.
While there are many functions that sleep renders I’m going to focus only on its capacity to heal our daily stresses and even address our deeper psychological and emotional issues we carry within. Healing is an important function that our bodies and spirits need for our well-being. Yet it is also, perhaps, the most neglected. Our restful states have a natural capacity to clear out our stresses and repair our beings on a daily (nightly) basis but because of conditional sleeping those abilities are vastly underutilized. Of course, we can bring back our self-healing ability by exercises certain mental decisions firmly every night just before we fall asleep.
Stop Censoring Your Dreams
Our first job is to lift the conditions we’ve placed upon our dreams. None of us really know what dreams are exactly but we’ve all experienced moments of epiphany and self-realization, surfacing of hidden fears and desires, inspirational ideas and brilliant solutions through our dreams. There have been prophetic dreams and ominous warning dreams as well. Over time, we’ve learnt to censor which dreams should be remembered and which should be conveniently forgotten. We need to lift the dream monitor and trust our unconscious to protect and heal us. The simplest way to do this is to make a resolve to let all dreams that our subconscious/unconscious mind brings up in our sleep happen. Every night when you hit the bed, simply ask yourself if you are willing to see all that your subconscious and the unconscious part of being brings up in dreams. If you can give a resolute yes to that question, you’ve successfully lifted that restriction for that night. Do this every night and gradually you would have completely lifted the restrictions on your dreams. Don’t do this fearfully, don’t do this boldly. Do it open-mindedly.
Of course this does mean that you experience a wide variety of dreams like you use to have in your childhood but it also means that you can successfully move into states of sleep where dreams show you deeper aspects of yourself honestly.
Please note that those who experience energy drains accompanied by psychic messages in dreams need to shield their auras well before you lift the restrictions on dreaming. Learn a few good energy shielding methods and use them well.
Sleep When You Sleep
We do everything else when we go to bed except sleep. We worry, stress, hate ourselves, curse, cry, talk, bother our partners, have sex or shag, read books, browse the web, chat online, listen to music – in short engage in all sorts of mind chatter and sensory stimulation when we lie down to sleep. Stop. Disengage. Bedtime is not for that even though we’ve been doing it for ages and seems the most appropriate time to confess our fears and sins to ourselves and those beside us. The mind needs to be calmed when you go to sleep. Carrying our fears and plans into the sleep will only disrupt our sleep cycle and its healing capacities. There might be days or times when you simply cannot calm your head in the night. That must be an exception not the rule.
Of course, do not put effort to sleep either. People have driven themselves into insomnia trying hard to sleep. Sleep happens. All I ask of you is to disengage from mental activities. Put the books, mobiles and laptops aside. Leave your glasses on the bedside. Whenever you find yourself mulling over the day’s activities or over your shortcomings disengage once more without anger or irritation. Perhaps spend time watching your body relaxing. Feel the weight of it. Maybe watch your breath.
Simply have the intention to sleep. Disengage with the rest of the world. Remember sleep is another world altogether. It is a different consciousness perhaps. So disengage from this world. Sleep will happen; you don’t wait for it either. Just be. That’ll do the job. You’ll sleep when you sleep.
But be very firm. Years of habit of worrying and deliberating while lying down will insist that this one thought or problem is really important enough that you lose sleep over it. Disengage. Let sleep heal your mind and body first. And you’ll be surprised at the amount and depth of healing that happens when you let it.
When you sleep the restorative sleep, you’ll really begin to understand the depths of its capacity to heal and restore us both physically and spiritually. There are states of sleep that are profound for deep inner work, and to release our traumatic selves. It also makes our minds sharper and more alert.
Sometimes you may experience exhaustive days, but that’s just because your inner self is healing out a deeper damage within and needs some more rest. Just use some rejuvenating herbal teas and drink good amounts of water such days.
Sleep is a mystery. And every time we sleep well, we probe that mysterious state a bit deeper. And you’ll be surprised at what hidden gems you can uncover over time both within sleep and within yourself.