From time to time we will post various ways of helping you to sleep if you suffer from insomnia. In all of these methods we will use the bodies natural processes of vision, sound, proprioception (feeling) kinaesthesia (movement), the relationship of roles involved with identity, and earth wisdom itself.
If you have trouble sleeping at night your body may hold the answer. Let’s see if we can discover if the body, rather than our thinking processes, holds the key to glorious sleep, to beautiful restful experiences and to our deepest wisdom. And perhaps let us discover how to travel, with awareness, over the border into dreamland and become more fully awake to our fullest natures while consciously dreaming. The following exercise will bring you straight into the realm of the body and is designed for you to have experiences from your body’s own perspective.
But a note first – our thinking process likes to direct the world and work out our problems – tell your arm to more and it will faithfully move if it is able. If we determine to do something in the world and provided we exert enough will it should happen. However, the body, at the level of its own awareness, does not follow our directions, in fact it hides from them – love, for example, cannot be manufactured,, nor can one sleep for an exact predetermined period. We need to work with the body in partnership; this is a deeply democratic procedure where thinking takes a less important role. The body searches new meanings in every moment and, like a river, it never really repeats itself in the same way twice. At its subtlest level, it loves to work with you but it cannot be controlled. You cannot make it go to sleep but the body will aid you to do so almost always – providing sleep is needed.
If you suffer from insomnia then read through the exercise so as to become familiar with the steps. Then try the exercise while sitting in a comfortable chair in quiet surroundings. Doing this will help you to remember some of the steps in the middle of the night. We will add further steps to this exercise in the coming weeks, and include the earth wisdom.
1. First consider that your thinking itself is keeping you awake. That the thinking may gently need to relax from its occupation. Being against, or agitated with thinking produces more thinking – thinking polarised with itself, so treat your thinking gently, if you can. You may, if you wish, use a soft voice and gently say something like “I love your attempt to help me but may I put you on one side for a few minutes even though I know that you must continue.” Or, in some way that works for you, allow your thinking to be dulled, softened, or clouded. Simply bringing awareness to the process of thinking, however, may be all that is needed.
2. Scan your body slowly with your awareness from top to bottom or visa versa, while breathing slowly. Take your time and when you’ve completed the scan notice which part seemed to respond to your attention the most, or reacted in some way, or mat have a pain there. Each time you do this exercise a different part of the body may attract you.
3. Consider that the part that catches your attention has awareness and a quality of wisdom that is somewhat different to your thinking; that your thinking maybe limited in its ability to understand this type of awareness, but that it can follow it. Simply stay with this body experience, give it the sort of attention that you would give to something really precious to you. As your awareness follows the experience, notice that you may be alternating between thinking, then following, following, then thinking. Notice also, after a few minutes, if your body is more relaxed. This relaxation is good feedback that what you are doing is effective.
4. If you feel that your body is leading and that your normal identity is a little quieter, then you are in the right condition for sleep. Remain in this condition of following your body experience, continuing to allow it to lead you. If you notice that thinking begins to dominate again, then recall that the body itself has the answer and allow it to lead once more. When you fall asleep you may become aware that you are still conscious in your dreams.