Many people under lockdown cannot sleep at the moment, or are struggling with intermittent sleep. This is entirely natural, since our minds are highly active worrying about many different things.
It is a worrying time for everyone, with jobs on the line, money problems, children at home, relationships under stress, and the fear of catching Covid-19.
In the minds of many, they are wondering when the lock down will end, and how they can take care of their family, money, even the worry of not getting enough sleep.
The mind is highly active and it continuously talks raising these questions, and analyzing ways to solve them.
This is very natural, and for most people our minds are constantly chattering, analyzing, projecting images or stories of some sort, and there is some constant mental noise.
For some this may not be particularly convenient for a good nights sleep. Rather, than people falling asleep worry free, they fall asleep full of fear.
What is the solution?
We are very aware of the mind's influence in creating many thoughts just before one falls asleep.
We could recommend physical activities, which may make the body tired and relaxed, however it may not calm the mind which is the most pertinent issue for many people.
Yoga is a great way to relax both body and mind, however yoga in the western sense mainly focuses on Asana's, and is not the same as yoga which focuses on devotion like Bhakti Yoga, or yoga which focuses on knowledge or Self-realization which is Jnana Yoga, or Kundalini Yoga.
This yoga which focuses on Asanas, may calm and relax both body and mind, however there are many people who practice this form of yoga who have temporary relaxation, but gradually thoughts of worry start creeping in again.
They have not pulled the roots of the weed out from under the ground, it has only been cut, so even though it has lessened in size, it will soon grow again because it has not been fully pulled out of the ground.
In this article, it seems more truthful to share an insight into the minds patterns at night, so that one can see for oneself how this process works, and pull the weed completely out from the ground. By seeing its function you will be able to realize that you are aware of it.
At night the mind may become active, it may start talking, and chattering, about many different problems or challenges it has to solve.
The question we ask is whilst it is doing this can you be aware that this is happening by itself.
That you have not created these thoughts, but that they have spontaneously arisen even without you bringing them up.
They just pop up and say, “oh how long will this lockdown go on for” or “what are we going to do tomorrow” or “how do we solve (such and such) an issue”.
These thoughts will pop up in the silence, whilst you are about to fall asleep. Now, you have been here all along to see them arise, and since they have arisen they will naturally subside again. That is their nature, thoughts come and go.
Thought's come and go
Right now, if you just rest and be silent, watch how quickly the mind will raise a thought.
For most people, it was probably pretty quick.
However, for a second, there would have been silence, which is actually are natural state all the time. Only thoughts come and go within that silence which appears to make things noisy.
Once, you can recognize this, you will gradually come to enjoy your natural silence. The peace, the quietness, the joy that naturally arises.
As you are falling asleep, the mind is solving all of the mysteries of challenges of life, whilst you are just resting, maybe listening to the sound of the rain, or the cars going past, or the sound of the wind against the roof, or the rising and falling of the breath.
Maybe you look at the glowing, changing lights in the room, or notice the sensations in your body.
A beautiful realization
It is such a beautiful thing. A beautiful realization, that the mind can carry on its stories and problem solving, and analysis, whilst you are completely elsewhere, vast, infinite space.
This discovery will not just be present when you fall asleep, whenever anything is happening, you will know this space, this emptiness, in which the mind chatters, but it means absolutely nothing.
Another insight to look at is:
For many humans, when they see something, like a house, they will never refer to that thing as themselves.
However, it is very common for humans to claim that the objects that rise and fall in the mind or body are them, i.e. thoughts, feelings, sensations.
This is me. This story is me. This mental chatter, feelings, sensations are me.
Thus, when the mind is chattering at night, it is not left alone.
In fact, when the body or mind is chattering it is never left alone.
One can gradually come to see that thoughts arise and disappear, however you do not. Could that thought disappear if it was you?
School/University does not teach this
In schools, and universities they do not teach this, or point this out, probably because maybe they are not aware of this themselves.
No one has brought this to their attention, however now as you are looking, you will see that this is the case.
You can watch a feeling arise, linger, and pass. However, you will see all of this, and not have passed. The same with thoughts.
What are you realizing when you see this.
When you see a car appear, drive past you on a road, and disappear around the corner. You realize that you are not the car, because you are here to see its appearance and disappearance.
Realize this with thoughts and feelings.
Every thought, every feeling is not who you are.
Another way to look at this is...
Humans are suffering from a lack of space.
They are now so intertwined with the dramas and feelings of the mind, that they have forgotten it is just a play.
It is just a film on a screen.
The thoughts that appear to be important in the mind right now, in three weeks time, you will not be able to recall them.
The screen can't recall the film. It has no need, it is insignificant, the screen has nothing to do with the film.
When nothing is held on to, or believed in, what space and freedom is present in that human.
Everything is passing through them, but they are untouched.
Be like this.
When it is bedtime, or even in the day, just drop everything. See that everything is passing within you, but that you are not passing.
Try this, and see what happens.
Obviously you can try different things like lavender spray, or having a bath before bed, or maybe some yoga or exercise. In some ways these could help.
They cut the root down slightly, however, if you fully go through and discover for yourself that what we have said is true, the weed will be pulled out completely for you.
You will not need to keep trimming the weeds, once they have been taken out of the ground.
All the best, Saul (Near You Team)