To Sleep Like A Baby

Sleeplessness

Insomnia

The following Question and Answer was included in the September Study Group Reading. Feel free to comment with your own experiences and/or solutions to sleeplessness. (Read my Haiku at the end.)

QUESTION: “Difficulty with sleep, or insomnia, appears to be a common problem in our culture. Either people have trouble falling asleep, or, they wake up in the night and can’t get back to sleep. Many rely on prescription medications or alcohol to help, and they are afraid to give up those things for fear that they won’t sleep. Many have tried the quiet darkened room approach, and other techniques, but when they fail, what is there to do? It’s clear that the explanation for this disruptive problem differs from person to person. I’m wondering what you can tell us about insomnia, its impact on our lives if we struggle with it-for example, not reaching the stage of ‘delta sleep,’ which is said to have important restorative properties. What can we look to as the best possible solution for the problem?”

THE GUIDES: When you have a thorn in your foot, then the explanation for pain in the foot is quite clear and you remove the thorn. When you have the challenge in releasing into sleep, there are invisible thorns-invisible causes that you usually cannot recognize clearly as the cause for sleeplessness, unless it is perhaps an over-infusion of strong substances that keep you awake, or unusual worry that clearly is the cause of sleeplessness.

For most of you who struggle with this challenge, the primary cause is a fear of badness of some type that you have been carrying along through the day, or through many days, or even through a lifetime. Some of it can even be fears from past lifetimes of earth. Some of it can be upset in the physiology. There are many different causes for the inability to release, self-confidently, trustingly, securely, into the sleep period to attain the normal sleep-many causes that would prevent that release from occurring.

So, the simplest way for all ones to think is: The thorn in the foot-the primary cause of sleeplessness-can be thought about as fear. Fear means anxiety, worry, anticipation of negativity, many different negative thoughts and feelings.
The primary method for healing this is: Before sleeping, you need to consciously acknowledge all that would be your fears of any types-recent, past, future, whatever is a negative sense of pressure, concern, worry, fussing, fretting. For five moments before sleep, you acknowledge the situation of being filled with many fears.

Then, you would gently think, “I am not my fears. I can detach from them. I can ignore them. Even if, as I turn my attention away from them they continue to pound upon my window of attention, I will keep ignoring them.”

Next, if you have had what you would call “chronic” sleeplessness, naturally you have developed a fear that sleeplessness will somehow bring a badness into your life. You have a fear that you will not receive the most benefit from the sleep period; or the fear that sleeplessness will cause you illness, or mental instability. You have a fear of sleeplessness itself.

Then, you would say, “I now experience these fears of sleeplessness. I notice them. I think about them for a few moments. Then, I turn my attention away from them. And, even if they continue to beat upon my window of attention, I continue to practice ignoring them.”

Then, you would decide, “What do I turn my attention to in order to create such a feeling of goodness, trust, safety, and love that I become the innocent child who fears nothing and who can gently slip into the sleep period.?”

Now, this is not easy for most humans, but, it is what is necessary to learn in order to gradually release the challenge of sleeplessness. Thus, it needs to be practiced again and again.

When you notice that this does not immediately send you into sleep, then acknowledge the troubling feeling about that, a feeling that might say, “Nothing will help. I will always have this challenge. It will ruin me. It will bring badness to my life.” Take a few moments to turn your attention to those fears. Acknowledge them as fears, not truths.

Then, turn your attention away from those fears, even if they continue to beat upon the window of your attention. Practice again turning your attention to whatever helps you feel safe, secure, innocent, childlike, relaxed.

There are many different kinds of positive feelings that automatically open the door of sleep. It might be that you turn your attention toward the Divine Love that is pouring into you from your soul and from other souls who love you. You might turn your attention toward a memory of great goodness that you have known in this lifetime.

This kind of practice develops the trust that is needed to counter the mistrust, which is the fear that has accumulated as tension-or “hyper-activity, or other words that you could use-that so captures the attention of your human self to the extent that your vigorous thinking, feeling, and fearing sends signals to the brain and the nervous system saying that there is a threat, that there is something to do about that. There is such pressure that the body cannot cooperate in initiating the physiological release and relaxation that needs to go along with the thoughts and feelings of release and relaxation in order to enter into the normal, healthy, rejuvenative sleeping period.

Then, beyond this, as you work with these areas and you still have some sleeplessness, you can remind yourself that you are a child of God living in a body that has such resources and vitality that it will not be damaged by sleeplessness. You will perhaps have periods of relaxation during the day that will compensate. So, most of you will not have health challenges from protracted sleeplessness if you take this particular attitude.

From Susan: The Guides’ answer inspired me to write a Haiku that reflects how I feel about insomnia (Haiku-an rhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively):

INSOMNIA

Eyes shut, mind open
Invisible thorns stalking
My restless eyelids

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9 Responses to To Sleep Like A Baby

  1. Frances says:

    I love the Haiku! Expresses my experience so succinctly.

