Where do we go when we fall asleep? A useless question? Perhaps, but can you answer it?
What is deep sleep? What is it about sleep that gives us rest? The body gets tired, the mind gets tired and we fall asleep. Next thing we know, it's hours later, a clock is ringing, someone's shaking us and we have to get up.
We have about an hour to wash, brush our teeth and eat breakfast. We make a little conversation with the rest of the family, glance at the newspaper, and then we're off to work. During the day there is the routine of sipping coffee to keep ourselves alert. We apply our mind to many tasks, thinking about our problems. our job. trying to understand Watergate, and we wonder what other people think.
Finally we come home, eat again; maybe do something a little special, perhaps a movie. But we don't stay out too late, because we need our sleep. Again the morning comes, alarm clock rings, someone's shaking us, we have to go here, we have to go there, we have to get dressed, we have to do this, we have to do that: we have to get up. So we get up. After washing the sleep from our eyes, we realize that we've been refreshed. A day is ahead and we're almost ready for it.
Where do we go when we sleep? Sleep gives nourishment. Our eyelids close on the activity outside and activity begins within, giving nourishment. Sleep is like watering a brown and dying flower, the color returns and the stem ceases its downward bend.
Without sleep, we don't shine quite so brightly; we're irritable. Without sleep, we're much more likely to lose our tempers or do any number of things. Ca ine replaces our natural energy. If we have to stay awake when we're tired, we don't wan to feel sleepy.
We don't know what sleep is, and do you know why we don't know? Because every night, just as we're falling asleep, we become unconscious. We're knocked out. We don't experience it. We simply sleep.
Someone can come and stab a knife in us. One of the kids can raid the refrigerator and eat up the last of the ice cream. War could be declared. Anyone could do anything, but we wouldn't have any awareness of it.
In deep sleep we don't even think. Dreams come later, but in deep sleep we don't even dream. Thinking ceases, and our minds, always too busy, relax. Only our body rhythms, such as breath, continue, slowly and surely, keeping its alive.
All of our conscious activities result in our getting more tired, and an unconscious one replenishes us. Obviously we have some kind of built-in power pack that requires the surrender of our mind, its worries and thoughts, to do its work. We call this nightly narcotic, sleep.
There was a science fiction story in which some doctors discovered a technique to shrink themselves so that they could enter into the bloodstream of their patient's body and investigate first hand what kind of disease he had. They actually went right into the person's body and swam around in their little ship to see what was going on. It would be a very fantastic thing if we were able to experience sleep this way, if we could get into the bloodstream of sleep. It would be as amazing a feat as the doctors accomplished in that story, to concentrate our minds on the source of energy within, and realize consciously where nourishment comes from.
Where in the world can you buy rest? You can buy a bed. Or if you're very poor, you can get space on a floor. But neither a bed of bamboo threads, a water bed, nor a big, round soft bed with a full canopy can guarantee rest for you at night. The person with worries will have trouble sleeping, no matter what sort of bed he has. How many people depend on sleeping pills in order to enter the nightly kingdom of rest?
What if a person were able to constantly and gradually reach the state where people go every night in deep sleep, but be "awake," conscious, while doing so? If you had such an opportunity, wouldn't you like to try it? You see, actually, this power that keeps us awake and refreshes us is no small thing. It's no little, insignificant, offhand phenomena that you might come across as filler material in the local newspaper. Not at all.
The power that refreshes the Hutu tribe in Africa or an astronaut living in the Skylab is the same power refreshing all of us. None of us can survive without giving in to it. Yet this one thing that we have in common is impossible to share, because we never experience it. We get knocked out; we fall unconscious. We don't know what it's like to be asleep. If we knew we wouldn't call it sleep, because we would be dwelling in that place of peace and power from which all nourishment comes. It's a place that the mind can't reach. The only way to reach it is for the mind to have no thoughts about who we are or what we have to do, or anything else,
The only way to reach it is for the mind to be as calm as a still lake with no ripples of thoughts or waves of worries crossing over it. That would be real rest: to be able to consciously, at any time, relax in the stillness inside, the center of sleep.
Really, it would make a great difference in our daily life, and this is what disciples of Guru Maharaj Ji, people who have received his Knowledge, have realized.
Meditation on this Knowledge is a direct source of rest and peace. In deep sleep we hook up and recharge ourselves; this meditation is the same process, except that it is conscious and consciousness is the quality that separates human beings from other forms of life.
- Paul Meadows