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Sleep vs Meditation

Discussion in 'Meditation Chatter Box' started by Edwin, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    I have a very busy life.
    I work just a tad too much every week ( my average is around 60 hours every week ) and when I have time to unwind like in the evening, I tend to go to bed too late, because I want to have time for myself in the evenings.

    Sometimes, like yesterday, I go to bed around 00.30, only to wake up the next morning to a very agressive and much hated alarmclock around 6.30. Knowing that another busy day is coming can be a burdon. Unfortunately, I sometimes also take too little time to meditate. Personally, I think that starting a meditation around 00.30 for about 20 minutes is better than skipping meditation all together that day.

    But, every now and then, I feel some doubts rising, "am I really doing the right thing meditating at a time when I should be sleeping ? "

    How do you guys feel about this ?
     
  2. Divinitywolf

    Divinitywolf Member

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    I'm learning about sleeping and biological rhythms and the body seems to need to dream strangely enough.
    A study was conducted and just before the person got to the dreaming stage of sleep (usually REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep)) they were woken up. They were then monitered for the day and apparently started dreaming whilst awake. Scientists said it was different to hallucinating, something to do with which part of the brain was active.

    I've said this because yes if you dont sleep much your performance level goes down but it could be argued that meditation could raise the performance level. But in meditation you cannot dream unless you actually fall asleep right? So perhaps this is something to consider.
     
  3. Fran2008

    Fran2008 Member

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    Hi Edwin. Sleep is a big issue for me and I can only meditate at around the same time as you do. I have been worried about that and thinking that it must not be the way to go particularly as I fall asleep before the end of the session.

    Anyway, I listened to Michael's meditation CDs again and falling asleep is normal so I'm not going to worry about that again.

    I experimented a couple of nights ago and went to sleep without meditating. I did not get anything like a good night sleep - I have been experiencing great improvements in my sleep quantity and quality since I started meditating a couple of weeks ago.

    I have also experienced other positive personal improvements but sleep is the big obvious one for me right now.

    so I believe that 20 mins meditation before sleep is definitely better than forgoing the meditation for a little longer sleep.

    Sweet dreams,

    Fran.
     
  4. Bhavya

    Bhavya Member

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    Hi Edwin
    I sympathize with coping with a really busy life :( but if we really want the benefits of meditation, don't we have to put the time in? I've been reading a fantastically inspiring book about an Indian meditation master, Dipa Ma, called Knee Deep In Grace by Amy Schmidt and thought of you with your question on sleep. Dipa Ma was the teacher and mentor or many western vipassana teachers like Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg. She led an extraordinarily difficult life but was finally allowed to learn to meditate whereby she very quickly surpassed the different stages of enlightenment. She taught innumerable householders who had "no time" for meditation. Here are some of the things she said:

    On sleep:"If you are a householder, you have enough time," Dipa Ma told me. "Very early in the morning, you can take two (!) hours for meditation. Late in the evening you can take another two hours for meditation. Learn to sleep only four hours. There is no need for sleeping more than four hours." (p. 58) (BTW, I'm not advocating 2 hours of meditation or 4 hours of sleep - it's just that it can be done!)

    On continuity of practice: " ....with Dipa Ma--one could see a profound continuity and effortlessness." She would ask Jack Kornfield, "How awake are you in your life?....Are you really doing it, or are you just thinking about it?" It's a great idea to live with mindfulness, but are you actually living your life that way?" (p.61)
    And on p. 55, "She embodied the realization that motivation for practice can com4 from the wonder of each moment. She taught me that mindfulness isn't something to strive for...It's always there, it's going on all the time. Rather than something I have to seize, mindfulness is just being with what is, as it arises, all the time."

    I'm not there myself, but I think we have to do formal meditation plus be mindful throughout our day :rolleyes: And then hopefully we get results, like Dipa Ma in her state of grace:

    {There was} a special quality of her being that touched everyone who met her. It was a quality of the quietest peace fully suffused with love. This stillness and love were different from anything I had encountered before. They were not an ego persona, and they didn't want or need anything in return. Simply, in the absence of self, love and peace were what remained."



