A good night’s sleep provides a wonderful launching pad for the next day. A lousy night casts a shadow on tomorrow, making everything from getting up in the morning, going to work and getting along with people more difficult.
I’d like to offer you three secrets that are likely to lead to not only a good night’s sleep, but waking the next morning feeling refreshed, inspired and more creative than ever.
Letting go of your thinking:
Google “how many thoughts per day” and you will discover estimates that we think anywhere between 15,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. That is a lot of thinking. That wide a range is enough to inspire us to do a little research ourselves.
Notice a thought, then the next thought and the one after that. Count your thoughts for a minute. Counting convinces us that we have a lot of thoughts, and at the same time it reminds us that we don’t have to take any thought terribly seriously because there is always another thought after that.
One time you don’t need thousands, hundreds or even any thoughts at all is when you are falling off to sleep.
Those of you who meditate know that it isn’t easy to quiet an active mind. But you can, and here is how: As you curl up or stretch out to fall asleep, roll your eyes toward your forehead. Let them rest toward what would be the upper part of their range if you were standing up. Lightly hold them there.
Neuro Linguistic Programming correctly points out that when our eyes are in that position, we are more likely to be seeing pictures, as opposed to hearing internal conversations, noises around us or feeling feelings. Keep your eyes well north of the horizontal as you are falling asleep.
This one exercise is likely to lighten you up, free you into a visual world where dreams come easily. And it will pull you out of any self-talk which can be the source of worry and sleeplessness.
While your eyes are focused on the visual spectrum, you will likely still have thoughts.
As thoughts appear, pretend that you are Noah: pair each thought with another thought. But don’t pair them with just any thought; if you have a “positive” thought, pair it with an equal and opposite “negative” thought. This may sound complicated, but with just a little practice it will come naturally.
As I was falling asleep last night, I had a thought of my son tutoring other students in English. That is a strong positive thought for me, so I paired it with a thought of a girlfriend who broke my heart. Those two thoughts marched together into the distance. The next thought I had was about how well Apple stock is doing, so I paired that thought with concerns about the political climate. Then I had the thought that I had better buy my ticket to Panama soon, and that “negative” thought paired with a thought of my red-haired granddaughter.
Matching a “positive” thought with a “negative” one reminds us that the labels positive and negative are just made up. It offers us neutrality as we fall asleep and it actually inspires lots of dreams about flying, being free of worldly concerns and the discovery of ourselves as spirits.
Too many self-help proponents suggest that we should think only positive thoughts. That not only doesn’t work, but it has us attempt to control our thinking—which, given how many thoughts we think, is simply impossible.
As you doze off to sleep, pair your thoughts. This is a beautiful way to tap into your spirit nature. And doing so just before you fall asleep will not only offer you incredible dreams, it will carry over into the next day lifting you from the positive/negative tug of war and leading you out of dualistic/simplistic thinking.
Launching your astral body:
Our spirits are hungry for everything, but our bodies for something in particular. That is how it is for spirits living in bodies. We have all day to attempt to make peace between our finite body and our infinite spirit. At night, when it is time to fall asleep, or even during an afternoon nap, we can step out of our bodies, launching ourselves into astral travel.
To do this, let yourself “die” into sleep. Let go of life, imagining that each moment as you fall asleep is your last moment. Say your “goodbyes” to life as you know it and let life end. Dying into sleep may be scary at first, but once you are able to relax into it, you will relax into life too.
Death is only scary when perceived as the opposite of life. If death is a good night’s sleep, then it isn’t so scary at all.
We hold on to life all day long; as we are falling asleep, we can let go, relax into unconsciousness and trust our heart to beat and our autonomic systems to run by themselves. Practicing letting go as we fall asleep naturally translates to lightening up and letting go the next day too.
Practice any of these three secrets as you fall asleep. Don’t take any of them seriously, but watch as your dreams change and evolve, notice how differently you wake up in the morning.
You can do any of these secrets in a spare moment during a busy day, too.
Get ready to be much more creative, visually acute and free of concerns at night and during the day as well.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Image: Flickr/이 창원
Editor: Travis May