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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts

Written by Mark Fontaine

Want a good night’s rest?

Do you have a nightly struggle to capture and control sleep? Has dozing off become a complicated process?  The problem is not sleep but seeing sleep as a mysterious biological process subject to disorders that require intervention. This promotes anxiety when sleep fails to arrive on time. We know how important sleep is and how bad a lack of sleep can make us feel, yet it is difficult to change our habits.

Insomnia is a manufactured problem. The journey back to the time before sleep was made problematic requires patience to trust ourselves.

The pressure to sleep often comes from worries about tasks to be completed the next day. There is no “do” in sleep. Your mind may insist you “do” sleep as though it were an action that can be done at will. This is simply not a physical reality.  Trust your own experience that sleep is simply an end of “doing”.  No skill or effort is involved.

One must see through the haze of constant thinking. We may create pressure to “achieve” sleep, yet the nature of rest has nothing to do with achievement.  Think beyond categorizing consciousness as awake or asleep, and trying to achieve one or the other.

Observe your attempts to obtain sleep.  Surrender to the fact that there is nothing to “capture and control.”  Take deep breaths in and out through your nose.  Focus on your breathing.  Count the number “one” with each inhalation and the number “two” with each exhalation.  Repeat this process over several minutes until relaxation sets in.  Clear your mind and only think of counting each inhalation and exhalation.  Acknowledge any thoughts that come to mind and then gently let them go and once again concentrate on your breathing.

Sleep is a natural part of the rhythm of consciousness.  Reflect upon your own notions about the experience of falling asleep.  One must allow efforts to sleep to subside.  Only then, the fight of trying to sleep looses its grip and is replaced with a willingness to let each moment flow naturally without interruption. 



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