    Here's to finding peace and the state of grace
    Bhavya :):)
     
  5. Bhavya

    Bhavya Member

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    A cosmic joke

    Edwin, I had to write a postscript to the above. Having so freely gone on about 4 hours of sleep, I woke up nice and early this morning to meditate and then promptly fell asleep in my chair! :p
    Such is life and its lessons!
    Humility before all :D
    Bhavya
     
  6. Jeb

    Jeb Member

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    I have been thinking about your post ever since I read it. First of all, no one but you can say what is right for you. It seems that the norm for sleep for a healthy human being is from 7 to 9 hours per night. When I was working 60 plus hours per week, I found I had little additional time for myself, let alone time to spend with my family. I have reset my priorities and now try to work less than 40 hours per week. This gives me ample time to meditate (40 minutes per day with LifeFlow and another 30 to 45 minutes for guided meditation). I also find that to keep my family strong I must spend time with conversation, hand-holding and hugging, listening attentively and spending quality time with them. Even with my grown kids, I try to find time. I also try to exercise at least 35 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week. Notice how often I am saying "try."

    However, some people must work that many hours each day to make ends meet. Then I guess it becomes a matter of priorities. I find that it is important for me to turn off the TV and the computer to find the additional time I need. I also need at least 8 hours of sleep per night to function well at my profession. Lots and lots to cram into a 24 hour day, these days. Each individual has to prioritize and make the time to accomplish what he or she decides is most important.

    I hope this doesn't sound "preachy"; I don't mean it to be. Nor do I mean to somehow tell you that what I try to do is best for you or anyone else, or even best - period. This is just what I am trying to make work for me.

    Best wishes on your path. We are all on different roads together! ;)
     
  7. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Thank you all for your responces. They have given me quite some insight, and a good laugh too Bhavya ;)

    Problem I am facing now is that, after almost a year of being completely free of it, my problem of insomnia is returning :( and I suspect this has to do with the fact that I don't take enough time to meditate.

    Due to sleep deprivation, not enough meditation and a huge workload/financial stress at the job, I am racing towards a depression. So, I am taking steps now.

    Firstly, I need to meditate regularly again, no more excuses.

    Secondly, next week I am going to see an acupuncturist.

    and Thirdly, I want to stop my extra workhours like Jeb suggested. Not sure yet how to do this, but I will try.

    Thanks all for your reply's !
     
  8. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Edwin, you probably know that we sleep in cycles - do you also know that the time spent in the delta part of the cycle decreases each time we go into the next cycle?

    During Delta the recuperative effects of sleep are maximized and so it would be really beneficial to meditate with LifeFlow 1 or even just listen to it as you are going to sleep - If I wanted to sleep better I would definately listen to this track for deep delta entrainment benefits.

    You are so right deciding to meditate regularly (remember the woodcutter story)

    I understand how you feel about your very agressive and much hated alarmclock which goes off around 6.30 I used to hate mine also - it was a cockeral that crowed about 3 or 4 times followed by the voice of an american lady saying good morning. I often dreamed of smashing it to bits!! I contemplated buying one from jungle book which sang "zippadedoda zipadeeday my oh my what a wonderful day" but didn't get round to it :eek:

    What I did find though was through defining what I didn't want, I realized what I did want and an alarm clock of any description was not on my wish list. O.K. I had to have one to get the children to school on time and for me to get to work on time also. Nowadays I wake up naturally, however the shutters in France create total darkness for sleep and I like to get up by 9 o'clock at the latest :eek: in winter anyway.

    Out of choice now I wake up to a C.D. alarm clock of Dennis Waitley, Jim Rohn or Brian Tracy and love it because it really sets the tone for the day :)

    I still work long hours often and sometimes find it necessary to burn the midnight oil but because I have created some choices if I want some time out I can do so. I think that's the best part of it - having the choice.

    Knowing that another busy day is coming can be a burdon or you can accept it and enjoy it I believe or if you don't want to accept it is there any way that you can change it.

    When I "had to" work 60 hours a week I would feel the burden and I would resent and probably hate it.

    If you want to work less hours maybe it would help to read how others have done this. There is a book called the 4 hour work week :rolleyes: really! If you read this and manage to do a 30 hour work week or less that would free you up to enjoy life more. Maybe it's time to think out of the box? Are you in the right business or is there something you would enjoy doing more?

    As someone once said to me:-

    "What's the definition of insanity?"

    Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    It's little nuggets like this that got me to take a long look at what I was doing and make some changes. I started to focus on the prize and not on the price! I became a sponge and listened, read and applied what I learned from others who had already achieved what I wanted to do. If they can achieve a better way to live so can we. I wish you good sleep, peace and happiness :) :) :)

    P.S. It felt really good when I smashed that dreadful alarm clock :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  9. Bhavya

    Bhavya Member

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    Useful thoughts

    Thanks Pollyanna for your reply to Edwin. Although I don't have the same problem as Edwin, your post has got me thinking about how I can benefit from restructuring my day. It's so easy to get caught in doing things the same old way without noticing that.

    Time to think outside the box! :rolleyes:
    All the best to you all
    Bhavya
     
  10. Montana Keith

    Montana Keith Member

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    Edwin,
    I often go to this forum and search out where you are posting. I value you and the words you share. I think what I'm most valuing about you at the moment is how you reflect and allow me to look at and examine my own beliefs. I really believe that in many circumstances, WE ARE ONE ANOTHER'S MIRRORS.

    It all reminds me of a couple of quotes:

    "It is never easy for any of us to look closely at ourselves--the ancient aphorism of 'physician, heal thyself' not withstanding. Most of us do so only when forced by crisis, anxiety, or a blunt confrontation with reality. Some of us have spouses or friends who help us look at the sore spots within, the personal rough spots which cause us and others pain. But for most of us, it is far easier to look outside, to look at others, whether to admire or to find fault, whether to seek guidance or to castigate."
    (Roy Menninger, M.D.)

    "You must bring him to a condition in which he can practice self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office."
    (Words of advice from Screwtape to Wormwood as found in C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, pg. 16)

    "That which I attack and ridicule in others reflects the lies I continue to believe about myself."
    (Keith)

    Anyway, reading your comments in your post of:

    --"NEEDING" to meditate more, and of
    --"WANTING" to stop your extra work hours, and of
    --"TRYING" [where is good old Coenrad with his movie quotes when you need him. But, wasn't it Master Yoda who said: "Do, or do not. There is no 'try."]

    allowed me to pause and see myself through the filters of my own beliefs and perceptions.

    As I've mentioned on other posts on this forum, the Sedona Method is proving beneficial in my life at this moment. In there, it speaks of the difference between "WANTING" and "HAVING." Would you rather "WANT" something or simply realize that you already "HAVE" it. [Having read from your many previous posts here, I know that you already "KNOW" all this and could teach it all to me. So, maybe, I'm writing to myself more than anyone else at this moment.]

    In speaking of the difference between "WANTING" something and awakening to the truth that we are already whole and "HAVE" everything, the Sedona Method reminds us to pause, notice what "guests" are in our awareness at the moment, and say:

    "Is this that I'm experiencing coming from a place of "WANTING":
    --Approval
    --Control
    --Security
    --Separation or
    --Oneness

    Thanks for listening as I spoke to myself through the "mirror" of how I perceive you. Take care, my friend. --Keith :)
     
  11. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Thank you Pollyanna, Keith and Bhavya.

    I have since yesterday started to meditate better again.
    In the morning, I had Lifeflow 7 on my MP3 player while working , and tried to do Vipassana. I managed to do that for about 4 hours :)

    In the evening, I meditated from 10 PM to 11 PM on LF3, and went straight to bed, where I fell asleep on LF1 ( thanks Pollyanna for your advice, my sleep was perfect and I feel better than I have for about a week )

    Keith, like you said, I should allready know what you told me, and, in a way I do, but it is true that it is easyer to listen to others than to yourself.
    Like every human being that is not enlightened yet, I need a good spanking :D every now and then to be forced back on track. You managed to do so.

    Out of the box thinking really does help Bhavya ! It can't solve your problems instantly, but creativity will help in making things better !
     
  12. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Oh, Bhavya, this morning I woke up an hour too early, and instead of allowing my mind to wonder into that dark grey land of worries and not feeling up for the day, I grabbed my mp3 player and meditated for an hour until the alarmclock went off.

    My day seems a bit brighter.
     
