I will sometimes get into talks with people (friendly, no-argumentative talks) about sleep. Many people claim that once they are asleep, they are out cold. Others tell about how they are such light sleepers. Some people toss and turn. While everyone sleeps in their own way, it seems like everyone can relate to how others sleep – except for when I detail to them how I sleep. To be clear, there are times when I’m out cold and sleeping so deeply that all disappears. And there are times when I sleep like my birth mother did when she lived: So lightly that if someone gently sighs three rooms away – with the door closed – it’ll wake me up. But mostly it’s neither of these. More often than not, I am awake (aware?) while I’m asleep. I really don’t know how else to describe it. My body goes to sleep. And I would say, too, that my mind also goes to sleep. But “I” stay awake and aware for most of every night’s rest. It’s dark and and quiet and very still (stiller and quieter than your home when the electricity goes out and you notice the screaming silence that happens as a result of things like the refrigerator not running. Y’know – that really LOUD silence?). I’m keenly ware that my body rests. I’m just as aware that my mind’s thoughts are passing by at a slower pace (if at all) than when I’m awake. The whole time, I just….. am. It’s nice. So nice.
I’ve written about it here before, in the past. It’s always a tough thing to try to effectively describe. Almost no one understands what I’m talking about. This seems to say that I’m either describing my experience in a way that others cannot at all relate to (read: I’m using the wrong words), or else there really are so few others that have this experience that I’ve yet to encounter one. It can be frustrating. And it IS frustrating when I’m in talks with someone who claims I’m entirely mistaken – that we ALL dream every night, whether we recall as much or not. Thank god for people who know my own life experience better than I do! (#Sarcasm)
Anyway, What you will read below the line is something I pulled from a newsletter or maybe a publication from Daaji’s Desk or something. I forget the exact source, but I suppose that doesn’t matter so much as you understand it’s not something I composed. Daaji was questioned by some students about falling asleep during meditation and his answer feels like it touches a bit on how I experience sleep. Just thought I’d share.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti
It was a quiet morning. Daaji came to the meditation room around 7:30 a.m. and conducted satsangh. Afterwards he answered questions from new seekers. Here are some excerpts:
Q: While meditating, I find that I am leaning either forward or sideways by the time I finish. So how do I know that I am meditating and not sleeping?
Daaji: I will start with the second part of your question. How to know whether you are meditating or sleeping? Often when we conduct such programs in universities, especially when there are 500 or 1000 students in a hall and generally they would be having fun. After meditation, they ask, “Sir, did we go to sleep?” So I respond, “Okay, let’s do an experiment. Sit in a chair and I will not transmit to you. Now, try to go to sleep in the chair within 5 minutes. Can you do it?” So it is the relaxing effect produced by transmission that creates a state akin to yoga nidra. At the same time, if you pay attention, you are aware of what is happening outside, even though you are in a sleep-like state.
Now, to the first part of your question: often we seem to lean forward or sideways. It is a very good state actually. It happens when the mind relaxes and our emotional heart surrenders. In that state of submission the head bows down, unknowingly, unconsciously. It is arising out of our subconscious submission to Divinity.