  2. Heather C. says:

    Very helpful post. I finally decided I would have to live with some measure of insomnia since that is what is. I do find listening to books on tape helpful. It’s like being read a bedtime story–always puts me to sleep. Now staying asleep, that’s a different story!

  3. Amy says:

    This is such a helpful answer. Fear of not sleeping was a big part of my struggle with drugs and alcohol as I grew up and and on into my 30’s until I finally quit. If I may, I’d like to share an excerpt from my book, “From Death Do I Part” which, having grown up with the Guides (Ron is my stepfather), incorporates their teachings as I learned to put it all into practice.

    From Chapter 20, “Insomnia” —
    “Now that I am able to relax without alcohol or medication, I have found that I can really enjoy being awake late at night. It can be very private and peaceful, and I enjoy the fact that time seems to slow down. That makes it easier for me to feel that I can truly relax.

    This is an amazing turnaround from the little girl who cried all through the night, and from the adult woman who drank herself unconscious for years to survive the fear of being awake late at night. That remarkable change occurred when I was finally able to absorb the fact that it was okay for me to be awake, and that if I wanted to, I could even appreciate and enjoy the calm, private time of the late night and early morning.”

    Nice Haiku, mom:-)

  4. Cara says:

    This works! I didn’t used to sleep like a baby, but many years ago I took what the guides said about fear and used that perspective to learn to disarm the spinning crankiness, worry, and other fear thoughts that would keep me from falling asleep. As the answer says, it did take some time, but it was so worth it.

    Now, and for well over a decade, I fall asleep within a few minutes of laying down and get up 7-9 hours later. The exception of course is that about once or twice a year, when something significant happens (like finding out the IRS is auditing us!), I have to do my nighttime practice again for a day or two, then back to sleeeeeeeeppppppppp :-).

  5. Annie wallack says:

    This was a fun exploration. I have had just about every problem that anyone else has had sleeping. I can sleep now for the most part. I’d have to say that there’s just no telling what will keep a person up. I do know that what the guides suggested really works. Taking five minutes before sleeping to air out one’s fears seems to work wonderfully. If I don’t do that or something like it, then I will go to sleep and wake up and not be able to sleep. If that happens, I go with plan B, not to fight it. I tell myself that it’s all right to stay awake all night and that I’m going to manage the next day or nap or something. I’ve learned that it’s not against the law to feel sleepy during the day. I don’t like it, but I can function. Sometimes, I just get up instead of trying to make myself lie down and sleep. If I get up and walk around a little or read or something more active for a while, I can usually go back to sleep. Once when I quit sleeping entirely for three months straight I asked a wise man what to do about it, and he said that if I was awake then so be it. He said there was a good reason for it. Trying to sleep just doesn’t work for me. My fears will not be ignored unless they are thoroughly aired out, and sometimes that takes more work depending on the severity of the fear. Mostly, I sleep now, and that’s good, but I’ve done a lot of practicing with insomnia, and I’ve pretty much taken it all the way to it’s conclusion. Anyway, when you die, do you go to sleep or do you wake up? I guess I’ll find out for sure, but I think more that I’ll wake up, and then where does insomnia go? So, enjoy your insomnia while you have it because it’s just not going to go with you in your final hour. I also found that as a night person I tried to get on other people’s schedules and that didn’t work for me and sleeping. But this is specific to me. What works for you might be different. Also, non-threatening activities that wear me out give me the best night’s sleep. It’s the fears and complexities and an over active mind that keep me up, but I just don’t mind that much any more. Happy sleeping. A.W.

  6. Kay Andrews says:

    Susan, funny this sleeplessness came today after a night of only 4 hrs. This happens about twice a month to me. Usually, I get up, go to my desk and write lists of the many things on my mind ….usually “to do’s” sometimes ,as last night. I do a few of them…send the cards, e-mails, etc. Then I can go back to sleep.

    Last night …I had the fears Ron mentioned of not being able to sleep so got up.

    Had a mini nap this afternoon when I sat down to check the news. All true!

    Hope all is well with you two. hugs, K.

  7. Audrey says:

    had to chuckle at 4 AM a few sleepless nights ago as put the CD in the player, wondering how many other insomniacs were also listening to the insomnia Q & A from Ron!!!!

  8. jmmarketng. says:

    I have never had trouble sleeping. I could probably count my nights of insomnia in this life time on three fingers. What happens to me is that the moment I close my eyes my awareness starts to expand and I am gone–20 seconds tops….its just like going into meditation and thoughts of any kind are an impediment.

  9. Lucky you! I don’t know you, but I’ll bet you are not a menopausal woman.

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