  13. Bhavya

    Bhavya Member

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    Maintenance

    This forum is community at it's best, effective because we only meet here, reflecting on truth with one another and as Keith said, speaking what we need to reinforce in ourselves. It's all about remembering the truth that we've discovered through our readings and conversations and experience too. I gain a lot by reading what you all have to say, and how you're applying your insights in your lives. Thank you. :):):)

    And Edwin, I'm so pleased that you slept well, got up early to meditate and are facing a bright new day! For me, daily meditation is like doing car maintenance. Sure, I can travel without doing a tune up for quite a few miles, but eventually things start to break down. Especially when the road gets rough.

    What comes to mind is a story told about my beloved Indian teacher, Amma (Mata Amritananda Mayi). Years ago, a leper came to visit her who was so afflicted by his disease and smelled so bad that no one could stand to be near him. Amma helped him, daily washing his wounds. He would come and go over the years and was mostly healed, but never completely. There were always a few wounds left. Someone asked her, why don't you completely heal him once and for all? The answer was, then he would completely forget about his spiritual path and never return.

    Here's to car maintenance ;)

    Bhavya
     
  14. bashmaki

    bashmaki Member

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    OK guys, here is my wifes take.
    She says sleep is highly over rated.

    I still love naps; I think naps should be part of every good maintenance program.
    gus
     
  15. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Yesterday was one of those days where you just don't get to relax.

    Got up at 7.00, started working at 8.00 am
    I worked all day and it was very busy at work, after that we had to rush in our car to get to a workshop around 5.30 pm, where we had 20 minutes to cram some supper into our stomach, then the workshop, back home a tad too late because of traffic ( by now it was 9.00 pm ) , quickly on to Ju Jitsu practice, a full hour of training ( now it was around 10.30 pm ) just about 30 minutes of "doing my share" at home with the household and now it was 11.00 pm. I watched the news trying to get my rest a bit, and started meditation until around 00.10, after which I spent about 30 minutes on the forum before going to bed. Brushing teeth, taking out my contacts and climbing into my p.j's ( actually, I don't wear p.j's ) took me until 1.00 am and I woke up around 6.30 this morning.

    Now anyone who reads this would think I walked around the entire day and night with rolling eyes and involitary muscle spasms due to stress.

    Thankfully, that wasn't the case.
    When I got up at 7.00, I had allready meditated for an hour.
    During the entire morning, and a great deal of time in the afternoon, I listened to lifeflow on my mp3 player. I worked practicing Vipassana. My last meditation before going to bed was a wonderfull relaxing session, where I for the first time accepted everything that came up for about 10 minutes of the 30 minutes I meditated.

    I am beginning to see what Eckhart Tolle means when he sais that every person is like a very deep lake, the surface might be full of waves, touched by wind, or ships, the deep is still and unmoved.
    When you realise that you are the entire lake, both the surface and the deep, you will find peace.

    I am so glad I brought back some regularity in meditation again :)

    I really have to say: Meditate every day !
     
  16. pollyanna

    pollyanna Moderator

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    Hi Edwin, glad the delta's helped and I'm so pleased you are sleeping great again and feeling better. Bon journee :) :) :)
     
  17. Edwin

    Edwin Member

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    Merci beaucoup Madame ;)

    Gus, do you nap at work ? :p
     
  18. VickDannon

    VickDannon Member

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    Experiment

    Hi, my name is Daniel. I'm fairly new to meditation and I am new to this forum. I've only been meditating regularly for the past week and I've already been experiencing drastic changes. I don't know what sort of meditation this site promotes as I am new, but I do a more spiritual type of meditation, chakras and all that, hightening vibrations and awareness. Not to get off topic, I find that when I meditate for a half hour or an hour, I feel more rested than when I've taken a nap of double the length. I want to attempt an experiment in which instead of sleeping at night, I will clear my thoughts and focus on breath. I will try not to drift off to sleep and instead, meditate as long as I can. If I drift off or wake, I will start again upon waking. I read an earlier comment that said that the body actually needs one to dream. I am not sure what is normally experienced during the meditation style that is common around here, but I definitely experience very dream-like states. I often, about twenty to thirty minutes in, experience strange vibrational sensations and from there start dreaming, projecting, or something of that sort. Either way, I think the dreaming base is covered, and any other potential obstacles I will climb when I get to them. I will document a day by day report, and anyone who is interested in finding out the results can find the thread I will start tomorrow called "Daniel's Meditation Experiment." Thanks guys, see you tomorrow.
     

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